Cereals Business In Kenya: Kamau’s Experience

Last Updated on: 20th June 2024, 03:46 pm

The cereals business in Kenya is one of the booming businesses you can try out. Most people messaged me to write about the cereals business in Kenya. 

I then proceeded to interview one of the most successful cereal sellers in Nairobi, Kamau. He’s a very determined business vendor, and he has managed to open several outlets around the country.

So in this blog post, we shall hear from Kamau, what pushed him to start the business, the do’s, don’ts, and the challenges in this particular sector. 

So let’s dive in. 

Cecilia: Hi Kamau. How are you? I really appreciate you’ve spared your time and allowed me to interview you on behalf of Cecilia Wayua Tech and Kenyans at large. So please can you introduce yourself to the audience?

Kamau: Wow, Cecilia, I’m really impressed by the work you are doing at Cecilia Wayua Tech on educating Kenyans on how to venture into different businesses. I really hope you touch more souls to succeed in business and gain financial independence. 

I am a cereals business vendor in Nairobi and I have several outlets around the country in areas such as Kitui, Makueni, Masii, Nakuru, and Kajiado. 

Read Also: Fruit business in Kenya. 

Cecilia: That is impressive. So, tell us how you started.

How to Start a Cereals Business in Kenya

Cereals business in Kenya

Kamau: Well, starting a cereals business in Kenya, just like another business, you need a plan of how you will implement everything in your business. So, I started by doing a thorough research in Nairobi.

I hired a certain writer to write me a clear business plan for the cereals business and she did pretty well within a short while. In addition, I decided it was time to set up my cereal store since I had the cash ready.

I also researched the best regions to start the business and I settled in Githurai. It’s important to note that location is very important when setting up any business. 

For instance, the people in Githurai like cereals, and most prefer posho mill maize flour compared to packed ones, especially in this economy. So that makes it a good base for selling cereals. 

Kenyans at large have also decided to move to cheaper options, and cereals are becoming some of the best meal options for families both in towns and rural areas. 

I also got some contacts for suppliers who could deliver the cereals to my premises. This was a great idea since I didn’t have to move to farms looking for cereals. 

After I got my contacts ready, I was lucky enough to get a stall going for Ksh. 10k per month, although it wasn’t that large, but it was a good starting point, given the location and the scarcity of business stalls. 

Afterward, I got a fundi who did my display shelves, and ballets for storing the grain bags. The shelves and ballets cost me around 10k since I did not need many shelves. If you only need to start with the cereals business with no supplementary business, ballets are just enough and they should cost more than Ksh.5k. 

In my case, I used the shelves to display packaging bags and khakis since I started after the nylon bags ban in 2017. Actually, since not most people had resolved to this business, these bags really boosted my cereals business and I have stocked them in all my outlets in Kenya. 

I also paid for a business permit and health licence for my business, all at Ksh.10,000. The starting licence amount could vary today. 

I started with 5 sacks of maize, 1 sack of yellow beans, and three other sacks of different bean types, all with different costs, 1 sack of ndengu, a sack of kamande, and several bales of packaging bags and khakis. 

The overall amount I spent on new stock was Ksh. 50k. Back then, cereals were not as expensive as now. 

I also got an electronic weighing machine, which could help me in receiving and selling the cereals. An electronic weighing machine is the best since you can have an exact measure without the decimals. 

Cecilia: That’s great Kamau. So you’ve only been in the cereals business for six years now and you have several outlets in Kenya. You must have a secret, please share it with us.

Read Also: Profitable Businesses to Start with 1K in Kenya.

How to Succeed in Cereals Business in Kenya

Cereals business

Kamau: Thanks for your compliment, Cecilia. I will not mean to share the secrets with your audience. 

So capturing the basics in the business is what sets you apart in the business world. The small matters in any business, including a cereals business in Kenya, matter most for any business. 

The most important thing for any business is clear record-keeping. I usually keep all the records of purchases, sales, and expenses. These records have really helped me to keep track and understand my business. I usually record on a book and still have a system that helps me know my stock levels at any given time. 

I have also installed CCTV cameras on all my business premises, which has helped me curb theft in a great way. No one would dare to touch my products, no matter how money-thirsty they are, especially my employees. The CCTV footage is connected to my phone and I can view each store from wherever I am. 

Therefore, for anyone willing to start a cereals business in Kenya, consider installing CCTVs to save yourself from a heart attack. 

The next success tip in a cereals business in Kenya is knowing what to sell and when to sell it. For example, when maize is plentiful in the market, the prices of packed maize flour seem to be lower, meaning that people with smaller households will opt to buy it instead of maize. 

In addition, things like beans and ndengu move fast when vegetables are scarce and come at a high price tag. Therefore, as a cereals business vendor in Kenya, it’s important to note the pattern for your sales and make sober decisions. 

Read Also: Grocery business in Kenya

Cecilia: That’s great! Please tell us, is the cereal business in Kenya profitable?

Is Cereals Business Profitable in Kenya?

Cereals business in Kenya

Kamau: Ooh Yes. The cereals business in Kenya is profitable, but like any other business, the profitability varies from time to time and depends on several factors.

For instance, the price you buy your cereals at is very important in deciding how much you sell at and your preferred margins. It’s important to note that the cereals business is very competitive, and Kenyans are becoming more price-sensitive nowadays.

Therefore, choose your suppliers wisely and compare prices to ensure you sell at a reasonable price in the market. If you have the muscles, it’s good to source the cereals from farms and in bulk. 

Remember that the cereal business is seasonal in rural areas. For instance, for the outlets in Makueni and Kitui, there are seasons for selling to the households and for buying from them. 

Your profitability in the cereals business in Kenya depends on how much you sell. The more volume you move, the more profits you gain. 

Something else to note is your expenses such as shop rent, electricity, and employees if any. These are some of the constant expenses your business incurs every month. So you should ensure you do your maths well to ensure you don’t lie to yourself about what you make. 

For instance, in my very first month in the cereals business, I made a profit of Ksh.15k and that was enough to pay the stall rent and electricity. But as the business grew, that turned out to be the most important business I have ever started. 

Cecilia: Thank you Kamau for so much insight on the cereals business in Kenya. Any challenges you’ve faced in this business?

Challenges

Kamau: Yeah. I have really faced some tough challenges in this business, in my first branch in Githurai. Before I could start keeping records for my business, I almost went down. I was new in the business world, and it seems I ignored the segment of keeping a record in my business plan. 

During this time, I could sell, buy new stock, spend the cash for personal use, and have no records to document. Sometimes, I could have so much money, and in no time, I would have nothing to show. And the stock levels were going down at an alarming speed. 

I had the habit of impulse buying and that almost took my fortune to an early grave. By the time I noticed, the business was really doing badly and I had to take a loan to sustain it. 

And then it seems that taking a loan was another nightmare for the business. I had to bring my wife to run the business and I found a job. At least, I used the salary to sustain my small household and managed to pay off the loan without touching the business funds. I then focused on pumping the cash to the business and once again, the business was booming. 

Something else that almost sent me home is employee theft. Before I installed CCTV in my second branch, the business was down to its knees. 

Can you imagine that an employee would get a sack of maize using the business money, sell it in one or two days, return the money, and pocket the profit? I got this one red-handed, and that was the last time I worked with him. 

But right now, all my outlets in Kenya have CCTV cameras, all linked to my computer and phone. In addition, I also have a system in which I input all purchases. So the employees can only access the sales only, and they can’t change anything on the system. I also ensure I review all the shops at least twice a month.

Cecilia: I’m sorry for your challenges and the losses you’ve incurred, but it seems you have already learned some good lessons from the challenges. As the saying goes, tough times create tough men. 

Thank you once again for your time and the insights you have shared with us. You are really generous with information and I also like your open-mindedness. 

Kamau: You are welcome Cecilia. Keep the fire burning and continue inspiring new and existing business people in Kenya. 

Conclusion

It’s really such a privilege to have someone like Kamau who can share with us the ins and outs of the cereal business in Kenya. So if you had the idea, now you know what to do to start and run your cereals business in Kenya. 

Actually, the cereals business is one of the businesses you can start with 50k in Kenya

Let me hear in the comment section about what you would like us to discuss next. I will be much happier to research and come up with relevant and authentic information to help everyone out. 

If you need a special business plan for any business, SMS, call, or WhatsApp at +254704902120 or ceciliawayua94@gmail.com

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