Two days ago we visited a women’s cooperative, a small business of 7 women who graduated from our client’s cooking classes and want to open their own shop. Some business stats on their shop:
- open from 6.30 am to 9.30 pm daily
- 3 dirhams for a cookie (less than 50 cents) – they need to sell over 1,500 to cover some key expenses (my quick math only)
- they cook at night for their own families so the kids can eat during the day (counted 4 kids per woman on average)
- no computer
- no refrigerator
- in 5 mnths have not paid themselves anything
- started with their own money only
- no profit yet
As I was doing some research, I came across this article from Saudi Arabia today which is absolutely horrific. Morocco is nowhere this extreme, in fact women tend to work very hard here. However, most of the work opportunities appear to be inside of their homes or in the rural areas in the field – so not income generating. These women have decided to take on this opportunity with very limited business knowledge, no funding and no real plan besides “sell our cookies”.
What struck me was this – when I asked them what is your biggest challenge, what do you need the most? The answer – customers. If we have no customers, we don’t need refrigerator or money. It was so simple – and it resonated with me as we at IBM are trying to figure out client centricity. No matter where you are in your business, country, literacy – it is about your customers.
So here is what Lavinia and I will do to help (this is a little outside of our scope – this specific shop). They need large value transactions and large events. We proposed that they start offering baking classes to tourist women as the Moroccan cookies are absolutely amazing. We will be their guinea pigs next week and will pay for a baking class and teach them how to make it a tourist-worthy experience, so they can charge real money – and I will learn how to bake ! Yes, in Arabic 🙂
Stay tuned for some awesome recipes for organic almond cookies…#ibmcsc