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My Mum's Sauce

CNA
mediacorp brandSTUDiO

Text Melody Tan

Photography Joseph Nair

An accounting software and e-commerce platform are the secret ingredients for homegrown brand My Mum’s Sauce

About 30 years ago, Ms Shariffah Fadthlon Alsagoff began selling her delicious homemade chilli sauce to friends and relatives. It proved to be a hit.

Today, her son Muhamad Sallehuddin bin Abdul Rahim is taking the family recipe to a bigger audience. Staying true to the product’s homely roots, he simply called it “My Mum’s Sauce”.

The generations-old recipe for the chilli sauce was passed down by Mr Sallehuddin’s great-grandfather to his grandmother, who then gave it to his mother. Said Ms Shariffah: “When she gave me the recipe, there were no strict measurements for the ingredients. It was all agak-agak (estimations) only.”

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Ms Shariffah Fadthlon Alsagoff making a batch of her famous chilli sauce.

But when Mr Sallehuddin – who works in pre-sales in a software company – decided to turn the production of the secret sauce into a full-fledged family business, both mother and son were determined to standardise the recipe in order to achieve a consistent yet authentic taste.

“I could see he was very eager to make this family business a success,” recounted Ms Shariffah. “Like a student, he took notes and kept practising. Once we had perfected our recipe, we got all of our family members to help and assigned them roles and responsibilities so as to cope with the growing orders when the time came.”

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Production of the sauce is a family affair.

AN UPHILL BATTLE WITHOUT THE RIGHT TOOLS

As the business grew, the accounting needs of Mr Sallehuddin’s business became far more complex.

“During the start-up phase, the monthly accounting was a breeze since our primary revenue was from online sales via social media,” he said. However, when the sauce’s popularity soared and the sales volume increased, Mr Sallehuddin simply had no time to take care of accounting matters. The tipping point came when he had to file an annual report using Excel.

“My Mum’s Sauce is a family start-up, so I’m doing most of the tasks. I handle marketing, branding, sales, customers, operations, company strategy, recipe and menu creation, accounting and even deliveries. So many things to do in such a short amount of time,” he shared.

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Social media platforms are used to promote My Mum’s Sauce.

“It was an uphill battle for me as there was an increasing number of things I had to focus on,” he added. “I realised I needed to have a proper accounting software to manage all the transactions, so I can be productive and focus on other aspects of the business.”

At one point, he hired an accounting company to help out, but it was just a short-term measure. Mr Sallehuddin resolved to seek out a specialised digital solution for his accounting needs.

Earlier this year, Mr Sallehuddin learnt about the Start Digital Pack, an initiative by Enterprise Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), from OCBC. After conducting three weeks of research, he gained a deeper understanding of the different digital solutions available in the market for his business. He also read up on customer reviews by business owners who have used similar solutions.

While migrating to new systems can be a hassle, Mr Sallehuddin termed it a case of “one-time pain, long-term gain”. He also liked the fact that he could trial the digital solutions under the Start Digital Pack at no cost for at least six months, with a minimum 18-month contract period – this gave him a chance to evaluate them more thoroughly.

“It made it easier to decide if this was the right path to take,” he said.

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The user-friendly e-commerce platform makes online sales and operations a breeze.

ACCOUNTING AND E-COMMERCE MADE EASY

In the end, Mr Sallehuddin chose a cloud accounting software and an e-commerce platform under the Start Digital Pack. The cloud accounting software gives him easy access to critical data through the Internet, while the e-commerce platform lets him carry out online sales, marketing and operations via a user-friendly interface.

“With both of these new platforms, we are able to work more efficiently and in a more structured way,” said Mr Sallehuddin.

For example, he no longer needs to spend time entering data manually into Excel and on paper. Previously, the growing volume of transactions meant that it was extremely time-consuming to manually reconcile the company’s bank transactions.

The accounting software, which is linked to his company’s business bank account, is able to automatically reconcile transactions at the click of a button. This gives Mr Sallehuddin more time and mental bandwidth to focus on developing his business internationally.

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Mr Muhamad Sallehuddin bin Abdul Rahim now has more bandwidth to focus on business expansion.

TAKING THE BRAND ABROAD

Said Mr Sallehuddin: “We noticed a number of customers shipping the sauce to their friends and relatives overseas and bringing it abroad for their holidays. We realised that there is a demand for our product in other countries.”

My Mum’s Sauce is currently available in Singapore and Malaysia, and Mr Sallehuddin plans to expand sales to the rest of Asia using the e-commerce platform. However, he wants to make sure that he finds a dependable international delivery partner: “It has to be reliable and cost-efficient.”

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With the help of digitalisation, the product has since expanded its customer fan base from Singapore to Malaysia.

In the meantime, the family business is going strong and so is the bond between mother and son, who often visit different eateries for market research and co-develop new recipes for their cafe together.

“To see her sauce and food now being sold and enjoyed by our customers from various places really brings a huge smile to her face,” said Mr Sallehuddin. “You can’t really describe the happiness and satisfaction it brings. She always says: ‘Look! My sauce travels more than I do!’”

Just started your business? New to digital technology? The Start Digital Pack under the SMEs Go Digital programme gives SMEs a head-start in going digital! Choose from five basic digital solutions: Accounting, HR management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions, and cybersecurity. Find out more at imda.gov.sg/StartDigital.

Begin your digitalisation journey with the Start Digital Pack today!

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