Friday, 16 September 2016

Starting Out

When i first came back  to zambia, it ws not an easy transition. I have to say it was quite frustrating because there were so many inefficiencies  and red tape. I could see why just having a job was the way out. I wont say i had a dream when i was coming back or i always dreamt to do this in zambia. My experience in returning to zambia fired my desire to do some thing about the current situation. My mentor once said to me "stop complaining about stuff you are not ready to do anything about". so if i was complaining about so many things that frustrated me about the systems in the country i had to do some thing about it. I knew i couldn't change years of the way things were done but i could influence change by showing how it should be done. From customer service to product and service quality, much work was needed. I have a profound belief that zambians deserve more than what they are being handed. It is also my profound belief that first class customer service is not some thing you should ever have to pay for. The product and the service yes pay for it, but the elements that constitute it......anyways thats just my 2 cents.

Starting out was not easy, i didnt have much or any support but i knew i had to start. Aside from my savings from abroad which really wasnt much i didnt have much to go with but the experience i had the first few days in zambia and after complaining so much i knew i had a chance at doing some thing. I have been working for my money since i was 5 so i knew nothing was going to come easy my way but i didnt expect it to be this hard but a challenge was some thing i never shied away from regardless of whether i was going to fail or succeed. I was always taught no matter what the challenge is ahead of you "TRY". Having assessed the opportunities before me, i offered to take over the running of some property owned by my family. I didnt want any hand outs. if i was going to get it i wanted to earn it. So i took my little savings and pumped it into a old warn down and dilapidated house and gave it new life. I created my first avenue of passive income. The monies from this property that i generated i pumped into starting my business. I didnt have a car so i borrowed from friends when possible and my parent. No offense to those who use public transport in zambia but me being a very time conscious person and always on time i couldnt do using the public transport. I tried it once and it took me near an hour and a half to get to the movies. For anyone who is trying to be successful, time is not some thing you really have to play with. You have to respect it, demand it of your self and others. I suppose its because i lived in fast paced cities all my life, time was always of the essence but when i jotted down my to do list and thought using the public transport i would be able to complete them, certainly not.

It was after moving around that i learned i needed my networks. I wasnt going to be able to do this alone. I know nothing is for free so i negotiated and leveraged their help in exchange for benefits such as pay, shares, marketing etc what ever could help me get to the next stage in setting up my business. Friends helped because well we were friends and if they could they did and were they couldnt i picked up from there and learned and did it myself. These few occurrences taught me nothing is impossible you just have to want it bad enough to work harder than anyone else and push further than anyone else. So my advice is use your networks, "mine your networks" as i would like to say, you just might be surprised who is willing to help you.

Having done some ground work, ie registering the company with all the appropriate insitutions, researching requirements, creating the blue print to the business functions, operations, financial requirements etc it was time to survey the market. I already loved food and coffee shops so i began my research. I wont say how but lets just say if people knew they would say i was crazy hahahahahahahahaha but crazy is what built the concept of super markets, crazy built planes and cars. To build some thing you love you have to be willing to be viewed as crazy. Along this journey i started to see that my business had the potential to change lives. It was one day when i was walking across from a shopping centre to a fueling station to buy brake fluid that i saw a kid walking in the drains kicking a bottle. It just hit me, "he deserves just about the same opportunities as anyone else", "he has not business being there". It was then that i focused my business core values in being a business that provided a platform for young passionate guys to perfect their craft, develop and grow. If i didnt provide that opportunity, who would?

So in order to get started i needed a logo, i went looking for a young guy who was hungry and wanted an opportunity, i had previously dealt with alot of self proclaimed graphics designers or so called "really good" graphics designers but no one understood my business more than this young man and he designed the company logo, the rest  is history we have been using him since. Seeing the fruit of my decisions, i decided to move full steam ahead and focused on recruiting for the most important roles, finances, marketing etc. i didnt have much to pay but where i could i did and i leveraged the rest but i maintained that young was what i wanted, hungry was what i wanted on my team because that was who i was and am and more. I have never looked back, yes there are critical mistakes that have been made along the way but id rather they were made then and now than when it really mattered for us to be "perfect". It hasn't been easy and i think the most important thing i ever did was sharing my story with my team so they knew where i was coming from and where i was headed and if they were going to grow with me we had to be a tribe.

So when you are headed to the top, make sure you take people with you. I was never given an opportunity when i return to zambia. Admist  nepotism, a career that was not in demand in the country, no jobs etc but growing up i was always told. if the opportunity wont present itself and it isnt there, create it and create for others too and those are some of the fundamental beliefs that have driven my business and are at the core of its existence.

You need to build you business on strong belief and fundamentals if you are going to succeed. The money will come me. I started deliveries using my parents car, a 4x4 4 litre engine car, i didnt make any money, infact i worked at a loss with such a vehicle. But i was making the rounds within 30 to 45 minutes. i was making deliveries across town and suburban areas. i studied the roads, routes, knew when to use a road at which time in order to make sure the delivery was done on time. i had a head piece to take calls while driving....the car was literally my office hahahahahaha but it worked. having seen the fruits of it. i knew it would work but i had to pull back the service and build so it would function on a larger scale. Along the way i have discovered niches within niches, needs, requirements, saw the problems , created solutions, i focused on weeding out all the threats, strengthening weaknesses, making the most of opportunities, maximising on strengths.

I dont have the i was poor, from the village story. I was told as i was growing up that every man is created equal, the only difference is one has worked harder and made the most of their opportunities while others dont.

No comments:

Post a Comment