Connect with us

Business

Grit: I rebuilt my business after a Sh20 million loss

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  

Ten years ago, Sarah Karingi lost a successful business to fire. A business that meant so much to her because she had built it up from scratch with her late husband. But with grit, she slowly rebuilt it into what it is now; Sarma Enterprises, a top market dealer in wooden doors, frames, flooring products among other construction materials. She also owns a consulting business; Global Networks Investment and is a co-director of Miles Ahead Investments, a women’s only firm that deals in real estate.

Tell us about the business that went up in smoke.

According to the power company’s investigation, it was a case of arson. All the electrical cables were intact. I would have given up trying to bring back a business that was worth Sh20 million before the fire. It was even sadder when I received Sh200,000 insurance compensation while we had insured the business for Sh10 million. Some told me to forget about it. But I like to think that my wedding ring inspired me to rebuild it. In one of my pensive moments, I looked at the beautiful rock on my wedding ring and I remember thinking that a piece of rock had gone through intense fire and was now the valued piece on my finger. I resolved that my business would do just that. And I restarted. Small this time. Restarting a business after failure is like a reviving a very sick person who needs to be taught how to walk or talk again. Only his willpower will see him through.

The hardest part of restarting the business was…

Financing it. Having lost everything, it is not easy getting anyone to put money in the business. Another challenge was having people believe that I, a widow, had what it took to restart the business. There were many times I was ‘advised’ to sell off the business by well-meaning individuals. Some even brought prospective customers looking for such a business.

 Where did you get the capital?

 I was not prepared to get loans to restart the business, so I relied on the trust people had in our business before it went up in smoke. Suppliers gave me items, including machine spare parts, on credit. An electrical engineer gave me a generator that we paid for in instalments. I am forever grateful for that faith in me.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

 

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest developments and special offers!

Are you proud of what you have managed to do?

Yes, I am. Of the fact that I know my husband would have been proud of what I have accomplished. His vision was to grow the business. That vision is alive.

 When did your interest in the world of business begin?

Let’s backtrack a little. I became a civil servant after completing university education in 1985. Then I was employed at the Treasury, then known as the Ministry of Finance. I was among the few women who were taken to different sectors of the economy back then. Despite what some may think was a high profile posting, my salary was only Sh5,000, and after taxes, this came to Sh3,500. I was taking care of other family members, not to mention that I had fallen pregnant while in campus. It is from such a small salary that I was able to feed, clothe, pay rent and even save a little to start my hustles. My hustles gave me more than my salary.

How is that?

Around 1986, I began to buy foodstuffs at Wakulima Market to sell to my friends. Then I would buy secondhand clothes from Gikomba, again for resale. I reckoned that I could not go wrong with clothes, as they were non-perishable goods. I would buy a man’s shirt for Sh5 and sell for Sh20. My capital was Sh500. I would make profits that were more than my salary. I also learnt my first lesson in business.

Which one?

That your friends will not be your best customers. Most of my friends would take the goods, promise to pay and then vanish. On the other hand, people you happen to meet randomly will be your best supporters. This was my first learning curve as a budding businesswoman.

Do you think it is harder now compared to back then to get a loan for capital?

It is very hard for someone to give you business capital. Even banks may not give you money to start a business. What if you don’t make any money? You can actually start with zero capital. In fact, you can even start with an idea, however small. For example, suppose a friend has a product he is trying to sell. You can offer to take photos, upload them on social media, offer to supply the goods to others and get the commission from your friend. On the other hand, you can give a small deposit to your friend, put some markup on the product and pay your friend the balance once the items have sold.

WHAT I WOULD TEACH YOUNGER ENTREPRENEURS…

1.      Choose carefully who you consult with…

Several times we consulted the wrong people to the detriment of our business. We lost money by consulting those who were robbing us.

 2.      Know your stuff

If you are starting out, don’t get into a business you know little about. Take risks with money that you can afford to lose. I have a friend who lost Sh2.5 million because she did not understand the business and the risks involved.

 3.      Think just a little harder to spot opportunities

Covid-19 has challenges and opportunities. I saw an opportunity where a friend was making and selling sanitisers. I connected the friend with a non-governmental organisation that was seeking such products. I made Sh700,000 making the connection.

4.      Your employees matter a lo

A business is like a tree. A well-nourished tree will always produce new leaves as others fall off. There will always be new customers as others fall off. You must leverage on what you have. In my case, I have always had loyal employees. These are the ones who market you and talk positively of your business. Treat them well, engage them and apply their suggestions. One told me that if I bought a big generator we could use it when there was no power. I had not thought of that. Such an employee feels nice when their idea is implemented. They will serve customers with diligence. And these customers will also be your good ambassadors.

5.      Start anytime

I started early. But Harland David Sanders started KFC in America at 65 years. However, starting young means that when you fail you still have energy to restart. That said, when younger people have the money, they want to live well, buy fast cars or expensive clothes rather than save. When we were young, we bought land slowly, sold it and bought more in prime areas. Back then, my friends laughed at me when I opted to live in Kiambu, sell some chickens and vegetables from a small garden and save for later. But if your heart is not in business don’t do it, there is nothing wrong with employment.

6.      Turn the loan into business as quickly as possible

Be disciplined and borrow only if you know what you want to do with the money. Do not borrow to buy expensive clothes or cars just to show off. Climb the tree from down up. Turn the loan into business as quick as possible. If the financier has told you to pay up in six months, pay up in six months, not in five months. If you borrowed Sh100,000 and your business is making Sh150,000, avoid the lure to pay off the loan at once. Some think that paying up earlier is a good thing. No; make more with the loaned amount while paying the stipulated instalments.

7.      Adjust according to circumstances

We had some piece of land where we initially wanted to put up offices. However, Covid-19 has shown that people are more online doing e-commerce and what they need are warehouses for their goods. So we will go the warehouses route. Make sure your business evolves with the times.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Bodaboda chama grows into a multi-million shilling housing cooperative

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

A journey of a thousand many miles starts with a single step. A Nakuru-based bodaboda operator’s self-help group proved this in its growth. Driven by the ambition to have something to take home once they couldn’t ride any more, ten bodaboda operators from Barut, Nakuru West in 2015 formed Kianjahi Group, pooling a minimum savings of Sh100 per week per person.

“Being a bodaboda operator is a risky job and has serious effect on one’s health especially if you don’t dress properly for the cold. After attending a seminar in Machakos we decided to start making savings,” said Benson Sigei, the group chairperson.

The group grew as more members joined in 2016. After evaluating their progress, the members increased their weekly savings to Sh200 and eventually to Sh1,000.

“Before the year ended we were nearly 100 members. Our savings were growing and we had to come up with plans which some members considered as too ambitious and pulled out,” says Sigei. With savings of nearly Sh2 million, they bought a 1.6-acre piece of land which was previously a sand quarry.

“It cost us Sh2.1 million in buying the land and rehabilitating it to usable standards. We embarked on making savings for constructing houses which would be of similar design,” he said.

To make this possible they converted the group into Kianjahi Housing Cooperative Society Limited and introduced Sh15,100 registration fee and minimum share capital of Sh60,000 payable in Sh500 weekly instalments.

AmpThe group started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model.

“Every member now contributes a minimum of Sh1,500 for savings every week. Those yet to clear their share capital make an additional payment of Sh500. This amount does not exert great pressure on the riders since the majority make nearly KShs1,000 per day.

The group then started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model where four houses sit on every 50 by 100 feet plot. The cooperative completed the construction of the first 50 units majority of which have already been occupied.

“We took a Sh15 million loan and in addition to our savings we bought an additional acre of land at Sh2.1 million. In the first phase, we have constructed 52 housing units. 35 members have already moved in,” said the vice-chairman.

The cooperative has bought a third parcel of land on which they intend to set up houses for all members. Members who moved in during the first phase like pay Sh2,000 per month. Sh200 goes to savings and Sh1,800 going towards offsetting the cost of construction. The payment for the houses is spread over seven years.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Business

Enough is Enough: Kenyan man in US relocates to motherland to become a farmer

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  

In a bold move and which took great courage, a former Kenyan Diaspora man Kunga Kihokia who was born and raised in Miami Florida has moved back to Kenya, bought a 20 acres piece of land and established an organic farm in Murang’a.

Initially, Kunga had planned to be in Kenya for three weeks 5 years ago but after what he says was the realization of the problems affecting Kenyans because of western lifestyle which he himself was struggling with, he felt strongly to start an organic farm to address those problems.

Kunga has built a water tower to use gravity that allows the water to get pumped and distributed  through  irrigation into the field. Everything in the farm is powered by solar energy and he has dug a borehole that supplies enough water for the farm. Watch the video, be inspired  and enjoy.

Source: Diasporamessenger.com


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 2
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Business

Carpenter hopes payday in sight in 27-year fight over presidential seats

Published

on

Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  

For the past 27 years, Solomon Njoroge Kiore has battled with the government over a debt that was initially Sh195 million but has now ballooned to more than Sh500 million in an unpaid bill for presidential furniture he delivered.

Tomorrow (Monday), Mr Kiore will go to the High Court in Milimani hoping that the end is in sight as he is supposed to get a hearing date for a case that has had many twists and turns.

In 1992, Mr Kiore, the proprietor of Furncon, a furniture company, won a government tender to supply presidential furniture but down the line, the deal went sour when the military officials returned the chairs a year after President Daniel arap Moi had used them — allegedly without payment.

The chairs had been acquired through the Ministry of Defence and approved by State House, according to court documents.

The government has denied failing to make the payment and he went to court to seek redress in 2007.

Although Mr Moi used the chairs for a year, Furncon says the military returned them to his workshop.

With the matter dragging through the courts for years, in February 2018, a decision was reached to settle out of court.

But the parties could not agree on the amount to be paid, with the businessman citing lack of goodwill on the side of the state.

Sh527 million

That year, Mr Kiore was seeking Sh527 million, being the price, court costs and storage charges.

He told the court he did not receive any invitation to negotiate a settlement.

Then last year, Symon Yator Cheberek, a military colonel, took over the case after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki appointed him to represent the state in all civil matters in which the Ministry of Defence is a party.

High Court judge Joseph Sergon allowed Col Cheberek to act for the state, but Mr Kiore objected this saying allowing a military officer to take up the matter was tantamount to court-martialling him.

“There can never be a situation where a civilian can be in court one on one with a distinctive disciplined and uniformed force,” he stated in an affidavit on March 25, 2019.

Col Cheberek said he is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the Attorney General was in order to appoint him.

Mr Kiore wants Justice Sergon to recuse himself from hearing the matter, alleging bias and citing a 2017 ruling by Justice Philip Mwongo barring the military from taking over the case.

Justice Sergon has declined the recusal plea, saying the claims of bias could not be proved.

 Now, Mr Kiore says his business has died, as he can no longer use the premises where he has kept the chair as it is an instrument of power.

“It was used by a President for a year. It is treasured and therefore no one is supposed to touch it. My business has suffered immensely because of this seat,” he says in his court documents.

In a letter dated May 10, 2001, the Attorney General informed Mr Kiore that the Department of Defence had extended a without-prejudice offer purely out of honour and respect for presidential instruments.

“However, having realised that your claims include other items worth millions of shillings reflective of your other financial issues not related to the chair in question, it has not been possible to formally make the offer to you,” states the letter signed by V Onyango, a deputy litigation officer at the State Law Office.

Admission of liability

The offer, the officer states, is not the government’s admission of liability, because “the said chairs were ordered by the Agricultural Society of Kenya”.

The September 1992 deal was not the first. Mr Kiore’s company had sold furniture for VIP use in State functions to the government before.

He says the seat was made under strict supervision of the military and State House staff.

The firm says it was asked to make more furniture for presidential lounges at the Eldoret Moi Airbase and Kahawa Garrison and deliver the chairs to the Agricultural Society of Kenya offices in Nairobi for a three-day presidential function.

But the President ordered that the furniture remain at the ASK offices, according to a letter by the ASK dated August 5, 1999.

Now, Furncon wants a declaration that the ownership of the items was passed on to the government in September 1992, under the National Flag, Emblems and Names Act and as such they are instruments of power.

by nation africa


Spread the love by sharing this post with family and friends
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Special Offer: Own one starting at Ksh 3.7M


poapay3

Like us on Facebook, stay informed

NEWS TRENDING RIGHT NOW

2020 Calendar

November 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  
satellite-communication1.jpg

Trending