If you are determined to succeed nothing can stop you
It was in 2009 when I opened my very first shop of selling cement; I started with 500 bags of cement worth 5.25 million TZS by that time. The business was not doing well. I decided to extend it by starting a brick factory.
The tools used at the factory were very basics and therefore even the bricks made were not of good quality and selling them was hard. I had no choice but to lower the price in order to sell, there was no profit made, it was a total loss. At this point I knew what I needed was a sophisticated machine otherwise I will not make any progress.
I borrowed money from the bank using my job as security: by that time I was employed at SBC Tanzania Limited as a Marketing Officer. I managed to purchase one from China. From assembling to using it was a challenge because the manual was in Chinese but with time we were able to master how to use it. Production increased in terms of both quality and quantity but still I was not making any profit and at the same time I was receiving half a salary due to loan payment deduction. This was 0ne year since I started to get involved in the business.
Take your time to figure out where exactly is the problem, why are things not going the way you want them to…
I had a sophisticated machine, I was able to make good quality bricks than other manufacturers, but yet I was not selling as much as they did! I started cracking my mind wondering “where was I going wrong!?” I realized that I had no network and to succeed in this business you need to be very much networked. I was determined to expand my market! I quit my job, no one around me was happy with the decision but I did it anyway. I sold my car to finish paying off the loan and I bought a motorcycle. I knew that if I was to fight with the giants in an island in order to win the battle, first; I had to burn the boat I used to get to the island. And then, use all my strength to win the fight as there is no turning back!
If you are real devoted into what you are doing you will eventually see the success
I started moving around looking for markets, I used to carry two bricks on a motorcycle wrapped in a suck. I managed to get a good number of customers; I was also able to get a brick quality certificate from Dar es salaam Institute of Technology. A quality certificate helped me to get tender for supplying bricks to the National Housing Corporation which is the government agency. It was one of my first big tender I had managed to acquire.
The beginning of success is not the end of challenges; is the motivation to push you further
The market was there but a new challenge arises: As an entrepreneur you always want to cut cost and maximize profit. I found delivering costs to be high and I became determined to reduce them. To cut the cost I decided that instead of hiring a truck I will get my own truck and drive it myself. I managed to get one at a reasonable price. “Sometimes there some sacrifice that have to be made so that we can be able to fulfill our goals” I used to do the bricks delivery from 9pm to 3am. Night hours were more preferable as there is no traffic jam and there are fewer movements; consider that my major market was at Kariakoo which is a very busy place at day time. I hardly had five hours of sleep because in the morning I was to be up early and hit the streets to continue with market searching. The bricks market searching was going hand in hand with cement market searching. It happened that most of the cement customers were also asking for steel bars, so I though why not getting involved into steel bars business as well, and I started selling steel bars too.
Reflecting back from where I started, I can say that: The minute you realize and agree that nothing good comes easier then you are half way there. Challenges are there to make us grow. I started with one outlet for selling cement but now I have three selling outlets which sell cement, steel bars, roofing materials and bricks. From selling nothing in a whole week to selling up to 3000 bricks on average per week. 500 bags of cement could not sold out for months but at the moment I have an assurance of selling up to 6000 bags or more in a month.
I am not where I want to be yet but I am some steps further than I was at the beginning! The two things you need to armor yourself with as a business owner or someone who wants to own a business is: 1.Understand your goal 2.be persistent