On completing university, Nicholas Peter Lubwama had luck that most graduates do not, on graduating with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication and engineering in 2015, he was hired by a family member to work in an IT company.
There his tasks involved repairing computers, desktops as well as selling both new and second-hand computers and their accessories. The trade also involved installing computer applications and software for clients.
Going in without much experience or skills, his brother taught him a lot, from repairing computers, management skills, accounting, to bookkeeping. Over time, he was entrusted to oversee most aspects of the business.
“I noticed that I was working excessively and vigorously but my salary was low, however much I put in much energy, the salary never increased”, he said.
Although he had always yearned to work for himself, he remained patient as he leaned more skills in ICT. Early this year, he decided to start his out outlet.
Lubwama left the company to start his own. He didn’t have any capital, neither did he have an address.
Lubwama while repairing a computer.
Some of his initial clients were his former customers most in need of repair services for their gadgets.
Considering that he did not have a location of his own, he often fixed the gadgets at his friends’ workplaces and repaired them from there.
All the savings were saved up with a plan to open up his own work location in three months.
In about a month and a half, he had saved capital of about Rwf 600,000 which he paid rent of three months and he started his company, known as “E4E IT solutions Limited”, which is located in Kigali.
“I started from scratch, I didn’t have any equipment, all I had were skills. 50 percent of my clients followed me and recommended me to their colleagues. With time, I was able to stock my shop. Starting my company is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life,” he stated.
His company deals in repairing and selling computers, desktops, printers, projectors, and their accessories.
The entrepreneur said that his previous monthly salary can now be earned on a good day. He has also been able to employ one worker for now with plans of hiring more in coming days.
He stressed that he has been able to sign contracts to work with companies which has grown his client base.
Lubwama further noted that working for someone can be comfortable and could easily cause one to hesitate to start their own enterprise.
“It is a tough decision to make, but worth it,” he said.
In every business, there comes good and bad times, one of the challenges that the ICT specialist is facing is delayed payments by big companies as he fears that insistence could lead them to cancel contracts.
There is also growing competition with his former workplace, this he said he hopes to solve it by giving some of the services on discounts and reducing the prices of some items.
Penetrating in to other big companies is still a problem for him, but he is still giving it a try though.
He envisions his company to have branches all over Rwanda, and importing computers and other computer accessories.
“Starting a business is easy, but the tricky bit is maintaining clients and managing the business. Business is basically an exchange of goods and services for money with the main aim to earn profits, which encompasses risk and investment of time, ideas and finances,” he said.
He also pointed out that any business runs with proper management of time, human resources, finance, new and creative ideas. “Clients are always bosses of any business, although you focus on winning new clients, try your best to keep the old ones, which is how maximum profits are made,” he said
Any client matters, losing a customer can be an obstacle, because one unhappy customer can turn down a lot more customers, he added.
He also stressed that any business involves a great risk and an enterprenuer needs to be vibrant and flexible to admit the changing needs and demand configurations.
For him, effective planning is also very essential as it enables smooth operation and management of the business.
Planning processes can lead to better output, higher accuracy, and faster improvement for essential business tasks. It is important to know that the best way is to prepare for failure rather than success.
Lubwama added on that efficiency of any business is determined by the outcome from the action of employees and managers.
If they exhibit effectiveness in their workplace, it will certainly help in producing high-quality outcomes.
“Customer gratification and a company’s status are often dictated by the effectiveness of a team, for instance, the way they put forward the company’s service or product,” he said.
Among the lessons he has learnt over time is the need for time management is key in running a business successfully as it helps in planning, proper implementation of any plans, and creating effective results.
“Communication is very important, it is so okay to hear from clients and get their feedback about your products or services and inquire about what they would like you to change,” he concluded.