IT did not feel right asking for all necessities from his parents, so Brian Bahenda decided to use his hunger and motivation to start a business that would rid him off dependence on his parents.
When he reached out to one of his friends who has excelled in the retail business inquiring on any opportunities that would earn him a living, he advised him on starting a retail shop noting that if one is committed, hardworking, patient, and yet selling commodities by different companies, they were likely to succeed.
The 24-year-old student of Adventist University of Central Africa shared his story with Business Times’ Joan Mbabazi.
Bahenda didn’t take the matter lightly, as he stayed up contemplating on how to raise the capital.
His brother liked his concept and loaned him Rwf600,000 which he used to start a retail shop last year in Kacyiru sector, Kibaza cell, Virunga Village.
The entrepreneur runs a retail shop with a range of household products.
How was it like in the beginning?
Having got a loan from my brother, I used it to stock my shop. I needed to provide good services and products to people yet making savings. Since I had never operated a business before, it was a bit challenging in the beginning as I could get like one customer a day or none, yet I had to pay for rent. However, I kept positive hoping that with time, customers would increase.
Brian Bahenda poses for a photo in his retail shop.
When the number of customers increased, I employed a worker who could help me whenever I was at school. As the business grows, I plan on hiring more workers.
What have you achieved from this business?
This shop provides me enough income to pay for my rent, taxes, and afford all my basic needs. Now through my savings and transactions in the Kacyiru Sacco, I am able to get a loan. Not only did I gain from this business financially, I also got skills that school could not offer, for instance, self-discipline, patience, hard work, customer care, business connections, and tips to become a better entrepreneur.
I have gained customers whereby in a day, I can get over 30 clients and I was able to pay back my loan.
Tell us about the challenges you have encountered along the way.
The fear of failure and procrastination have been my weaknesses, I could always delay on matters or postpone, this sometimes could lead to losses, but with time, I have learnt how to deal with them.
Where do you see your business in the years to come?
As I retail other company’s products, I want to see my products being retailed widely. I anticipate starting my own industry and get into competition with imports, through producing high quality products yet at cheaper costs so that local people can afford them. Consequently, Rwandans also need to support our locally made products.
Any advice to someone who would like to venture into this kind of business?
This is a kind of business that doesn’t require one to have much experience, you learn everything while at the job, there is only one thing that makes an idea impossible to achieve, the fear of failure.
It is always better for a person especially a youthful person to try different business ideas whether it falls in their field of study or not because that is how we can tackle the issue of unemployment.
We ought to challenge our abilities and not expecting to receive job offers on a silver plate. We ought to create our own jobs and even employ other Rwandans but not walking from office to office applying for jobs.
Whatever a person has interest in or willing to learn, they should use that to create a business no matter how small it could be.
If you are looking to starting your own business, it is very important to write a business plan, that includes; the targeted customers, location among others.
Establish vendor relationships, a successful retail business depends greatly on offering the right product, at the right price and the right time.
Create a retail marketing plan, brainstorm sales promotion ideas, begin branding and advertising your retail store to attract more customer. Make sure your location can easily be accessed by customers.