What it takes to run a venture in electronics retail

Cyiza at his shop in Kigali. Photos by Joan Mbabazi.

Pacifique Cyiza, 23, is the owner of CP New Species Technology Ltd, an emerging firm located at Athene House in Kigali.

The company deals in smartphones, used laptops, electronics devices as well as phone accessories such as phone cases, chargers, flash drives and screen protectors among others.

At only 23, he runs an enterprise that can provide employment to his age mates.

When beginning the enterprise the business, he sought for a loan from his parents of about Rwf 3M to pursue an opportunity he had found viable.

 Though selling phones is often considered as a low-income business, the entrepreneur said that in his time in the venture, he has found it profitable as long as one remains hardworking, committed and patient.

The cost of phones at business range from Rwf 500,000 to Rwf 800,000 while computer prices vary from Rwf 150,000 to Rwf 800,000.

He imports the phones and laptops from China and Dubai.

So far, Cyiza said that he has been able to expand the value of the enterprise from a value of Rwf 3M to about Rwf 10M making it possible to support his family.

“My business holds about Rwf 10 million; I pay school fees for my three brothers, and take care of my mother and grandmother, not forgetting all my expenses,” Cyiza  said.

He has since been able to pay back the loan.

Cyiza notes that when he started out, he had few clients, about 50 a month which has since grown to 350 customers per month.

“I have achieved regular customers who even recommend other customers to me. I believe trustworthiness comes with time and one earns it. Through giving clients original gadgets, I have attracted and retained customers,” he said.

He told Business Times that in such a venture, one can only develop a following of clientele if they have quality products, give guarantees as well as after sale services.

He also relied on advertisement on social media platforms.

The phone retailer started out alone but has since hired two employees.

Pacifique Cyiza posing for a photo. 

Challenges for emerging retailers

Just like any business, the young entrepreneur has encountered some hurdles such as meeting operating costs as well as incurring losses at times

Like other emerging enterprises, he said that he still lacks the resources needed to expand and make the most of emerging opportunities.

Advice to emerging entrepreneurs

“Drop excuses and fear of trying. To be an entrepreneur, you need to take risks, try many times even when it does not sail through.  At least through your ‘failures’, you will learn to get better with time,” Cyiza stated.

He added that, it is important for emerging business people to associate with people with knowledge of the field and industry.

 “They will advise you on how to enter the market, what is on demand, customer acquisition and retention among others,” he added.

The entrepreneur also urged emerging business people to get to know the problem you will give a solution to.

“To those who want to venture into this business, forget about competition. Run your race, remain trustworthy, and sell original commodities. You will lose customers when you offer fake products,” he added.

He also explained that one should learn how to test their business idea.  A successful business idea should fulfill promises to customers and exceed expectations, he said.

 “Before you think of starting any business take note of the location.  Will it attract customers? Then make a plan of the necessary requirements you will need and how much they will cost you. Be sure of the kind of people you want to attract,” he further tipped emerging enterprenuers.

“You can get a loan or save, however, keep the discipline of saving. Collaborate with diverse and trustworthy partners. Build and participate in a culture of learning. Respect the importance of a professional network, make connections, and remember that every interaction is a representative of your brand,” Cyiza added.

Future plans

Cyiza looks forward to expanding his company and open branches across the country using different business models that he has learned over time.