Commentary: Free advice! Take services to the people

Of late, I have been following the management crisis that seems to be rocking one of the region’s leading supermarket chains and I have learnt some interesting things, some of which I thought I could share with my readers.
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

Of late, I have been following the management crisis that seems to be rocking one of the region’s leading supermarket chains and I have learnt some interesting things, some of which I thought I could share with my readers.

The supermarket in question is Kenyan based Tuskys, which I learnt has a total of 32 branches in Kenya and five in Uganda. I learnt that Tuskys initial growth strategy was to open supermarkets near bus stations and sell at low prices.

If you look closely, there is really no magic in what the Kamau family set out to do to grow their business from a simple shop to a huge supermarket chain. All they simply did was to take a service to where people were.

It is obvious that bus stations are crowded places always teeming with people travelling to somewhere or coming from somewhere. These people need certain things and therefore positioning a supermarket close by is surely not rocket science.

If you still doubt where I am heading to, then find time to visit Nyabugogo in the evening hours on any working day. You will be amazed by the sea of mankind that descends to this area. Now if you have business instincts, you would not just be looking at people but potential clients.

After seeing them as clients, then you can think of what they need, then you go ahead and set up a shop providing just that. The same applies to places like the Remera Taxi Park, and Kimironko market and taxi park area.

Another way of looking at it is to move around the city centre where minibuses pick passengers from as well as the taxi park in Nyabugogo to see, which areas have huge populations. Kimironko, Kicukiro, Nyamirambo and Kimisagara are known to have long queues of people waiting to board buses.

You can still tell from the above observation that instead of having three big supermarkets in the city centre, a smart business fellow would be thinking of setting up the same services in well populated residential areas.

The retail stores in the city centre, the two Nakumatt outletsand Simba are just a few meters apart fighting for the same clients each day. The vicinity of the bus parks in Nyabugogo, Remera, Kimironko and the areas of Kimironko, Kicukiro, and Nyamirambo can readily support businesses.

If businesses are to expand to the level of the Nakumatts and Tuskys of this world, they need to think outside the box and move beyond the city. We also have estates in areas like Masaka, Kabuga, Gacuriro where if services are well positioned, then residents do not have to go to the city centre to get what they want.

More importantly, the businesses located in residential areas need to offer more flexible working hours. For Christ’s sake, you are not a government office. So why hurry to close at 6pm yet people returning from work would be passing next to your now closed shop?

It is simple. Take the business where people are and stay open until there are no more customers to attend to. I know some of you are wondering why I don’t put this into practice but then again, who will write this column. So take my free advice now and think of me once you make it.

Have Your SayLeave a comment