STEPHEN TUMUSIIME meets the couple who are getting ahead
Moses and Martha are old market hands. In Kimisagara market they sit comfortably on their grocery tables, sometimes standing to tend to customers. Moses, 34, says the market is his second home and the first as far as economic homes are concerned.
“This is the source of our life. Without this we wouldn’t survive because this is where we get every little penny.”
Moses and his wife Martha are settled among the tomatoes, onions, carrots and greens they sell.
Moses tells me that at first he found it near impossible to make a profit. Since however he has joined an association and has had access to a loan, business has boomed.
Moses explains that even though he never went to school, he can make a living selling food. He is proof that even without school one can get ahead in this world.
“When you become humble and faithful, you become successful in life whether you went to school or not. Faith and honesty made me what I am today,” says a happy looking Moses.
To him a customer is a king. And when some body is a king, you respect him and obey. Nothing is more important than a customer - except his family, Moses explains.
It is his respect for the customer that has been the key to his success. He has a lot of loyal customers who flock for various foods, prepared to wait in line if necessary.
This seemed surprising when there are plenty of others selling the same things. To my astonishment when a customer finds that a certain product is not at Moses’ table they will simply head home without it.
When I asked him why customers stick with him when there are others who can provide the same services, he says that one’s principles and friendliness keep to customers coming back. A relationship is thus formed between seller and buyer.
Moses explains that he is careful the relationship created is sustaining and long lasting. If you only put the effort in when the business is starting and end it when you think you have enough customers like some of the market vendors do, your business dies at a tender age. The love for customers has to continue until you decide to quit the business, he explains.
Moses is very optimistic and says he will never leave this business for another. He started before he married and now has two kids who both go to school.
“I managed to build a house in the village out of this. I also married out of this business and I am sustaining my family obligations. This business makes magic for me,” says Moses while his wife attends a customer.
Moses, who trained his wife for the same business and operates with her in the same market, says the future looks bright. However, like all other businessmen, he faces some hindrances.
“We deal in perishable goods that some times cause a lot of losses if they are not sold within the shortest period of time possible.” But thanks to his customer care, Moses has never run into too much difficulty.
“If you have a big number of customers, you do not face it rough. The trick is how to see your goods sold off before perishing. If you have customers it’s not a big problem for perishable goods but if you don’t, then it becomes bad for you,” reveals a confident Moses. And there’s no reason for the flow of customers to stop.
“People eat every day and twice a day. They buy from the market. If you handle them well you will sell whatever you have.”
Another challenge is that the business is seasonal. Sometimes a lot is produced when the season is favorable and at other times there is low production.
“When production is low you fail to sustain your customers.”
Prices are hiked due to low production and customers seem to be disappointed in this. Moses never wishes to see his customers disappointed especially when he can’t deliver according to their expectations.