Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Jeff Muturi: How gambling almost ruined my business

Jeff Muturi is the Director of Makers Kenya Ltd, a business in the SME sector that deals with the sourcing and supply of cooking gas, packaging and supply of purified drinking.

I have not always been an entrepreneur. In fact, I used to believe that entrepreneurship was not my calling. I even had a job at the foreign ministry. Unknown to me, business was where I would thrive the most. Although I was in employment, I did not start my business with any capital. Going into a business was a journey of self-realization.

My family was already in business, running a series of small and medium businesses. In between my job, I shuffled between the family businesses, learning the ropes and along the way, I developed interest.  Because I was not sure if I wanted to fully pursue business, I started off by running one family unit.

It did so well that I ended up taking it over. Four years later, I have managed to branch out. I now have business branches in Athi River, Muthaiga, Embakasi, Rongai, and Umoja.

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It took me 2 years to break even. However, over the time I have been running my business, I have found that capital injection to be a major constant. Every now and then, the businesses need capital reinvestment to adjust with emerging business trends such as customer satisfaction through home deliveries. When I started, the business only needed to sit and wait for the customer. Today, the business goes for the customer to maximize customer satisfaction and customer retention.

After I started the business, my biggest money mistakes were the failure to separate business overheads from my personal money needs and usage. I used a big portion of the money on gambling. This cost me so dearly that looking back, I would be much farther than I am now. I however sought counseling to overcome what had become a gambling addiction and the results have been very rewarding. My financial management has also improved, which has reflected in increased business revenues and better personal finance management. Also, in retrospect, I would put a lot of emphasis on financial management, better strategic planning, fostering great relationships with my financiers if I could start all over again.

My biggest business break came after I secured a fumigation contract on the sidelines of my business. This enabled me to acquire some capital injection that my business needed badly. These funds also boosted the position and outlook of my business in contrast to my competition.

I currently use fixed, interest-earning bank accounts to save money. Previously, I used the conventional way of putting money aside, either in cash or at the ordinary bank account. Overtime, this method of saving money proved to be unsustainable. I had too much access to the money, and I could readily withdraw and spend based on impulse alone.

From my time in business, I have come to learn and appreciate that every business decision matters. A decision that seems small and inconsequential could prove to be very costly or set off a series of reactions that cost your business time and money. Before you make any financial decision with your business income, you must be very clear and concise on what you want, how much you should spend, and the potential consequences the business will face should your decision fail to return on investment.

This profile feature on Jeff Muturi was first published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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