Saturday, July 13, 2024

Kami Mbaabu: How I use four methods to save my money

Kami Mbaabu is the co-founder and Creatives Director at Interiors by Tifi Ltd, a business that offers all rounded, interior design solutions to homes and commercial spaces.

It has taken a lot of work to have this business grow from a small interior décor startup to a recognizable medium brand. The business has so far served both local and international clients from as far as USA, Germany, Norway, UK, Netherlands, South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, and Tanzania.

Our products and services vary from as low as Sh. 1,500 to over Sh. 1 million depending on what the client is looking for. For instance, décor accessories such as curtains are determined by the size of the window, the number of gathers and folds, and the preferred fabric.

Co-Op post

I think this speaks to what success in business is all about. You must give tailor-made solutions for you to attract new business and retain existing customers. This being a creative business, you must always be seeking to innovate.

I used to handle my money without a proper accounting system. This meant that all my money, from the business to the personal, was mixed up. I couldn’t tell what my margins were, or if the business was making profit or loss.

This also had me spending on impulse just because there was money whenever I needed it, without regard whether it was money from the business. Inevitably, this led to cash flow and operating capital problems.

NCBA

To get out of this hole, I hired a professional accountant and independent auditor who helped me sort out and set up proper business and personal finance systems.

In business, giving credit has been our biggest cause of losses. We have lost an estimated half a million shillings from credit alone. Sometimes we have over-trusted clients who requested that we work on their projects with a promise to pay us after completion then reneged on the promise.

There have been instances too  where we have sent cargo to our clients out of town with the promise that they will pay once their  package is delivered, only for them to disappear without paying. This has taught me that unmerited credit is not a friend of business.

NCBA

It is actually one of the quickest ways for a business to collapse. Credit compromises cash flow, and when cash flow is compromised, businesses tilt towards collapse.

I have four methods of saving. I save through MShwari, Chama, Insurance policies, and through sacco. I have found saccos not only to be a good place to access cheap loans that I can guarantee with my savings, but also a place where I can earn passive income in the form of dividends on the shares I have acquired.

The chama is an investment platform where we pool funds together for investments. Before Covid, we were also practicing table banking. Members could take loans from our collective contributions and repay with interest. But since the 2020 pandemic affected some of our members’ income revenues, we decided to shelf table banking until our businesses recover fully.

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Partnerships and business collaborations with the right people and organizations will keep you ahead of the pack. My partners and I have an amazing team spirit, group synergy, passion and commitment to our cause. This strengthens our operations, and fuels our dedication.

We have someone who specializes in lead projects engineering, a creative director, a finance director, and a quality assurance director. Nothing in life comes easy. It’s literally taken us tears, sweat and blood to get here.  Even when it gets real hard, one must keep going.

Hard work, trustworthiness, authenticity, smart thinking and quick decision making, keeping abreast with your audience and consistency will have you on top of  the ladder, if you are patient enough.

A version of this profile feature on Kami Mbaabu, the founder of Interiors by Tifi, was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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