Samson Kimani Njuguna is the chief executive officer of Zunguka Africa Tours and Travel. He is also an entrepreneur running a series of other private businesses in Nairobi.
Greatest milestone: As an entrepreneur, there are no greater moments than building a business from scratch to the breakeven point, and to self-sustenance. It is never easy to do this. It has taken me persistence and strict discipline. I used to do all sorts of odd jobs including running errands for people, hawking food in offices, and even selling movies in the streets before I ventured into business. Your fate is not cast in stone. With the right mindset, you can change your fortunes. This process will not be an overnight affair though.
My business success recipe: You must carry out adequate research before you spend your money on a business idea. Identify gaps in the daily needs of the people around you and how they align with your your idea. Stop copy and pasting other people’s ideas. When you finally get started, you must cultivate the habit of reinvesting your profits into the business. This has been the strategy of major businesses such as Centum Investments and it is highly effective in creating adequate operating capital and a smooth cash flow chain.
Biggest career loss: Investing in the wrong people has been one of my major career losses. I found out that this happens when you bring in people who have no experience or skills to run the business you have invested all your money in. It almost always ends in a catastrophe when you try to please friends or relatives with positions in your business without first finding out what they’ll bring to the table.
Biggest money mistake: Investing without a proper plan and fallback strategy. In 2019, I lost close to Sh. 1.2 million after I invested in a farming project without carrying out proper research. The dry spell that was experienced in the month of March last year saw me lose all the garlic onions I had planted in over 5 acres of land.
If I could turn back the clock: I would ensure that I allocate maximum time to lay the foundation of my business and to understand all the tiny details of running a good business model. I would not leave it all in the hands of people who did not conceptualize the startup idea or lend a hand in taking the idea from paper to the ground.
My saving method: I currently save be reinvesting into my business. I consider this to be a great way of saving since it adds value to my business and accelerates the growth of my assets. Previously, I used the conventional methods of saving like banks and mobile money apps. They proved very ineffective. The saved money was always a click away from being spent.
My parting shot: There is nothing sweeter than money, especially money earned through your own sweat! You must know that nothing comes easy. Don’t sit on ideas waiting for a miracle to happen. Start small and give it your all. You will only ever be able to move if you get bold and take the first step.
This feature on Zunguka Africa CEO Samson Kimani was first published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.