Monthly Archives: March 2015

Restaurant Generation

One of the things that made our seniors the people they are today is because they were accountable to each other. A friend was one known in all the other person’s circles. I am reliably told that in those days (90s and before) people used to carry their friends home, for a visit. But things have changed and we’ve moved on.

Today, we meet in restaurants for quick meals our own hands can barely make. We eat the burgers and forms of meals with the bound morpheme –so, talk of the espressos our intestines need not negotiate but digest. If having a friend ever was a problem, it never still is. All you need is open up a Facebook account and there you will have 5000 of them all waiting. It doesn’t matter whether you meet them along the streets and cannot say a word to each other, relax, we have the time to chat on line. America has no WhatsApp that’s why Richard Quest is always having his piece of pie in a restaurant alongside his growing statistics. China has never sipped from the source of this malwa pot called Facebook yet they keep churning out phones with Facebook enabled apps. Restaurants have become quite an item that nearly every corporate in a big institution has a bar and restaurant as a side dish where he catches the winding down of the evening with a cold beer in handy.

The wealthy have also sought their hand on the trade. Big men and women own these places that house the afternoon side deals and the official contract setups. If you want to know any restaurant that seems to be unknown to you ask the Lawyer friend, they will tell you. If you are a restaurant owner and in your sitting, you don’t host lawyers, then you may as well consider relocating along parliamentary avenue or Kampala road for quick identification.

In our restaurants, it’s not about having ice cream, soda, yoghurt or beer in one’s fridge for a week as long as it is kept cold, one day the destined consumer like Ugandan rain will fall.

Don’t you worry of where labour shall come from; Kampala waitresses and waiters are accountants who found the counter full and opted to help with the waiting, just to have the service done. In case you went to a restaurant where your needs were not met, feel extremely free, to go to the next door, Ugandan businesses understand the concept of “an industry” as my commerce teacher taught me n S3, they always keep together. There is no lonely place in the world like a restaurant which neighbours itself.

In Uganda, and in our restaurants, don’t mind of service unless you make your order in English and the better if you have specs, the services are usually nearer for those. If you can, walk in with a Mzungu, it doesn’t matter whether they have money or not, you’ll be served first and fast. Our only challenge is that we only and usually tip coins. If you don’t mind, you can also carry them home. You know that waiters need the tips.

It is a growing trend as well to see greying gentlemen and ladies who have retired but for the goodness of the city won’t give up on Kampala. They are here to stay. Behind the counters, they dice it up; working on your menu.

Next time don’t ask where to find me, just be specific in which restaurant you want us to meet.

My Life, My Story – The Expereince of Dickson Mushabe

It is 1147 hours and we are having breakfast after the first session of the CMS Africa 2015 Summit. We are at the Catholic East African University, Karen, Nairobi. Dickson Mushabe is to present next about his journey as the CEO of Hostalite. We rest the works of the cup and its saucer to warm up the red-fold of the auditorium chairs.

“I used to move a lot. I used to move to offices; marketing my company. So I don’t like to introduce myself as the CEO.” He says after running a few slides of his introduction. “I want to take you through my success story.”

The break intervals of his story are told with rewards. He has a number of pens and Hostalite goodies he’s giving out to the audience. He asks questions that keep people focused.

In his communication Mr Mushabe said, “No one that ever knew you were to be born. So no one should ever tell you that you can’t make it. I am here to tell you that never give up on your vision.”

You should have seen the attention of the audience around this time, “I have been an entrepreneur since the days of my university.” When you see Mr Mushabe presenting his case, you cannot believe but doubt that this entrepreneur cum web designer was once upon a time a politician. He competed in University politics of a hall he didn’t tell. And in there he was unopposed to becoming a mayor. And that marked the end of his political journey. I hope it did.

Dickson Mushabe has laid and done a number of jobs with his hands. He was once a barber using the money he got from his university faculty allowance. It did not work out and he instead opened up a video library where he used to give out movies for free to his friends, whom he condemns: “…but I had friends. And they ate it all with me.” Then he asks, “Who are your friends? I should never have made them my friends.”

“Fast forward after university,” he tells it all, “I formed Eacol, a private directory system that died a few months thereafter. We did not have business acumen and we were desperate. We could always make sure the client paid us, and in cash. This showed that we were very needy people and could not be trusted.

When a client gives you a deal, he wants to feel your presence not pulling out the receipt book so you can have the money and go.

If I had not spent the money with my friends, I would be having an arcade. Even the small coin you have, hold it in high esteem. It will be five times more five years later. Today a plot of land goes away from at a price it was three years ago.

I thought to myself what the future of business was for me as one. I decided to invest in web hosting after realising that the world was getting global. I wanted visitors in Uganda to know which business was operating in Uganda.

I had a humble beginning with Hostalite. I was the company and the company was my laptop. I was the company cashier, salesman, sweeper, accountant and head. Today, Hostalite employs 12 full time employees.

No one wants a dying service provider. Your client should know that if you don’t take them, you won’t close shop. Don’t be esperate.

A client should not see you struggle, trying to emphasise a point that you need money. Learn the terms of transaction. Accept the LPOs and the cheques. Learn how to strategise. Talk in percentages.

Today, at Hostalite , don’t hire superstars. Degrees at times lie. Don’t go for the papers, go for results. Many times as employees we kindly want the job but the kindness sickens as we get used to the place.

Treat your client like the very best one you will ever have. The best marketer is your client because they do it for free. Find opportunities that you can work with at an equitable price. For example, as a web designer, I can offer a free web design for a magazine so they can advertise my company for free. In the long run, they have paid me in bigger currencies.

Work ethics that have seen me grow are discipline and honesty. That is one of the ways your company will become other people’s reference. Can you hire your company? If you don’t have trust in your company, who will?

Let your brand speak. No one will visit your bank accounts, so let your advert speak. Let your brand speak represent you. For example I use car brands. What do you use Facebook for? Who do you have in your friends list?

On my way here I found a lady here who said, “if no one has told you, just know the world is seeing you.” She concluded “We meet at the top.” And this is my signature on many of my Facebook friends..

When you get a great deal, don’t get luxurious. We got a big deal and we used it to pay our web hosts, bought a descent home and are able to accommodate two employees.

No one said things will ever be okay. Things go wrong at times but be in control. I have faced a number and today i look at my problems as challenges. Things don’t last forever, whatever begins, ends. Move on.

Always be thankful to your clients. Don’t always get to them when only you are in problems.

Today, we host over 700 corporate websites, including most government websites. Be innovative so that next time your client thinks of you.

Thank you very much

Kwaheri