The tales of a young Entrepreneur

Many youths make similar mistakes up to now. Someone comes to you with his start-up, they don’t even put any effort into preparing a nice looking profile of what their company is about. I always tell them, before we start any discussions, go and work on your company profile, let it be visually appealing

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Eng.Jaffer Aita is the CEO Joadah Consults, an engineering and Construction Company in Uganda and with a string of Construction Project in several Countries in Africa.

By: Jaffer Joel Aita

During the formative stages of Joadah Consult, I learnt one lesson which has shaped my understanding of winning. I learnt that Image is an important aspect of any business. Your Image will win for you 80% of the deal.

A corporate image or identity is the manner in which a corporation, firm or business presents itself to the public, such as customers and investors as well as employees.

It is a primary task of the corporate communications department to maintain and build this identity to accord with and facilitate business objectives.

It is typically visually manifested by way of branding and the use of trademarks. But also includes things like product design, advertising, public relations, and the like.

A senior Engineer who got to learn that I had set up Joadah Consult and who knew my individual capability referred me to JOMAYI Consultants, a real estate company who wanted an Engineering Design for their Water Network in the Seguku Estates located some few kilometres outside Kampala City the Capital City of Uganda.

After receiving a phone call from the Proprietor of Jomayi I informed him that I will do the work at 60m Ugandan Shillings, of which he was fine since other more experienced firms had charged him more than 200m. He asked me to meet him at the site.

I quickly jump in a public Taxi and dropped off at the Seguku stage and grabbed a Boda Boda (Motor Cycle). After some few minutes of ride on the hilly dusty road, the Boda Boda came to a stop.

Not because we had reached, we were 1 kilometer to the Location, but because his fuel was over. I had to walk the remaining distance during a hot day and on a dusty road.

Reaching the Client, I was sweating from the head to the toe and filled with dust from Toe to Head. Just Imagine the Look I had, sweating while dusty.

My Client looked at me from head to toe, from toe to head and gave me this eye of what is this am seeing, while his personalized Range Rover was idling next to us.

Then he asked me series of questions.

So you are the Consultant? What do you do with your money? (Remember this was going to be my first Contract, so there was actually no money), Should I really pay you the 60m? As the questions were increasing, panic set in and more sweat. To make matters worse, I didn’t have a handkerchief.

He then started lecturing me, he said young man, when you meet a client, never make the client to have doubt about you just because of the way you present yourself.

The Lecture went on for a full hour and ended up with my fee been reduced to 40 million, which I still accepted. I actually needed the money badly.

Just because I refused to hire a car for 100,000, I lost 20 million. This became a very expensive mistake that remained in my brain.

Summary:

1. Many youths make similar mistakes up to now. Someone comes to you with his start-up, they don’t even put any effort in preparing a nice looking profile of what their company is about. I always tell them, before we start any discussions, go and work on your company profile, let it be visually appealing

2. Your personal presentation affects your company’s image. I have learnt that the way you present yourself to a potential client will directly show the image of your company. It’s always very important to look visually presentable while visiting a client.

3. Location you chose to meet your clients matters a lot.

Jaffer Aita is the CEO of Joadah Consults, an engineering and Construction Company in Uganda and with a string of Construction projects in several Countries in Africa.

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