By Patrick Kagenda
What is your day like?
I wake up at 5 am, read my email, make a few communications and by 6:45am take my children to school. By 7:45am I am at the shop. After ensuring that all the shops are open and every thing is in order, I retire to my office which is in my home. I only return to town if I have appointments.
What challenges do you face?
I do not have the challenge of running offices in town. I have my office at home. Through the internet I am able to monitor every thing that is happening at every branch.
I have cameras that send in live video coverage of all the shops and I have a software programme which gives me an instant message of whatever is happening or what transactions are happening at the shops. So I find that not really challenging at all. Technology has made work very easy but of course I would be unfair if I say I live a life without challenges. There are challenges which are easy and simple of which you find simple solutions. (But) there isn’t a standard challenge that I know of that has failed to be solved.
How are you resolving the challenges?
The biggest challenge is the workers intentions and their attitude to work, and so through training them they change because training will influence their attitude as opposed to what people think that we are born with attitudes.
|Ahimbisibwe’s tips to successful business management?
For one to be successful in business, money in spite of being important should never be your number one goal.
Always aim at solving a need.
Aim at helping others and through that you will create relationships that will last for life and such relationships will give you permanent business.
What is your opinion of Ugandan workers?
My opinion of Ugandan workers is that they are both good and not good. But most importantly, they are available because first of all you may say they are not available. People who want to work are there and they are many and they are qualified for the type of jobs I have. I don’t think we have much shortage of labour save for a few specialised cases. Some workers are greedy and this is the biggest challenge.
People are not looking at doing the job but are looking at ways of making money. Yes money is important and it is good but for whoever takes money to be number one, be it a worker or his employer or an entrepreneur for that matter, it is never going to yield good results. Business should come up in a way of providing a service or overcoming an obstacle, and thereby solving a need. Most workers on the Ugandan market are looking at the money issue. They come not to help you do what you want to do, not to get the job done; they only come to make money. Secondly when most of these people get the jobs they lack the passion and it all goes back to their intention, and attitude to work. But I have come to realise that with training and proper management and talking to them you can get good people to do the job for you.
What new thing is there at Select Garments?
We are looking at setting up and establishing a factory production line here in Uganda. Definitely we do not have enough skilled labour but I know there are people who are able to train and learn. Since there are people with basic education then the specialised kind of education like that one can always be achieved.
Billy Robert Ahimbisibwe is the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Select Garments which started in 2000 as a small boutique on William Street in Kampala City centre and now comprises four top of the range stores in Kampala city and one upcountry. All are stocked with the latest designs of men and ladies garments. Select Garments employs over 20 people and also supplies corporate bodies.