Meet Aisha, a member of Ushirika group under the BRAC small enterprises loan product. Aisha studied secretarial studies at university where she obtained a certificate. After working for a stationery and printing shop, Aisha saved up some money and decided to venture into her stationery shop.
In 2015, upon realizing that she had good typing skills and had grasped a bit of the business through her exposure, she open up a small shop. “It was small and didn’t have much,” Aisha recalls. “My friends told me about BRAC groups, and after seeing some adverts on the road side around my home I decided to join one of the groups.” She further shared
“My shop has now grown, I now make a monthly profit of about Tshs 800000 (approximately$ 358).”
She says with a happy face.
Aisha is generally a happy person, welcoming and warm. Little wonder she has been able to attract and retain recurring customers around her location. Her biggest clients are the hospital and the Islamic institute both located around the corner near her shop located in the suburb of Dar es Salaam City. She works Monday through Sunday, but she has an assistant with whom they share the work load.
She became a BRAC client in 2016. And since then she has acquired a printer and added another computer to offer more services. She recently bought a piece of land where she is currently constructing her house.
Aisha has one son whom she supports solely. He is 4 years old now and she hopes to provide the best education for him.
She wants to set up as many stationery and secretarial bureaus as she can around the city. This is her biggest dream.
She is among the first clients of BRAC under the Small Enterprise Program.
Mama Prolimina currently has 3 hardware shops located in Dar es Salaam along Morogoro road. She employs up to 9 people. But it has not always been that busy.
After she lost her husband, she was left with 4 children to raise. She quit her job where she was an architect and decided to venture into business, going into hardware retail. She got a loan at the time to boost her business from a popular bank then. However, she was frustrated with the services, the interest was high, and the loan appraisal process was so bureaucratic. When BRAC Tanzania approached her, she thought it wouldn’t heart to try it out. She totally got hooked to BRAC because of the great follow up and business tips they kept giving her. We asked Mama to share some tips that have contributed to her success over the years and this is what she shared.
Tips given by mama
- Get a loan after writing your plan on how to use it. Some people think that they need to first get money and then plan for it. That is why many end up hugely indebted and unable to pay because they had no plan and they used their money on things that did not add value.
- Put energy and time in your business. You need to supervise. This is why, I quit my job. I needed to see that where I was putting money was succeeding. You are the one with the passion for the business, not your employees.
- Don’t be overly competitive. In this kind of business cooperating with other shops is key. One has to be friendly and maintain good work ethics. My neighbours have helped me when I had a big supply and run short of the materials requested for. Likewise, I do the same.
- When a customer comes, give them undivided attention. A customer is your boss in business.
- Invest in materials that move fast alongside your core business. For this building business, some seasons are low, and others are high. I needed to have some small things that can keep me operating even when the season is low.
“Some people look at me and say I have arrived but no, I haven’t yet achieved what I want to. I want to be a wholesaler in hardware and electricity supplies. At this location we don’t have any and it so costly to keep going to the big shops in the city to buy materials. I want to be an authorized distributor.” – Prolimina when asked about her future aspirations.