You must be daring and take business risks – Kirubi

Dr Kirubi is speaking to a group of 14 graduates, who completed their studies this year at various universities in Kenya and Uganda and are being recruited to join Centum Investment Company/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – “It is better to make a decision than no decision at all,” businessman Dr Chris Kirubi paraphrases Brian Tracy’s quote, a veteran motivational speaker and author from Canada.

Dr Kirubi is speaking to a group of 14 graduates, who completed their studies this year at various universities in Kenya and Uganda and are being recruited to join Centum Investment Company.

The young graduates keep shooting several questions to the speaker on how to grow their career and how to be stable financially.

They are curious to know how Dr Kirubi has been able to venture into numerous businesses which end up flourishing.

Among other lessons, Kirubi emphasizes the importance of making firm and sober decisions, which involves being daring and taking risks, with aim of succeeding in business.

“Decision making sometimes is inherent in you. There are people who cannot make a decision quickly perhaps because it’s not their nature. Mine was necessitated by my life. At some point, my life was just hanging on a rope. I had to make decisions to survive. I had to make quick decisions where to go, what to eat, because we were left by our parents when we were very, very young,” he says.

“I went to school and when I started getting pocket money on my own, I spared some, to educate my brothers. If I did not have the quick mental mind, I would never be who I am today. There are only two things in decision making. You are either right or wrong and better to be wrong that no decision.”

“As a businessman, it does not mean that I have not made mistakes. I have, by making wrong moves. But I use them to learn and proceed to the next step. I made a mistake at one point by investing in a paint company. I bought the company without studying the market; without realizing who the player in that market was only to discover that the consumer of the paint was the contractor and he was also the distributor.”

“So, I used to send my sales people to sell even directly to the contractor, who would instead buy my paint when he is finishing the construction. He buys on credit and tells me to give him three months. By the time I am going to the construction site to look for the guy, he finished the building and moved on. And he had no inspiration to pay my debt. It was so frustrating, that I had wisdom to make another decision. I wound it up, paid my debts and at least was left with something behind. You learn as much from failure, as you learn from success.”

Some tough decisions come along with being bold enough to take steps which no one else is ready to take, Kirubi says to his attentive audience.

“When I bought Capital FM, no one believed in the changes I wanted to make. I needed to bring young people on board. Sometimes I even received letters from the audience, grumbling ‘….don’t come to spoil our station. We are happy the way it is.’ And I would tell them that I didn’t mean to do so, but instead make it better. And as we moved on, half of this audience left. But I found love with you guys (young people).”

“At one point I asked my presenters to give me the least job I could do to be on air, because we wanted more audience. And they told me, chairman, you cannot. Then one presenter told me that we host the show together which used to play rock music. I accepted, even though I did not have any clue about rock. I was to be the DJ for the show and less talk. I became the DJ CK. It was a big experience. Within one year, people loved the show. Besides that, I wanted Deejaying to have a face, to be decent. At one time the President (former President Mwai Kibaki) asked me, ‘what is this DJ thing.’

“Bill Clinton (former US president) played a flute, and everyone talked about it. But he kept on plying his instrument,” Kirubi says.

So, when you settle on to do something, he says, you must be committed to that move which should be in line with your vision. However, it may not be supported by everyone, but there should always be a consensus at the end, by proving your point through results.

MARGARET WAHITO :Margaret has been a business reporter for the past four years. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications and Public Relations from Moi University. She also holds a diploma in Film and Video production from the Kenya institute of Mass Communications. Apart from journalism, she has interest in community work, especially helping the disadvantaged.