After he was sacked from his job, he didn’t fold his arms and cried foul.
For him it was a blessing in disguise, as he now proudly owns a company that employs other Batswana.
A self taught Graphics Designer Gaolathe Kgomotso is the proud owner of Excellent Printers.
His company was financed through his own savings, competes with well established companies in the market.
To find out more what drives him, MMIKA SOLOMON had a one on one interview with him as he explains how he managed to run his company successfully.
I understand you started your company from humble beginnings, please take us through that process.
Thank you very much. My company is called Excellent Printers and Graphics.
As you have rightly said, my company started after I was fired from my job.
It was not easy because I did not anticipate to be fired, so I had not prepared my mind for anything let alone starting a company.
I took my savings and rented next door.
Q: Were your savings enough to pull you through though?
My savings were not that much.
In-fact the concept of establishing my own company came after customers from my previous work suggested to me that I should start something similar to that I was doing.
I am graphic designer although I did not train for it.
However people loved my work, I couldn’t resist the temptations to do something that I have a passion for.
I fell many times but I survived.
Q: Starting a company is always a challenge in Botswana. One needs enough capital to drive their passion or sustain it. How much did you invest at the start of your business?
As I said I used my savings to commence by business.
Look, I did have challenges in trying to run my company because of lack of resources.
I did not take a loan to start my business, hence there were so many turbulences.
I depended on customers who paid for their work on time. People get shocked when I tell them that you do not need a loan to start a business.
All you need is the drive for your passion the rest will follow.
Q: Besides customers not paying on time or at all what challenges did you encounter?
My challenge was with the suppliers. Since I did not have enough money certain materials for customers I could not get with credit.
In business you have to earn your stripes first before you can be trusted.
I also had to work long hours to meet the deadlines set by customers.
In Graphics, your end result speaks volumes.
Customers at times can throw you from pillar to post, demanding the impossible but with patience the job is always done.
I operated a one man office, I was all in one be it the driver, debt collector, manager, cleaner and everything you can think off.
Q: When was your company established and how many people have you employed?
I began operations in 2008. Now I am 32 years old.
I have employed about thirteen Batswana citizens.
It is for a purpose that I employed citizens, I will tell you why.
As a citizen owned company it is important for me to help Batswana get into the workplace.
Q: Do you remember your first customer?
I will forever be grateful to MP Wynter Mmolotsi.
He literally helped me. He even referred people like councilor Boikhutso Masunga who also did wonders to my company.
I have plenty of customers who stood by me through good and bad times.
Q: What is good about your company now?
I have managed to run it successfully without any loans.
I have bought a lot of machinery to do my job well.
I am able to do all the graphics work for T-shirts, bill boards or any job that requires my expertise I can do it.
No job is too big for us anymore.
Q: Thank you for your time. What advise can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to the youth is that don’t spend big on luxurious things like cars and big rental in the suburbs.
Take it easy, follow your dream, these old men we see driving big machines have earned it.
They worked hard for it. The youth gets excited after seeing their first cheque, personal discipline is the key.