City businessman Al Haji Dr Bulaimu Muwanga Kibirige, has advised business owners to adopt frugal lifestyles because it instils personal and business financial discipline.
Speaking at the second Top 100-mid-sized companies conference at Sheraton hotel on Wednesday, Dr Muwanga also known as BMK who owns Hotel Africana, warned business owners that careless character like arrogance, lavish spending, disrespect for employees and customers, dishonesty, poor time keeping, have no place in business.
“He was not educated, but the first principal my father taught me was to treat a business as my own, but that the money in the business as the property of the business,” Dr Muwanga said.
He added that businesses have sunk down the drain because when the owners see money, it excites them to plunge into spending sprees, gambling, lavish weddings, graduation parties which steal money from the business.
“Why should you invite 1,000 people for a wedding? Do you need a graduation party? Can’t you invite just a few people who matter to you? Why should you gamble in a casino? Have you ever seen free money,” he challenged the businessmen and women.
He explained that the secret to sustainable business lies in forecasting opportunities and risks and planning ahead of them.
“20 years ahead, the population of Uganda will triple. This means the demand for food, clothing, shelter, transport and health care will triple. You should now be planning for your money rather than managing it,” Dr Muwanga added.
Citing professionals like teachers, doctors, lawyers currently aged below 50, he said this is the time to invest their professional capital in businesses like schools, hospitals and law firms while still energetic so that when they reach hit 50, their investment will have matured to diversify into less stressful investments like real estate to usher them into peaceful retirement.
The Top 100-Mid-sized companies’ survey, is an annual initiative between Monitor Publications Ltd and its partners who include Uganda Investment Authority, Insurance Company of East Africa, Audit firm, KPMG and DFCU Bank to expose indigenous companies termed as small medium enterprises with annual turnover ranging between Shs360million and Shs25billion which are the biggest employers of Ugandans and also do sustain the economy. It must not be listed on the stock exchange, it is not an insurance company or a financial institution.
According to Mr Peter Kyambadde the director tax KPMG, the initiative which started 10 years ago was a response to the business mortality which denied them opportunity to celebrate their first birthday.
“We come here to share experiences like managing risks, tax governance, transition, growing leaders at all levels because the question was, why don’t our businesses grow and live for generations?” he said.
Mr Tony Glencross the Managing Director Monitor Publications Ltd said this is a project where peers impart knowledge to each other by sharing experiences advising that one sure way of running sustainable businesses is taking the customer seriously.
“In order to sustain your business, never forget why you started the business. If you went to the market purely to make money, you cannot sustain that business,” he said.
Utilities impact of the survey over the years
According to Ms Florence Nakabiibi the Manager Group Insurance, Insurance Company of East Africa, the companies mainly the SMEs participating in the survey have increased insurance penetration in the country by 10 per cent. The SME sector is an untapped sector for insurance
Ms Irene Nabwire, the relationship manager DFCU bank said many SMEs are ignorant about the financial support available for them in the bank even without collateral in sectors like education, banking, construction, oil and gas, trade and commerce, because the bank finances them as long as all their paper work is in order.