BENSON MUSOGA: DARING THE GIANTS WITH A SLING

BENSON MUSOGA
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Amiable techie builds a thriving firm from scratch through sweat, dedication and focus
By George Gichuki

Looks as the popular adage goes can be deceiving. Going by his simple but smart dressing and down to earth demeanour, Benson Musoga would pass for an ordinary chap, pursuing an ordinary dream. “I am just a humble person…a village boy,” he says with a shy smile. Nothing can be further from the truth. A highly successful entrepreneur in the field of information communication technology (ICT), Musoga is the founder and managing director of Mac and More Solutions. He started the firm seventeen years ago as a small outfit which was a one man show. “I played multiple roles as Mac and More Solutions’ chief technician, accountant, salesman and messenger in a tiny office which remained closed whenever I was in the field,” he recalls with nostalgia. Today, the firm has grown in leaps and bounds and it has thirty employees. It occupies a spacious office at the Westlands shopping centre (Nairobi). Recently, it opened a branch at Kisumu city.

Mac and More Solutions delivers a wide array of ICT solutions on the Apple platform. “We sell and service Apple products and we also distribute related accessories such as G Technology and ADATA Technology “says Musoga. The decision to establish the fast growing business was informed by the fact that he wanted to help consumers of ICT products to optimize their investment and meet their goals by offering them exemplary service. Before that, he had honed his skills in electronics and computer technology by working in the service departments of two leading ICT firms in the country. At his last work station, he rose through the ranks to become the chief engineer. “Since I could not rise higher than that, my best option at that juncture was to become an entrepreneur in order to unlock my potential,” he recalls.

Partnership with Apple

The two ICT firms that Musoga worked for before venturing into business were both dealing in Apple products. This exposed him to the high customer experience standards and cutting edge products of the Apple brand. Given his solid technical background, Apple accepted to forge a partnership with him. As a startup, Mac and More Solutions did not have a strong financial base which was a big challenge since Apple products are very expensive. In order to jump that hurdle, the young firm collaborated with the Apple resellers which were already established in the Kenyan market. Consequently, it was able to access most of the products that it required on credit basis. “Any person who is planning to become an entrepreneur should have a holistic view of finance because even when in short of cash, he or she can negotiate with the suppliers for credit,” Musoga observes adding that in other instances, the entrepreneur can negotiate for upfront payment with customers, hence maintaining a healthy cash flow.

Benson Musoga (centre) with his able team.

Further according to him, entrepreneurs with compelling business ideas can get financed by commercial banks or bring investors on board at the challenging start-up stage. He recalls vividly that he successfully managed to secure a debenture (a debt instrument that is not secured by collateral) of Kshs. 8 million from his bank as a startup because of his creditworthiness. The debenture helped in scaling up his business. With time, the firm has built many assets which it has used as collateral while being financed by commercial banks.

It has also managed its profit prudently by ploughing it back into the business to support its growth.

To say the least, Musoga has greatly benefited from the partnership with Apple. “ Working with Apple has been fun ,” he says adding that excellence is the company’s hallmark and it therefore equally demands that its partners should neither at any given time compromise on quality nor fail to meet deadlines that the competitive business demands. By and large, Musoga has inculcated the Apple culture in his business. That effort has borne fruits. “We strive to build strong and long lasting relationships with our customers by offering them exemplary service and solutions to their needs,” he observes. Some of the Apple products offered by the firm include: Macintosh (desktop and laptop), the Ipad (a tablet computer) and the Iphone.

Having been founded seventeen years ago, Mac and More Solutions’ twentieth anniversary is just around the corner. As its leader, Musoga’s focus at the moment is mentoring his young team as well as putting up systems and structures in order to enhance its efficiency.

Spreading wings

Towards the end of last year, the company opened a branch in Kisumu – the third largest city in the country. The new branch will serve the Western and North Rift regions of the country including: Kericho, Kisii, Eldoret, Busia and Bungoma. Kisumu is also a gateway to Uganda and it is popular with the business community. Recently, its airport was upgraded to international status. “There are also very many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the busy town which will provide a market to our products,” Musoga observes.

In the last couple of months that the branch has been in operation, it has attracted very many customers who are keen on purchasing Apple products according to Musoga. Mac and More Solutions is also set to open another branch in the Mount Kenya region- specifically in Meru town. “We have also been requested by Apple to open a service centre in Kigali – Rwanda – hence giving us a regional presence by the end of this year,” he adds.

Hurdles

To start with, some customers delay in making payments to the firm, hence adversely affecting its cash flow. “ Businesses must be keen on establishing when they need to pay as well as when they need to be paid,” says Musoga while sounding an alarm that some businesses have collapsed because of failing to meet their financial obligations at a particular time, besides having operated profitably for a long period of time. According to him, entrepreneurs must learn to say no to businesses that are likely to land them into cash flow problems. “ I do not see why an entrepreneur should tie Kshs. 10 million of his hard earned cash in a business that will take six months to be settled, just because he is likely to earn a profit of Kshs. 1 million,” he argues. “If he had borrowed the Kshs. 10 million from a bank, the interest that he shall pay further eats into his profit,” he adds.

Secondly, ICT business is very competitive. Nevertheless, Mac and More Solutions has countered this challenge by being innovative. “By being innovative, we have created uncontested markets for our products, hence rendering competition irrelevant,” he avers.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

Musoga advises young people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs to venture into businesses that they are passionate about. In addition, besides making money from their enterprises, they should focus on developing products which add value to the society. “Mentors also help the young entrepreneurs to gain more knowledge and insight on how to run their businesses,” he emphasizes. Lastly, he advises young entrepreneurs to do a thorough background check of the businesses they are intending to venture into in order to ensure that they have a solid market.

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Target Market

Mac and More Solutions targets different market segments including the county and national governments, corporates, institutions of higher learning as well as the retail market. “We market our products through online platforms and we have also partnered with distributors located in various parts of the country in order to reach our customers,” says Mr. Musoga.

The firm is also strong in serving the retail market with customers walking into its stores to purchase a wide array of cutting edge products. In addition, it has established a department that is involved in offering after sales service to its customers once they have purchased its products.

In 2018, it clinched the Best Computer and Accessory retailer award in East Africa from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) organization that is based in London. The organization reviews businesses in sectors like hospitality and tourism, ICT and manufacturing. “We won this award because of having a strong online presence and receiving very positive reviews from our customers in platforms like Google My Business and Facebook,” says Musoga.

Road Ahead

According to Mr. Musoga, globalization has offered a major opportunity to Mac and More Solutions to offer most of its products online. “By going digital, we are not limited by space and time and we can therefore play in the global marketplace,” he says. The firm is also going to focus more on the youth market segment that comprises over 80% of the Kenyan population.

Mac and More Solutions has also given its customers an opportunity to trade in their old products for new ones. Once they top up the difference, such customers are able to acquire new products. “We reengineer the old products and offer them for sale at affordable prices to our young customers with a low purchasing power,” notes Musoga adding that it is a good way of curbing e-wastage. The firm has also partnered with financial institutions so that its customers can buy various goods by paying on twelve monthly instalments.

Mac and More Solutions conducts its business with a human face by giving back to the community. For instance, it donates computers to various schools – especially the ones with needy learners. Mr. Musoga’s highest moment is when customers give positive feedback about the service they have been offered at Mac and More Solutions. He is driven by the desire of always cultivating a culture of excellence in his business and solving customers’ challenges whenever they arise. With a lot of fire in his belly, the future is certainly bright for the amiable entrepreneur.

Benson Musoga at a glance

  • Marital status : married with three children
  • Favourite cuisine : traditional dishes
  • Hobbies : singing and watching football
  • He starts his day at 5.30 am and prioritizes on the tasks to undertake

My highest moment is when people post positively about the services at Mac and More and sometimes even name the staff so i usually look at that and feel very proud because i say if someone is recognizing that we are doing something that adds value for me that’s the highest moment i can have. It is my desire to always ensure that we can always cultivate a culture of excellence and agility if ever anything comes up that ever needs to be resolved.

 

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