Don’t save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving
The owners of Omagumbo Construction in Otjiwarongo, Jefta and Taimi Haggai are making their mark as a contractor of note in the central northern region despite the severe slump in the construction industry.
The Haggais have been in business for ten years, having started from very humble beginnings, literally on the kitchen table where they made their first calculations for a tender, and where they draught their first plans. All the time during their endeavours, they have been assisted by small business promoter, SME Compete.
The business started officially only after their first customer accepted the tender they submitted.
They had no equipment but the customer was so impressed by their dedication he agreed to pay an upfront deposit. This bought them a concrete mixer, two wheelbarrows and an assortment of building tools. Omagumbo was born and the Haggais have never looked back.
Jefta Haggai was trained as a bricklayer at the Vocational Training Centre in Okakarara. His first and only job was as a general worker on a construction site. He stayed for only a few months, in the process learning some tricks of the construction business. He soon realised his own dispostion will suit him much better working for himself.
“I knew I could do much better being my own boss because I was hard working and dedicated” he said.
The Haggais opened their first business account at the FNB branch in Otjiwarongo with a mere N$100 deposit. Over the following years, he established such a good track record with the bank that today he is confident to submit tenders. “Whenever a performance guarantee is required in support of a tender bid, I know my personal banker is just a phone call away” he said.
Jefta ascribes his business success to his ability to build and maintain relationships and from the unwavering input and support from his wife. “Taimi works alongside me on the construction site and helps with the paperwork to make sure our books and administration is up to date” he said.
He is modest about his own contribution, merely saying “Demonstrating honesty, reliability and doing what you promise to do on time every time, meeting dealings with suppliers and service providers, is important. How can I expect the bank to support me in time of need when I don’t even bother to keep my account in good order?” he reflected.
Jefta stressed the importance of saving. “Imagine if I didn’t then I will now be squealing like many others” he said adding his own adage distilled from experience “Don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
Their mentors at SME Compete stated that Omagumbo Construction is an ideal case of the importance of local entrepreneurs. They are the backbone of the local economy in many of the rural towns. Collectively they create thousands of jobs and the country’s wealth.