As a young professional, I get to the bus terminal very early in the morning so as to beat the traffic that comes with the morning rush hour. Usually, the sight is that of drivers’ mates shouting names of various locations to attract passengers.  For me, my business has been to identify a bus going my way and hop in with the hope of getting to my destination on time. However, my routine with the trotro turned into a class of lessons for a businessman when I sat in one of the trotros and realized there was a television set installed in it. These were what I gathered from my “trotro” experience.

LESSON I: If you want to succeed as a business man you MUST be smart and innovative, be different from the lots.                                                                                                                                                                           Usually, televisions are found in buses that travel long distances. The reason, I presume, is to help kill the boredom that comes with sitting in a vehicle for hours.

Filled with so much amazement at what I have witnessed, my mind was drawn to another significant thing; the energy with which the drivers’ mate shouted the destinations they were heading towards.  I thought, am I that determined to succeed in the business am involved in? The mate was so determined to fill the bus before we set off on the journey and would not give up on shouting.  Despite the many complains that came from the passengers in the half-filled bus, the driver’s mate paid no heed to them and kept shouting to get his half empty bus filled to the latter.    

 LESSON II: When you put your hands to the plough, put all your effort to the task until your cup is filled to the brim. DO NOT be deterred by those who do not support your course, be focused.

The speed with which you reach the top largely depends on you. People rise to the top within the shortest possible time but others take years to make it. Soon our journey begun and I held on tightly to the seat before me. I was filled with “fear of the unknown” because of the speed at which the driver drove, sometimes recklessly falling into potholes and other times crossing the bus stops where passengers wanted to alight.  As furious as we the passengers where, the driver thought we had no reason to complain because he did not want to spend forever on the road.    

LESSON III: Be in a hurry to reach your destination but do not be as reckless as the trotro driver. You CANNOT entertain errors on your journey to the top.

I was glad the journey which took about 45 minutes to make each day was cut to 30 minutes that day. Do not judge my gladness at this and say I supported the driver’s recklessness until you understood what I had to endure in my seat, holding my breath beside the driver’s mate. A shabbily dressed conductor with a bad body odour is what I have to contend with.      

 LESSON IV: A business man CANNOT compromise on appearance. Your outward appearance and the appearance of your working space have a lot of impact on the decision clients make about you especially when you are involved in a service oriented business. The trotro can afford to have the driver, conductor and bus itself unkempt but as a business person you cannot trade a good appearance.

What I forgot to mention was what actually made the journey shorter- the driver made us alight a 5-minutes’ walk away from the actual “last stop.” Confused as we were, we asked questions because that was not the destination he promised to take us. Our questions were answered rudely and slapped with insults by an angered driver and his conductor who did not find any reason for us to complain. I believe if I should ever find this bus anywhere, I will not board it again.        

LESSON V: You can appear in the best apparel, have the best product, deliver on time BUT a bad relation with clients can be the beginning of your failure.

When you have managed to keep all these lessons together, take the opportunity to train yourself so that you get better at what you do just as the driver would coach his new mate to get better at the job he does. Remember practice makes perfect so keep seeking for opportunities to get better.


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