Business lessons from the rise and ‘crash’ of Gaagaa bus service

Jaluum Herberts

It is often said that business is a marathon, not a sprint.

I was telling a friend about Gaagaa buses. How they entered the transport business in West Nile with one of the best bus services ever witnessed in the sector.

I still recall the Gaagaa experience. The buses were always new. The uniform of the drivers was like that of flight captains/pilots.

There were baskets for dumping rubbish and you’d be given black polythene bags to put your rubbish in. When the bus had a stop over, people were allowed to get what to eat and ease themselves and on return, you were given warm water and the big Geisha soap to wash your hands.

Unlike most buses of the time, Gaagaa didn’t allow passengers to place live chicken, fish and heavy luggage in corridor of the bus. The pathways were clear and you’d easily stretch or move around in the bus.

For us who used Gaagaa buses then and now see a big change (for the worst) the bus company has undergone.

There rampant complaints of the buses breaking down on journeys and on April 6, we were surprised that they had no bus from Nebbi to Kampala because the guys in Kampala didn’t send a bus the previous night.

“We had no customers coming from Kampala so the bus didn’t travel,” was the reason offered by one of the employees.

We had to find other means to send our package.

Gaagaa is an example of many businesses that start with a lot of vigour only for the vigour to die out along the way. I have seen it with many businesses in this country.

Rather than keep improving, they just keep dropping further and further from their own start up line. It’s like the owners want to put in their money once and keep reaping till the business comes to its knees.

Many start with lots of passion, energy and drive only for this to gradually keep reducing till it’s at zero level.

This is one of the reasons it’s advisable that at some point, the founder of the business should give way for new energy to continue spurring the business on since it’s natural that with time the passion and drive keeps deteriorating.

It’s also important to know from the start that investment in a business is not a one off thing. You can’t say, now that I’ve invested my Shs 10 million or Shs 100 million, I will not invest any more.

It’s not good to get comfortable with what you’ve done as every competitor that comes in will seek to out do you hence setting a new standard you have to get to.

The best thing is to keep raising the bar for yourself. If you started a restaurant and bought plates of 30,000 each at the start, then don’t replace them with the ones of 5,000 when they break. Go for those very plates or better still, get better ones of 40,000.

Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is a Speaker,Writer and Business Columnist. He is also a Business Consultant at YOUNG TREP East Africa’s No.1 Business Management and Consultancy firm that helps people start and grow profitable businesses.

facebook: jaluum Herberts luwizza
+256 787555919
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By Gen. Frank L'Oyet

A Ugandan Media Proprietor, Software Engineer, Creative Technologist and Investigative Journalist

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