WHILE the country was reeling in crisis around 2006 until 2008 and hyper-inflation was at its peak, some enterprising individuals were observing and identifying gaps and saw the moment as richer ground to establish their start-ups.
In the midst of economic unrest, Tinashe Mutarisi founded Nash paints in 2006 and went to officially register it registered on 27th of March 2007. Nash Paints manufacture and distribute automotive, decorative, wood paints to a variety of customers and painting accessories.
Mutarisi’s story starts way back as a young man struggling to make ends meet yet the need for survival was rife. He then managed to lend a job at a shop in Chivhu in order to be able to go by in life. In his quest for a much better life, he crossed the border, leaving behind his birth home.
“After leaving my job at a retail shop in Chivhu, I left for Botswana looking for greener pastures. It was during my time in Botswana that I felt the need venture into the paint business having seen the opportunities that abound in that industry,” Mutarisi told the Entrepreneurial Magazine.
While in Botswana, the enterprising entrepreneur managed to save money which came in handy as the start-up capital for his business. Later on, he obtained financial support from financial institutions for expansion and growth in the later years.
Going down the memory lane one can reminiscence how the year 2008 was the worst for the country’s economic outlook to the extent of government suspending the filing of official inflation statistics. The period was characterised with highest annual inflation rate in the world, price controls, closing up of manufacturing firms due to huge losses, prize freezes, overvaluation of the Zimbabwean Dollar by the interbank rate, loss of investor confidence and domination of the black market for foreign currency and basic commodities.
However, as bleak as the future seemed, it did not deter the determined entrepreneurs to set up companies that later turned out to be game changers in this current era, and Mutarisi bears testimony.
“Doing business in a generally difficult economic environment is not easy. The currency was so unstable that at one time it was unimaginable to survive beyond the challenges but I am grateful to God for keeping us going and to our clients for the continued support,” Mutarisi said.
“It takes strength of character and determination to start a business but once you do, everything falls into place, albeit with challenges along the way. One just has to stay focused because quitting is never consistent with winning. I am grateful to God for the first steps I took and even glad that I got to have vision helpers and funding partners that helped me grow the brand.”
In the early years Nash Paints faced challenges in Brand acceptance. This was however overcame by producing quality products and marketing efforts. Procurement of raw materials also came as another challenge and establishing relationships with suppliers of raw materials came as a solution. Nash Paints also faced distribution challenges and this was curbed by establishing own retail outlets.
“It’s always important to apply due diligence before you embark on any enterprise. Carry out your market research and always endeavor to stay ahead of your competition. Above all, always treat your clients with respect, the customer is king assertion may sound cliché but it remains true to this day. Businesses that work on attaining brand loyalty always survive the industry turbulences,” cautioned Mutarisi.
“Winning is all about hard work, excellence and team work. At Nash Paints, we believe we are the champion paint company and in all we do we always endeavor to give the best customer experience to all who believe in our brand and products. For that reason, we have remained the most sought-after brand. Our quest is to outlive whatever setbacks and challenges we encounter along the way.”
Nash Paints started with only one branch at Chikwanha shopping center in Chitungwiza with only three employees. To date it has grown to be regionally recognized with footprints in South Africa and 3 Zambia Branches.
“The Nash Paints Group is now employing in excess of a thousand people and we are happy to be playing our part in creating employment and growing the Zimbabwean economy,” Mutarisi said.
“We have won numerous awards, ran successful and game changing campaigns, have championed life changing corporate social investment initiatives and have introduced amazing products but we still feel there is a lot more we can do.”
Throughout its years of existence, Nash Paints has also mastered the art of acquisition and diversifying. The company has diversified into furniture and the music industry.
Mutarisi went on to highlight that diversification though consistent with growth is not a venture for everyone adding that it comes with a lot of challenges and demands.
“We are glad to be spreading our tentacles to all sectors of the economy for common good. We are hoping for continued support so that together we can contribute towards a viable economy,” he said.
“It is imperative that one continues to adapt and reinvent in sync with obtaining trends in their area of interest. Competition is real in business but a good business person masters the craft and employs new strategies to stay viable and relevant.”
The business tycoon advised aspiring entrepreneurs to prepare themselves for opportunities citing how success happens when opportunity meets preparedness. He added that if opportunities do not come, they should be daring enough to go look for them and even create them.
“By this I am not saying it’s easy to start something but like the wise say, attitude determines altitude. To those already in business, they must never stop learning, adapting and reinventing. If the results are coming then they must go all out and consolidate their gains but if they are not, they must reinvent and explore other avenues,” Mutarisi emphasised.
“Doing the same thing and expecting different results is certainly retrogressive. Above all, let’s keep the faith and keep believing. We may be streams today but there is room to become rivers tomorrow.”