How This Kenyan Entrepreneur Built A $7 Million Dollar Business Before The Age Of 28
Building a million dollar business has largely remained a dream for billions of people around the world. They hope to someday own worthy investments they’d be proud of, but put in little to no real efforts to achieve it, till they’re too old and feel life has left them behind.
While it’s an amazing feat to grow a million dollar business in Africa, attaining it before reaching the age of of 30 usually leaves a lot of people in shock.
Success stories highlighting people who’ve done this shows there’s still hope for the African youth to dream and work towards their goals legitimately, since laudable role models are cropping up all around them.
This is the success story of Trushar Khetia, a Kenyan entrepreneur who did several small jobs across his time as a student, to prepare him for a future where his knack for attention, observation, and ability to exploit opportunities has helped him build a multi-million dollar business.
Here’s how he did it:
The Early Life And Education Of Trushar Khetia
Trushar Khetia was born in a small Kenyan town called Kitale on the 29th of November 1986 to a well-to-do family that was always able to provide his most important needs. He had his primary education at a government school in Kitale, before moving to Nairobi for his secondary school education. Upon graduating at the age of 17, Trushar Khetia moved over to the United Kingdom to study management at the University of Manchester.
While at the university, Trushar Khetia started building his sales skills. He did this by working in several small businesses where he was majorly a salesman; like in video library sales, perfume shops, and also charity fundraising.
His little sales skits helped him land a 6 month position as a marketing manager at a company called Securex in Nairobi, Kenya, while he worked part-time as a DJ at a club called Pavement, in the state.
Upon graduation in the UK, he got a job as a project development manager at Procter & Gamble, in which he worked for 3 years and received multiple promotions in this timeframe.
But while working was one way to make his ends meet, Trushar Khetia’s real dreams was on starting and running his own successful business.
To achieve this, he quit his job and returned home to Kenya in a bid to see how he could contribute to his family’s business and grow it into something of great value.
Within a year of co-running the venture, he was met with fierce restrictions from his family members on certain decisions he was going to either take or make, and so, decided to pull out of the business since no one was apparently thinking as far as he was, and were instead, unknowingly killing his dreams.
This decision he made, changed his life.
His Initial Voyage Into Entrepreneurship
In a previous interview with Forbes, Trushar Khetia mentioned that his voyage into entrepreneurship first happened when he was about 7 years old. In the interview, he said:
“In Year 4 when I was barely 8 years old, I had and still have a passion of reading books. At that age it was all about comic books and children story books. As I was an avid reader, I would finish one book within a few days and move onto the next one. I realized an opportunity when I saw how many of my school friends would like to borrow the books I was reading. This gave me the idea of starting a book library where I would charge a few shillings to my colleagues to borrow the book. By the time it went around my class, the book would have paid back for itself. Even my teachers started borrowing the books from me for their own kids! I didn’t realize at that time that what I was running was a business. For me it was fun, a way to make money in order to buy sweets and chocolates for myself and my friends in school. It was purely driven for my passion for books and I saw why my colleagues shouldn’t also enjoy the same privilege of gaining knowledge.
A year later in Year 5 when I was 9 years old, I saw a second opportunity. Our school canteen was selling boxes of biscuits which were mainly bought by the boarders for their daily tea time as my government school was 90% a boarding school with us being a few of the day scholars. I realized they were overcharging the student compared to how much our own family wholesale shop was selling the same biscuits for. So I started by bringing a few boxes to school on credit from our shop with a promise to pay them back, and started selling them in school to the students at a much cheaper price than the school canteen. This was a win-win for all since they saved money and I made a profit for my family’s shop. Only later I came to realise that I was running was a retail business. Again for me the fun was in selling and saving money for my friends whilst also proudly brining money back home to the family’s shop as a 9 year old! What started with 3-4 boxes a week became 20-30 boxes. It was an amazing experience!”
The Start, Growth, And Expansion Of Tria Group
Upon breaking out of his family business to start his own company, Trushar Khetia acted upon knowledge he had acquired through careful observation while schooling in the United Kingdom. During this period, he always commuted via public buses, trains, and underground tubes. While he was always in transit, he remained in awe at the media/advertising opportunity that these transport vehicles carried, especially on the buses, trains and taxis.
A further research into the industry showed that many companies in the United Kingdom who focused heavily on transit media had yearly revenues in excesses of £1 million Pounds!
Also during his time as the marketing manager at Securex, he was tasked with putting together their advertising strategy for the year 2007, and in the process, he realised the potential the transit media had in Kenya, especially as there were thousands of buses always on the roads, but less than 100 of them carried any form of advertisement.
This opportunity he had observed and structured in his mind over the years went on to become the benchmark for starting his new business. He knew he had to get into this highly unnoticed industry and take as much market share as possible, before anyone else chooses to become a major competition.
To this effect, Trushar Khetia launched Tria in 2013.
He started his business from home with his laptop computer and successfully landed two major contracts worth $78,000 in just 7 days. His first contract was with Unilever to promote their Omo detergent brand, while the second was with Kenafric Industries, which was one of the biggest confectionery manufacturers in Kenya.
The company’s success in one year, which included securing about 30 clients that same year and crossing $1.5 million dollars in revenue by the middle of the second year, pushed him to expand his operations to Tanzania in the year 2014.
His Business Today
Today, Trushar Khetia’s businesses span beyond advertising to include retail, with his acquisition and rebranding of Society Stores at the age of 27. The retail chain is a fast growing business in Kenya, and employs well over 300 people.
To Sum It All Up
Trushar Khetia is an example of a child who had a great upbringing, one of the best educations, but still succeeded on his own terms. He’s an African inspiration because, his success story shows that no matter what social class any individual comes from, they can succeed in their life endeavours with little to no input from their parents.
His keen eye and ability to exploit opportunities is a great entrepreneurial trait every current or aspiring business owner should possess. He has shown that age is never a barrier to what you can achieve, and the ability to execute your vision as soon as you’ve pieced it together is key to someday growing a successful business.
What are your thoughts on this success story of Trushar Khetia? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Image Source: Forbes.com