I recently hailed a taxi to take my daughter for her monthly weighing. Whilst in the car, I realised I had never made any effort to find out about how this particular man ended up in the taxi driving business. The conversation I had with him was interesting and this has pushed me to explore further with other drivers. They might just have an inspiring story to share. So next time you hail a cab don’t just treat it as a transaction, try to be inquisitive and share your stories with us.
So this is a summary of what transpired between Yaaro (name of driver) and myself. We interacted in Twi. I have translated it as best as possible to still retain the essence of the conversation.
Me: Do you own the cab you are driving?
Driver: Yes it’s mine.
Me: Nice. Did you save to buy it or was it through work and pay?
Driver: Prior to driving, I was into aluminium fabrication with my brother. It was through that, that I got funds to acquire this taxi.
Me (Getting impressed at this stage): So by aluminium fabrication, you do welding jobs too.
Apparently he landed a big contract in Togo so he had to partner other people in order to meet the contract as it was above his capacity. It was the funds from this big contract that he used to acquire the taxi.
Me: Nice. So which of your businesses is profitable?
Driver: Can’t really tell, I usually use funds from driving to finance my aluminium fabrication business.
Me: So how do you manage your time between your aluminium fabrication and driving?
Driver: I drive whilst my brother who is also an aluminium fabricator attends to the shop and customers. I only go there when there is something outside of his capabilities or when an extra hand is needed. Whilst there I ensure I get reliable drivers to attend to my taxi customers who need to get to places.
The good thing with this driver from my personal experience is, whenever he sends a different driver to pick me up, he follows up with a call to confirm if I was happy with the service. He makes it a point to keep his customers happy.
Good thing is we needed a welder so he might have just landed a new business opportunity!
Lesson: You do not need only formal education to be successful at managing a business. It’s a plus but not the complete solution. It’s about learning to think outside the box. This hard worker of a driver is already exhibiting the following skills which he may or may not be aware of: planning, customer management and entrepreneurship. If you think of it, this driver is self-employed compared to a university graduate sitting at home waiting to be employed.
We mostly assume a taxi driver has been hired by the car owner to provide taxi services to customers.
Don’t be quick to judge others based on how they look or the work they do.
Follow my blog to find out what we can learn from my next taxi driver encounter or from other people’s experiences.