The impetus to start what becomes a successful business is often fired by a passion for a particular product or service.
However in some instances, it can be equally successful when born out of frustration at existing services.
In the case of Microbyte Systems Limited and owner-operator Ruth Sami, it was the latter reason which kick-started her New Zealand-based business.
While the bulk of her business throughout the Pacific is providing stationery equipment and I.T. equipment, she has been known to go right outside the box for her Pacific customers.
“Over the years I have been able to source all sorts of products. The biggest was getting a cruise liner here to provide extra accommodation, the next biggest, a fishing vessel.”
Coupled with first-hand knowledge of the Pacific business world, Ruth set up her business in Auckland after leaving Fiji in 1986.
“I had helped set up a computer company Datec in Fiji, so I was familiar with situations where ordered products didn’t arrive from New Zealand or were incorrect. I was also familiar with the Pacific way from having lived there for six years as a local.”
A commitment to accommodating people’s requests, and great service is at the heart of her company, she says.
“I always go that extra mile to make sure my customers get their products in the shortest time possible. I can consolidate orders into one parcel from different suppliers which saves customers money. The customer then pays a charge for one package rather than charges for each individual parcel. I am also able to respond to and accommodate urgent requests.”
Her ability and willingness to trouble shoot when products need repairs or replacement also makes her services invaluable.
Her business connections and up-to-date knowledge of products is something she is proud of.
“I’m not just a supplier, I’m there when things go wrong,” she said. “I can also point out when items are obsolete and offer customers a better option.”
The 28 years she has been in business also gives her credit accounts with hundreds of companies which she is able to use to the advantage of her customers.
“You need patience, understanding, open mindedness and a can-do attitude,” she said.
And her academic background and job experience was an ideal match for her career choice.
“I studied Computer Studies at Auckland University as well as Programming and Database Management. I also worked as an accountant for large and small businesses.”
So where does she go to relax?
Her decision to holiday in the same area where she does business she says, is a deliberate one.
“Samoa is my favourite holiday destination because when I think of heaven on earth; this is it.”
She has seen changes over the 20 plus years, “the buildings, the roads, the growth of the private sector and the integrity of some, are all positive.”
“I am thrilled to see Taumeasina Island Resort but I still love Fao Fao Beach fales at Saleapaga.
“There’s room for both options,” she said.