Two days back I met with an old collage friend. We were catching up as we always do when we meet. Listening to his story really inspired me and challenged me. We were both classmates, in collage studying IT, over 15 years ago, before going to the University for our Various Degrees.
This is a gentleman who decided that he will get rich by growing our country IT and ENERGY sectors. Of course he is extremely ambitious from his choice of industry. In the beginning I though he was crazy but he started making the right moves from as early as collage.
Firstly, he built his network of friends, experts, financiers,
influencers, policy makers and business moguls form collage. He was determined and would not allow any shut door or regret deter him from his course. He made the connections with sheer persistence and determination that every successful person recognise as GOLD! Moreover, he grew and maintained the relationships over the years and only called in favours when necessary. He reminded me that knowing someone influential is not a guarantee of support and influencers can change at any time. A good product or concept sells to anyone!
Secondly, know your stuff. You must know what you are selling inside and out. You must know how the industry works. The Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) . You must also have innovative solutions. The truth is there is nothing new under the sun just a new, impactful, profitable way of getting things done! This was his edge. He though out of the box, created a new box and still though out of it. Over the years he has adapted with the changes in the industry(locally and internationally) and adjusted accordingly. Versatile!
Thirdly, he was audacious. He made proposals to investors that I frankly though were preposterous. True several were not accepted but every so often (and now more often), the proposals are accepted despite looking too large and ambitious. The trick is to hang in there, get the first project up and running.
Fourthly, be consistent. Everyone loves to be part of a success story. He shared that he severally thought he would be in financial ruin but due to the strong network he was able to get support to see him through. A nail biting tight rope walk sometimes and a huge relief when you cross the hurdle!
Fifth, diversify! There are seasons in weather and in life. Businesses and industries have cycles that every entrepreneur should be aware of and plan accordingly. This affects the cash flow cycle as well. So to ensure you have enough cash at hand it is important to supplement and feed into your CORE business with other ventures that attract cash especially when the cycle is low for your core business. Remember CASH is KING for any business. Remember 80:20 Rule on use of resources! (Use 80% of your resources on what makes most money).
Sixth, his passion and vision made it easy for partners to buy into the projects and invest. As an entrepreneur, you must have a long enough vision that others including your partner, financiers, partners, suppliers and employees can buy into and invest in. You are an entrepreneur must always be passionate, believe and invest in your own venture for others to join you. Making a pitch on a company that you only give 20% of your time or don’t provide enough resources to is not very inviting to partners, customers, employees, suppliers, financiers or investors. They buy into your passion and story! Further, if you are not invested, it is easy to get distracted with other get “rich quick scheme” but you need to stay on course to fulfill your dream!
Seventh, Get best advise, and collaborate. To move fast you walk alone to move FAR you walk with others. Huge projects require diverse expertise and competencies. Often you don’t have all these skills. You need good expert advise. You can employ or share profits with a person with the expertise to reduce supervision and share role . This requires trust and good contracts. Focus on where your strengths are, do what you are good at and delegate(outsource) the rest. Many people want to do things alone and end up making many mistakes that they could have avoided due to lack of knowledge.
People only see a business person when he starts being successful but it has been over 10 years journey to realise his ambition. My friend is a beacon to youth and Kenyan entrepreneurs that;
- You can make money in Kenya
- You can create big things
- Start early and invest wisely
- You can do Global Business in Kenya
- It takes time and resilience but the fruits are worth it
- Take bold steps!
- Never give up!
*We shall feature this entrepreneur in this blog in the near future. Look out for that post. Contacts if you wish to be featured as an entrepreneur in our blog [email protected]
*check out our sister blog post on http://blog.mpowerlimited.co.ke/networking/event-mpower-networking-high-tea-3rd-february-2018/
For: Mpower Limited