February 5, 2016

10 Kenyan entrepreneurs dish out on starting, running a successful business

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – If your social media feed has been full of 2016 resolutions revolving on starting a business, growing one or turning one into a success, raise your hand.

From Instagram start-up photos, to entrepreneurship motivational Facebook statuses and tweets with hashtags such as #grind2016, we have almost seen it all.

And we get the idea – people are craving to leave employment this year and start their own businesses. Others want to get the grip on the whole run-a-business business while others are hoping to make their ventures successful.

The good news is, I’m here to help you. I’ve interviewed CEOs and business people who have solid advice on starting and maintaining successful ventures as below:

On Starting a Business:

Vimal Shah, one of Kenya’s most successful entrepreneurs said: “Be a risk taker; be willing to put in extra hours to grow your business, and do not do it just for the money because financial success will not happen overnight.” – Bidco Africa is a multinational consumer goods company based in Kenya with subsidiaries and distributors across 16 countries in East Africa, Central and Southern Africa.

You also need to know when it is the right time to get into entrepreneurship. According to Perminus Wainaina, the Managing Director of Career Point, have your entrepreneurship plan in order, do not quit without having tried and tested your idea, seen it’s viable and had enough savings to last you until the business picks up. – Corporate Staffing Services is the second biggest job search engines in the country, helping thousands of people per year find jobs.

“Whenever you have a business idea and you limit it to a certain region, always ask yourself, whatever it is that I am doing, what makes me think that someone from Mexico or Bulgaria will not appreciate it?” Julian Kyula, CEO of Mobile Decisioning Limited (Mo-de) said in a January 2015 interview. – Mobile Decisioning Limited is the financial company that creates mobile wallets whereby Telco subscribers, such as those of Airtel, access nano cash or nano airtime, for instance Kopa Credo.

Mituh Shah, the Managing Director of EatOut Kenya on the other hand said that when starting an idea, stick to what you know and delegate what you do not know. Broken down, if you are good in the technical work, do that and get someone to do the managerial work. – EatOut Kenya is a leading portal that connects customers and restaurants in Kenya.

On Running a Business:

George Wachiuri, CEO of Optiven Limited said in a December 2015 interview: “People buy people. You cannot run a successful business without people. Get the right team, train it and take care of it. Share your vision with your team. This will assist you in building a successful business,” – Optiven Limited is a billion shilling real estate firm.

Vimal Shah also urges those running businesses to know their products inside out. “The precise moment you have an idea in your mind, at least one million other people in China or India have it. Ideas are not unique; executing the idea is what sets apart this idea.”

John Buckley, the Managing Director of Safarilink when speaking on running a business called out to companies to take care of their customers.

According to Buckley, one should begin by building a great relationship with them. “Ensure that you know what they like and improve on what they are complaining about. Do not take them for granted because that is where business begins.” – Safarilink is one of Kenya’s premier safari airlines with a network of connecting domestic scheduled services to safari destinations within Kenya such as Maasai Mara, Samburu, Diani among others.

Airtel Kenya’s CEO, Adil El Youssefi, on running a business asks people to be the biggest supporters of their dream and vision regardless of the current situation. “You cannot give up on your dream just because you are facing challenges,” – Airtel is Kenya’s second biggest network and the world’s fourth.

On Making a Business Successful:

Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore says that it all lies in the vision. According to Collymore, you can only be as good as your vision. “If you have the right vision, and you take the right steps, then success is inevitable,” – Safaricom is the leading network in Kenya, worth about Sh20billion in profits.

“Set goals. Set goals for your business, set goals for your personal life, set goals in all areas of your life. This will give you a successful business and a successful life,” business magnate and serial entrepreneur Dr Chris Kirubi said in an August 2015 interview. Dr Kirubi is considered one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, running several companies which include Capital Group Limited.

James Mworia, the CEO of Centum Investments, on making a business successful asked entrepreneurs to have commitment to results. “Many People either have results or reasons; decide today the kind of person you want to be’ one who delivers results or always has reasons for not having results. With results, success is the next step.” – Centum is a Kenyan-based company which provides investors with access to a portfolio of inaccessible, quality, diversified investments.

As you set out to launch your business or seek to make it successful, Capital FM Business desk wishes you all the best.


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