Focus on perfecting your craft!

Your Everyday People- Interview series

Tell us your name, what you do and how long you have been an entrepreneur.

My name is Gabriel Andika, I am an interior designer. The co-founder of Dekia Interiors which was registered in June 2018. I have been an entrepreneur for 2 years.

How did you get the idea to start this business? Take us to the beginning.

I studied interior design with a goal of starting my own company. On completion of my studies at Ell College of Design, I was placed on attachment at Ell interior designers- a sister company of the college.

Thereafter, I got employment with them for a year after which I left to another company. During my tenure as an employee, I did interior design and decor as a side hustle.

In 2018, Dekia Interiors was founded with my then fiancee -now my wife- who is also an interior designer.

Tell us more about your business. How does an ordinary day look like?

We improve and refurbish spaces for both commercial and residential.

I start off exceedingly early in the morning. I then go over my plan for the day. We have an annual strategy that we break down into smaller achievable daily and monthly targets. So, what I do, I plan on how to not only meet but exceed the daily targets. Meeting the daily targets is key as this adds up to our overall goal.

I engage my audience on a frequent basis in our social media pages through posts that explain more about what we do and the value we offer. There are pages like Builders & Co-creators, Builders Forum Kenya, Home Beautiful and others that have a huge following of people who are looking for services we provide, we capitalise on that.  

In the course of the day, I follow up with my prospects and if I have a project at hand, I ensure I do project management.

How do you market your business and which tactics have been most successful?

We always ensure that we deliver our clients projects to their satisfaction as a result they refer new clients to us. Referrals have worked best in our favor.

Having a presence of our business in social media, has opened us to increasing business. Through this we have been able to market our business to the internet community and connect largely with new clients. Social media has given us an avenue where we have showcased interior design solutions.

What are some of the mistakes that you wish you could have avoided in your entrepreneurial journey?

For a long time before I started this business, I had allowed fear to hold me back. Sometimes, I wish I had started doing this earlier than I did, but everything happens at the right time.

We have spent a lot of money on sponsored ads on our social media pages. I feel we could have channeled this money elsewhere since the ads did not bring the results we had hoped they would.

When we first begun, we had not defined our target market and neither did we do intense market research of what people liked and how we could meet that need. We therefore spent a lot of time and resources trying to figure that out, which could have been avoided.

What challenges do you face in your business and how do you overcome them?

At the beginning, I did not have adequate financial management skills hence I did not separate my personal finances from the business. This saw me loose a lot of money. Overtime, I have educated myself on acceptable financial management practices which has been key in running our business and improved our financial status.

When we started out, we also did not have clearly developed business systems, this saw some operations affected, some resources lost and no proper coordination in the running of the business. Currently, we are working on streamlining the business systems and operations. We are seeing a lot of improvements in our operations.

How has the COVID Pandemic affected your business and what adjustments have you done to combat it?

Most of our prospects have postponed doing business with us because of lack of cash flow due to the pandemic hence slowing down the business.

However, we are frequently engaging with our clients and potential ones on social media, texts and phone calls. This helps us to stay relevant and maintain our brand awareness. It also builds a renewed sense of trust to people knowing that we are still open for business.

When it gets tough in your business, what motivates you to keep going?

I do a lot of personal affirmation. Daily, I encourage myself and I positively face the day with confidence that no matter what we must get things going.

We strive to learn from our mistakes, and our greatest support has been our Heavenly Father. My faith in God has seen us get business that we never expected and there are instances that we got clients that we never thought of. These clients ended up being our biggest supporters of our work.

What are your future plans?

We are working to expand our business and start an interior décor sister company and also add more services and products that we have seen are on demand in this industry.

What advise would you give someone who wants to start a business and they do not know where to start?

Start early. When you are thinking about doing business ,your greatest weapon should be to learn as much as you can about the business, know who your competitors are and narrow it down to the value you are bringing and the unique solutions you are offering. Do not expect instant results, keep doing what you do and clients will come.

Focus on perfecting your craft!

How can people get in touch with you for your services?

We are on Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/dekiainteriors/ and Instagram as https://www.instagram.com/dekiainteriors/

For further inquiries call us on  0703 547 610

“To become a master at any skill, it takes the total effort of your: heart, mind, and soul working together in tandem.”

― Maurice Young

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We all need a side hustle!

Your Everyday People- Interview series

Tell us your name, what you do and how long you have been an entrepreneur.

My name is Pauline Ogolla, popularly known as naildoctor001. I am a Beautician who owns and runs a beauty parlor called Beauty Lynn Studio. We are located at Yusuf Ali mansion in Moi avenue, Mombasa.

Currently, I started what I call a kibandisky, where I sell cereals and groceries that we supply directly to our customers.

I have been an entrepreneur for three years now.

How did you get the idea to start this business? Take us to the beginning.

My childhood passion was beauty. After college I got a job at Style Point Salon, Mombasa, where I worked for eight months earning a monthly salary of Ksh. 1500. Later, I got my second job at a certain hotel that I have forgotten it’s name, where I worked for a year. My monthly salary there was Ksh. 5000. 

Working at that hotel was a frustrating experience. Employees would go for several months without being paid their dues. This increasing frustration created in me an urge to open my own business. What held me back at the time was lack of capital as I did not have any savings to get me started.

I left the hotel and landed a job at Studio 73, there I worked on commission basis for another seven years. Equipped with the great learnings at Studio 73, I was able to rent my own space at a salon called Ariz. After a year of proper planning and determination, I was finally able to open my current salon where I enjoyed immense success and built a loyal customer base.

Until the COVID 19 pandemic hit early this year.

Before I could comprehend what was happening, a stay at home and closure of businesses order was issued by the government. Like many other business owners, we were forced to close and adhere to the government directives.

After staying home for a week, my bills did not stop growing. I became restless knowing that they would not pay themselves. I then resolved to do something to earn some money.

I acted fast.

So, I started buying groceries and cereals and resold to my neighbors and Facebook friends.

God has been faithful; I give him all the glory.

Pauline

Tell us more about your business. How does an ordinary day look like?

Beauty Lynn is a place where beauty speaks for itself. We specialise in, hair services, makeup, facials and nails. Before the world came to a standstill, we could handle between ten to fifteen clients in an ordinary day.

In my other business, which I also call covid-hustle, I supply raw or cooked cereals, fresh vegetables, and fruits. I basically sell anything found in the market that is consumable.

By the crack of dawn, I am in the market to buy my supplies. Mid-morning finds that I am already done with the packaging and sorting out of customer orders and we are on our way for delivery with my partner.

How do you market your business and which tactics have been most successful?

Social media has provided me with an incredible platform where I have been able to reach a wider clientele.  Facebook and Instagram have been my key focus areas. I also mastered the art of using paid ads for my work, this has been a great success in reaching out to everyone who is not within my circle of friends in my social media accounts.

We also strive to offer excellent services in that our clients leave not only happy but satisfied. As a result we have seen an increase of referrals sent our way. Word of mouth is a tool that has favored us tremendously.

What are some of the mistakes that you wish you could have avoided in your entrepreneurial journey?

Lack of proper financial knowledge from the time I started out, made me indulge in some poor money choices. For instance, I used to spend more than I earned, and I spent a lot money when out with friends in order to please them or fit in with the circle. I also did not save for emergencies neither did I separate personal finances from business.

I lost money.

Nevertheless, I thank God for the knowledge that I have gained along this journey. Learning from my mistakes is the best wisdom I got.

What challenges do you face in your business and how do you overcome them?

Beauty industry is flooded with fake products in the market, this has been a great challenge for us in getting genuine suppliers and or products. However, we always try to not only use the best but also genuine suppliers and ensuring that we give our customers value for their money. 

Debt is one area that is affecting most businesses and most people shy away from speaking about it due to fear of losing clients. For us, we found a way to manage it effectively in that, our business operation is not affected. We have a mutual understanding of how to pay our suppliers within an agreeable time frame. In case, of any unforeseeable circumstances that arise, we go back to our suppliers and negotiate new terms. This way we keep our business afloat and still maintain a good relationship with our partners.

We have faced unhealthy competition in the industry such that some beauty practitioners offer exceptionally low pricing for their services. It therefore becomes a bit challenging to offer higher pricing for our services. But at the end of the day, we have chosen to focus on not our pricing but on the quality of our services. Customers, we have realised, they are smart. They understand that quality services is value for their money.

How has the COVID Pandemic affected your business and what adjustments have you done to combat it?

Covid has really affected the beauty industry in general. Personally, I closed my practice for two months following the directives from Mombasa county government. After staying home for one week, I got bored and started thinking whether to continue living in fear like others or embrace the change and figure a new way to make a living. I chose the latter.

Viazi karai* idea come to my mind and I gave it a shot. I started cooking viazis and supplied to my local community within the estate where I live. Then, people started asking for raw potatoes. That is how the idea of supplying groceries was born.

Immediately, I started going to the market to buy groceries, then I would add Ksh. 30 for each order and deliver at the comfort of my client’s doorstep.

The pandemic opened my eyes that we all need a side hustle in life.

Preparing for deliveries

When it gets tough in your business, what motivates you to keep going?

When I look back at where I have come from, I see that I have covered the biggest hurdles in my life. I affirm myself that I did not come this far to give up when the going gets tough. I have learnt to lean on God and seek his guidance and He strengthens me to keep pressing on.

God is the lead in my business.

Surely, if you put God at the center of it all, He will guide you through the tough times.

What are your future plans?

I am working towards opening branches of Beauty Lynn in Nairobi and Kisumu counties. It is also my hope that my new venture in food  supply will blossom into a whole sale shop for cereals in 2021.

What advise would you give someone who wants to start a business and they do not know where to start?

You can do anything that you have set your mind on. The beauty of it is that, you do not need much to start, start with what you have, where you are.

Challenges are there. You will face them, but do not give up. Keep striving to where you want to be. You will get there no matter how long it takes.

How can people get in touch with you for your services?

For our services like our page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/lynnsnailbar and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/beautylynnstudio . We are located at Yusuf Ali Mansion shop no.5 along Moi avenue ,Mombasa.

Call us on 0780969336 to book your appointment.

Order today

*a popular coastal dish made from frying potatoes

Believe in yourself and all that you are, know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle

Christian D Larson

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What more motivation do I need?

Your Everyday People- Interview series

Tell us your name, what you do and how long you have been an entrepreneur.

My name is Mildred Nafula. I own and run a small business where I cook and sell viazi* karai to my local community. Viazi Karai is a dish made from potatoes. Whereby, you first boil the potatoes, then slice them into sizeable pieces, coat the sliced potatoes in food colored green gram flour and then deep fry. The result is what we call viazi karai.  It is then served with mild to hot chili and or tamarind sauce, commonly known as ukwaju or any sauce of your choice. You can then accompany it with tea, vegetables, juice, or any accompaniment that you desire. Viazi Karai is a much-loved local delicacy, popular within the Coastal community. I have done this business since the time my first-born daughter was three years old.

It is 19 years now.

How did you get the idea to start this business? Take us to the beginning.

I came from a humble family background, hailing in Busia County, Western Kenya. My family struggles and having not gained an opportunity to finish school, drove me to seek a better life. Not just for me but for my family at large. Armed with a determination to make something of myself, I saved the little cash that I got from doing odd jobs in the village and took the first bus to Mombasa. All I needed was a job. Any kind of a job that would help me put food on the table and help me take care of my mother and my siblings back home.

During my stay in Mombasa where I was working as a house manager, I met a handsome young man who I would later fall in love with, got married to and sire with him two beautiful children. A girl and a boy.

Tourism in Mombasa back in the ‘90s was really booming. My husband worked in one of the biggest popular-tourist-loved night clubs in the region as a barman. His decent salary combined with the daily generous tips he got, was able to carter for all our basic needs. I enjoyed my role both as a housewife and a mother. My husband was our sole provider. We were comfortable. I was settled.

One day, trouble knocked my marriage door. My loving husband’s focus shifted elsewhere. Without a warning, he stopped honoring his responsibilities and subsequently, became a stranger in our home. This was the beginning of the end of my marriage and the bills started piling up. I was unsettled.

Then tragedy struck. My older brother died. I was devastated. It crashed my soul in ways that I can not put into words. I asked my husband to facilitate my travel upcountry so that I could join the rest of my family in giving my brother a warm send off. He denied me.

This incident of not being able to bury my brother, was a moment of epiphany for me. I was greatly disturbed. I did not want such a tragedy to strike twice and I was not able to travel upcountry to bury my loved one due to lack of funds, especially if it were my mother. It was then that I knew I had to start earning my own money. Real quick.

One sunrise, with 500 shillings borrowed from a friend, I walked into the market and bought a crate of potatoes. I came back home and shamelessly, set up a fire right outside my residence.

That was the start of my viazi karai business.

Tell us more about your business. How does an ordinary day look like?

The early morning cries of the first cock, finds me at the market. I usually buy a sack of potatoes directly from the supply trucks that deliver from upcountry. I must be there on time as they are offloading. This enables me to get fresh quality potatoes and at a discounted price.

On days that I have stock, the first cock-a-doodle-do will find me setting up at my work area. Any household, that wakes up in the morning to get their kids ready for school, can buy ready made viazi karai for breakfast. You can imagine, on a daily, by 6 AM, I have already set up fire and am preparing breakfast orders. On a regular, you will find me boiling, frying, taking orders and packing viazis for different customers at any given time of the day.

 At 7 PM, I wrap up.

How do you market your business and which tactics have been most successful?

One thing that I have mastered, is the art of customer service. Not to thump my own chest, but I have exceptional customer service skills. I listen to my customers and put myself in their shoes. I take their complaints to heart. Where I need to improve I do so without hesitation, where I need to apologies and make amends, I do so gracefully.

My aim is to exceed my client’s expectations. I make sure my viazi karai’s are tasty, well cooked and my work area is clean. As a result, I have attracted a huge customer base and built a great rapport with them. What this has done for me is, the customers, in turn, tell others about me- Mama Viazi and how much they love my viazis. So, word of mouth has worked tremendously for me.

I have customers who come from far off neighborhoods and some call-in advance to make orders. I couldn’t have done it any other way.

What are some of the mistakes that you wish you could have avoided in your entrepreneurial journey?

This busines is not easy. I wish I knew how to slice the potatoes correctly. At the beginning the slices were too big and at some point, they were too small. In both cases I lost money.

I also took a loan for the business from a financial institution, instead of channeling it to the business, I used it to meet some personal obligation. This costed me terribly. I paid off the loan with interest without making any money from it.

Savings was unheard of when I first started. I was not keen to put some of my earnings aside. In cases where I had emergencies, it was difficult to bridge that gap. I struggled quite a lot.

What challenges do you face in your business and how do you overcome them?

Like I had mentioned earlier, I have mastered the art of customer service. I listen to my customers, I take their complains seriously and I make amends gracefully where I should. This way, I ensure that my customers leave not only happy but satisfied.

As you know having a strategic location for your business is key. Getting such a location for me was hard at the beginning. I kept shifting from one location to the other before settling to the current one.

There are times I may buy potatoes in bulk and get some rotten ones somewhere in the mix. You can not cook such and sell to customers. So I am forced to buy more potatoes from local retailers to cover the bad ones, I do this so that my customers do not miss their daily order, but from my end, I incur an extra expense that cuts into my profit.

Competition in this business is stiff. My next-door neighbor just here across the street does the same business and several others around the neighborhood. I therefore find myself putting in more work on not just the quality of the viazis, but also on my overall services. There must be that one thing that must be outstanding so that customers can keep coming back for more. It is probably in the way I talk to them, perhaps it is in my way of greeting, maybe my parting shot or the extra sauce I add to their serving. Whatever I do, I give it my best. That one thing is what I work for that will give me an edge over my competitor.

How has the COVID Pandemic affected your business and what adjustments have you done to combat it?

COVID has slowed down my business. Most people as you know have been affected in one way or another. Some have lost jobs, others have taken a pay cut, schools and churches that are my clients have closed. This has decreased my sales especially at the beginning of the lockdown.

However, with all these on goings, never have I ever stopped working. Neither has my work ethics changed. I still wake up at the crack of dawn to carry on. So over time, I see people are becoming accepting of the new norms, by and by customers are returning. My being open has renewed trust in my customers and slowly they are coming back.

When it gets tough in your business, what motivates you to keep going?

This business of mine has taken my kids to school. Single handedly, I have struggled from cooking viazis just to ensure that my kids stay in school, and not just any school. I took them to relatively good government schools. I was determined to see my kids get a good education that I never got a chance to attain. 

My kids have never got any scholarship, any form of sponsorship or any private or government bursary to see them through their education. I did not borrow from individuals or any government body to ensure that my kids learn. All I did was turn my face away from any kind of shame and I stopped pestering their father to provide for them. Then, I accepted my circumstances, took stock of my life, and got to work.

For almost twenty years now, I have endured the hardships and joys of cooking viazis in open fire on a daily.  My daughter and son have finished secondary school successfully. I am working on their further studies. My business has enabled me to pay my rent for both my house and my work premises. My kids have never gone to bed hungry. I save on a regular basis. I support my mother and my siblings back home. I am now able to travel upcountry, comfortably, for any family functions.  

What more motivation do I need?

What are your future plans?

I am confident that my future is bright. I have faith that I will achieve the goals that I have set for myself. Where I have come from was the most difficult part of my life and I overcame it. The rest of the journey is much bearable. I have since joined a local Sacco where I save money daily, this will help me get a loan of a certain amount that I am aiming at and gift myself a piece of land. I have plans, which are underway, to expand and diversify my business.

What advise would you give someone who wants to start a business and they do not know where to start?

My kids will tell you that, I always instill in them, to focus on their lives and how they can get better. That they should appreciate where they are and what they have and with all that they can, work on moving forward. I remind them always to never compare themselves to anyone. They are unique and with a specific purpose on this earth and they need to get out there and find it.

Likewise, do not compare yourself with anybody. You are in your own journey. Get up. Start where you are with what you have. Do any menial jobs if you have to. Start with the little money you have if you must. Do not stop. Build progressively from there. Work hard. Work smart. Be goal oriented and each day work to became better than you were yesterday. It does not matter what kind of work or business you are doing. Take pride in it. Shamelessly. 

Surely, why won’t God bless the work of your hands after all the effort you have shown?

Finally, How can people get in touch with you for your services?

I will be delighted to serve you. I am situated a few meters from the Shanzu Gospel Revival Church, just come and ask for Mama Mercy.

*Potatoes

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Wouldn’t it be nice to learn from others?

There is a young man that I know who runs a small essential business in his neighborhood. This guy, has a stall where he sells fresh vegetables to his community. He is very popular with his customers such that at any given time, you will find a sizable crowd waiting to buy from him. He is always busy; taking one order after the other, packing the veges, giving change, answering questions and pleasing his customers.

When he first started as far as I could remember, several years ago, his business was really struggling in terms of getting clients, stocking up and from what I saw, he also lacked a proper stall. He sold from a makeshift structure that was not dependable. Looking at him today, he owns a decent stall, he stocks fresh produce, he is popular and his customer base has grown. Overall, his business seems to be thriving.

This got me thinking that this young man must be doing something right. Whatever, it is, must be shared with other people. He must have collected some lessons along the way as he was building his business that have seen him raise to where he is today. I think it is imperative that he tells his story and we get to learn from him.

He might not be a millionaire- yet, neither an Instagram influencer, but he has a story- a story that needs to be told and with lessons that we can all benefit from. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is how our series, “Your Everyday People- Interview series” was born.

In the next five weeks, we will run a weekly interview of your everyday people. People who wake up each day to hustle and put food on the table for their families. People who are resilient in their pursuit of their dreams. People who have had the urge to quit but they did not, instead, they kept on going. People who against all odds, made achievements in their own rights. People whose stories need to be told and voices heard. People whose lessons need to be shared.

These are your everyday people. People that you know and you can identify with.

They are ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

Listen, this is an interview series that you don’t want to miss. Make sure you subscribe and be sure to tell folks within your community to subscribe to our blog and get inspired firsthand!

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Wouldn’t it be nice to learn from others?



Watch out for our first interview in this series! NEXT!

*Photo: Courtesy

Let’s take a drive. Shall we?

Driving angry the sports car stock illustration
Image: Courtesy

My daughter and I were in the car one early morning, back when she was in kindergarten. We were crossing the Nyali bridge heading to her school when a motorist who, was driving on the wrong side, oblivious of us, tried to cut us off the lane.

If you are a driver on Kenyan roads, then you know what am talking about.

During rush hours, indecent drivers, overlap from the wrong side and try to repel you off the road in a ruthless manner without caring of an impending accident that they may cause. Most of the time, during these hours it is a ‘drive of might.’ You must contend with unruly matatu* drivers and rude motorists who clearly do not understand the ‘stick to your lane’ saying.

It can be a frustrating experience, one that often, ends with spiting of unpalatables and throwing tightened fists in the air by the aggravated parties while honking endlessly!

Not a pretty sight.

Back to our story. This driver tried to cut in front of us from the wrong side of the road. Unknown to him, I had already sighted his unwelcome intentions from the rear view mirror of my car, so I did what any other responsible Kenyan would do; In a split of a second, I straightened my back, gripped my fingers tightly on the steering wheel, lifted my head and accelerated bridging the gap between me and the car in front!

My instant actions caused that rogue driver to break insanely and momentarily came to an immediate halt causing a standstill of the vehicles behind.  Indeed, every action begets a reaction; The motorists at the back started hooting mercilessly! A few craned their necks out of their windows and venomously stripped the offender naked with words!

I did not miss any of that drama from my side mirror! With a triumphant grin and a jab at the steering wheel I drove off feeling like a daytime hero of our time!

It was then that it hit me that my little passenger was not impressed with the show.

One look at her and the smug on my face was wiped out! She had one of the biggest frowns that I had ever seen in a five-year-old.

“What’s wrong mama?” I asked her cautiously as I navigated through the traffic.

She took a slow deep breathe.

“This is not a race mom!”

You little kid, I just bought us five precious minutes. Five precious minutes of our lives out of traffic! Five minutes!

“Huh?” I asked puzzled as I took a turn.

“Mom,” she said with finality in a voice that I knew so well when something was coming. “You should just have let that car pass!”

Sometimes, I wonder if you are my daughter or my mother!

“Baby, that driver was on the wrong.” I replied softly.

By this time, we were pulling over in her school.

“Yes mom,” that voice again. “But it was not a race. Just let them go!” she gestured with her hands.

I considered her words for several seconds as I packed the car right outside her school gate. Her school nanny who was standing in wait, dashed to the passenger door. I turned to my little princess and looked at her with renewed admiration, marveling at how wise she was at her age.

Until she becomes a driver on these Kenyan roads!

“You are right baby.” I hugged and kissed her goodbye. “It was not a race.”

As I was pulling out of the school packing space, I could not help but dwell deeply into what my girl had said earlier.

It is not a race!

Just let them go!

Reflection

How many times in our lives do we fix ourselves into other people’s timeline?

That driver was in a mud rush to get to where he was going. We were not in the same car. He had his destination, which was not mine. He had his purpose for that day, which was not mine. He had his own mind of what he wanted in his life, which was not mine. That driver and I were two separate individuals with two separate lives.

It is not a race!

Just let them go!

How many times do you rush to do things just because other people are doing it?

Do not get me wrong. If it is your purpose to do the same, do so, at your own timeline. At your own space.

Why do you rush to compete with other people’s lives? You do not know their struggles, you do not know their prayers, you do not know their timelines?

Why are you worried that it might be too late for you? Perhaps this is the time for you to start doing what you are meant to.

Why allow yourself to suffer over things that you have no control?

It is not a race!

Just let them go!

We all have different timelines. Let people do what they must do as you pursue what sets you on fire. If you must compete, let it be with yourself.

Side Note

These days when I drive, I give way even when am on the right. If you are like that driver and you feel you need to get ahead of me, I let you go! As simple as that! This gives me a lot of peace both on and off the road.

“When you run your own race do not worry about the next person’s pace, mind yours, after all this is your own race not theirs.”

― Gift Gugu Mona

*public minibuses that are used as a mode of transportation within the city

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The Power of Asking

“If only you knew just how much power, you hold inside of you, you would be unstoppable!”

WILLIAMS: Some truths about the history of slavery | Toronto Sun
Photo: Courtesy

Early this year in February 2020, I held my first sales seminar. We called it, Ignite Your Sales Seminar 2020. It was hosted in one of the best locations in the CBD in Mombasa, Kenya.  Back in the year 2019, I had written down one of my strategic goals in 2020 was to organize and host a Sales Seminar that would bring together a diverse number of people who were employed and or did businesses.

I have always held to the belief that sales is the cornerstone of any business. If you are employed, doing business, earning an income of some kind or simply living life in anyway, you are always selling something hoping that someone would buy.

In business, if you are not selling, you may as well not be in business.

I wanted to organize a sales seminar that would be empowering to anyone who was in sales.  The idea was for people to come together and learn how to ignite their sales in the year 2020 while at the same time network with likeminded individuals.

Since this was my first seminar, I had a lot of fears within me. First, I was working with a very tight budget. Secondly, being fairly new in the consultancy world, I was not sure if anyone would show up for the event – I was not a household name. Thirdly, I needed to have a mix of speakers that would speak on different topics geared toward the theme of the seminar- Ignite your sales in 2020. Lastly but not least , I needed the right people to work with me in the logistics to bring this vision into reality.

Take a second and imagine the pressure I was in.

Immense.

I needed to get everything in order in good time. Booking of the venue. Advertising. Assembling of the speakers. The right pricing. Getting the right workforce to work with, meet the deadline etc.

That is not even the story.

Truth is, I was cash strapped. All I had was my vision and the determination to see it come to fruition. I had no money to pay the speakers. And I was faced with the dilemma to charge the delegates a premium fee that would be enough to also pay the speakers. I contemplated that for a second.

Then again, I was a new player trying to get my footing in inspiring and motivating lives. Who would pay a premium?

It took a lot of will power and the fire within me to continue with the planning of the sales seminar despite the challenges I was facing. I strongly believed in the value that I was offering, and I knew whoever attended will not leave the same way they came.

That was the transformation I was gearing for.

I identified professionals and experts in their fields within my local community.  Personalities that I knew would add value to my delegates.

Then, I exercised my power of asking.

You can imagine, the brevity and the strong fort I put when I made those calls to the potential speakers as I sold my sales seminar vision to them. At some point I thought I was overselling myself. I was not going to back out. I was focused on making it happen. I largely explained the value that both the delegates and the speakers would get from the sales seminar. I humbly asked if they could please make time from their busy schedules and come to give value -for free?

I made calls. I pushed. Some said No. I persisted.

In the end, through persistence and strong belief in my work, I got five YESs from five different speakers!

Let this sink in.

We finally had our dream team speakers! I was super excited!

The day of the Ignite Your Sales Seminar 2020 came. Delegates did not disappoint. They showed up in numbers that really encouraged my team and I who had worked so tireless to make that day happen.

Saying that we had a great time would be underselling the success of the sales seminar! The speakers gave more than a hundred percent of themselves, something that to this day, I humbly appreciate with the whole of me. The seminar sessions were interactive, fun and with incredible lifetime lessons.

Exactly as I had envisioned it.

All this happened because I ASKED.

Ignite Your Sales Seminar is an annual event that we hope to be hosting. The success of our first, encouraged me to dream for a much bigger, better sales seminar for the year 2021 and the consecutive years.

This is for you!

Go forth and ask, ask, ask! Ask shamelessly! Get rejected and move on to the next person. Ask for help. Ask for ideas. Ask for whatever resources you know you need. May the fire in you burn more than the fear of asking!

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Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new

Barack Obama

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Time to Play!

New Pooh, Piglet Walking Hand In Hand - Winnie The Pooh And Piglet ...
photo credit: courtesy

Rabbit’s clever,’ said Pooh thoughtfully.
‘Yes,’ said Piglet, ‘Rabbit’s clever.’
‘And he has Brain.’
‘Yes,’ said Piglet, ‘Rabbit has a brain.’
There was a long silence.
‘I suppose,’ said Pooh, ‘that’s why he is always doing things alone.” (adopted from Winnie the Pooh)

What is it that sets your soul on fire?

You may have this strong belief that you have what it takes to make your ideas and dreams come true. You probably know that; it will work out and that you are the best at it.

For the big idea to work you need people to support you. After all you are the vision carrier and as such you need people to help your vision materialise. You need people to help you with the necessary resources, such as capital, mentorship, labor or just a simple encouraging word to help you propel forward.

You are so excited that you seek everyone that you know with a bid to getting the help that you need. Your expectations are extremely high, you know without any shadow of doubt that they will buy into your idea.

Bingo!

You are faced with rejection. The people you thought will help you, do not see the big picture as you see it. In fact, they do not see it all. No help comes your way. To make matters worse, they tell you that your idea will not work, that you will fail and that it will be a waste of time.

True, when you take a long look at what you must work with, you realise that they could be right.

Doubt creeps in and you start questioning the very existence of your being.

What do you want to do?

Here is what I say.

Congratulations! Now you have an audience. It is time to play!

They are obviously watching with snorted noses waiting for you to fail.

Maybe not.

Show time! Do not disappoint; It is time to walk alone.

Rabbit (Winnie-the-Pooh) - Wikipedia
Photo credit: Courtesy

Walking alone is a particularly good thing. You know why?

  1. It is your idea; nobody knows it better than you.
  2. If you do not do it, one day you will regret having not made the decision to.
  3. The best part is, there are no restrictions of anyone’s opinion to hinder you.
  4. What about resources? You say, “I don’t have any” Great that is the beauty of it all. You must consider how much fire is burning inside of you and how badly you want to let it out.

I always ask my mentees, “What is in your hands”?

Look critically at what you have. Do not ignore any small thing. Use that at hand without shame. Then build progressively.

  • When you start working on your idea, the right people will meet you along the way. When you are in search of something so bad, the universe will conspire with everything it has to give it to you.

Understand, it might not be immediate, but it will come.

  • It takes brevity to move forward against all odds. Understand, you are your own encourager and cheerleader.

Anyone who has made it in life will surely tell you that it was never easy. Quitting is not an option for you.

You must see your future as a success of what you want, then come back to the present and go through the struggle to achieve it.

You owe it to yourself to start walking alone. The others will catch up along the way.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.”

—Piglet

Adopted from Winnie the Pooh

Watch out for our Next Post we will talk about “The power of asking”.

I need to keep myself together!

“You can’t change that. You can’t fix that. You can keep yourself together!”

Three months ago, I had several plans; I had scheduled meetings, events that we were looking forward to host, dates with my family and friends, travel bookings and school activities to attend. You name it!

Suddenly, a ‘Stay at Home’ order! came through the door faster than any of our plans could materialise. Then everything changed. I mean,everything!

As we were settling down to the new norm, at some point I became restless. You will agree with me when I say that it was not easy to adjust to the new changes; stay at home, raise your kids, home school your kids, get your work done, run a business, stay healthy and at the same time keep sane.

I asked my friends to share some of the healthy habits that they did during the lock down while focusing on their businesses and or work. Here is a list of some things that I managed to put together.

You can adopt some if you are not already doing them.

  1. Do some gardening at your back or front yard. You will be surprised at how much fresh vegetables your family will be getting on a daily basis.
  2. Get potted plants and give life to your doorsteps, balconies, window panes and some selected areas in your house. Tend to these plants on a frequent basis.
  3. Create different theme days at home with your family. You can have each family member give input on what they would like done on a daily basis. e.g. beach theme day, paper craft day, sports day, karaoke night etc. No idea is too small. Have fun while at it!
  4. Have a duty roaster for the kids and adults in the house. Come up with a reward system for exemplary work done!
  5. Lay out a family alter and specify a time that the family will be meeting for fellowship and sharing of the word of God.
  6. Rearrange your furniture and redecorate your home. Have other members of the household give a helping hand.
  7. Learn and try out different recipes on a daily basis. Have a good laugh when the food doesn’t come out as you had hoped!
  8. Organise a food drive with your friends, family and your community at large. Give to the less fortunate.
  9. Reach out to family members and friends that you have not spoken with in a long time. Make amends.
  10. Remember how you have been postponing for years to start working out because your excuse was that you were busy? Now it’s a good time to start.
  11. Have you always wanted to write a book? A blog perhaps? What are you waiting for?
  12. Make a habit of sitting down with your family members and just talk. Talk about your dreams, their dreams, fears, plans. etc. Make it meaningful.
  13. If you have always wanted to change some aspects of your life like getting out of a bad relationship, changing careers, relocating, making new investments etc. Take time to reflect on these, plan and start taking measurable actions.
  14. Unclutter your house right from your wardrobe, pantry, kids old toys to the store and garage. Donate all you can.
  15. Update your CV, professional papers and accounts.
  16. Repaint and repair your house.
  17. Get creative and make stuff using recyclable items in your house. Have your family join in.
  18. Repair your clothes.
  19. Start knitting.
  20. Create an online club i.e book club, cooking club, business club etc

Feel free to add some of your own to the list that we can all learn from.

Keep Safe!

Watch out for our next post where we will talk about why walking alone is a good thing!

Garbage in, Garbage out

When the first case of a coronavirus patient was announced in my country, I suddenly became anxious about the reality of the pandemic having hit closer home.

I went on a panic-cleaning spree in my house. Mixing all sorts of detergents that I could get my hands on, cleaning every surface area at reach; right from the floors, tables, door knobs, window panes you name it. Then I started over reading about the virus in various social media platforms; what was happening around the world, how people were getting infected, the number of deaths occurring each day, the despair that people felt, how to protect yourself etc.

I engaged in various social media posts where people posted all manner of information most of which was unverified or personal opinion of the corona virus , which was just terrifying to say the least. For several days I did not sleep well because of the imagery that I had created in my mind from accessing all the panic inducing information. As a result, I went into a complete shutdown and my mind stopped thinking and focusing on what was important in my life like work and family. I stopped working or thinking on the next steps that my business should take in the midst of this pandemic.

For several days, I allowed fear to paralyse me.

One day, I came to the realisation that I had allowed my mind to be preoccupied with “garbage” and this affected my productivity and my sense of reasoning. I had to bring myself to a new space and acknowledge that, filling myself with panic and unverified information was not healthy.

You know what they say, garbage in, garbage out.

It was then that I resolved to making a personal decision to stay clear off “garbage” and focus on the positive aspects of my life. I started appreciating the environment around me more. I noticed the calmness during the day due to low traffic flow and at night I enjoyed the comfort of the stillness of the dark. My appreciation of the people within my circle grew and I let them know as much. I chose to spend more time with my child and enjoyed it tremendously.

I took a minute and looked at my life from a new perspective and with it a new fire ignited within me to strive ahead. I reaffirmed my relationship with God and relied on his word to get by. I sieved all the information that I was feeding myself and became deliberate in search of the knowledge that I needed. I blocked links from my social media accounts which were not productive and I set out on a healthy plan on how to live, love and work in the midst of the pandemic.

For the first time during the pandemic, I felt I was in control of my life.

So, what is it that you are feeding your mind during this unprecedented times?

You have to be very purposeful of that which you allow to get inside your mind. Remember, there is life after the corona virus. You must live as if you will survive because you will. We must keep our hope alive.

Be selective with the kind of news that you are watching, the type of media forwards that you are receiving and the type of activities that you are indulging in during this lock down. What you feed your mind, grows, and it will manifest itself in ways that you will either have control over or not.

You get to choose.

Watch out for our next post. We will talk about some healthy habits that you can choose to do during this lock down while focusing on your business or work.

Let’s Chat

I am sure that just like many other business owners, you did not foresee a pandemic in the year 2020. Infact, you may never have imagined that there would be any pandemic in your lifetime. The pandemic that you knew of was what you saw on tv and block buster movies. None of what you watched ever crossed your mind that, one day, in your lifetime, you would ever live through it.

The covid-19 pandemic has affected our global ecomony in several ways. For instance , schools have closed and parents are forced to home school their children, most businesses have closed, some companies have laid off their workers and most people are faced with an uncertain future.

In the midst of all this uncertainty, what is your business continuity plan?

As a business owner, now would be the time not to panic but to sit down and strategise on how your business will continue after the pandemic. Here are a few pointers that will help you form a business continuity plan.

1. Have a winning attitude

You must have it in your mind that you will survive the pandemic and live to see the aftermath. You must see yourself in the future running a successful business. It doesn’t matter if you are closed right now or the sales are in the negative at this moment. Having this positive winning attitude helps you wake up each day with the determination to do what is expected of you. This attitude propels you forward in your mind and actions. It keeps you on the high to salvage your business no matter what. Right now, more than ever, you must have a solid mind frame.

2. Restructure your business model

If your business does not have an online presence, it is time to create one. If there is a lesson that business owners have learnt during this pandemic, it is the importance of having your business online. This way, you are able to serve a wider range of clients from anywhere in the world at any comfortable place that you are in. Take your time now and restructure your business model to fit an online profile. You can start by opening a business page in the popular social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram then start building your business from there.

3. Make a fresh strategic plan

One thing we can all agree on for sure is that, the pandemic has disrupted our business strategic plans. Most businesses have annual strategic plans, these are goals that have been written down on how they will be accomplished in a given financial year. Now, is the best time to restrategise and write out fresh strategic goals. If you did not have any strategic goals, you will need to write and plan on one right away. You can redefine your next six months, say from July to December and write down SMART, sales strategies that you will follow through.

4. Learn a new skill

Remember how much you fall short on bookkeeping? This is the perfect time to learn a new skill. That skill that you know you need in your business but you have never got round to learning. Perhaps, you need to learn how to make SMART sales strategies; maybe you need to learn how to market your business online. Perhaps it is a new baking recipe for your business. Whatever skill you know you need to learn, do it right now. When the pandemic is over you will simply apply it and move your business forward.

5. Network

If there is any pinch that we are feeling right now is the importance of people around us or the lack of them. In the wake of pandemic , we have had to social distance. This has made us realise the importance of people in our lives. It is the same in business. You need to network albeit online and find people with skills, knowledge and same interest as you that you can use and learn for your business. Follow these personalities on their online platforms, connect, network as much as you can. Build relationships that will became fundamental in your business journey.

You can add more to the list of things that you can do in order to make your business continuity plan. Remember there is life after the pandemic. In the meantime as you plan for your business don’t forget to follow the recommended guidelines to stay safe, protect yourself and your loved ones.

As part of having a business continuity plan, we have a Grow My Business Coaching Online Program that you can take advantage of during this lockdown.

Read more on it below.