From Left Marion Wanjiru, Victor Rasugu and Loise Kamanu

When it comes to business, entrepreneurs are said to see an opportunity in every challenge, which enables them to speak the same language in regards to commerce.

From experiencing failures, venturing into the market with little or zero knowledge and teaching themselves, their enterprises have been a constant test to their capabilities and character.

With getting help from strangers and dining with unsupportive families, these four local entrepreneurs have wise words for business starters or those thinking to venture into entrepreneurship.

  1. Reading

According to self taught interior designer Marion Wanjiru, the book Why broke when there’s so much information about money by Collen Lemawane ignited her to find ways to generate more cash from what she had. At the time of the interview, I found her reading The Power by Rhonda Byrne. She said books is how she spends her free time.

Her thoughts were echoed by Loise Kamanu founder of Modesty Collection who recently finished reading Becoming Michelle Obama. She also enjoys reading when not scheduling for goods delivery.

Mr Victor Rasugu, CEO Ahadi Movers wakes up at 3am to read. It is a habit he cultivated and he does not planning on slowing down.

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To them, reading empowers them as they gain more information and stay up to date with changes in technology and their respective fields. Further, they get motivation from reading when they are on the low.

{ Read: Local moving business expands wings to global market }

2. Keeping your word

“This is how one builds trust not only to the customers but also to one self,” notes Mr Rasugu. When you say you are going to do something, make sure you do it because people will remember and your words will not mean anything.

“If I told my client I will deliver my services at a particular day, I ensure I do it even if it is dead in the night, I keep my word always,” echoes Ms Wanjiru.

Both entrepreneurs insist on ensuring they deliver what they promised to the letter and in turn get good reviews, referrals and call backs.

3. Discipline – Time and Money wise

When one decides to be an entrepreneur, self-discipline is what determines how far an enterprise can go. This is because in entrepreneurship, there is no boss to order one around rather it is managing one self .

“I have learned to be very discipline with my time and take responsibility for every action I do,” says MS Kamanu. She adds that being the leader in her growing company made her realize that her employees look up to her and pick up her words and actions.

“I don’t spend money the way I used to when I was employed. Right now, I have to account for where every shilling goes to and how it generates more,” says Zipporah Mwangi, the founder of online retail store BagsandFashion254.

This lesson comes with ones management in executing their daily duties or assigning and having the mind to know when the next stock is set to arrive and when to pay employees and rent.

4. Customer Satisfaction

“Having happy customers is what drives me to kick my beddings away,” chuckles Ms Kamanu. “When she/he is satisfied they will call back always and refer their friends.”

“The satisfaction of my customers is my number one priority whenever I am moving them locally or internationally,” adds Mr Rasugu.

It is important to note that customers are the heart beat of any business, as the local slang goes, ‘The customer is always right.’

{ See Also: Self-taught interior designer with a magic touch }

5. Time is very important

This is in regards to running the business and setting time off to unwind from the busy schedule.

“How you spend your time will determine your tomorrow,” says Ms Wanjiru. For her working 18 hours a day has become a norm whenever she has many orders to do.

However, on Sundays, she ensures her daughter gets to enjoy their time together as her busy schedule keep her away from home in most days of the week.

Ms Kamanu, on the other hand has learnt to stay late in her office when everyone has left so as to plan ahead for the next day, week or the month. The 8-5 trend now seem like a luxury that she can’t afford in order to run a successful business.

“When unwinding I take time to go hike, participate in marathons, swim or visit my parents in Kajiado county. It is very important for me to have spare time for myself away from the work as it can saturate the mind,” she says.

6. Positivity is key

“I distance myself from negative energy because it drains me and I cannot afford that. I have a company to run and people to pay,” says Ms Wanjiru.

For her positivity, has helped her soar high when the rough waters hit her business.

“A positive energy attracts more positive response. Being negative does more than with no good,” recounts Ms Kamanu.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail

“I failed in my gigs in the sense that I made losses yet I had no financial muscle that I needed at that time,” reflects Mr Rasugu. It is from these losses and failing to deliver what he expected that shaped him into being one of the best movers in the country.

“I have failed so many times, but I have picked up myself countless time. Every time I picked myself I went further than when I failed,” recalls Ms Wanjiru.

The fear of failing in doing certain things is what keeps people in their comfort zones, hence no growth career wise or in personal level.

“Failing is part of the journey to success. You need to fail in order to succeed,” adds Mr Rasugu.

{ Read: Facebook drives growth for young delivery firm }

8. Room for growth in self-employment

When Ms Mwangi decided to venture into online selling there was no room for her to grow in employment. She says she was at the peak of her career but her employers were keen on clipping her wings.

“I had to fly, and I did, eventually. Looking back, it was the best decision I made for my personal, financial and career growth,” says My Mwangi.

In entrepreneurship, the experience stretches one to see how far they can go or endure certain conditions in life.

9. Believing in yourself

“This is a simple sentence that we are told when we grow up, but its effect is immense when you believe in yourself,” says Mr Rasugu.  When starting his company Rasugu had to believe in himself that he can move someone from Kenya to Europe within a week, and he did.

“I am crazy about colours that I can mix every shade and make it beautiful. At first I was a bit shy that my customers will not prefer my boldness in colours but I had to believe in myself that I was doing my best and it turns out I was,” narrates Ms Wanjiru.

10. Entrepreneurship is not easy

According Ms Mwangi, when diving into entrepreneurship one needs to develop a thick skin that will see them endure all harsh and favourable conditions that come with new business.

“Be prepared to loss your money, customers, friends and family. It is not for the timid, but it is worth it,” she chuckles.

Mr Rasugu,looking back when he started his company wish he knew that entrepreneurship was not an easy thing.

“My journey has been full of curves, some bad, some pretty good. It is not a straight line journey, it can never be. The roots of entrepreneurship is bitter but the fruits are very sweet,” he adds.

{ See Also: Narendra Raval wins EA Entrepreneur of The Year Award }

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About the Author

Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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