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GUEST:ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS AND SURVIVING THE FIRST FEW MONTHS

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS AND SURVIVING THE FIRST FEW MONTHS
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS AND SURVIVING THE FIRST FEW MONTHS

Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s stressful and pretty much demands your complete focus. On the plus side, it can also be a fulfilling experience professionally and personally.

Do a self-inventory:  Not everyone has what it takes to start a company. That’s not to say that your idea is not brilliant. It just means that you may not have the personality traits to handle launching a company of your own. Before investing any time or resources, evaluate yourself and see if you have some the typical traits of an entrepreneur. Are you motivated, able to adapt and confident? Are you resilient? Do you have personal integrity?

Develop an idea:  Don’t just start a business because something is in vogue and you think commercializing it will make money. Develop a business concept that you’re passionate about related to something that you have experience with. From there, come up with a product or service that you believe can enhance the people’s lives.

Test the plausibility: Once you’ve settled on an idea, figure out how you can make it become a reality. Is the product or service something that people want or need? Can you make a profit selling it? Does the product work?

Write a business plan:  A solid business plan will guide you going forward. It’s also needed for presenting your idea to potential investors. Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation.

Identify your market:  Even though you may have detected some interest in your business, you need to do more homework. Assess the market, targeting the customers most likely to make a purchase. Perform a competitive assessment.

Determine the costs: Do additional research and find out the standard cost factors within this industry. Not only will this help you manage your business more effectively, investors will want to know this.

Establish a budget:  Once you determine how much money you’ll have to work with, figure out how much it will take to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan.

Find the right investors:  You’re going to need some sort of funding to start off, whether from your savings, credit cards, loans, grants or venture capitalists. Find an investor who shares your passion, someone you believe you can work with.

Listen to investors: Whether you like it, investors do have a say in your company. And you need to listen to their advice or suggestion. But that doesn’t mean you have to do what they tell you.

Set up a great support system:  You’re going to be investing a lot of time and resources into your new business venture. Be certain that your family is on board. They must be aware that this process will be challenging financially and emotionally.

Determine the legal structure:  Settle on which form of ownership is best for you: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, an S corporation, a nonprofit or a cooperative.
Select a business name:  Decide on a name that best suits your business. Then check to see if the domain name is available online, as well as if it’s free to use in your county, state and in the country.

Register your business name:  If your proposed business name is available, register it with the government, have it trademarked and secure a domain name.
Take advantage of free resources: to enhance your business skills, numerous free resources can offer advice, training and assistance.e.g kuza biashara, mara mentor #askkirubi etc.

Determine tax obligations: Now it’s time to wrestle with the tax obligations.

Secure permits and licenses: Ensure you begin the application process for permits and licences early enough since some of these processes take quite some time.

Buy insurance:  Make sure that you arrange for the proper insurance for your business. This will vary according to the type of business. If you’re working from home be sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers theft or damage to business assets, as well as liability for any business- related injuries.

Set up the accounts books:  Figure out if you’re using a cash or accrual system, determine the fiscal year for the business and set up a recordkeeping system.

Choose a business location: Select a location that best fits the needs of your business, one that offers an opportunity for growth, the right level of competition and proximity to suppliers. It should also be accessible to customers.

Don’t worry about an office: If you’re not making any revenue, then don’t concern yourself with an office or warehouse just yet.

A patent can wait: Patents can cost thousands of dollars. Wait to pursue this route until you have a few customers paying the bills. A patent is less useful if you can’t enforce it or have the money to see it through.

Be flexible: Chances are that your original idea will have to be modified. Being able to pivot and adapt to create what customers want will determine if your business will fail or succeed.

Share your ideas with friends and family: Your nearest and dearest will most likely be the most honest with you about your business. Don’t hesitate to seek their advice and suggestions.

Ignore the naysayers: At the same time, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and someone’s quick jab projecting that your business will fail. Always ignore them.

Don’t become angry: If your idea is rejected by customers or investors, don’t just succumb to anger. Find out what they didn’t like, make adjustments and go back to them when you’ve made the changes. There’s the possibility that the timing was wrong as well.

Deliver the product or service fast: Your business is a work in progress and if you launch your product or service quickly, you will be able to build a community of customers who can provide valuable feedback that can help you improve the offerings.

Offer new products or services: If you already have customers, be sure to hold on to them by providing new products or services.

Be patient: Always keep in mind that success won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time before you make a profit.

Over deliver at first: Once you land a new client, be sure to go above and beyond the call of duty for at least the first month. You’ll have this customer hooked from then on.

Blog all the time: Don’t be ashamed to share both your triumphs and struggles. Customers will enjoy your honesty.

Avoid fights with partners: If you have disagreements with partners, then sever ties as soon as possible. In-house bickering will prevent you from focusing on growing the business.

Don’t worry about dilution: So an investor has required a stake in the company. Recognize the fact that eventually at one point or another you’ll have to give up some control of the business. Accept it and move on.

Hire a copywriter/secretary:  Unless you’re an excellent writer, hire a copywriter to compose emails for highly targeted customers. A copywriter will also prove handy for press releases and other pieces to spread brand awareness or provide business updates.

Prepare for meetings: When preparing for a meeting with a client, read up on everything that’s available, steeping yourself in information about the industry, that firm’s employees and its competition.

Don’t fear the competition: Don’t bad-mouth the competition when talking to investors or customers. There’s no need to become an object of pity. In fact, talking in this manner might even point customers to a competitor who may offer a product or service that you don’t. Remember, when competition exists, there’s a market for your business. Use that knowledge as inspiration to outperform a rival.

Benefit from word-of-mouth: Nothing beats some good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. Let friends, family members and influencers in your field spread the word about your product or service.
Network: Don’t be afraid to get out there and show your face to the public, whether at a conference or just being out and about with friend on a Friday night. But try to stay local because travel can dwindle your budget.

Provide outstanding customer service: Interacting with people is a big part of the job. Your business may gain new customers because you made them feel important.

 Be sure your website functions: Potential customers want to know as much about your business as possible and they should be able to quickly access that kind of information on your website.
Don’t be overly concerned by the economy: Some of the best businesses have launched during a recession.

Make sure clients pay their bills on time: Always be certain to receive payment for your products or services. Instead of being taken advantage of, establish a time frame for payment. It also wouldn’t hurt to accept credit cards and have an online payment system set up.

Find the right employees: Hire the right people for the job. Even though it’s your business, you won’t be skilled at every task, which is why you need qualified people to complete the work.

Assign responsibilities: Delegate attainable tasks to employees. This is all about effective management.
Know that honesty is the best policy: If any issues with employees emerge, be sure that they are addressed. No one enjoys being talked about behind their back.

Remember that opposites attract: Hire people with skills and personalities that are the opposite to yours. They’ll challenge you and will bring different skills and talents to the business that you don’t.

Say goodbye to your social life: You’re going to spend a lot of time devoted to the business. Even if you plan a night out, you may leave early because a light bulb just went off. Hopefully those closest in your life will understand.

Recognize that you’ll be the final person to be paid: As the CEO, you’re the last to collect a cheque. That’s just how it works until there’s adequate revenue.

Arrive at a useful definition of success: Just because your business hasn’t made you a millionaire (yet) doesn’t mean that your enterprise is a failure. If you’re able to make some sort of profit doing something that you’re passionate about, isn’t that a success story?

Realize when it’s time to move on:  Failure is inevitable. If things aren’t working out and you’ve done all you can, then put aside your pride and close up shop. Something like this is not easy to accept. But it’s for the best.

Don’t just rely on the advice of others: Despite my offering up all of these tips for you, perhaps the most important piece of advice is something learned the hard way: While many people may offer a startup assistance, recognize that in the end you’re the person running the show and the one responsible for the company’s success and failure. If you understand what worked and what didn’t, you’ll burnish the skills and knowledge to run your business.

 



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Why Is It Difficult For Female Entrepreneurs to Get Investors?

Image Courtesy | Odyssey Online
Image Courtesy | Odyssey Online

For some reason, many investors prefer investing in men compared to women. Access to funding is one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs. Female Entrepreneurs, regularly ought to make greater effort to show their credibility compared to male entrepreneurs, especially when dealing with Venture Capitalists who are a male-dominated group.

This may be due to the predetermined notion that women are not as competent as men as far as Entrepreneurship is concerned.

In this article, we look at some predictable reasons for why female entrepreneurs find it more difficult to get funding.

1. Entrepreneurship Experience

The lack of practical entrepreneurial experience is one of the reasons why women fail to get proper funding. Many women lack entrepreneurial aptitude because of lack of practical experience.

Aspiring women entrepreneurs have to first get practical experience in the field they hope to venture into before they begin implementation of their business ideas. This will help them get some exposure and help them to better handle challenges they face in entrepreneurship. Practical experience in entrepreneurship greatly compliments the knowledge we get from books and studies.

2. Mobility

Due to having to juggle between family commitments and professional life, many women entrepreneurs are not able to give their 100% to entrepreneurial ventures. Cultural restrictions imposed on women in certain places also serve as a challenge since women don’t have freedom to travel to business meetings and move around to fulfill their commitments.

However, the hassle lies within the perception of every individual. To overcome this, women should ensure they have support of their close circle of relatives and friends when they decide to venture into business. Whether you are a married woman or a single woman, the support and the encouragement of family is vital. Women also need to establish a balance between household commitments and business pressures.

3. Venture Capitalists

Venture capitalists prefer to invest in startups run by people they know directly or indirectly since they trust them more. However, the gender gap between men and women in entrepreneurship highly favors men posing a challenge to female entrepreneurs who often have to work twice as hard to secure funding from venture capitalists.

Female and male entrepreneurs may have similar qualifications, however, the minor gender-based variations pose a challenge but then, hope and possibility remains. Women should not only be encouraged to get into entrepreneurship but also to become venture capitalists so that they can help other women to come up.

4. Profile

Many people think that the profile of a successful entrepreneur is that of a man. If you try to think about it, you’ll understand how true that is. Whenever it comes to giving an example of successful entrepreneurs, we take into account Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Dhirubhai Ambani etc.

That is the same image in the thoughts of financial establishments too. They have an opinion that men could be extra reliable than their female counterparts.

To overcome this, we need to change our mindset to embrace and celebrate women in business. As much as we also appreciate the contribution made by reputable men in the entrepreneurship world, we shouldn’t forget the women who have conquered the world.

5. Networks

Having lesser networks is also a reason for female entrepreneurs not getting funding. That’s due to the fact that networking uncovers possibilities where they may not be apparent, giving entrepreneur’s access to capital and management when they require it. A person with contacts of 100 members is much less probable to know someone who is powerful than a person with 300 contacts in their network.

A recent study found that women have smaller networks than men, spend less face time with their seniors, and are much more likely to have a network made up of different women. All of that adds up to fewer opportunities and the notion that Women founders lack network contacts.

Women are hindered in building networks due to the fact that they have a tendency to be worried about their work-life stability.  All the studies about networking display that men generally tend to spend extra time with men, while women frequently have very balanced networks.

Final Word

Over the past years, female entrepreneurs had to prove themselves in the male dominated world of entrepreneurship where for a long time, they haven’t received the same treatment when it comes to opportunities. However, this trend has been changing. Women have proved their worth in all fields.

There have been several trials made my social activists to offer girls equal opportunities in all areas, which helped to enhance the situation. But still, there is still more work that needs to be done. Few investment corporations have been initiated with women entrepreneurs who made it big. Considering the gender bias in Venture Capitalist funding, there should be a change. When more women get into entrepreneurship, then more Venture Capitalists can see successful women entrepreneurs. And women entrepreneurs should change their approach towards networking in order to secure Venture Capital.

Even though many entrepreneurs face gender discrimination yet there is a hope that there are as many experienced successful women venture capitalists that started their own enterprises, and they keep inspiring the other Women to succeed.

Author Bio:

Pritam Nagrale is a blogger and running a digital marketing company in Mumbai. His blog SureJob writes about make money ideas & tips on career development.



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Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes

Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes
Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes

Growing your business is a step by step process that certainly does not happen overnight. However with dedication and persistence growth is inevitable. Today, we share 10 practical ideas that you can turn into action steps for the growth of your small business.

USE YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS

When you think of growing a business, the first thing that comes to mind is getting new customers or expanding your client base. However your current customers could be the key to your increased sales. All you need to do is to vamp up your customer service strategy with more focus on customer retention and word of mouth marketing. Some simple tips like remembering your customer’s names, responding promptly to customers queries online and listening to your customer’s needs and feedback can help promote customer loyalty and have your current customers bring in new customers.

PARTICIPATE IN TRADE SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS

As a small business owner, you need to take every opportunity to showcase your business and get your brand out there. What a better way to do this than taking part in trade shows and exhibitions that are relevant to your industry. If you are a fashion startup, find ways to get into popular local fashion shows and fairs. Food startups can make use of food expo’s, and the list goes on. The best thing about trade shows is they draw people who are already interested in your product/service and it’s a great way to get new customers, investors and suppliers.

DIVERSIFY YOUR PRODUCT LINE

Another way to grow your small business is to slowly introduce new products/services related to what you are currently offering. When you start a small business, for example, a bakery, you will have that one product that your customers will love the most hence defining your brand, like cakes. After some time though you can try expanding to other pastries like cookies, bread, maandazi, e.t.c, as long as you maintain the same good quality. This concept can apply to other businesses as well. However, before you venture into new products, it’s important to conduct a market research first so that you may know what your customers needs are exactly.

EXPORTING YOUR PRODUCTS OVERSEAS

It is much easier to have a global market for your product/service now than it was in the past, thanks to tools like social media that have made the world a global village. With a great online marketing strategy and a quality product, you’ll definitely start attracting international buyers who may request to have your product shipped to them. You can start off by shipping to one or two customers as you expand and slowly penetrate other markets. To make it here though, you need a strong online presence since that is where your customers are.

QUICKLY ADAPT TO CHANGE

One thing that will make your startup grow and set you apart, is being able to quickly adapt to changes in the market and within your industry. I’ll use an example of the food industry. There was a time when you only had to go to a physical restaurant to dine. However, the concept of delivery came through and the restaurants that adopted to this quickly gained a whole new client base that had food directly delivered to their homes. Restaurants that didn’t catch up however are not reaping the benefits of the new market. Ensure you are up to date with changes and innovations in your industry.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

As a business owner, you constantly need to diversify your skills and be all rounded. As much as you have a team in place to handle different tasks, you’ll definitely play an oversight role and this requires you to have basic knowledge in most topics like IT, finance, and communications. Make time and take business related courses, further your studies, attend relevant workshops and conferences. All these will translate in making better decisions for your small business and in turn boost your growth.

FOCUS ON ONE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM

Social Media is huge. There are clearly big sites like facebook, twitter and Instagram that have been there for a while but newcomers such as Snapchat are also gaining ground quite fast. However, as a small business, instead of opening accounts on multiple social media platforms, why don’t you conduct some research, find out where your target market is and use the best site to reach them?

EMBRACE LOCAL WEB DIRECTORIES AND S.E.O

Search Engine Optimization is a detailed topic but for this article, my advice is to have your business listed on as many local web directories as possible. Web directories are a great place for your business to be found when someone searches for a product/service you offer on the internet. Examples of local directories you can sign up for are Yellow Pages Kenya, Kenya Business Directory and Kenya Business Listing.

DELEGATE

You cannot possibly handle everything yourself as a business owner. You have to figure out what your personal strength and skills are and delegate the rest of the work to an experienced team of people you trust.

REWARD YOUR TEAM

Most small businesses have quite a small but productive team. This is why it is so important to keep your employees happy and motivated. Some simple ways to do this are giving them bonuses once in a while, having clear communication lines, helping your employees achieve their personal goals and having rewards for outstanding performance.

FINAL WORD: Do not be overwhelmed by all these ideas but pick one or two that are relevant to your business and work with them. Overtime, your business will reap the rewards.



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Inspirational: Great Lessons in Failure from 3 Top Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Great Lessons in Failure from 3 Top Kenyan Entrepreneurs
Great Lessons in Failure from 3 Top Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Show me a successful entrepreneur who has never failed not once, but multiple times. Whether its investing all their savings and losing it all before the business even takes off, having extremely harsh competitors who can do anything to keep someone else off their monopolized market or even business partners walking out on you. The list is endless.
If you are in business, or looking to get into business but are too scared to dive into the deep waters, here are 3 successful Kenyan entrepreneurs who have had enormous failures but still made it big.

Tabitha Karanja
Tabitha Karanja

When you think of success, you think Tabitha Karanja. However, the Founder of Keroche Breweries has had to encounter so many challenges that could have completely set her back. Being a woman in a male dominated industry and getting into a business that was already monopolized, her resilience pushed through to make her one of the top entrepreneurs in Africa.
Some of the major challenges she faced were a smear campaign against her drinks that claimed her drinks were unhealthy for consumption. She also had to fight a court battle on tax where she was asked to pay Ksh. 1.2 Billion in 14 days but she fought the case and won. At some point, Keroche Breweries billboards were pulled down upon charges of unethical trade practice; and these are just a few obstacles she faced.
In an interview with Capital FM, she was quoted saying;

The way my challenges came you could never try to think of giving up because if I ever gave up, it meant that I could have hurt a generation, especially my children and anyone trying to come up in business. Then people would have later said… you remember that woman who started a beer business and closed down?

She has gone on to win several awards such as the Business Woman of the year 2014 at the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards, Transformational Business Award 2015 and Entrepreneurial Excellence in Africa Award just to mention a few. She also believes that women have an equal chance as men to succeed in business if they set their mind to it.
Lesson; Don’t be afraid to take risks and walk the path that many seem to avoid.

George Wachiuri
George Wachiuri

George Wachiuri is undoubtedly one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kenya. The founder of Optiven Limited started his company 18 years ago with savings from his previous jobs. When he first got into real estate, his focus was on providing value added plots to Kenyans. However, it wasn’t easy at first. The first plot he bought worth Ksh. 5 Million ended up being a con and he lost all his savings. Things were not looking great. The huge loss took the company through a great depression and Mr. Wachiuri started applying for jobs in order to make ends meet. He got a job as a lecturer at a local University but his income still wasn’t enough to meet his needs.
In an interview with Business Daily, he was quoted saying,

After the loss I swore that I would never do business again, but I remembered that winners never quit and quitters never win.

He then ventured into property investment afresh having learned from his past failure and went on to make Optiven Limited one of the most successful property investment companies in Kenya.
Optiven has been continuously recognized for its impact to Kenyans and they have won several prestigious awards including coming first in the Kenya Top 100 SME competition and being voted a Super Brand. George was also recognized this year as the Best Entrepreneur at the Diaspora Entertainment Awards and Recognition (D.E.A.R).
Lesson; Do not give up on your dreams even when you fail. Use your failure as a stepping stone and a lesson to do better next time.

Chris Kirubi
Chris Kirubi

Unlike some of us who had a fairly easy childhood, Chris Kirubi grew up in a poor home, he lost his parents at an early age and he had to start work early in order to meet the daily needs of his family. This experience lay a foundation for him to become the successful entrepreneur he is today. However, building his business empire did not come without its fair share of challenges and failures along the way.
One of his notable failures was when he tried to venture into the painting industry. Chris thought that as long as he produced quality paint, his product would sell. At the time, the paint industry was dominated by a few individuals who were also the major distributors and contractors. They were threatened by Kirubi’s new product and in order to stifle his product, no big contractor would buy his paint and there was no one willing to stock his product. The few who took his paint took it on credit with the promise to pay back but they never really paid him. After some time, Kirubi went into huge debt and he was forced to shut down the company.
However, this did not stop him from trying out other business ventures after learning from his past failure. In an interview with Capital FM, he was quoted saying,

All this did not deter me from achieving my vision. It however gave me the strength and power to move on to better things. I became wiser and made sure that every business I invested in thereafter would be a success.

Lesson; Know when to move on when something isn’t working but keep your dream intact.

Final Word;

As an entrepreneur you’ll never be successful if you are unwilling to take risks. Have an open mind, push for the results you want to see and accept that at times, you will fail. However, do not allow your initial failures to define your entrepreneurship journey. More so, a failure may be the motivation you need to move forward.



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15 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY OUT OF WRITING

IMAGE COURTESY|FREEPIK
IMAGE COURTESY|FREEPIK

Being a writer can very easily lead you into the path of entrepreneurship if you take your craft seriously. The beauty about writing is that you can take writing jobs as a side hustle and make extra cash or work at it full time. So if you have great writing skills and wish to make money off it, here are some ideas that could be perfect for you.

1. Freelance Blogger

Do you have a laptop? Fast internet? Dedication? And a love for writing? Then you’re all set to make money as a freelance blogger. There are numerous blogs out there that require services off freelance contributors at a fee. You can start of by signing up on freelance platforms like upwork.com, guru.com and freelancerkenya.com.

2. Social Media Manager

Most small businesses have warmed up to social media because it’s free and an effective marketing strategy to reach clients. However, not all business owners are familiar with the management of different social media platforms so opportunities for social media managers are limitless. If you are a creative soul and can write short intriguing posts with a bit of graphic design skills, you can as well make money off it.

3. Short Stories Writer

Everyone loves reading a good story whether it’s fiction or a journal of real life experiences. My personal favorites are Mwalimu Andrew and Lizzy’s World on Daily Nation. If you have been writing stories and probably just stashing them away in your drawer, it might be time to consider fine tuning and making extra cash out of it. Start off by pitching your content to local dailies and magazines and you might just be the next favorite columnist.

4. Marketing Consultant

Marketing is a major part of every business. Even the smallest businesses have basic marketing strategies which makes consultancy in marketing a viable business idea. You have to be extremely creative though and be in touch with what customers/clients want to see or hear. With skills in creating catchy content for different communication channels and ads for marketing campaigns, you are good to go.

5. Translator

Are you fluent in one or two international languages? If not, you could consider learning an extra language especially if you are quick at picking up new languages. Translating documents is an expensive business and you can make on average Ksh. 30, 000 per page depending on the document type and target language. It’s certainly an opportunity you should consider.

6. Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate marketing is one of the latest e-commerce trends and a quick way to make extra cash. If you have your own blog, affiliate marketing is something you should consider. All you need to do is add affiliate links within an article or anywhere in your blog and you can earn a commission once a customer is referred to an e-commerce website through your blog and they make a purchase. If this is a field you would like to explore, this article by our guest blogger has more details.

7. Researcher

Are you passionate about market research, surveys and analysis? As part of their growth strategies, most organizations conduct market research so as to know how exactly their products/services are doing in the market and which areas to improve on. With great research and writing skills especially in writing surveys, drafting questionnaires, gathering data and writing reports this is an opportunity you can tap into.

8. Song Writer

Song writing is a lucrative industry that pays quite well especially if you break through. The opportunities for song writing are not limited to writing for established singers, you can also write songs for adverts, T.V shows and movies. Song writers make money from royalties based on how well a song does.

9. Teach

Have you been writing for a while now? Do you have a number of published articles? Or you probably have authored a book or two. There are quite a number of upcoming writers out there seeking for opportunities to grow in their skills and you could be that inspiration for them. You can consider offering themed workshops on writing at a fee.

10. Grant Writer

Are you passionate about humanitarian work and social entrepreneurship? Many NGO’s and social enterprises are always looking out for funding through grants and proposals. If this is your area of interest, grant writing is a field you can consider.

11. Script Writer

Since the Communications Authority enforced the 40% rule on local content by all local T.V stations, the demand for script writing has also increased. With a background in film production, a passion for creating content and some connections in the film industry, you can try your hand at script writing. This is not just limited to local TV programs but also plays.

12. Speech Writer

Speech writing is a lucrative business especially if you break through to writing speeches for top corporate gurus and politicians. You can start small by writing speeches for your local politicians and your close friends in the corporate world then grow from there.

13. Ghost Writer

With ghost writing, writers are hired to produce content but the credit goes to the person who hired them. Most of the content produced by ghost writers are autobiographies, memoirs, magazine articles and scripts.

14. Business Plan Writer

There are quite a number of people out there with great business ideas but they need help putting their ideas into a working plan as their first step in implementing their ideas into action. If you have the skills, you can help such entrepreneurs draft a business plan at a fee.

15. E-Book Writer

If you are an expert at something or if there are topics you have wide experience and knowledge in, you can create an e-book on the topic and sell it online on platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publish, Lulu and Blurb.



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10 Businesses You can start tomorrow

Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes
Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes

Are you tired of that 9-5 job you’ve had for the past few years? Or you probably have too much time in your hands that you feel it’s time to venture out and start your own business.

The truth is, 9 to 5 jobs can get monotonous and you are limited when it comes to how much money you make and the amount of control and flexibility you have.

For some reason though, most people shy away from entrepreneurship since It seems so complicated and too risky. When we think about where we’ll get capital, how we’ll find clients, it gets overwhelming so you are always procrastinating and using the excuse that you are not ready.

However, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here are 10 businesses that don’t require too much capital and that you can actually start working on tomorrow;

 

1. Photography

Professional photography is one lucrative business that fortunately does not require too much capital. You only need to invest in a good quality camera. To start with you can get a good professional digital camera for anything between Ksh.15, 000 to Ksh.20, 000. With good contacts and top notch photography skills, you can get a lot business from weddings, birthdays, graduations, funerals and any events.

Photography
Photography

 

2. Boda Boda

The boda boda business is one of the most popular businesses in Kenya especially in the informal sector. In a day, most boda boda operators take home between Ksh. 2,000 – Ksh. 3,000 or more depending on their location of operation and how good business was that day. Boda Boda operators in urban areas tend to make more money due to the high cost of living and more demand. You can hire someone to operate the bike daily on an arranged agreement, as long as you get your cut at the end of the day.

Boda Boda
Boda Boda

 

3. Online Courses

Are you an expert on something? Do you have knowledge or a skill that is highly sought after? Do you have a great personality? Then you should consider starting an online platform where you offer courses on your area of expertise. The truth is that people will be willing to pay for something that will add value to their careers and lives. All you need is a website, great content packaged in a way that is easy to consume and a great digital marketing strategy.

Online Courses
Online Courses

 

4. Farming

Farming is one of the easiest, most popular ways to make extra money. With a small piece of land, you can invest in farm products that attract a lot of market and profit. Vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, cabbage, sukuma wiki and carrots have a ready market and they don’t need to be planted on large scale. Some of the areas with the best soils for farming are Kiambu, Kakamega, Rift Valley and Kisii.

Farming
Farming

 

5. Selling Breakfast and Lunch in offices

Who says you need a restaurant or stall to make it in the food industry? Most people who work in offices located in urban areas don’t like going too far to get food, so why not bring food to them? The good thing about this business is you can cook from home and deliver the food to various offices. All you need to do is foster great relationships with senior management of the offices near you so that they allow you to sell food to their staff. For this business, you need a capital of Ksh. 1000 to Ksh. 5000.

Selling Breakfast and Lunch in offices
Selling Breakfast and Lunch in offices

 

6. Web Designer

Online marketing is hotter than ever with every small business needing web presence. Creating websites is a skill that you can learn online and if you have an IT background, you are better placed. To start, you can start freelancing by offering to create a website for close friends and family as you grow your networks and establish yourself.

Web Designer
Web Designer

 

7. Wedding Planner

Are you a hopeless romantic? Do weddings excite you? Are you a regular on all your friend’s wedding committees? Then it might be time to take that to the next level and make money of it. Getting into wedding planning however requires a lot of networks from florists, photographers, caterers, fashion designers just to mention a few. Once you have your contacts, start off by planning a wedding for someone in your inner circle, get a mentor and grow from there.

Wedding Planner
Wedding Planner

 

8. Baking Cakes

Unlike the past when cakes were reserved for special occasions, cakes are the signature delicacy for all events today. From small office celebrations, launches, birthdays, graduations and weddings, the cake business is booming. This business does best in urban areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu where there is high demand.

Baking Cakes
Baking Cakes

 

9. Tailoring

If you have a passion for fashion, creating fashion designs and some basic tailoring skills, you could consider taking some tailoring lessons and making it a full time business. A basic sewing machine will set you back Ksh. 15, 000 – Ksh. 20, 000 and to start, you can work from home before getting your own shop/stall.

Tailoring
Tailoring

 

10. Selling Ice-cream

The hot season is back, guess what that means, there is more demand for ice cream. To start a simple ice cream business, you need a fridge and basic ingredients and you’re good to go. You could start a simple ice cream joint in your estate or target specific places such as outside supermarkets, offices and colleges. However, expect a lot of competition. Like many small businesses in Kenya, once you are all set up and have a steady stream of customers, expect three, four people to come set up right next to you.

Selling Ice-cream
Selling Ice-cream

 

Final Word: Starting a business is not easy but it doesn’t have to be so complicated either, If you’re willing to put in the work, learn new skills and focus on turning your passion into a profitable business. Think big but start small.



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Blog business

Need Funding for your Startup? Read This

NEED FUNDING FOR YOUR STARTUP?
NEED FUNDING FOR YOUR STARTUP?

For the past few years, most Kenyans have been warming up to entrepreneurship with a huge number of startups being launched and a majority of employed Kenyans having their side hustles.

However you’ll agree with me that one of the greatest challenges facing entrepreneurs when starting out is access to capital. You also can’t rely on bank loans in Kenya due to high interest rates and having to provide collaterals.

An opportunity that most Kenyan entrepreneurs haven’t fully taken advantage of though is the public funds provided by the government for helping young entrepreneurs get their startups up and running. These funds also come with limitless benefits such as zero interest on loans and business training.

So far, the government has set aside more than Ksh. 25 billion for the sole purpose of creating a culture of entrepreneurship among youth and women in Kenya. Still, not too many Kenyans are taking up these funds and early this year, the government rolled out a sensitization campaign to encourage people to take advantage of the funds.

If you are looking out for capital for that business idea, here are the top 3 government funds you can tap into;

Uwezo Fund

Uwezo
Uwezo Fund

Are you a registered youth or women group keen on starting a business or expanding your existing business? Then the Uwezo fund is for you. This fund is administered at the constituency level through the Constituency Development Fund.

At the constituency the fund is run by the Constituency Uwezo Fund Management Committee which determines the amount of money to give to a group. Each qualified group is eligible to an interest free loan of between 50,000 – 500,000 Kenya shillings. However a 3% administration fee is charged.

To apply for the Uwezo fund here are the main requirements;

  1. Be a registered youth or women group, preferably active for the past six months with evidence of minutes of your meetings.
  2. Be organized in form of a table banking (chama) structure where members make regular contributions. Evidence of this contributions will also be required.
  3. Have a bank account in the group name, with the bank statements to prove it.
  4. The group must be based and handle their operations in the constituency they intend to borrow funds from.
  5. You must also get a recommendation from your local chief.
  6. Provide photocopies of ID’s and KRA pins of group members.

You can apply for Uwezo Fund by downloading the application form on their website or visiting the Uwezo Fund Management Committee offices in your constituency.

Women Enterprise Fund

Women Enterprise Fund
Women Enterprise Fund

For the longest time, Kenyan women have been marginalized when it comes to financial inclusion. Major challenges Kenyan women have faced include lack of capital, limited access to markets, fear of loans, financial illiteracy, religious and cultural factors and lack of collateral.

It is for this reason that the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs initiated the Women Enterprise Fund to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women start and expand their businesses.

If you in a women’s group/chama, here are some benefits you are missing out on if you have not yet registered for the Women Enterprise Fund;

  1. Interest free loans – Through the Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme (CWES), women groups can access the Tuinuke loan which is given to chamas at zero interest. A group could have 100% women or 70% women and 30% men. Even though the loan is interest free, the group is required to pay 5% administration fee.
  2. No collateral required – Unlike bank loans, the Tuinuke loan does not require you to provide log books or title deeds. Instead, the women serve as a guarantee to each other.
  3. Financial Training – The WEF fund places great emphasis on financial and business training for women. Actually, getting trained on business management skills by WEF officers is a prerequisite for loan application.
  4. Easily Accessible – You don’t have to incur insane transport costs to access the WEF loan. The funds are decentralized and can be easily accessed through your local constituency offices.
  5. Easy to pay back – The Tuinuke loan can be paid back through M-PESA.
  6. WEF Soko – This is an online marketplace where products of WEF beneficiaries are showcased for purchase. Successful groups are also trained on product development, certification and are linked to local and international markets.

Youth Enterprise Development Fund

Youth Enterprise Development Fund
Youth Enterprise Development Fund

Established in 2006, the main purpose of the YEDF fund is to provide financial and business development services to youth between ages 18 – 35 who are keen on starting or expanding their business.

Even though the fund has been tainted with a number of scandals concerning mismanagement and corruption, slightly over 800,000 youth have benefited from it since its inception.

If you are a young entrepreneur, here are three YEDF loans you can benefit from;

i. Constituency Based Loans – This loan is available to individuals and registered youth groups at the constituency level looking for funds to start up a business. It is also interest free.

ii. Vuka Loan – This is a business expansion loan limited to youth who are looking to expand their existing businesses. It is the only YEDF loan where one is required to pay back with interest. The interest rate had been set at 8% until July this year where the interest rate was dropped to 6% which is still way cheaper than the current bank rates. The Vuka loan is open to individuals, partnerships and youth owned limited companies.

iii. Bid Bond/LPO/LSO Financing – This fund is eligible to youth participating in government tenders. It’s open to individuals, registered youth groups, partnerships and youth owned companies. The maximum amount available for a bid bond is 2 million while for an LPO/LSO loan the maximum amount is 20 million.

 

Final Word – Our government may have its weaknesses but we can’t fault them for not looking out for small businesses and upcoming entrepreneurs.

Have you tried out any of these funds? How was your experience?



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Blog Internship Learning

The homecoming of the #SheGoesDigital Graduates

photo (1)

The #SheGoesDigital program celebrated the accomplishment of yet another milestone as the girls who graduated from the program successfully completed their internship period.  While a majority (around 60%) of them continued in their respective jobs, about 40% of them took bolder steps moving to new challenges, including setting up their own businesses or expanding their already existing small shops.

It was a great re-union for the young women, filled with fun, laughter, bonding and most importantly great experience share. The girls came together at the Kuza Innovation Centre to share their set of challenges, achievements, revelations and appreciations.  During all the three months of their internship, they had so many new assignments, new projects, exploration of skills that they did not know they possessed, changes both in roles & activities, but one thing stayed constant – their zeal to get through & create an impact in the organizations they were working for.  So naturally, when they came together their eyes were filled with excitement of seeing each other (since they bonded so well during the 45 day training period in March – May 2017).  It was great to witness those touching/ emotional moments.

A section of #SheGoesDigital graduates sharing their experiences during the re-union
A section of #SheGoesDigital graduates sharing their experiences during the re-union

The team from Kuza were joined by Ms. Caroline, Resident Co-ordinator of the SITA Program.  It was interesting to understand how the program impacted the young women & their careers, from picking new & relevant skills that they are able to apply to their growing confidence in their ability to do much beyond what they could have ever imagined. The three months at companies from diverse fields gave them so much to learn that most of them were amazed at how much they could implement what they have learnt and on the day of re-union, they learnt so much more from the collective wisdom they brought to the table.

The young women were heard saying how great it feels for them to be able to share tips & tricks that they learnt  about Social Media & Digital Marketing, especially being in the helm of affairs in their respective job positions, given that most of them are working directly with the business owners or the management teams.  We, along with the young women wished the day had not ended as there was so much more to talk about, so much more to learn from each other about the exciting journey thus far and moving on. But as they say, all good things must come to end, so did the day come to an end, with all of them promising each other to stay curious and try new roles, while they remain patient watching their project “seeds” grow into amazing initiatives.

Until we meet the next time, #SheGoesDigitalRocks!!

 

Related Article

http://www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/digital-wrap/



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business Experiences

6 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them

photo courtesy of www.freepik.com
photo courtesy of www.freepik.com

Everyone has a business idea that if provided with adequate capital, and everything else they require, they will be well on their path to entrepreneurship. However, there is a big difference between having an idea and executing the idea.
A business idea may sound easy and straightforward but most new entrepreneurs are hit with a rude shock of how tough it is to get a business up and running.

Here are six common mistakes new entrepreneurs make and tips on how to avoid them.
1. The ‘I can do it all attitude’
A new business idea is like a baby, you want to cuddle it, stroke it and protect it from anyone who shows up to critic your idea, give you a list of reasons why your idea won’t work or even explain vividly how it will be impossible for you to implement the idea. These often makes new entrepreneurs shy away from sharing their ideas and involving other people in the potential business.
The feeling of, “Since I came up with the idea, I am best placed to implement it and have it come out exactly how I want it,” takes over more often due to pride or fear that bringing in and listening to others will corrupt your original idea. However, instead of helping, this might slow down your implementation or result in you getting stuck along the way.

TIP – As much as it is not advisable to listen to everyone’s opinion about your business, it is important to seek a mentor preferably one who is successful in the same business you want to venture into. Potential customers are also key as they are the ones who will make or break your business, reach them through a market research strategy such as questionnaires to find out how your product will be embraced in the market. All in all, listen selectively sieving out useful suggestions from those that won’t help the business.

2. Focusing more on the idea and not the execution
Every business startup starts with an idea. Now ideas are great, but your potential customers will not buy an idea neither will investors put their money in an idea that doesn’t have an executable solution. Most new entrepreneurs get stuck at the idea stage. They spend months talking about how great their ideas are, how it’s going to make them lots of money and change their lives forever but they never really take the first step of execution.

TIP – Do you have that genius business idea you have been sitting on? It’s time to begin drafting an execution plan. To start you off, ensure you have a business model with a clear value proposition based on current market dynamics, an innovation that does not necessarily have to be new but should have a unique solution compared to what is currently in the market and a growth model that guarantees a great profit margin in order to attract investors. When you have these, take your first step, whether it’s designing your new website or setting up that first pitch meeting with your first potential investor.

3. Being short sighted with your first profit
Depending on the amount of work and commitment you place in your start up in the initial stages, your business might reward you with a huge profit. However, the decisions you make at this stage are crucial for the long term success of your business. As much as you are justified to treat yourself as a business owner at this stage, making financial choices such as taking a fully paid vacation to Zanzibar or buying your dream car could prove costly for your business.

TIP – Growing a business requires setting short term and long term goals. Both goals should help you achieve your overall vision for your business. Some tips on how to use your first profit wisely are;
• Re-invest back into your business based on your strategies.
• Invest in marketing strategies both traditional methods and digital methods based on your target audience.
• Invest in a more qualified workforce in order to have a productive team.
• Investing in yourself by taking more business courses and learning new skills that will better your business

4. Dwelling too much on failure
When it comes to turning your business idea into a startup, it’s not a matter of if failure will happen but when. Failure is inevitable, whether it’s making a wrong business move that suddenly makes you bankrupt, hiring a rogue contractor that ends up damaging your systems or your business partner walking out on you. Whatever it is, it is bound to happen sooner or later and dwelling too much on it won’t make it any better.

TIP – Rather than having a fear of failure, it is important to prepare and plan for it so as to recover much faster. The good news is that once you overcome a failure in your business and pick up valuable lessons from it, you become stronger, your business benefits from it and you set strategies to prevent the same from happening in future.

5. Trying to maintain your normal lifestyle
Has your life always involved Friday evening dates with friends, watching and following up all Premier league matches or never missing out on all the latest parties and concerts in town? Well, if you have chosen the path of entrepreneurship, you should be ready to make major changes including working longer hours and focusing more energy on your business compared to your social life.

TIP – One thing entrepreneurship does is make you more focused since you now have this new responsibility, extra bills to pay, investors holding you accountable and people looking up to you every month for salaries. For your business to make it through the first years, you need a strong network of friends to support you. Despite the sacrifices you’ll need to make, always think long term.

6. Thinking you have no competitors
Due to the initial excitement of a new business idea, most new entrepreneurs get carried away by their idea and they think they have no direct competitors or their idea is way better than current solutions in the market.
However, the reality is no matter how innovative your idea is, someone else is most likely to come up with a better idea. The competitive business environment in the 21st Century also makes it quite challenging to monopolize a certain market because once people see how great you are doing, they will quickly pick out your weaknesses and come up with a better product/service.

TIP – To be on the safer side, do adequate research on competition before launching your business. Ensure your business has a better value proposition and your business model fills a gap in the market.



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Guest: Why You Are Not Getting Invited To Job Interviews

Kenyan job seeker by the road in Nairobi

Let’ talk business. It’s a free market out there. Everyone wants nothing but the best for themselves which means ‘almost’ hardly counts. Let’s talk about you. You are either a good or a tool that employers need for provision of certain services. This only leaves you with one option, package and present yourself as the best. Continue reading



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GUEST: 5 Ways SMB Owners Can Utilize Information Technologies

IT in business
Image Courtesy | Freepik Designers

Modern information technology systems are complicated, but they can also make a huge difference for a small or medium business. They can save time and space by converting records to digital formats, they can automate repetitive tasks, and help in many other significant ways. Continue reading



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GUEST: How To Make Money Online in Kenya Through Legitimate Internet Marketing Platforms

internet marketing
Image Courtesy|Freepik Designers

If there are two groups of people who have really tarnished the name of internet marketing, it is these guys who are doing pyramid-like multi-level marketing in Nairobi and those other guys who are sending spammy referral links that will make you rich overnight. Continue reading



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