Kuza Blog » Blog Archives

Author Archives: Kuza Biashara

Starting a business is a leap of faith even in the best of circumstances. We at Kuza Biashara are focussed to encourage these daring small business owners who have the potential to innovate and change the world by contributing to the nation’s economy and livelihood.
About Kuza Biashara

About Kuza Biashara

Starting a business is a leap of faith even in the best of circumstances. We at Kuza Biashara are focussed to encourage these daring small business owners who have the potential to innovate and change the world by contributing to the nation’s economy and livelihood.

Blog

When we change the beginning of the story, we change the whole story

When we change the beginning of the story, we change the whole story

In Kenya like many developing countries providing holistic ECD interventions remains a major challenge for children under eight years. Yet, a child’s development is greatly shaped by the environment they grow in. They need a stable environment that is sensitive to their needs emotionally supportive and stimulating. Currently most children are affected by poverty and some of their basic requirements are not a priority. To some parents, food, clothing and shelter are considered enough. However, is it?

Mrs. Lily Oyare, the founder of Little Rock ECD centre noticed a gap in the knowledge of parents living in one of the largest slums in Kenya, Kibera, when it comes to their children’s needs and decided she had to do something. Having been a teacher for many years she had interacted with children and knew how important education was but most importantly knew how other aspects such as nutrition, nurturing care and positive guidance among others were equally important. Together with her team of caregivers, they have dedicated their time into giving children a better start at life and making up for lost time with those who never had the opportunity.

“It has been a long journey. We have seen great impact of our programs in these children. Little Rock is an all-inclusive centre. What that means is that we have children with special needs as well as normal kids, so our curriculum is tailored to cater to all these different needs. There are kids who joined us when they were malnourished. Others as old as two years could not move about on their own. We were afraid they wouldn’t make it but thank God and the tireless efforts of the caregivers, these kids are now thriving. Most of the issues we had to deal with are issues that could have been avoided if parents paid more attention to their children,” Ms. Evelyn the Operations Manager at Little Rock ECD Centre states.

ECD centres are doing their best to correct some mistakes committed by caregivers but how many ECD centres are there as compared to children in need? From my interactions with the Little Rock community, one thing is clear; parents need to step up. Most programs at the centre have been birthed from the need they observed on a daily basis. Poorly groomed hungry children with low self-esteem. All these are issues that parents can handle but because of their lack of awareness, their children are paying the price. We could all sit back and chastise these parents but how is that helping? What is more important at this juncture is to come up with a long lasting solution that will save the future generation.

In conclusion, we all have a role to play in shaping up the young ones. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a kid. Indeed it does, so let’s step up our game.


Blog

How Mama Makena’s Resilience in Entrepreneurship Enabled Her to Give Her Children an Education.

How Mama Makena’s Resilience in Entrepreneurship Enabled Her to Give Her Children an Education.

Starting a business can be difficult for some people and a little motivation can go a long way into helping such people to make up their minds. What could be a better motivation than kids who want to eat and go to school!

This is mama Makena’s story a woman who has had to put on a man’s pants just to ensure that her kids don’t lack anything important in their lives

A former employee, mama Makena had to embrace entrepreneurship when she realized her meager salary was not going to cut it. With kids to take care of and school fees to be paid she had to do something. She took a bold step and quit her job. She then brainstormed on the business idea that would work for her that is when she settled on running a shop.

“The first thing I had to do was to look for a kiosk, I found one but the owner demanded for a six months’ rent even before the start of business”

A mother of five says that did not deter her. She paid the amount using her savings and with a capital of ksh. 3000 her shop was up and running. Her stock included milk sodas bread among other products and she would buy them at Highridge.

Located along Mathenge Drive mama Makena’s clients include area residents, manual laborers within and even those who drive by. The business has grown since it begun and now the products are delivered to her shop daily by the suppliers who are paid upon delivery.

When asked about any challenges she has faced she acknowledges there have been good times and bad times, “I don’t dwell on the bad times, rather I focus on finding a solution to the challenges” if anything she says the positive outweigh the bad.

“I have been able to pay my children’s school fees through this shop. They are all finished with college except for the last born who is in form four and am also confident that she will go up to college.”

When asked about any advice she has for entrepreneurs like herself she urges them to keep moving forward and look towards growth and for those planning to start a business,

 “You can start a business with as little as ksh. 500 don’t wait for a lot of money before putting up a business that is just an excuse. Some of the successful people we know also started out small. So just do it!

Mama Makena is hopeful that if her business continues doing well she may be able to buy a piece of land and build her own house.


Entrepreneurial Stories

Shadepro’s journey to ensuring you are covered and your car is protected from the Sun

alex_kinyua

A little vitamin D is good for the body but what about a lot of it? Sunlight can cause your dashboard, seats and paint to fade over a long period of time. It is important to protect your car as you spent a lot to buy it, so why spend more on unnecessary fixes when you can avoid it. Shadepro Solutions ensures you never have to experience how that feels like. They provide car shades and tents to ensure your comfort and even trampolines for some entertainment for the kids.

Alex Kinyua, one of the founders of Shadepro Solutions came up with the idea after seeing that there was a great need for shades from the county governments, relatives and other private institutions. He decided to join forces with a partner who had already started venturing into the shades business. This partnership has been going so well that they are also investing in other different businesses.

They make the shades and upon placing an order they install them for you. The business that was started using their savings and a loan did not have a smooth start Alex says,but working with a friend has its perks such as understanding each other’s strength and leveraging on them.

“The first challenge we encountered was delay in payment and high capital requirements. We did not let that deter us we found a way around it and forged ahead. If the river can bypass an obstacle, why not us?”

Shadepro uses social media and referrals to market their business. This are great platforms since they are relatively free but Alex emphasizes the only way to make them work for you is if you provide great products as well as services.

A sample of Shadepro shade

A sample of Shadepro shade

“Social media has created a global village and you wouldn’t want to be known as the worst service provider in the village because once the damage is done it takes a lot of time and resources to do damage control so to be on the safe side we make sure to provide quality shades and give timely services at reasonable charges. “

As most entrepreneurs will agree the path to self-employment is not easy it takes a lot of effort and sacrifices. Nevertheless it has its good moments. Alex and his partner for instance have been able to build strong bonds with great clientele and meet people from all walks of life.

When asked what advice he would give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs Alex had this to say,

“They should not only leave campus with the vision of being employed but also save up and aim at starting a business despite the size of the business.”


Blog

Tips on Workforce Empowerment

Tips on Workforce Empowerment

Hiring the right employees is just the first step to creating a strong workforce. The next step is to ensure they are engaged enough to stay. High employee turnover costs business owners in time and productivity. Below are several tactics you can use to retain your employees.

1. Provide opportunities for growth and learning

Ensure that the work you give your employees is challenging and stimulating. Tap into their passions and allow them to focus their energy and time on projects that challenge them and improve their skills. Let them know what career development plans you may have for them and what opportunities are available for them to grow with the company.

2. Make the expectations and goals of the company clear.

Make sure that the company’s vision and strategy are clear so employees know how they fit in the big picture. While this may seem basic, but it’s easy for employees to find themselves lost within the organization if they are not entirely clear on what their jobs entail leading to dipping morale.

3. Provide some small perks.

Google became famous for providing free gourmet lunches and massage rooms onsite to make their employees happy. While that might not be feasible for every company, especially in Kenya, organizations might consider smaller perks such as on-site daycares and corporate members to gyms.

4. Create open communication between employees and management.

Open communications through regular meetings and an open-door policy where employees are encouraged to speak frankly, ask questions and offer new ideas.

5. Offer financial rewards.

Consider offering stock options or other financial awards for employees who meet performance goals and stay for a predetermined time period, like 5 – 8 years. Also, provide meaningful annual raises and bonuses. Nothing dashes employee enthusiasm more than no raise over a long period of time. Or, if you don’t want to be stuck with large permanent increases, you can create a bonus structure where employees can earn an annual bonus if they meet pre-specified performance goals.

6. Mentorship programs

Pairing a new employee with a mentor is a great idea for onboarding. New team members can learn the ropes from a veteran with a wealth of resources, and the new hire offers a fresh viewpoint  to experienced staff. Mentors shouldn’t be work supervisors, but they can offer guidance and be a sounding board for newcomers, welcoming them into the company culture. 

Final thoughts

Strengthening your business starts with keeping your employees on board. When you focus on employee retention, not only do you wind up with a team that knows how to do the job well, but you also get to save the money you would have used to replace them.


Blog

How Mike Osweto of Siko Tech Solutions is revolutionizing the world of entrepreneurship

How Mike Osweto of Siko Tech Solutions is revolutionizing the world of entrepreneurship

Technology is dynamic and it keeps changing and improving every now and then. It’s unfortunate that people are afraid of change and it takes them a little longer to embrace the changes that come with new technology. This is what motivated Mike Osweto to start Siko Tech Solutions ,a company that deals with providing IT services which include computer network, website design, social media and marketing services, branding services etc.He observed that some businesses were still using the traditional forms of marketing which have been rendered redundant so he saw the need to introduce new technology to business.

“When I noticed how many people were coming to me for help in various IT services and the limited knowledge they had on it I knew there was need for evolution. Most of this people were using the traditional way of marketing or branding and for me helping people is as addictive as it is therapeutic. To get to where I am it took the guidance and mentorship of other people so it was only fair that I give back in this way.”

Having worked in an IT company before, Mike was able to pick up the necessary skills he needed to open up his own venture. He also consulted Youtube a couple of times just to cover all his bases. The next step involved identifying the gaps and the exact IT services that most people needed help in. He runs his venture with the help of his  three employees and  sometimes outsources when there is more workload.

Osweto emphasizes that you don’t need a good education to be a successful entrepreneur but hard work, hunger to learn and having an understanding of your business will do it for you.

“One needs to understand their business in depth, the demands the trends etc. Another thing is understanding the customer needs. The customer is the reason you are in business no customer means no business so always remember the customer comes first. Ensure they get their service or product the exact way they ordered it and always deliver on time”

Some of the challenges he has faced just as with any other business includes inadequate finances. To overcome this challenge he learnt to work with what he has. He makes sure not to take over ambitious projects when he doesn’t have the funds. Another challenge is brought about  by communication breakdown and this he solved by ensuring he works with contracts that make it easier for both the client and him because  they are bound by the document that also provides clear guidelines.

The techpreneurs’ motivation comes from his urge to succeed and help others. He attributes his success to God and hard work. He adds that it’s been a tough journey but all the benefits make it worth it.

“I get to enjoy being my own boss and the financial freedom that comes with it. I also get to horn my networking skills, through interacting with different people that I would never have interacted with had I been working somewhere in an office.”


Blog

Tips on how to increase Social Media Engagement

Tips on how to increase Social Media Engagement

Social media is the most affordable marketing tool and if used correctly could have a positive effect on your business. Here are our top 8 tips to social media engagement that you should know.

1. Don’t talk just about your brand.

People appreciate when they can learn something by visiting your page instead of being told to buy your product all the time.

2. Participate in questions and answer sessions.

Actively participate in answering any questions that come up. Do your research and give correct information in terms of metrics, statistics etc.

3. Share only relevant content.

There are too many jokes and memes out there already no need to add your page to that list. Tailor your content specifically for your audience.

4. Engage your followers

Create a conversation and actively participate, do not check out in the middle of the conversation leaving your followers to carry on with the conversation on their own.

5. Personalise your response

Address each user who mentioned you by their name. There is always that feeling of joy from being acknowledged

6. Show your feelings

Make use of emojis, images, Gifs etc. in your posts to liven up responses and show users your message tone.

7. Post frequently

Just like any other relationship, there needs to be constant communication for it to thrive, your followers need to know that you are consistent and always there to respond to their questions and comments.

8. Add hashtags to your posts

This will make them more interesting and easy to be found during searches


Blog

10 Tips to Nail Your Next Job Interview

job_interview

If you are reading this and you have a job interview coming up, congratulations because you are only one step away from your dream job. However, let’s not lie that you are not a little terrified or nervous. To help you ace your interview, here are 10 tips…

Do Your Homework

Before going to any interview, it is absolutely essential that you know the background of the company you hope to work with. This shows that you are genuinely interested and you can also come up with your own set of questions for the interviewer.

Be Prepared with examples

You might be accomplished but that is not enough until you can prove it. Every question you get asked, have a practical example to back your answer. Practice this beforehand so that you don’t hang.

Go back to the job description

If you applied for the job online and you get called back, go back to the job description and study it just to be sure you have the right traits. This way, you get to predict what questions you will be asked.

Be Yourself

What I say to myself is if something is yours, then it is yours. You don’t have to fake it or put up a persona. Also, if you fake it, it reflects and you come out as inauthentic which works against you.

Eye Contact, Eye Contact, Eye Contact

Do you want to come out as confident during your interview? Eye contact will take you there. Maintaining eye contact also helps you connect with your interviewer.

Nail your first five minutes

From the time you enter your interview venue, your opportunity to nail your first impression starts. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet from the watchman to the receptionist, into your interview room.

Be Punctual

You have probably heard this before but there is nothing that makes a good first impression than being on time. This also shows the interviewer that you respect their time.


Entrepreneurial Stories

Francis Ochieng The young Entrepreneur Using what he has to get where he wants to be.

francis_ocheing

Most students when in college take up an activity that helps them make an extra coin. Most of these activities stem from their passion in the various fields, it could be drama club, participating in beauty pageants or sports. These activities come in handy after graduation since it is a well-known fact that getting a job after school can be a bit hectic and so having some form of income generating activity as you wait for that dream job can be very helpful. Sometimes the part time activity ends up becoming the full time career path for some.

Francis Ochieng discovered that there is an opportunity in the fashion industry after participating in the college beauty pageant and assisting his fellow contestants to dress up. He left the competition not only with a crown but also with a business idea to sell clothes since during the competition he was able to observe which clothes trends were most loved. With the money he had been awarded as the winner he was good to go.

“Having the capital and an idea were not enough. I had to find a suitable location that would guarantee me clients. So the search for the perfect location begun. I visited my brothers who were studying at Kenyatta University and lived near the university. I observed how the many students liked keeping up with the latest fashion. I knew that was the market I needed.”

Francis Ochieng at his shop

Francis Ochieng at his shop

The money was not enough to secure a shop and so Francis was off to a humble beginning of selling his merchandise alongside the road. Specializing in men’s wear most of his clients are the university students but still he gets clients from other areas other than the university. To get that many clients he has to rely on social Media.

“I mostly use whatsapp to market my business. I keep my clients coming back through communication. I make sure to update them on all the media platforms that is facebook, twitter and instagram about new stock and respond to their queries instantly.”

The business has its challenges just as it has benefits. Some challenges he has faced include petty theft at his shop and some clothes staying in the shop for too long without being bought. For the former he tries to be as vigilant as possible to avoid losing some of his clothes. As for the later, he gives out the overstayed clothes out to charity and for clients who buy clothes exceeding a stipulated amount of money he gives them the overstayed clothes as complementary goods.

Francis  hopes to open his designer shop in future “I went into the clothes business with the aim of one day  getting to design my own clothes and its because of that that I am undergoing some training in tailoring so I can be able to design and make the men’s suites. I anticipate a brighter future because am putting in the hard work, am committed and I trust in God.”  


Blog

Tips On How To Spend Less Money

Tips On How To Spend Less Money

We could all use some tips on how to spend less and save more money. Today, we round up 10 tips on how to spend less money.

1. Cook Your Own Food

Eating Out can be very expensive. If you live in a major town, a plate of fries for example will cost you Ksh. 100. If you make your own food, the same Ksh. 100 to buy enough groceries to make you a decent meal that can last you more than one meal.

2. Buy Products In Wholesale

Instead of doing your shopping in the supermarket where you buy one item at a time, buy wholesale instead. It is much cheaper and you will have enough supply to last you months.

3. Sign Up for Loyalty Cards at Your Supermarket

It may take months to save up money on a loyalty card but ultimately it will pay off and you can use your points to buy something worth it.

4. Carry packed lunch to work/school

Do not spend that 100 bob or 200 bob on lunch. This way you get to save that money by carrying packed lunch.

5. Do not buy bottled water

If you know you are going to be out and about during the day, you will definitely get thirsty and spend 30 to 50 shillings on a bottle of water. Why not carry water from home instead?

6. Track your expenses

At the end of the day, be accountable for every coin that you have spent. This way, you do not stay wondering where all your money went.

7. Save as little as Ksh. 100 a week

You do not need to save thousands in order to progress. Saving that 50 bob or 100 bob goes a long way.

8. Do not impulse buy

Whatever you spend your money on, make sure it is thought out and budgeted for.

9. Avoid debt

Even if your debt is that 20 bob that you owe mama mboga, that is enough to derail you financially. So avoid debt as much as you can.

10. Buy 2nd hand clothes

If you live in a major town, you will notice that in the evenings there are a lot of affordable clothes and shoes being sold in the streets. Take advantage of this. Another obvious way is to familiarize yourself with cheap markets such as Gikomba and Muthurwa where clothes are cheaper.

Final Word

Feel free to share your money hacks with us in the comment section.


Blog

Six Tips On How to Generate a Business Idea

Six Tips On How to Generate a Business Idea

Have you been saving up with the intention of starting a business but you are now stuck because you don’t know exactly which business will work? The thought process of coming up with a business idea does not have to be stressful. It starts by being observant, being aware of what is going on around you, what is working and most importantly, what is not. Below are six tips to guide you and make it easier for you to decide what business idea to work on.

1. Need

Let’s say, you stay in an area that grows sugarcane but the people in that region have to travel quite a distance to get a sugarcane grinder, or an area that has many vehicles operating but it takes several kilometers of traveling before you come across a filling station. These are only a few examples of scenarios that can create entrepreneurship out of someone who wants to create a solution; identifying a problem and giving the community what they need. It’s a win-win situation.

2. Talent

This mostly applies to creative people. People who are good with their hands,feet, words i.e painters dancers, musicians, can turn this talent into a business either by selling their work/service or by opening a studio where they teach others how to do what they do for a fee. This is a good way to start since most talents need minimal resources in terms of capital as what is more important is your creativity.

3. Passion

Let’s say, you are passionate about fashion, and you are always keeping up with the latest trends and you have been complimented on multiple occasions on how good you dress. This could be a great motivation to start your own boutique or even a clothes line. Your passion has already made you knowledgeable in this field and all that is left to do is to research and figure out the rest of the details.

4. Experience

Growing up, you may have had parents or relatives who are entrepreneurs and you would most likely help out during the holidays. Over the years you picked up the skill and even as you move out of the nest you have enough experience to open a similar business wherever you may go.

5. Borrowed idea

Some of the best ideas around are not original. You can see a concept you like and work on improving it. In entrepreneurship, execution is everything so make sure your borrowed idea adds more value as compared to the original.

6. Available resources

You may have this grand idea of opening 5 star hotel in your county but you don’t have enough capital. Instead of giving up on it you could start with a business whose resources are easily available. You start small as you save the money that will make your dream come true when you eventually go for the business you originally intended to have.

Final Word

Do you have any other tips on how to get a business idea? Share them with us in the comment section


Entrepreneurial Stories

Myths About Entrepreneurs

Myths About Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are not always big shot millionaires with high end connections. Most times they face normal challenges like you and I. Here are some popular myths about entrepreneurs.

1. If you come from a family of successful entrepreneurs, you will be successful

This is a popular myth as many of us believe that children from entrepreneurship backgrounds will automatically grow to take over the business. Children can indeed pick up certain traits and qualities that can position them to become entrepreneurs but this is not always the case. Entrepreneurship is more about passion and an inner drive to make things happen.

2. You must innovate something to become an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is not really about coming up with something new and innovative but it’s more about identifying a problem in society and coming up with a sustainable solution. Your solution doesn’t have to be new, it should however be a solution that brings in a fresh perspective and adds value.

3. Having an innovative product = Business success

If you have this great idea that is cool and innovative, having only that is not enough. There are a couple of critical issues that you need to deal with like marketing, budgeting, networks, seeking investment, etc. A good place to start is finding your way into start up accelerator functions where you can meet potential investors and pitch your idea.

4. Entrepreneurship takes a lot of your time

Entrepreneurship is all about striking a balance and setting your priorities right. Yes, it takes a lot of commitment to run a business, but if you are able to balance your personal and business life, you will be just fine.

5. You need a clear business plan/strategy

Of course banks and certain investors will ask to see a business plan before lending you money, but this does not mean you need to have it all figured out with a plan before you take off. You can always start with your small savings to set up and start your operations and get customers before seeking the help of the bank or an investor.

6. You have to start young to be a successful entrepreneur

There is no age limit to being an entrepreneur! You can be 60 and still start a business and be successful. A good example is KFC founder, Colonel Sanders who started KFC at age 65.

7. Entrepreneurs are well connected

When you see a seemingly successful entrepreneur, it’s easy to assume that they have connections in high places. However, it takes work to go out, network and establish connections and even then, most connections do not even lead to anything.

8. Entrepreneurs Overwork

Entrepreneurs may work weekends and during personal time but they also have time to rest and nurture their relationships.

9. Entrepreneurs have a lot of money

When someone ventures out to start a business, we tend to think that they make more money that in reality they don’t make. On the flip side, most entrepreneurs have to wait a couple of months before profits start flowing in.

10. Entrepreneurs have no boss

The term ‘be your own boss’ is most times misunderstood as entrepreneurship relieving you from the stress of having a boss. However, starting a business makes all your client’s or customers your bosses.

Final Word

Do you have any myths we haven’t shared? Share them with us in the comment section…


Entrepreneurial Stories

Grab a Pillow and Snuggle!

Grab a Pillow and Snuggle!

We all use pillows in our homes to lay our heads on or to support our backs when seated. Other than acting as support for our head, neck and spine, pillows act as our cuddling buddies when it gets cold and you snuggle up with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate or beverage of your choice.

This was the case for Florence Kirai as she needed pillows for her house. Being a creative and also interested in learning new skills, she thought it best to buy herself a sewing machine and get to make the pillows herself. She used Youtube to learn how to sew, highlighting that we can learn quite a lot from the Youtube tutorials. The internet has a lot to offer for an individual looking to perfect a skill or even learn a new thing, which could improve their lives and even help them earn a living.

“I  got really good with time and was finally able to make my pillows. The good work I was doing really showed, since a few weeks later my friend came  to my house to visit and was really impressed by the pillows that she wanted to carry them. I then offered to make her some pillows of her own since I could not quite part with the batch I had made for myself.”

Her company Kuddly Pillows was born from the instant she made her friend those pillows. Her family members and friends came on board and placed orders for their pillows. This came as great support and show of confidence in her product. Florence used her savings as starting capital at the beginning but later, she would use the deposit amount paid by her clients to purchase supplies she needed to work on the pillows.

Samples from Florence Kirai’s Kuddly Pillows

Samples from Florence Kirai’s Kuddly Pillows

“Kuddly Pillows are not only fit  for households but are also custom made for the hospitality sector and  office set up to be used in lounge areas. The pillows are custom made throw or toss pillows which are beautiful and exquisite that you can even gift to friends, family or clients. The pillows are made from pure and soft fiber making them very comfy. The bed pillows are customized to the type of  sleeper the client is whether they sleep mostly on their side or on their back.”

For Florence, giving her clients the best service is her selling point. She makes sure to involve her clients in the process making of the final product, be it in ensuring the right fabric is picked, the print, pattern and size is correct. She then makes sure to personally deliver the pillows and put a smile on her clients’ face when they see the work done. As an entrepreneur Florence says she has learnt to be more patient, prayerful, persistent and flexible in her business.These values have also helped her grow the business to where it is today.

Asked what are some of the challenges she has faced running Kuddly Pillows, Florence says, “Consistency in getting orders for pillows as not everyone needs pillows as often, being able to get more clients other than my friends and family members to buy from me and also the fact that Kuddly Pillows is not very well known to some organizations and they are reluctant to place orders with me.”

Ways in which she markets Kuddly Pillows include use of Social media platforms that is Instagram and Facebook. She also gets referrals from clients she has worked with and social events that she attends where she gets to meet with fellow entrepreneurs and exchange contacts.

Word of advice Florence would like to give to the university students and anyone wanting to venture into entrepreneurship she says, “Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. It will test you before you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, it is worth it.”