Kenya is seen as one of the beacons of hope in Africa; A country with a young population hungry for success. While poverty is still too prevalent across the country, we find ourselves in one of the best performing economies on the continent. So what’s stopping us from seizing the opportunities around us and growing?
EXCUSES: Too often we find ourselves making excuses for our shortcomings. ‘I don’t have enough capital’, ‘The market is too difficult to penetrate’, ‘I don’t know why it’s not working’. The mark of a great entrepreneur is someone who never makes or takes an excuse. Where there is a will, there always is a way.
Recently while watching the US TV show ‘Shark Tank’ I came across the story of Susan Peterson. A woman who raised $200 capital for her shoe business by selling scrap metal. With that $200 she sold 40 pairs of shoes – and her company ‘Freshly Picked’ was born. It went on to do $500k in sales a year till she made a deal in the tank valuing her business at $600k+. What an incredible testimony of not making excuses, but of finding a way. She could have easily said ‘I don’t have the capital’ and amounted to very little. Chose the path less traveled and find a way with the resources you have at your disposal.
LAZINESS: I’ve said this many times, young Kenyans expect money to come too quickly and easily. Many gawk at the idea of working 15 hours a day on a business. Truth is if you’re not willing to put in a sustained effort over a long period of time – success is going to be very hard to find.
I use Dr Chris Kirubi as an example in this field. He’s a man who has stayed at the very top of his field for decades. To sustain that level of success you have to be addicted to what you do. You have to love it even when it hurts you. Same goes for Warren Buffett -a man who has been on world’s richest list for a long time. Enough is never enough, what a great attitude to have when you want to grow.
FEAR: Too often we allow ourselves to get bogged down by things affecting our business. Anxiety breeds worry. Very rarely will you find success following a defeated mindset. No matter what comes your way, handle it positively. Look for solutions, look to mitigate risk, and look to scale within your means. No matter what comes your way, know with every fibre of your being that you can handle it and come out victorious.
Whenever I feel like things are stacked up against me I make a conscious choice. Do the greatest entrepreneurs fall and get out of the race when they stumble, or do they get up and keep going? Always keep going. Make it your nature to never stay down.
We have incredible opportunities in Kenya. Opportunities that people in the West do not have. We are growing. It’s estimated that 10,000 new millionaires will be created in Kenya over the next 5 years. This is a country with incredible potential, and we’re only just getting started.
KNOWLEDGE is key. Know your business inside out. Make yourself an expert of your sector so you know the needs that aren’t currently being serviced. Take advantage of technologies like mobile banking to optimise yourself and always innovate within your means. Never allow yourself to become IRRELEVANT.
I wish you the best.