III Series - Build a Business that Lasts - How to build Your Business Muscles
To build a business that lasts, the beginning might not be as easy as presumed. Our minds purports that once we inject capital in a business, money will start flowing, sales will accumulate and lots of profit will be realised. Shock on you when you don’t make a sale the first day, second day the same follows and probably make a sale towards the end of the week that constitutes of some few items.
Meanwhile, the bills accumulate from day one. Whether selling online or situated in a local premises, the daily costs of running a business keep adding up and this may cause one to panic and abort the mission; the mission being, the whole business idea or the vision one had in the very beginning.
If you had researched on your business idea widely and concluded that it was feasible, then aborting the whole vision you had and starting a new one is not wise since it might end up with the same challenges. Unless you have found out something that is very wrong.
The best idea is to be patient and learn from the one you have invested in. it is a challenge, but a challenge worth learning from.
The Key personal traits I have applied in business that I have found working for me all the time are:
Persistence: - continuous determination and perseverance is key to success. Always being mentally prepared to deal with challenges as they come without losing hope. Standing strong until all resistance is broken and clients begin to identify your product or services as a Brand in the market.
Insight: - it is being intuitive and having an inner understanding of the market. A business instinct sometimes work where logic and reasoning fail. It is a feeling developed while one has been in a certain business field for a while and can predict the outcome of a pattern in the market that sometimes is beyond normal reasoning. Call it a gut feeling that tells you it is the right time to take a certain action. It is acquired over a period of time.
Patience: - business has its low and high seasons. Enduring the tough seasons requires patience and planning. Always plan on what to do during low season; it can be hiring fewer hands and cutting costs incurred to keep the business afloat and still get a profit.
Learning: - sitting under business magnates reputable for success in their business gives a young entrepreneur a chance to learn from the experience of these moguls; they have gone through it all, good and bad. Therefore, they know the right path to follow and their advice most of the time is bankable.
Taking risks: - nothing is fool-proof and hence no business idea is free from incurring losses or any other misfortunes. At the same time, there is a solution to everything under the sun.
Weighing the risks over the gains will give you an idea of what you stand to lose in case everything go south and what can be done to reduce such losses or how to recover the business once the losses are experienced.
There is no business magnate that has never experienced substantial losses in their business journey. They just became better at their intuition and risk management that they minimise it to very low levels that it doesn’t hurt their business.
Forming a like-minded team to spearhead the project: - When your team understand your vision clearly, they will own it. They become your ‘many’ arms even where you are absent and they are present; the moment you sell your idea to them, they buy it, they will sell it to others with the same zeal and enthusiasm.
These will form a network of people marketing you as you would yourself.
This works very well especially when introducing something new; let us say, a new brand into the market and have a lot of convincing to do to clients to make them leave their previous brand and embrace yours.
A like-minded team will give you a formidable front that will break resistance in the market. This will ensure your brand penetrates in the market faster and easily.
Make sure you reward well and acknowledge each team member by appreciating what they do for your business.
Strategy mind-set: - be tactful - having or showing a sense of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others. Also being sensitive to your customer’s feelings and responding positively to their feedback.
Have a plan of action to alleviate a problem without losing your vision. There are many ways to kill a rat.
Be mentally prepared always to face challenges without losing your cool. See challenges as stairs to your success and your brain will begin to embrace these challenges without going into a panic or anxiety mode.
Do not despair that your business idea is not working in the initial stages, like I said before, it takes a lot of convincing to do for a client to trust your product or services.
When coming up with the plan of action, at times we forget this initial shocking response from customers, where they will treat your product or service with a lot of suspicion until it gains a remarkable reputation in the market.
Remember, only you at this point believes in your product or service. No one else does. It is therefore you to tell them why they should buy.
If you do not believe in your product or services, when marketing it to clients, they will hear you hesitating in between sentences and this will raise doubts, they will asks questions that you may not have answers right away, and therefore it is advisable to get to learn about your product or services well.
Know its benefits, advantages and even its disadvantages. Having this information on your fingertips and presenting this information in a flawless manner attracts the customer to believe in what you believe. Adopt a business language.
Business begins from the mind. You manage it from your mind. It takes a great sober mind to conceptualise a business idea, bring it into a reality, to deal with all the difficulties that come with it and to still make it successful.
Empower your mind first, build your business muscles by using personal traits that will ensure you rise above every storm in the market. Rise like an eagle. Succeed.
Employees – Second series: Masters - How do you deal with emotions at workplace?
In my previous article titled ‘’Employees – Are you a bossy Master?’’, I discussed about how employers can benefit by treating their employees kindly and in a human manner.
Today, let us discuss how to understand your employees’ mind-set and why an employer should apply discernment when dealing with them.
Consider Africa as a continent that is affected by constant famine, pestilence, diseases, droughts, lack of water and poverty in general. Our minds are shaped by our upbringing and therefore affects our perception regarding life. We are also shaped by the environment that we come from. If someone has been brought up in a harsh environment where he has experienced rejection, he will always be defensive and other times manifest in anger especially if criticised even if the criticism is done positively as a way of encouraging growth.
Other times, a person who has experienced rejection will show signs of stubbornness because over a period of time they have developed a ‘thick skin’ to help them adapt to the harsh life of being ridiculed, demeaned and belittled. Every time some conversation is thrown their way, they tense up, become defensive and are ready to attack. They are wounded and therefore, to them anything that comes their way, their mind has been programmed to process it as THREAT!
People who have gone through lots of poverty over a period of time acquires what I call a Poverty Mentality. They cling to stuff because their mind are programmed that next time they shall receive the same may be in another decade. They are not greedy or selfish, they are programmed to save as much as they can and also stretch the resources available to fend for their needs as long as they can last.
So here you are, as an employer who have this intelligent educated staff who is good at what he does but exhibits a lot of emotional issues that makes it impossible for both of you to work amicably? Do you fire him? If not, how do you help him overcome his insecurities? How do you instil confidence in him?
I believe every company should have a Guidance and Counselling Department to take care of such emotional issues rather than losing a good staff just because they carry excess baggage in life and are unable to manage their emotions. Someone has to be there for a human in need. A good employer know that apart from training a good employee, treating them well, should go a step further and nurture healthy minds as well.
A healthy mind, will not only give you excellent performance but will create an environment of peace in your workplace. Regardless of how much your company makes for you in terms of profits, if always working in a tense environment, your money won’t taste as sweet as you thought.
Once you are able to deal with emotions that come from your workers and help them grow in this area – you will definitely enjoy working with each one of them. It requires a positive will to help them achieve this level of soberness but you shall also reap big time from it. For me working in a happy environment is what makes my day.
True, business is about making money but the best lifetime legacy I believe is transforming people’s lives. Start your legacy today by ‘building’ healthy minds, and you shall never be forgotten, you will go down in history as one who did not only have skyscrapers built in your name but a healthy nation that you shaped through instilling wisdom and confidence..
Note: Find the article named above ‘Employees – Are You a Bossy Master’ in this blogs archives.
Authored by Freshier Methu
Employees – Are you a Bossy Master?
Employees play a big role towards the growth and development of your business. They are the larger component in your company that determines the rate of your growth as a business man or an investor as well; these are the people that can see you rise or fall if treated unfairly.
When I was a young entrepreneur, still very green, I was running three multi-million family Limited Companies as the Managing Director for all three. At the same time I would work as the Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer from time to time. The wiring of Leadership is in me, but I lacked in some qualifications that makes a good leader.
I led well, I had these great ideas and great deals that would see the company grow fast but I lacked in Emotional Intelligence. ((Note there is IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient. Emotional Quotient is a measure of one’s perception of emotions)).
My emotions were everywhere. Anger and irritation were part of me, an employee being late would make my blood boil. I am a perfectionist in some areas and time to me should be spent well and not wasted. I would be easily provoked and these weaknesses despite I being a leader made my position as the Managing Director weak too.
When a leader cannot handle emotions and breaks down unnecessarily, screams and shouts at the employees in anger to a point of almost throwing fists, your leadership qualities diminishes. You fade. You lower your self-worth and cannot reclaim it back after such attacks. It takes a long time to redeem your status. I am grateful I learnt this the hard way.
In my latter years in these companies, I disciplined myself on how to deal with my emotions. I would fire someone who has broken the rules and regulations of the company, at times staff who have stolen from the company, so easily with no emotions and would even share a joke or two before I handed them their termination letters.
I would shake their hands genuinely as they left my company and wish them well from my heart. It was no pretence. It took me a couple of years to learn how to manage my emotions to a point I was real, I was free of those emotional breakdowns. I was in control.
My change from an emotional wreck to a self-controlled happy caring boss helped me understand employees from their level. I understood where they are coming from when they raised complaints, see their needs and would appreciate their contributions toward the companies. I started to highly acknowledge them. We became friends.
I was tolerant of them and if the mistakes done by them were petty, I would take time to mentor them even. These made them open up to me regarding their personal lives back at home. An unhappy employee at home is an unhappy employee at work no matter how hard they try to hide it. Being unhappy at home interferes with their work performance.
Listening to an employee’s personal issues and helping them solve where necessary makes them better employees. Contrary to the belief that becoming friends with employees gives them a free hand to take your company for granted; mine respected me more and worked in my companies as if they owned them, from the heart that is – they protected the companies’ interest totally.
When one of their own stole or did something dishonest and the rest got to know about it, they would bring him or her to me openly to protect the companies from incurring losses.
To bring it all together, note that you can never build a business that lasts without respecting your own employees. Overworking them is a no, no, it will never work for your business and you will end up paying more in overtimes and no increase in performance.
Recent studies in Yale University shows that a human brain works best within the first 52 minutes and needs a break of 17 minutes to be attentive again. This means a staff leaving his desks after 52 minutes to just stretch his bodies, or say hi to the rest of his staff members in the room or anything just to take his focus off the current task and coming back to it after 17 minutes makes them focus better on the same. Employees working with these short breaks in between increase their productivity and performance.
The study also reported that the human brain works best between 50-55 hours a week. It stated that overworking your employees up to 70 hours a week did not show any increase in their performance, and if any, very minimal. Overworking them just made them overly tired.
Authored by Freshier Methu
Investment Diversification- Spread the risks
The act of introducing variety especially in investments or in the variety of goods and services offered in a business is critical. It is absolutely necessary putting into consideration that business investment is a risk and therefore one should be careful to put all his eggs in one basket. I mean it is always important to diversify and this requires planning, wisdom and projection.
Thinking in a wider perspective in business requires not only insight but being able to project ahead the bigger picture of your business idea that culminates into your overall vision in life. If the business is already running, the re-evaluation of the original idea that you had when you started should be done whether the business is performing or not.
It should be done either monthly, quarterly or annually. So that if any discrepancies are showing in terms of profit and loss, customer feedback or a product taking too long to sell, new ideas are then birthed to correct the situation.
If on the other hand the business is doing very well, there is still a need to think of what to do with the extra profits. Some would feel a need to keep growing the same business and so put all the extra cash in it; my opinion however is to research on a new business idea and invest in it.
That means your eggs are no longer in the same basket. It means you have spread the risk. Every business minded person knows how important spreading risk is.
If let us say one is in clothing business and the business happens to be doing well, invest in transport and have several taxis going or venture into commercial farming, anything that is close or outside your normal field of business but stands on its own.
In my previous publication, I sensitized business owners on how to build a business that last. This previous article titled ‘ Build A Business That Lasts’ followed by another article titled ‘Are you a Business man or An Investor’ I spoke of building a legacy that even your grand children’s children will find it alive and running and eat from it.
I went further in the second article to highlight the difference between a businessman’s mind-set vs that of an Investor where I said that businessmen invests on already formed business ideas whereas an Investor births an idea from it very own inception stage till it is up and running.
In other words the businessmen minded people invests on what an Investor birthed. The advantage of the investor is that he will always be ahead of all the businessmen for he originated with the idea.
For example, take the case of Mark Zukerberg the inventor of Facebook, he originated with this idea and even if some would want to start their own version of facebook, probably it will work but they will never get where billionaire Zukerberg is today.
Using the same example of Mark Zukerberg, he is wise, he went on and invested in WhatsApp and Instagram. He is establishing himself not on just one platform but many and this is what my article today is all about; investments diversification.
Today think of what other areas you can invest in besides your already running business, hire thinkers that can help you with ideas on how you can diversify, plan well, examine all the risks and then take a giant leap of faith.
Business investment is about risking but not just foolishly, you jump into the idea and invest when you have done your research and are sure that the risks you are taking are minimal. However no business is risk free.
Welcome to the world of Investment Diversification.
Note: The above mentioned articles ‘Build a Business that Lasts’ and ‘Are you A Businessman or an Investor – Know the Difference’ are found in this blog and my Linkedin Published articles section.
Kind regards - Freshier
Are you a Business man or an Investor? Know the difference
Initially when starting a business, I would do very little research and conclude on the products and services I want to sell way too fast.
Then these businesses would do badly and would be left to wonder what I did wrong.
We assume the name of a business man or woman without really knowing the basic requirements of starting a business.
For starters one needs to do a research on at least the following;
Product or service to sell - is this product or service in demand or did you pick it just because a friend or a family member is selling the same and say it is selling for them. What sells for them may not sell for you.
The buying price, selling price and other costs involved to bring this product to the buyers should be considered too. Your source of the product might be outside the country meaning you have to import. What are the importing costs involved? Will these costs make your product very expensive for sale?
You might have a very good quality product to sell but not right for the location your business is situated in.
For example, your product might be phones that includes i-phones, you are based in the village or towns and residential areas consisting of low income earners. No one will buy an i-phone going for over kshs 100,000 when he earns kshs 20,000.
Location of the business – Where is the intended location of your business? Visit the area and spend some few hours, a day or two looking at the existing businesses.
What kind of businesses are there and what are the prices of the products they are selling? This will enable you to know if your product will sell in this locality or not.
For example, if the highest cost of a product being sold in that area is kshs3, 000 and your product sells at kshs5, 000, it won’t sell and if it does, very few quantity will go.
The already existing businesses can give you an idea of the class of the residents in that area and how much they are willing to cough for a product or a service.
In towns there is also the up market area and downtown area, these two places are in the same town locality but prices of the same product do vary. Upmarket will always sell higher because their target client are wealthy.
Accessibility and infrastructure - also matters when it come to some businesses. Suppose you want to start a maize meal milling plant where you require large quantities of maize, do the roads allow for trucks to access your store?
This is why there are some businesses that are better located in industrial areas and not in congested town area.
Target Clientele – who do you target as your customers?
Licences - what government licences are required to run the business? Some are very expensive.
Number of Employees - how many staff members do you need? What are the qualifications needed? What are their salaries and positions?
There are many more areas to do research on before you begin a business.
Anyway as I was saying before, I ventured into the business world naively, but I don’t regret, the trial and errors have given me lots of experience.
For example I came to know there is a difference between a business man and an investor. I may not cover everything about these two but the major difference is that the investors are the guys who just don’t venture into anything just because it is the in thing, they know the most trending today may die tomorrow like the likes of the pyramid schemes.
They are able to birth ideas from nothing. An investor may be sitting on a beach having a good time or a quiet time, whichever, but will identify a gap in the let us say hospitality industry in that area and next time you know he has opened a business that covers the gap.
If let us say in that beach area, there are no surfing and skiing equipment and many people are missing out on having fun on these sports, he will bring them to the community and reap big.
Investors reap big because they originate with the idea, by the time the business men come to venture on the same; before other comes and saturate the market, he has collected enough to cover his capital, his expenses and gotten himself huge profits.
He doesn’t stop there, an investor is always ahead. He knows that there will always be these people that will photocopy his business and therefore ensures that he is always a step ahead of his competitors and business rivals.
After all he birthed the idea, he sees it from the beginning to the end and from the end to the beginning.
Do not start a business just because it is what is trending. What is trending today will not be trending tomorrow.
Build a business that lasts.
Kind regards - Freshier
Build A Business That Lasts
To build a business that will last, that even your future generations will build on and will be your lifetime legacy, it takes time. The depth of the foundation dug to hold the tallest building in the world is not the same as the depth dug in a one bedroom house. The materials used also varies, to support such tall buildings, they use lots of steel, hire the best engineers and architect in the world for such a building to stand. It also takes time to build such. Once it stands, that building enters into history as a landmark of the Land.
To build a business Empire, the investment you begin with has to be broad with a lot of insight, projection, lots of planning and the ultimate goal to be achieved. The investment I am talking here is not money. People who are the renowned world magnates started from very little cash but what they had in common was a big vision.
In My Vocational Training booklet that you can access from my website, I talked about how to identify your vision.
‘’… The most important thing is to know and identify who you are and what you want in life such that when you encounter these external forces, you are able to resist them and move ahead to achieving that which you want to become in life. As long as you took time to identify your vision correctly the strategy might change to overcome the obstacles of life where you apply new tactics but the Destination should remain the same. It is saves one many years of anguish when one remain persistent in pursuing one vision rather than going half way and giving it up to start a new one when you have invested a lot of resources into it…’’ (An excerpt from the booklet-Vocational Training).
The people who have impacted the world in such a big way, I would call them The World Changers and are my inspiration are just to name a few Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson; had a vision. Their visions to sum it up I can say have revolutionized the world. The millennial era cannot ignore these men. The computers and social media have brought the world into a global village, and Sir Richard Branson want to take his tourism idea into space where you pay for a ticket to make a visit!
These men have struggled. We only see their ‘public figure’ side but I can bet they have spent sleepless night trying to figure things out. Their wealth did not come in a day, some had given up and sold their vision only the vision to return to them because vision carriers have this unique thing in common, they are wired purposely to revolutionize the world in that specific area and no one can do what they do.
We are all world changers. We are one big networking system and we play a part to bringing the world state as it is now. Some of us have taken their role seriously and are building the foundations of their visions, some probably are in their old age and are finalizing that which they came to achieve on earth but what about those that don’t want to dream big. The kind that want to flow with the system; because if you look critically, the world changers work in reverse, against the normal world systems and that is why they are able to cut a niche above the rest.
Most of us are caught up in business ambitions that make us run after money all our lives. It is tiring when money becomes elusive and have to keep on running after it or have to keep on scheming on how to get it rather than investing in a business or businesses that once founded money flows in even when you are in the comfort of your bed sleeping.
It is achievable, but no successful vision carrier will tell you that he made it in a day. It takes years to build this Empires but once done, you will enjoy for the rest of your life time, you retire early and can travel the entire world and the brave ones can travel to space!
The problem in the society today is that no one want to carry the burden of birthing a vision, yes I call it birthing because once conceived it takes time to shape up in the womb of your mind before it is birthed in the world for all to see and it also has it painful moments, you labour for it first before it gives you something in return. It is then nurtured in its baby steps till it grows and develops to be able to impact to its fullest capacity.
For a vision carrier to excel, they are aware that mostly their place is to birth the vision, and they will tell you that they surround themselves with THINKERS; People whom I will call the Prophets of the Empire. The Prophets project ahead, years to come, what state the world will be and what people will need and then they are able to come up with a product or a service that will suit the consumers then and sell it at a higher price for it will be in demand. They rake in Billions.
However, not all of us are Vision Carriers, identify who you are today, if not a vision carrier, are you the Thinker in the vision carrier’s life, are you the administrator, are you his PA; What are you? Remember, your position may appear small but in the right place no one can do what you do and you will be hired at the highest salary to do it. Find your place today, nurture it, become a professional in that area and you will not only work to earn a living, you will be passionate about it because it is who you are. You will love it!
Authored by: Freshier Methu
Magnate means an influential expert in a certain field. At Top Magnates we believe that we are the best in what we do. Our company is all about networking with our clients, understanding their visions and helping them bring those visions into reality.
Our Departments are:
Event Planning: We help companies, families and friends put together social and official events where we ensure we bring about an ambience that is exciting, full of fun and unforgettable. These events include weddings, Birthday Parties, Office Parties, Seminars, Conference Meetings or any other kind of gathering where expertise is required.
Interior Decor and Design: We believe that personal space be it at home or office stimulates our mind and this is so especially when decorating using different wall colors and furniture. We therefore ensure that we give our clients a harmonised environment that brings about tranquility as well as beauty in their rooms.
Our Company has artists that not only paints but can also draw patterns, logos and other graphics on the wall for official purposes or just for fun especially in Children's Bedrooms.