Be patient, you can’t microwave success
You can’t cook success all at once, learn to wait.
Patience is the first rule of success. In most of my decisions, I have been either too careful, a risk taker or just on the edge. All three elements matter but you have to learn the art of all three and know when to apply them.
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In my business classes, Ive always kept it raw – as the famous saying goes, the truth will set you free.
I met a young lady last week at the Westgate mall (she will be so excited to know that I talked about her). She is at the university and has just started business on the side, which helps in settling school fees.
After the whole celebrity reaction and the selfie session, I was excited she could recite most of my articles.
We had a chat about the business she was in and she left a very happy lady. What I liked about her is that she was willing to try new things, but more so her thinking, which was way beyond her age.
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Anyway, I sat there thinking about how many people might be reading these articles and what impact they have.
It was my wife’s birthday and the rains in the city had made it impossible for her to keep time.
I was having my usual masala tea, then moments later a young guy approached my table with almost the same talk as the young lady who had just left. Since my wife was a bit far, I asked the guy to pull a chair so that we could talk about his business.
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I know, he was shocked. I remember when I was his age and at his stage – the conception. It’s usually the hardest bit of a business. Many people give up and only the ones with the greater vision will stick to their guns. He gave me his story and asked me for tips.
His name will change but since it’s not an original idea, I will share the most important details. Mike is in campus, started his business last year and borrowed money from his uncle as capital.
He does printing, photocopy and the usual related services but he says there is stiff competition and not everyone is aware of his business, which was affecting his sales. He wanted results there and then. The microwave generation.
The reason we fail is that we have a bad approach and end up getting less than what we should. I might be in a different state of mind now but I always see opportunities.
One day back in campus, I was broke and I went out of the class. It was break time and the students were rushing to the cafeteria and some to the library. At that time, our school had 18,000 students.
So I asked myself: How do I get 10 per cent of the population to give me Sh10 each daily? That meant I would be making Sh18,000 per day.
There was no need for me to look for an outside market yet the school served as a ‘market place’. The advantage with a school is that students are familiar with one another, there are affiliations, notice board, WhatsApp groups and events that take place frequently. These are the avenues that I used to start my business in school.
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I had some money set aside and two weeks later, I had a full plan on how I would start my smokie, boiled eggs and hot dog business. There were two other guys doing the same thing and I spent most of my research days eating at their stations. But as much as I looked prepared, my business performed badly and I had to go back to the drawing board.
Two months later I relaunched my business. I knew certain a famous musican and I promised him fuel so that he could come and taste my smokies. I lobbied a number of business girls and branded their outfits – I had an urban logo – and I gave a half-price on the snacks. Before you knew it, I was the most talked about business in campus.
I had failed but what did I do differently? Approach. Resources and opportunities are everywhere, it’s only that we want things on real-time.
Mike was grateful – and my wife had just arrived. I paid the bill and left.
Business needs experience but mostly learn your target consumer so that when you want to make a sale, you tailor-make your marketing plan to suit them. Keep warm and safe.
The writer is an award-winning artiste and entrepreneur.