Anver Versi
Azim Premji
Improved Kienyeji
Mark Zuckerberg
Warren Buffett

Diary of a poultry farmer: : Ten habits to grow a poultry start-up

“Farming takes a lot of patience and multi-tasking,” she said. “If you’re the anal-retentive type who works best on a schedule, either forget farming or learn to loosen up fast. Keeping livestock requires one to learn on the fly.”

I’d never given this topic much thought until a year later when I read an article by Anver Versi on cultivating a right business mind-set. He posed the question: “Why do few businesses grow into substantial companies?”

Anver concluded that the difference between a business that has stopped growing and one that keeps expanding has far less to do with the activity itself than the attitude of the entrepreneur. That got me thinking.

Since then, I’ve been studying habits of successful entrepreneur and the only way to truly master these behaviours is to live them, rather than just read about it. Here are 10 habits I’ve found useful to my poultry venture:

Deploy practical knowledge: Second, we mostly learn by doing and having a good business idea in your head is useless until you implement it (ideas are rarely unique and what matters is how you execute them).

Practise delayed gratification: If you are the type that mostly regard a car as a status-symbol—as opposed to a means to get you from one point to another— then you’re certainly not made to be an entrepreneur. I read that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, owns a modest $30,000 Acura TSX entry-level sedan and Azim Premji, the 61st richest person in the world, drove a Toyota Corolla.

In 2006, Warren Buffett who up to this day still lives in a modest house that he bought in 1958 for $31,500 in Omaha, Nebraska, gave away 85 per cent of his fortune— or about $37.4 billion—to charitable causes. (See 5 Frugal Habits of the World’s richest people available online).

Entrepreneurs make mistakes but they also do due diligence before plunging in. When I started out in 2014, I realised I’d spent Sh102,468 to raise 100 Improved Kienyeji chickens in the first six months, from October 17, 2014 to March 4, 2015.

Commercial feeds accounted for 43 per cent of the total amount I spent. If I’d started with 5,000 birds, I would’ve been bankrupted. I now formulate my own feeds and save between 30 and 50 per cent on a 70kg bag.

Network effectively: Since I started penning this Diary, my in-box is always full of requests from people I’ve never even met. I always respond to them because when you connect people, you also gain connections.

Get lucky: Success also involves some luck in that you’ve to be in the right place at the right time and capitalise on opportunities when they come your way (I’m still waiting for Ladyluck to smile on me).

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