Learning from people in business: How to start and sustain your hustle

NAIROBI, KENYA: According to the Kenya national Bureau of Statistics, most startups do not see their second anniversary. This means that after committing resources to start their business and entering into the market, most people give up due to one reason or another. On the other hand, the few businesspeople that manage to hold on during the initial rough phase go ahead to build successful companies. So, what does it take to grow a business? Are there sure strategies that would make the process faster and less complicated?  The following entrepreneurs reveal the strategies that they used to grow their business:

Mwenda Thuranira
There is no straight line to growing a business. If anything, just take the risk, work hard and learn as you go. However, the fastest way to grow your business is to identify a problem and solve it. When you solve problems you get money. But it takes time; you have to be resilient, patient and honest. Don’t fall for shortcuts

- Mwenda Thuranira, 41, Founder and CEO Myspace Properties

Erick Kinoti
Start small, start now, and think big. You must identify the right business opportunities with the potential to grow big and have a ruthless focus to achieve excellence. That’s all you need to grow a business from scratch

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- Erick Kinoti, 34, Founder and CEO Shade Systems East Africa Ltd

Edwin Dande
To grow a business you need to follow four simple steps. First, the key driver for getting into business has to be delivering a service or product that solves real problems for people, hence making the world a better place to live. If you start with the goal of making money or the desire to be self-employed, you’re likely to fail. Second, you have to have a strategy – simply, how to do it. You need a clear road map of how you will achieve your vision. Third you need a team that works together, and finally, you need for focus hard on execution

- Edwin Dande, 41, CEO and Managing Partner Cytonn Investments

Business is like a tree; the roots are bitter but the fruits are sweet. That means, when you are starting out a business, you have to keep on re-investing. You have to give it all your time. Be sure it will drain you emotionally, physically and financially especially because most people won’t believe in you at that point when you are starting. But after some years when the foundation is built and structures are in place, you start enjoying the benefits!

- Nancie Amunga, 27, Founder and CEO Dana Communications

First, you need to be highly focused on the key activities of the business. You cannot succeed in many things at the same time. Second, design your product with your customer in mind: Without customers, you have no business.

It is, therefore, important to interview your customer and understand what their pains are.

Your product/service must meet the needs of your customers fully. For this reason, the ability to identify a problem/ or gaps in society or in a particular sector is perhaps the most important factor. Third, you have to have passion and experience in the business you chose.

When you are passionate about what you do, people sense it and they are willing to join you in the venture.

These people could be staff, investors, customers, and partners and they play a very important role in the growth of a business.

- Eunice Maina, CEO and Founder of Bismart Insurance, a platform that allows customers to compare benefits and price and buy the most suitable insurance policy

To grow a business you must start right. By starting right you have the formula to progress with a timeline and all that is required. Secondly, you need mentors, one who is in your line of profession and another from a different profession so as to give you a different honest opinion. Thirdly, network with professionals from different areas and learn from people’s mistakes. Share information that you have learned and you could help someone who is almost giving up.

- Liz A Njoroge, Fashion Designer Liz Njoroge Collection

Musalia Mwenesi
Make sure you link everything to your big picture, your end game. Why did you start the business in the first place? That way you remain focused and allow only complementary offerings and associations to be a part of your business and not anything that will waste your time. Time is a more important resource than money.

- Musalia Mwenesi, 34, Founder and Managing Partner House of Major

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