My Hustle: Hotel owners’ advice to budding entrepreneurs

Richard and Catherine Kipchillet, 50s.
Our entrepreneurship journey goes back a long way. We’ve been joint business partners since we met and settled down in the late 1980s.

Currently, we’re directors of Mursik Hotel and El-Bethel Guesthouse, both in Nakuru town.

I (Richard) was exposed to the world of business from an early age by my father, who was a businessman.

After high school, I worked for my father and while on one of his errands, I met Catherine, who was an employee of one of our clients.

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We eventually decided to go into business together, and first tried our hands at the cereals business. We’d buy grains in bulk and resell them.

The business was promising, but competition meant we were not making good money.

Our next venture was offering services like photocopying and typesetting before upgrading to cyber café business.

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Back then, there wasn’t that much competition and we enjoyed a kind of monopoly until the copycats mushroomed.

We then moved into the food business, playing off Catherine’s passion for cooking. That was in 2006, and we started with a staff of four and specialised in traditional African food.

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The hotel became a popular meeting place with time. But we’ve also faced challenges, including staff inconsistencies. However, our current manager, George Mulwo, has been with us for 10 years.

Our reputation has also been boosted by the fact that our foods are natural.

We later invested in a guesthouse as many of our visitors and customers would ask for accommodation. We added on conference facilities.

The rates range from Sh1,000 to Sh3,500 for bed and breakfast.

The place is very quiet and ideal for prayers, meditation and retreats.

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I’d like to tell young entrepreneurs to be ready for challenges, do what is driven by passion and invest in good public relations.

If you have employees, be willing to invest in them if you want highly productive employees – we have 15 employees on our payroll now.

Also, be patient as the business may not pay dividends in the short term.

And if you want to have a competitive edge over others, establish a brand you’d want associated with you.

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EntrepreneurshipBusiness TipsMursik HotelEl-Bethel Guesthouse