The Business Coach: Lessons from 20 years in business

Eight years into employment, Damaris Ndinda decided to get serious about earning a side income.

She set up Iconic Barbers, investing her life savings into it despite warnings against the idea from her family and friends.

For three years, Damaris ran the business alongside her job, but it never quite picked up like she hoped it would.

However, her involvement in the business was minimal, so she couldn’t quite judge the barbershop’s potential. But because she had a regular paycheque, she didn’t mind dipping into her pockets once in a while to keep the business afloat.

One Easter weekend, though, she decided to spend time at her business, and that’s when she realised she had a goldmine in her hands, but her team wasn’t pulling their weight.

Damaris decided to quit her job to fully focus on the business.

Four years later, she’s made significant strides, but now wants to do even more.

The Business Coach linked her up with Charles Maina, the founder of Barberkings Kenya, one of Nairobi’s top barbershops. Charles has been in the business for two decades, and this is some of what he shared with Damaris.

1. Plough back profits to grow your business

It’s easier to reinvest your profits than to seek debt to grow your business. As an entrepreneur, you must be intentional about how you manage costs to maintain sustainable profit margins.

2. Focus on the business

A business grows in line with the focus and attention its owner invests in it. At any time, an entrepreneur should focus on just one business and avoid dipping their fingers into other business lines as the diverted attention derails the main business from growth.

3. Start off by paying your staff on commission

Earlier on in the barber business, revenues are unsteady as the business is yet to secure a regular stream of clients. To minimise the risks that comes with not being able to supplement a wage bill, hire employees on a commission basis as opposed to a set salary.

4. Your clientele determines your pricing

The pricing strategy in the barber business is determined by the set of customers who come for services, and these customers are influenced by the location of the shop. Other factors to put into consideration when pricing are the costs incurred in the offering of services, as well as the market rates in the area of operation.

The Business Coach airs on KTN Home every Monday at 7:30pm.

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