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Clara Masinde: How I turned a problem into a business

Career Tips
 Before and After Pics of Clara Masinde of Fat Loss Lab

The idea

I used to live in South Africa and at that time my weight was spinning out of control. I also had Type 2 diabetes so I was desperate for a solution to lose weight as well as improve my health. Then I heard about Fat Loss Lab and went through the programme successfully so through that positive outcome I was inspired to help other women with a similar difficulty.

What happened next

I used my personal savings to purchase the franchise, and when I moved back home started the business. The good thing about a franchise is there are already set procedures so there is guidance and you are not the one deciding everything. It was a soft landing and a nice way for me to cut my teeth in the world of business. Initially, I relied on my network of family and friends to grow my clientele. It just started growing from there by word of mouth up till today. About 80 percent of our business still comes from referrals. With time, I realised I needed to grow the team so I hired from former clients whom I had seen walk their journey. We had a rapport and they showed a natural interest to being part of the team, now we have 12 people on board.

Running a startup

Business requires more hard work than employment because there were times when, to keep promises to clients, I needed to work overnight. Also, because we deal with weight loss, we have to come up with certain strategies to ensure clients achieve their goal. Firstly, the door is always open whether they are a success or not. It is important for them to know that we will partner with them regardless. We also hold them accountable regularly by having an honest chat with them. We make the conversation more of a coaching one, where they come up with the solutions and own the journey. However, some people - even when they embark on the journey - are not really ready to commit to the discipline that is required. So that leads to a lot of negative feelings and many times people want to shift the blame to us rather than realising they needed to do something.

Where I am now

I take good care of myself, my spiritual and emotional health comes first. I cannot give my clients good health while I do not have it. I also take time to think about the business. I try to balance working in the business and on the business – I try to focus more on strategy than the day-to-day running of the business. However, the biggest limitations to running a franchise is that I am limited in terms of vision because there are certain policies that belong to the franchise that I have to adhere to. But if one is very creative then you find yourself limited in your ability to execute some of your ideas. As a result one can lack local relevance because the original product was developed in a different culture with a different food ethos so that has been a challenge trying to conquer.

My Tip

Women who want to go into business have to be clear what problem they are solving. The area they are struggling with holds the answer to what they should be doing. A lot of people think they should do business in the area that is their strength like if they are organised then they should be event planners but you could find that the one area of weakness could actually present the best business opportunity for you to provide solutions, so you draw from your own experience of overcoming a challenge to mould other people.


Fact Box

Launched: May, 2013

Start-up costs: Sh6 million

Turnover: Sh90 millioin but it has grown

Website: www.fatlosslab.co.ke

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FatLossLabKenya/

Phone: +254 709 945 000 / +254 20 523 0885

Location: First Floor, Wing B, The Oval, Westlands. Corner of Ring Road Parklands & Jalaram roads.



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