From Hawking Popcorn to Owning A Make-Up Line in Kenya – Rose Ntong’ondu’s Story – Starting a business in Kenya can be a daunting venture but very rewarding for those who embark on it. Women in particular have faced hurdles and setbacks whilst following their dreams to start their own businesses. Through resilience and determination, women are forging ahead on their business journeys leaving behind legacies and encouraging stories for those who wish to walk in their shoes. One resilient woman is Rose Ntong’ondu; an award winning Make-Up artist and Trainer, and owner of Make-up By Rose. Roses’ journey to success was not that reminiscent of her name, a bed of roses. Hers was paved with hardships and setbacks that saw her sell smokies and popcorns in the streets at one time. That, however, did little to deter her from following her dreams, igniting her passion and building her brand.
Rose shared her story with us to help motivate a budding entrepreneur to never give up.
ROSE: Rose Ntong’ondu is like that next door girl. Haven’t changed. My childhood was happy because spent most of it with my family. I love my family above all. My mother was my anchor. She was my biggest cheer-leader. She had it rough. With little education my mother made sure we got all the business skills form her. Till today I have never met any woman that could match my mother’s hard work.
My elder sister was no different, she was one of the best salonist in our area, in Meru. She was hardworking, still is.
ROSE: When I was growing up, my mother and my sister were my role models. I loved watching my sister work on her clients in her salon in Meru. She was so good at her job. I wanted to be just like her. Whenever I watched my sister transform a client’s hair, I wondered how the client would have looked with her face done as well. I wondered whether people would ever pay me to get their faces done a little. I had that dream since I was in grade 4. It never left me, I’m glad it didn’t. Lol!
ROSE: Yes. I borrowed my first lipstick from my sister at the age of about 10. Irene lipstick.
ROSE: For me, I never settle for less. And I never forget where I came from. I’ve had some tough times, I work hard so my kids will never have to experience what I went through. No way am going back to that tough life!
ROSE: I hate loans and handouts. So, the popcorn and smokies business on the road did it for me. My husband and I run Make-Up By Rose. I had nothing starting the business. It was a far off dream. I borrowed Ksh. 8,000 from my mother and that’s how everything fell into place. I used the money to buy my popcorn machine, which is how I was able to get some make-up products.
ROSE: I am a hustler. I do so much. Apart from making people look beautiful, I also run the first make-up school in Kenya. We train more than 100 students every month. I have also just launched my makeup line a few days ago. From a line of 20 products, we have started with lashes and brushes. I’m very excited about that. I also love mentoring through my business. I love holding hands of young upcoming entrepreneurs. Mostly those that are giving up in life. It’s exciting to see young people come to me feeling hopeless and leave motivated, empowered and ready to take on the world. Very exciting.
ROSE: So far, starting my own makeup line. I love creating and filing gaps. My make-up line is very exciting.
ROSE: The challenges are massive. Being a woman, people tend to think you need men with money to be successful. Or sponsors. Again, people locking doors or not giving you opportunities simply because ‘they don’t believe in your dream’. It’s hard. I shiver when I think about what most upcoming entrepreneurs go through. I wish I could help them all. I just wish.
ROSE: ’Lift where you stand’ meaning start from where you are. Stop wishing you had this or that. Most people keep saying, ‘If I had this, then I could do this’. Those are just excuses. Do what you can from where you are right now. You just have to find a way.
Another word of advice, ‘NEVER EVER GIVE UP. NO MATTER WHAT. NEVER GIVE UP’.
Feeling encouraged? Motivated? Contact Us Today and waste no time in Setting Up your business. #Growing your Business in Africa!
5 Financial Mistakes Entrepreneurs in Kenya Make And How to Avoid Them – Acquiring Finances and Getting money set for starting a Business is every Entrepreneur’s Dream. After surpassing the rocky trail of Investment Opportunities and disappointments and finally securing the bag, a business beginner may now set his sails in motion. However, as tough as it was to acquire funding for your business, as equally tough it will be to manage this money, ensuring your business bank account is ever loaded. While some entrepreneurs think it is easy, the bitter truth is that it is far from simple a, b, c. There are small ‘financial risks’ and downright mistakes that can sink your ship even before you start sailing. Many entrepreneurs have admitted to making land-sliding mistakes that cost their businesses millions; for example, Amazon’s brainchild, Jeff Bezos who invested in a phone, the Fire Phone, that lost the company $170 million. With that said, money mistakes are inevitable but at the same time avoidable. Here are some of the common Financial Mistakes Entrepreneurs in Kenya make and how to avoid them.
While spending is a necessary part of any business, there are things you can do without. Just as Jeff Bezos could have done without the Fire Phone and saved $170 million, as a small business, you can do without a big office space (or office at all), a big Shop (or shop at all) or a lot of technological equipment. This way, you will not burn out your money on things that you will realize along the way that you didn’t really need and most of all save your money for a worthwhile cause or a rainy day.
Hiring a workforce too early into launching in your Service and Product could be detrimental to your Account. Instead of hiring a sales and marketing team and spending too much on salaries and employee maintenance and equipment, focus on developing your product and be your own sales and marketer, pitching to potential client at every opportunity possible; if not, have at least one. Even if you are ‘expecting’ a certain amount of cashflow from an investor, don’t count your chicken before they hatch. Wait for the money to come in before starting the hiring process. Once your sales begin to project and the numbers come in to the bank, then you can start hiring a team.
Many Entrepreneurs in Kenya go about their everyday businesses without a budget and wonder why they end up penniless and asking for bank loans too early into the birth of their companies. As tedious as creating a Financial Plan may be, it is one of the most important Business planning practices every business person must religiously adapt. A Financial Plan enables you to prioritize expenditure and allocate money to items/projects that will help grow the business. It is a method of controlling finances and curb reckless spending on things that were not part of your initial plan. A budget also helps you fund for currents projects or better yet, know if you have enough money to fund for these projects and also preparing for upcoming ta obligations. Running a business without a budget is like running around in circles without really heading to a proper destination.
Some entrepreneurs in Kenya are known as ‘serial borrowers’ because they are always asking for loans from the bank. Asking for a loan is not bad; however, never ask for a loan just for the sake of having money in the bank. Some banks readily offer loans which are enticing and hard to resist. However, you have to remember that banks are in business too and set out to collect interest. That in mind, borrow only what you need to incase of emergencies or to sustain your business; an amount that you can comfortably pay back. Debt kills businesses- don’t go down that road.
Many Entrepreneurs in Kenya fall victim to this temptation. You have a lot of money in your business account and have that one personal thing you want to purchase so you pinch some shillings from your account. One thing becomes two things, two things become three things and eventually you might find yourself buying a car! There’s no tool that I might recommend to curb this behavior; you just need financial discipline. This kind of spending might lead to bankruptcy and an empty personal account too. Before you know it, your business might close down too.
There are some fundamental elements of finances that entrepreneurs need professional advice on. Business start ups need the help of Certified Public Accountants, Financial Advisers and Tax Consultants to deal with the legal financial obligations that are not too obvious for a start-up entrepreneur. Having at least one on board your ship is sure to save you from future revenue-related messes that are sure to arise for novice business owners.
Making a money mistake is not the end of the world; it is in fact a Fundamental lesson learnt. However, it is always good to avoid the unnecessary stress that comes about while trying to resolve a Financial mistake. Be sure to always have a Business Consultants to guide you through making the right Financial decisions. Contact us Today to for Financial & Business Planning, Tax, Accounting and Management Consultancy Services and Kill Two birds with one Stone; have a Booming Business while Saving Your Money.
The restaurant business is one of the most profitable ventures in the world. The restaurant business in Kenya has been growing exponentially over the past 5 years and is proving to be a very promising industry for business investment. Starting a restaurant business differs from country to country. There are also different types of restaurant companies, from food trucks, fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants to cafes and delis. Whichever the style, there are certain mandatory requirements and considerations for starting such a company. Starting a restaurant business in Kenya is no walk in the park, bit is a very profitable venture. Take for example the Java Group franchise that started out in 1999 as one branch because of lack of good coffee in Kenya: it is now spreading across the continent all the way to Ghana with more than 50 operational branches. The quickly growing Café Deli franchise is also a success story; the owner was once sold cheap liquor and cigarettes to make a living. Now he’s a multi-millionaire thanks to his restaurant business in Kenya. There are certain requirements and hacks that will make your business venture a success. Here are five steps outlining what it takes to start a restaurant Business in Kenya, assuming you already have chefs and waiters.
You will need to come with a name you would like your restaurant to be called and reserve it. Why is this important? You want a unique name that no one will hijack and make their own. Your identity remains your own and becomes part of your personal brand. We can do this for you by conducting a business name search and reservation. Once approved, you proceed to the business registration process. Here, there are certain requirements such as passport photos and documents needed to be signed to be submitted to the registry. After we have completed the registration for you, you collect or we deliver the required documents such as a memorandum and certificate of incorporation.
Another important requirement is the company KRA Pin for purposes of opening a bank account, filing your returns and acquiring a business permit. You should also consider having an ETR machine to process sales and issue receipts as well as keep a record of VAT transactions for easier filing of VAT returns.
You may also want to get clearance from type from ministry of health
This is also in regards to operation. Different counties have different restaurant operation rules and regulations. Consider setting up your restaurant in high areas of foot traffic, with thriving businesses. Setting up your business in a highway might not yield profitable results as there is little likely-hood of one stopping and parking in the middle of the highway to eat; there is also little to no foot traffic on highways. University campuses, Central Business Districts, small but busy towns, and other areas with thriving businesses are most suitable to set up a business.
For restaurants that have a bar facility, operation hours and locations are restricted in some counties. Depending on the business permit you obtain, you will only be allowed operation until a certain time of the day or night, for example 12 midnight. Bars are also prohibited from operating near residential areas in some counties.
Some businesses, if not all, need a Business Plan. The restaurant business is one of those that need one. In order to start your restaurant business in Kenya, it is important to draw up a proper business plan. A business plan will help you estimate and manage your finances and also enable you to calculate your desired financial projection in a year, two or even three years. Business plans also help aspiring restaurant owners to come up with the design they desire for their restaurant, that will attract customers and fit the estimated number of customers at a go.
This will also help you organize and visualize your restaurant’s design, an estimate of how much kitchenware you will need, as well furniture.
Knowing your target market goes hand in hand with knowing your target location. If your target market are students, based on your current location, then what type of restaurant you set up will matter. In Kenya, students always frequent fast-food restaurants or cafeterias rather that fast-casual restaurants. This is because fast food restaurant foods and cafeterias fall under the typical breakfast, lunch or dinner budget of a university student. While fast casual restaurants are a bit pricier for the average student.
Knowing your target market will also help you come with prices for your meals and beverages.
Nairobi is a hub for fast growing restaurants, both casual and high-end. If you wish to start a restaurant business in Kenya you have to ensure that your marketing strategy is on point to get the restaurant out there and to ensure you reach your target market as desired. This can be done online on social media pages or on the business’s very own website complete with available dishes and a menu. In this era, most Kenyans, especially working class, like having their food delivered to their offices. This would be a good consideration as you develop your business. You can also choose to supply flyers, especially around CBDs to catch the attention of potential customers around your area. Whichever the method, marketing is an important aspect in developing your business in Kenya.
As you think of opening up a restaurant in Kenya, you should also think about your business management team. Will you need accountants, restaurant managers, waiters and chefs? If so, how will you recruit them? The success of a restaurant depends, to a great extent, on the management team. Finding trustworthy employees can be a tasking job so most restaurants go through q quick question and answer session before hiring. Consider taking your time and going through a full interview and shortlisting process, carefully analyzing your minimum requirements and doing background checks on all candidates whether janitor or manager. This will triple your chances of hiring competent employees compared to doing blind or fast paced hires.
To Start a Restaurant Business in Kenya you will not require a masters’ degree- or any degree for that matter. As long as you have your capital and the requirements stated above then you can get started. Contact us Today for guidance on How to Start a Restaurant Business in Kenya
Going into business without a Professional Business Plan in Kenya is like Hiking Mt Kenya without a map or GPS support – you’ll eventually get lost and starve
Many entrepreneurs know exactly what they want to accomplish with their new business, they know what products or service they will offer, what makes their product better than the competition and how to operate their business, however, many have never written business plans before and hence need professional help and guidance along the way, whether in research, forecasting sales, calculating costs or creating financial documentation, this is where I come in.
We guide you throughout the business planning process and help you document your business concept, vision, research and all other elements of your Business into a presentable and professional business plan that you can use as a management tool or to share with external entities such as government authorities or investors.
Kenya is a Growing Hub for Entrepreneurs because of its vast Business Opportunities. For that reason, a lot of locals and Foreigners aspire to get a piece of the pie; from the Manufacturing Sector, to Tourism, and even Infrastructure. However, before dipping your feet into cool waters, it is important to consider what it takes to start a business in Kenya to best put you in a position to succeed, assuming you already have the capital. Otherwise, you might encounter pitfalls that will pull you back just as you start out your Business Venture.
You have your business idea. You need to sit down, review it and do market research as to how that business will thrive in Kenya. There are many profitable business ideas that may not necessarily do well in Kenya, while some seemingly unusual business that can do well, on the contrary. For example, the dog grooming business is booming in the United States but hardly has a market in Kenya. Extensive market research in line with your business should help you decide whether to proceed or not.
They say ‘He who fails to plan, plans to fail’. While some entrepreneurs swear by succeeding in their businesses without a Business Plan, it is important to have one and not rely on luck. Not having a business is like going on a journey to an unknown destination without a map. You will get lost.
Before you launch a product or service, you must know your target market and audience to help you understand how to maneuver around making sales. You must know where they are, for example, rural or urban centers (or both), ease of access to your product/service and how they receive your product/service. It would be disastrous to launch a product that your target audience find hard to or may not reach, leading to a decline in sales. It is also important to know the Kenyan lifestyle; are you selling a product that requires habitual shoppers? Are Kenyans habitual shoppers? Finding out the income class of your audience will also help you best position your selling point and know how to price your products/services before you start your business in Kenya.
Before a soccer team sets out for a match against their rival, they analyze the other team’s performance, possible injuries, weak points, whether midfield or defense and player line-up so that they can have an upper hand and know how and where to attack for chances of winning. Same to business. Before you start your business in Kenya you have to research on your competitors, possibly conduct a small SWOT analysis on them and most of all see whether they pose a potential threat to you so that you can develop a risk management plan, just in case. Do they have opportunities to jump on? The competitor can be your biggest boost to success if you leverage on the information you have well.
After ticking the boxes for what you need to set up a business in Kenya, you finally need to review the Kenyan rules and regulations for starting a business, no matter how small. This includes: licenses and permits, Tax Compliance, Business Name Registration, Labor and Employment Laws and even Environmental Regulations. Understanding these rules and regulations can be tasking. What is imperative is knowing which ones directly affect your business, whereby non-compliance can lead to shutting down the business or more serious penalties. These regulations vary from country so it is advisable to contact a business consultant to shed more light into legal matters.
The Kenyan business environment is very competitive and new businesses emerge day by day. Contact Us to help you get prepared to break barriers in 2019 and for help in Starting a Business in Kenya