Ann Kendi is the Managing Director Unique Preen Safaris, a tours and travel company domiciled in Nairobi, Kenya.
This business is about providing people with experiences that allow them to explore new places, cultures and activities. We orchestrate curated tour packages and business travel, and facilitate a wide range of tourism services which include: corporate team building, hotel booking (local and international), domestic, regional and international air ticketing, beach vacations, bush safaris and tour packages either group joining or private travels (Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Serengeti), car rental services, ground transfers (airport and train stations), corporate travel and honeymoon packages.
I would be unkind not to loop in my husband here, James Livingstone, who has been very instrumental in steering Unique Preen Safaris. Jointly, we incorporated the business in June 2021 because we wanted to be part of something that could be both personally and financially rewarding.
I also wanted to use my skills and experience to help grow the business and make it successful, since I am a good marketer. Armed with Sh. 50,000 were able to incorporate, build a simple website, purchase domains and branding and get started.
I was not employed when I started this business. However, my husband was, and he had to resign from his job as a financial analyst to help build this brand. Looking back, we don’t regret making the decisions we made to venture into entrepreneurship as the future of this business is luminous. There have been challenges without a doubt.
These have included managing cash flow, finding reliable employees and service providers, managing customer expectations, and staying on top of marketing and advertising trends while trying to find the right channels to reach our target customers.
I once joined network marketing with a pyramid scheme. I was excited at the prospect of reaping some good benefits and I jumped in and invested too much money too quickly. I ended up losing everything. I learned that it is important to research on any opportunity before investing, as well as to invest wisely and not to put all my eggs in one basket.
Investing too much money too quickly is a sure way to lose it all. Trust the process of money building. There’s no such thing as quick legitimate wealth. Utaoshwa!
Early this year, I got the golden opportunity to plan an itinerary to six African countries for our international clients. This turned out to be one of my main business milestones. It was a great honor to be entrusted with such a huge project; it allowed me to explore my creativity and understanding of the diverse cultures and landscapes of Africa.
It was also a great opportunity to expand my business network and gain valuable knowledge and experience. It was a referral from a friend and I am eternally grateful.
If I were to start over again, I would focus more on developing a long-term plan for my business. I would also invest in my education by taking additional classes or certifications, attending industry events, and networking with others in my field. I would be more mindful of my spending, and finally, I would take time to enjoy the moment.
Budgeting is a the fulcrum of my spending. I endeavor as much as I can to restrict myself within my budget. This has allowed me to prioritize my spending and track my progress towards reaching my financial goals.
Previously, I was simply trying to save whatever was left over at the end of the month after I paid all my bills. This wasn’t effective because often, there was nothing left over to save.
It’s never too late to start something to build a secure future for yourself and your family. My advice from what I have learnt is: be mindful of what you have and use it wisely. Try to live within your means to avoid unnecessary debt. Save for the future and invest in yourself.
Develop a budget and stick to it. Be generous with your time and resources, helping others where you can. Finally, remember that money isn’t everything; focus on the relationships and experiences that make life truly meaningful.
A version of this profile feature on Anne Kendi if Unique Preen Safaris was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.