Mercy Branice Munyasa is a well-known dentist on Kenyan social media, particularly X (formerly Twitter). She specializes in oral and maxillofacial surgery and runs her Ultramodern dental clinic, NextCare Dental Studio.
Growing up, Branice had always wanted to be a medical doctor. In a recent interview, the 31-year-old dentist shared that she is also a third-year Oral & Maxillofacial surgery student at the University of Nairobi.
Branice Munyasa completed her first undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi in December 2017. At the time, she had done several additional courses such as orthodontics and Invisalign which helped her in establishing NextCare Dental.
She landed her internship at the Kenyatta National Hospital before later working at a private clinic in town for 9 months. Here is where she got the relevant experience and feel of what it is like working as a surgical doctor.
Branice Munyasa has also worked at Aga Khan University Hospital and UoN Dental Plaza.
Branice revealed that at the time of her graduation, the government had halted automatic placements of dentists, pharmacists and medical officers.
Her remaining options were to look for a job at a private hospital or sponsor herself through school. Branice chose the latter, despite knowing how she would pull through. This was how she first thought of opening her clinic.
“I decided why not start practice instead of waiting for a government job. I don’t know how long I would have waited and time goes by,” she recalled.
She began by observing the locations of other clinics, which she thought people would travel far to get good dental care. Eventually, she settled on a prime, centralised location for her business; Thindigua, along Kiambu Road.
She pulled the savings she made at SACCO from working as an intern and decided to book an office to practice Dentistry. Getting the money to start the business was entirely different from setting up the clinic.
Branice reached out to her father’s friend, who had expertise in importing items. To ship materials for her clinic, he advised her to talk to a supplier on a verified website to help her.
“I found this lady, then we started chatting on Google before she contacted me on Whatsapp. She sent me her catalogue, I made a list of what I needed and we made a final invoice.”
Branice said that the amount she was required to pay online was huge and never had she done such a thing before. Worried that she might get scammed by a stranger, she delayed the payment for 2 weeks.
“One day, I was like, this is money. It comes and goes. I went to the bank, transferred the money, forgot about it but constantly hoped that this Chinese lady would not swindle me,” she said.
A week later, her shipment arrived and was delivered directly to her doorstep. This occurred just before the Covid-19 lockdown was announced. After Covid restrictions were lifted, Branice turned her focus to advertising her business, which has since thrived.
“For me, I focused on doing a good job at every patient. I was giving my best because I knew they were going to be my ambassadors. With every other good job, we got referrals and that’s how we grew our practice.”
Her advice to anyone wishing to start a business during difficult times is to start small, manage expenses carefully, and focus on gradual growth. Branice has since redesigned her clinic and purchased more office space to cater for new equipment.
She noted that it is important to have enough finances to cover 3-6 months of expenses until the business becomes profitable. Additionally, she advised treating employees well, as they play a vital role to the success of the business.
“If your employees are happy, they’re going to treat your clients well. If they are not happy…your receptionist could be sulking at another client which is not good. Your employees are your priority, they need to be happy.”