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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Grace Wanja: Avoid business propositions from family and friends

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Grace Wanja Mbugua is the Head of Client Insights and Business Intelligence in the Innovation Space  at Stanbic Bank Kenya.

Biggest milestone: One of my chunkier milestones was in 2014, when I moved into a new career role of which I had no experience in. I struggled with the decision, especially because of the fear of failure and the unknown, as well as the pleasure of the comfort zone.  It took a number of conversations with myself, and my inner circle for me to to take the bold acceptance step. Having my inner circle, making the decision to take up the new role, and deliberately having people around me who were experts in that area made all the difference in my career.

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My success recipe: Pave your own path, know your journey and the road you have taken. Many of us wait for things to happen to us. For example, we feel that we are owed certain things and favours, even though we are not sure by whom. No one owes you anything.  You have to go out there and create your path and continuously look for things that will ensure your path keeps opening up the prospects you aspire to attain. It is always okay to stop and reflect if the road gets unclear or if you get battered in the process. What is not okay is to stay stuck in the mud. Get back on your path, try something different, stay the course, and always give your best.

Biggets money mistake: A couple of years ago, I took a chance on two start-ups that did not work out well.  There were different reasons for the classic failures, but the most prominent was the low level of due diligence as well as my relationships to the individuals who required the financing.  When it comes to due diligence, you must ensure that you understand the market, competition, risks, and mitigation strategies of any business you are investing in.  Although, you cannot plan for all risks, you need to ensure you understand clearly what can go wrong.  If you are financing a business or entering into partnerships, aim to avoid business propositions from family and friends or doing business with family and friends.

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Biggest career loss: Interestingly, and by God’s grace, I have never had a big loss in my career.  I have had some disappointments, moments of confusion and uncertainty.  In those instances, I have always told myself to get over the feelings of loss and hurt, to cry and whine for a bit, but never to let myself wallow in that state.  Learn to get back up and go on!.  As motivational speaker, Les Brown says, don’t go around telling people what your story is. Everybody has a story. 80 per cent don’t care and 20 per cent are glad it’s you, and not them!

If I could go back in time: I would not change too much.  What I would have loved to do better early on is spend more time with my family. I would also tell my younger self to be a bit more assertive at an earlier stage than I became.

Saving method: I am one of those risk-averse individuals.  I prefer to save by investing in fixed deposits, equities, and real estate.  If asked, given my risk profile, this form of saving and investing has been successful.  That said, I would want to step it up given where I am, age-wise.

Entrepreneurship versus employment: I would not advocate for either. Both of these play key roles in wealth creation today.  They are dependent on an individual’s preference.  That said, I heavily advocate for the “Entrepreneurial Employee”.  This guy or girl is passionate, has energy, is committed, innovative, is a hustler and executes!  That means their ability to survive, perform and excel in either is very high!

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