How much do you need to start a business? Eunice Kamau started her business with Sh. 1,000. She speaks on how she made a corporate training business out of a single one thousand note:
“I was employed for thirteen years before I ventured out into entrepreneurship. I worked for different companies in various industries. I worked in the petroleum industry, banking industry, information and communication, and in the non-governmental organizations’ sector. Two years ago, I quit employment to start my own business. Well, you may ask why I quit such a colourful career! Well, everyone dreams of doing what they love and being paid for it! Nonetheless, this was just one bit of my motivators. This is my whole journey…
My name is Eunice Kamau Waruhari. I am the founder and director of A Game Training and Consultancy, a company that specializes in corporate training and team building. I started this company in August 2017. Today, it deals with improving overall employee skills and performance through management, leadership, and customer relations training.
By the time I was starting this business, I was confident that I had gained enough experience on how to handle a business from my thirteen years of being employed in various industries. I had become very good at sales and marketing, administration, management and leadership development.
But quitting employment in favour of entrepreneurship was not an easy choice. For a start, I had been earning good salaries that came with very attractive benefits such as retirement packages. As such, I could have opted to sink in the comfort of my pay slip. However, I had always wanted to pursue my passion for developing leaders in the marketplace. At the same time, I had come to learn that if done professionally, Corporate Training could be a very lucrative venture. This is not something that I could have managed to do as a side hustle or within the realms of employment. I needed to leave employment in order to free up my time, work in my own terms, and gain a meaningful opportunity.
Interestingly, I did not need too much capital to get started. I started my business with Sh. 1,050! It was all it took to register a business name and get started. I was also quite lucky. For example, my husband, who is a designer, offered to design my business logos, company profile and promotional materials. This saved me a great deal in startup costs. From onset, also, I was aware that starting a successful business does not only entail financial capital. Relational capital played a major role in giving the business a smooth set off. I engaged a mentor who specialized in corporate training and consultancy. Following our engagements, he took me up as an associate trainer for his firm. This opened me up to gunny bags of opportunities. It also broadened my scope and grasp of the nitty gritties of the corporate training business in Kenya.
Nevertheless, like any other new business, my venture faced numerous teething problems. When starting any business, budding entrepreneurs are advised to have at least 6 months savings in order to be able to manage personal expenses as they pursue work. Unfortunately, I had not set aside much savings for personal expenses. Secondly, I had not capitalized my business. Getting the proper credentials can be expensive. Training companies have to obtain certain credentials such as the NITA certification, which come with significant financial obligations. I did not have much capital to work with at first, so meeting the basic credentials for a corporate training company soon proved to be an uphill task.
I also struggled to articulate my value. Your value as a trainer is not why you think you are special but why your client should think you are special. This shortcoming cost me a few opportunities. Over time, working with other trainers in this field helped me understand my value proposition better, which now enables me to price my services more appropriately.
Two years down the line, my business is now on an upward growth trajectory. I currently have a part-time staffer who contributes to the company’s administrative duties. I also work closely with outsourced trainers who have specialized in delivering different training solutions in various professional fields. This has helped me to keep my overhead expenses low while increasing my output and solutions to my clients.
Still, the growth of my business is not devoid of operational challenges. One of the main challenges is when working with outsourced trainers, and the development of standardized and acceptable solutions. I have made it a priority to ensure that the client sees and feels that the company is professional, innovative, and effective. This in turn is what retains customers and brings on referrals. Unfortunately, outsourced trainers may not always exemplify these values.
To accelerate my business growth further, I am now working on partnerships with various micro, small and medium sized enterprises to provide year-round training solutions for their staff. I have also set up a five-year strategic plan that will transform my business into a leading reference centre for corporate training in the region.”
Eunice Kamau takeaway tips
Starting a business is easy. Maintaining a business can be incredibly difficult. However, the fulfillment that it brings far outweighs the challenges.
Do not always rely on financial capital. Be on the lookout for alternative capital such as human and relational capital.
Despite the experience you may have garnered on a certain line of business, it is always wise to have a mentor who has actually run such a business hold your hand.
How you price your goods and services can either bring in more or less opportunities. Know your value proposition and how to communicate it.