Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ivynne Okoth: Never hire, take business feedback from family and friends

Ivynne Okoth is the founder of Kairo Ltd, an online business that deals in fashion, furniture, and home décor.

The businesswoman revealed she started the business after completing her university studies with a capital of 50,000 thanks to her social media management skills and parents’ support.

”In college, I started off by managing a client’s social media account for pay. While at it, I would source for goods on sale online then resell them for a profit,’’ said Okoth.

”I started to make imports of apparel I could sell locally, experimenting to see how the market reception would be,’’ she added.

She revealed finding a strong market for her products was quite challenging an issue that made the business take a long to break even.

However, she persevered and with time the business gained a wide customer base spread all over the world, with 90 percent of the customers being from Kenya.

”The remaining 10 percent are mainly spread across Africa. We serve about 100 customers a day locally,’’ she explained.

My graphics business in Nairobi took three years to break even

Kairo Ltd which has employed at least eight employees operates online but has a warehouse in Parklands where they store the consignments.

To maintain and attract new customers, the entrepreneur notes she seeks feedback from customers. Okoth highly discourages entrepreneurs from taking business advice or feedback from family and friends as they may not be honest.

”Family and friends aren’t always going to be brutally honest. Feedback from your target market in the early stages can help you engage the brakes on a bad idea before you get too deep,’’ she said.

In addition, she explained that to succeed in business, entrepreneurs should avoid hiring friends or family members as it may feel difficult to fire them in case of mistakes leading to business failure.

”Businesses are not social clubs. Don’t hire friends or family unless you have the guts to fire them. At the end of the day, it’s the business that matters. And for it to have longevity, be careful about family ties and friendships.’’ she said.

She further emphasized the need for patience in business as well as knowing when to shut down to avoid losses.

”You can give a venture a three-year trial period. If you’re still not earning money in three years, then that is not a business. It is a hobby. It’s important to know when to let go.’’

”Know when to cut your losses if the venture is not profitable. Whatever you pay attention to grows. Your business requires your full attention,’’ said Okoth.

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