Victoria Musyoki is the founder and CEO of Kiddie World, an adventurous company that targets children and young adults.
Secret to my business success: We take care of our customers and our employees and they take care of making profits. We focus on giving each customer the ‘WOW’ experience and when we do that, they give us references. My bottom line is to genuinely transform the concept of fun for children in Kenya.
Ditch the excuses and do not get comfortable. Most of us are short on ears and long on mouth. When a customer calls, I listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying. This allows me to truly understand their needs and propose a solution that they did not even know they needed.
My saving method: I had defaulted to bank balance accounting for the first almost 3 years in my business. I’d look at my bank balance and see a chunk of change. Yippee! I’d feel great for about 10 minutes, and then decide to pay all the bills that had been piling up. Then last year it dawned on me that something needs to change, I couldn’t sustain living from check to check; panic to panic! I redefined the accounting formula from Sales – Expenses = Profit to Sales – Profit = Expenses…. I am now building a new habit of always taking out the profit first, a percentage of which is saved in a non-temptation account, then I let it sit for a predetermined amount of time. I’m also practicing doing my allocations and payables twice a month. I just had to stop the by-the-seat-of-your-pants cash management.
If I could go back in time: Every experience that I have been through has led me to this point. Honestly, I would not change a thing. Through the failures and the wins, I was able to come up with a manual that my entire team follows now, build relationships with customers who help us improve, and we now know what our strengths are and can maximize on them. I am now more focused, am not all over the place, I know what works and what doesn’t, and am ready to scale and grow the business.
Biggest money mistake: I would not call it a mistake. Even the ‘mistakes’ I have made in business and in life are just experiences and I have seen God turn every one of them for my good. When I was starting out, I spent Sh. 1,180,000 (which was my entire savings plus a loan) on play equipment just because I had seen someone else with them and they seemed to be making a lot of money. I did not have my own space, and had no idea how costly it would be to set it up and maintain it. I learnt to always take my time and ask myself WHY before making decisions. I bought the set of play equipment because I had seen someone else making money from it… that should never be a reason to spend your life savings on. I was focused on being bigger but I have learnt to strive to be better.
How I got get where I am: I kick my own a**. I graduated from JKUAT in 2008 with a BSc. Computer Technology. Got a job at Techno Brain a year later where I worked for 4 years. I was successful at the work place but I lacked satisfaction in that field. I desired to be in a field where I could leave an impact. I realized that I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship and started spending a lot of time in solitude. I would go for quiet retreats, tune out all the noise and distractions, and when I tuned into the right frequency, I started getting clarity into how I would do it. For me, it was about leaving a legacy, touching lives and living a meaningful life. In April, 2015, I quit employment to start Kiddie World. It wasn’t an easy transition. I read a couple of entrepreneurship books that helped me change my mindset, I took a piece of paper, wrote my mind plan and immediately took action. I also attended a boot camp which helped me prepare mentally for the road ahead. In the meantime, I was selling kienyeji chicken, dry cereals, boiled githeri and beans. This provided income for me before I could fully get into kids entertainment. In Jan 2016, I got my first set of equipment and over a year later, in April 2017, Kiddie World opened its doors to the public at Capital Centre shopping mall.
How do you unwind: Apart from running Kiddie World, I am also a biker and the co-founder of the all-female bikers club, Throttle Queens. When I need some alone time to reflect, refresh and reconnect, I hop on my motorbike and I just ride! I find riding therapeutic. It also not only brings out the adventurous part of me, but we get paid to do what we love and enjoy too.
Entrepreneurship versus employment: Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, being an employee is not either. There are pros and cons for each. In my opinion, none is better than the other; there is only the path which is best suited for you. If you are a risk taker, competitive and find a passion in business, start your own company. If you like to play it safe and reduce stress in your life, then employment may be the best option.
My ultimate parting shot: Pay yourself first. Live within your means. Make money work for you. I am also a believer in healing the nation one family at a time. A healthy family leads to confident, kind, compassionate, self-disciplined and responsible kids. These children are our future leaders and if we get it right at the family unit, they will bring us the transformation we need.
This feature was first published in the Saturday Magazine.