Perminus Wainaina is the chief executive officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a Human Resource Consultancy firm based in Westlands, Nairobi.
I took a big risky step to leave a stable job and venture into HR consultancy. Since then, I have helped over 1, 800 employers to get top talent for their businesses and helped thousands to get jobs through my consultancy. This happened only after I chose to grab an opportunity, invest and take a chance on myself. The business now offers recruitment, training, staff outsourcing that includes payroll processing and HR outsourcing services. For instance, the business not only recruits for employers but we also support them by improving the efficiency of their employees to ensure business success by guiding them through performance management and training on technical and soft skills.
I quit my well-paying accounting job in 2008. I then started my business in 2009. Back then, the Human Resource industry was not regulated. After resigning, I saw an opportunity, went back to school and got a practicing license. It took me 3 years to make a decent income out of the business. It was not easy to get business.
At the time when I was starting, human resource consulting and outsourcing services were not as widely accepted as now. I had to take a step to teach employers the value of having HR structures in place, show them the importance of being compliant and the importance of having motivated and engaged employees to work for them. I also found marketing the business challenging because I had not done a marketing course. This made me appreciate the importance of marketing for a business to succeed; people must know you exist and I have now since embraced this for my business.
I once invested at the Nairobi Securities Exchange without doing thorough due diligence on what was affecting the company from which I bought shares. After acquiring the shares, the price did not appreciate as I had anticipated. It kept falling, resulting in a massive loss of investment. This loss became a learning experience on why it is critical to always do research before getting into anything. Today, I would rather invest in an expert who I can consult when making such decisions. It is always best to invest in something you know of and not what others are talking about over how successful they have been or how they have made a lot of money from it.
10 per cent of my monthly income goes to an emergency fund. I also ensure to save at least 25 per cent of my monthly salary. I then look at what I have and the best place I can invest it in. I have been disciplined enough to ensure that these savings are mandatory despite what comes up.
Choose to challenge yourself in order to stand out. Looking back, I have realized that when I started my career and business, I was not good at planning and putting things on record and I did not follow up on things with strictness and to the letter. Now that I have learned to do this and also plan and implement things better, I have realized that having a sense of direction would have made my journey much easier.
In business, I learned that it is important to have a target audience in mind. More often than not when starting a new business or offering a product, we target everyone and that does not work.
Assessing your strengths to see where you will be happier is crucial. People always think that you make more money as an entrepreneur. But this can happen under employment as long as you are providing value to either your employer or your clients. For instance, I know of business owners whose businesses don’t make even Sh. 100, 000, yet there are employees who take home millions of money in salaries.
People who offer value to others will always be in demand. Ensuring that you can give value, whether to your employer or clients, will make certain you always are sought after, come rain come sunshine.
A version of this profile feature was published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.