Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Stephen Obuong: Why I still save money through the bank

Stephen Obuong is the founder and chief executive officer of Masterpiece Education, an education consultancy and publishing business based in Nairobi.

In 2005, my business started designing, publishing and distributing students’ practical manuals in sciences. Over the last fifteen years, what started as a small venture has grown into a formidable revenue generating business. The production of learning materials in the field of sciences and its impact on learners has been a key milestone for the business.

Multiple ventures have tried to develop similar learning products. However the quality and consistency of our learning products has remained the most appealing in the market. Our titles have held their ground. This has been possible through a shift from a profit–oriented business approach to a solutions driven approach.

In business, you must never delegate all operations. This is the mistake I made. I allowed this particular employee to run all operations from procurement, production, sales to accounts. By the time I knew what was happening, a parallel business (a competitor) had been born using my resources. My take home from this was threefold.

Nobody will run your business or company as good as you would; Nobody really cares so much about you and your welfare as you think; In all undertakings, prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

Creativity, originality, passion and excellence are the best ingredients for prepping a successful career. In my line of work, this involves finding about gaps in our niche and coming up with original ideas to fill them. This is what has taken us thus far. You will only be as good as your last job. If you do well today, strive to excel even more tomorrow. I have had a good run in entrepreneurship.

In fact, if I could start all over again, the only thing I would change is the time I started my venture. I would start much earlier than I did, then follow the same script that I have followed so far. This is not to say that I have not made mistakes. Mistakes in business are inevitable. But I have taken them as lessons to improve on my operations and business structures.

You don’t need to trample others to be at the top. There is enough space for everyone at the top. Instead of trampling your friends, let them in on opportunities that befit them. The hate is less when you’re all winning.

Start competing with yourself too. Benchmark with others but compete with self. Many people go wrong by trying to get into the rat-race of competing with others, trying to outdo one another, and strategizing how to bring others down.

9 most profitable businesses to start with Ksh. 20,000

I have been saving money through the bank. I also save through passive income-generating or value-accruing assets. Saving in the bank has allowed me to access well–priced loans while assets have given me a silent fallback plan should I need heavy capital investment.

I have learned that the bank is actually a good way to save money and get funding as long as you maintain a healthy and consultative relationship.

Never live above your means, especially if you are an entrepreneur. Do your due diligence and invest based on target goals. In the time I have been in business, I have found out that business provides a sense of fulfillment that employment doesn’t.

It is however very challenging since you have to think ahead of time to be ahead of existing competition. Management of cash flows and reinvestment are central to the success of a business. So is the separation of business and personal money.

This feature on Stephen Obuong was first published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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