Happy New month everybody!
To commemorate this grand day, April Fools, I will share a random post my brother shared with me in the family WhatsApp group.
I honestly wish it was a prank, but such is the world we live in; with people painfully gullible and the ignorant prey on the desperation of others. In the words of my brother, “I don’t know whether to be angry at the pastor or the congregation.”
Well moving on to better things with more hope and growth, I am super excited to see what April will hold. I have given myself three months to build a viable business model to scale my consultancy.
After a physical breakdown that warranted a one week break in February, it was crystal clear that the only way to get maintain a work-life balance was to not do all my clients’ work myself.
I know that’s obvious now, but it has taken me years to trust people in general. The thought of not just finding talent, training them and trusting them to deliver was very difficult for me. So being at this juncture in my life where I am genuinely open and eager to work with people is a huge deal.
But even as I shape this business model there were a few phone calls I made at the beginning of March, which I felt were extremely essential.
There is nothing that induces anxiety more for me than taxes. Governments the world over never mess with taxes. That’s how they get mob bosses and drug dealers. Over the past 8 years, the current administration has fallen deeply and madly in debt at the expense of service delivery. We are so badly in debt and bleeding money from corruption, instead of convicting the thieves and recovering the money stolen from public coffers, KRA is on a financial raping spree with new forms of taxes. Life is difficult in general, but when you throw in business taxes aside from your income taxes you need to ensure your cash flow is solid.
So I decided to have a very candid conversation with a tax accountant who was extremely gracious in guiding me on the best way to legally navigate the ridiculous domestic and business taxes. That put me at ease somewhat, but the next question was how in the world would I be able to maintain cash flow? That led me to the next person I spoke to.
Business Development specialist
For the past 4 weeks, I have gone through a steady process of weekly assignments and review of my business model. The big question was how exactly do I ensure I am making money and ensuring I have the cash flow to hire practical numbers of people at a decent rate while working towards scaling business over time?
I asked several people aside from the business development specialist and for most, the response was, “hmmm?” And that my friends is an accurate response. The candid conversations I had with people willing to bear their all admitted to how difficult it is to run small businesses in Kenya.
Name it, 90 to 180 day waiting period for payment, to clients refusing to stick to work scope and treating you like the help, to bouncing cheques, to debtors going bankrupt ( even before the pandemic hit), political instability. The market is extremely volatile and only those who have deep pockets can ride the wave.
I don’t want to start a business with an expiry date. I want to build something to last. So after weeks of back and forth, I finally figured out a model. Now the hard work begins in structuring it and marketing it.
But even as I do that, there was one more person to talk to, a lawyer.
It wasn’t just about registering the business, because of the general area of business operation, it made sense to commence discussions on trademarking and copyright for my work.
You need to protect and own what you produce to avoid the broke artist situation – where gifted people get carried away with the creation and lose out big time on business. Like celebrated singers who don’t own the masters to their music and have no copyright to their songs etc.
This is just the first phase of my 3-month strategy of setting up my business, but I am glad I did have these conversations before I legally commit on paper and in taxes.
I would be interested to know, for those of you either in business or starting a business what are some of the other things you considered or are considering as you work towards building a sustainable enterprise. I would love to hear from you.