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Showing posts from October, 2006

Why not to take full payment before completing job

This weekend I finally rid myself of a headache I’ve been dragging around for the last one month. I learnt something (which I already knew but had chosen to de-learn), and that is to never accept full payment for a job before you begin. Here’s the story: About one month ago I was giving free consultation to one of my GEC members. In the course of our consultation he inquired about SoftLaw’s data entry services. Apparently he had to populate a database daily with about three hundred records each with more than ten different columns. He was concerned about how much his part-time employee was costing him to do the job. Another problem was that he had a huge archive of data which he wanted entered into the database as well. On further enquiry I discovered his problem had parallels to one I faced while doing some work for the Judiciary. My member was OCR scanning the property classifieds of the dailies and entering the information into an excel sheet with different columns for price, bed

Will the real entrepreneurs please stand up

Today, I am inspired. Watching the Barclays sponsored Enterprise Kenya on KTN last night showed me just how far I am from calling myself an entrepreneur. The source of inspiration: a woman called Joyce Wairimu and her amazing fortitude in starting and running her eatery business Babylon Kitchen. Every aspect of her story seemed so keeping with the entreprenuerial spirit that I was tempted to think it all scripted. Joyce Wairimu was a victim of the Molo clashes in 1992 which displaced her and family. The clashes uphove her life and she found herself separated from her husband, penniless, and destitute, with five children to care for. A chance boarding of a Kayole bound matatu found her living off handouts in the streets of Kayole. But the woman's spirit was not broken and a good samaritan welcomed her and her children into her home and also introduced to her to work that could earn her an income. Joyce started making a little money by working in the City Council farms and washing

Entrepreneurs hate holidays

It's October 10th today, a holiday that used to be called Moi day or Remembrance day but I'm no longer sure if that is still its name these days. What I am sure about is that it is a holiday, and I hate it. I have a number of entrepreneurs here at GEC who hate it as well. But wait a minute, doesn't everyone love holidays, a chance to relax, take time off, enjoy the fruits of one's labour? Not entrepreneurs. For an entrepreneur a holiday means: lost opportunities, lost income, absent employees, delayed cheque clearances, delayed deliveries et cetera. Holidays are the number one killers of entrepreneurs. Don't get me wrong, holidays like Christmas and Easter are welcome, even feted by entrepreneurs. But what's with these irrelevant holidays, what are we celebrating today anyway? Earlier this year there was an even more irrelevant holiday called Prayer day. And let's not forget the dubious "celebration" holiday right after the last general electio

'Jobpreneurs' earning money in a Kenyan way

I've invented my own portmanteau today to describe a way in which I think many jobless/retrenched Kenyans may find gainful employment. A jobpreneur is a person with a skillset suitable for an office job who outsources her skills to willing payers through the Internet. A jobpreneur is a worker and therefore will want a business model that almost approches an employer-employee relationship. But a jobpreneur is also a businessperson because she is ready to control the future of her income through her own hard work. A jobpreneurs skillsets are diverse but primarily use the computer: data entry, transcription, graphic design, software development, language editing, music composition, research, journalism etc. Genius Executive Center is helping jobpreneurs set-up their operations and start earning money using their skills by providing furnished offices, consultancy and financing. With K.Shs. a 10,000 investment, Genius can help you earn from K.Shs. 30,000 per month. Prospective jobprene

Quality service non-existent in Kenya?

Is it impossible for Kenyan companies to give guarranteed quality service? I thought the problem afflicted only startups who are mainly product-oriented before they learn to be customer-oriented. I figured its a cost issue for startups, as much as they'd like to guarantee their products, they just can't afford it. But even large Kenyan companies, with entire CRM departments and support departments can't seem to deliver top-grade service. Just the other day I signed up with an ISP who guarantees 99.8% uptime. Roughly translated this means that in the span of a month they can only be down for one and a half hours. Two days after using the service they went down for two- and-a-half hours. On complaining they mumbled something like "...maintenance...sorry we didn't inform you.."