A standing virtual ovation for last night’s Bongohive guest, Miyanda Maimbo Katiwa, founder of Human Resource development company Prosoft Solutions, and board member for Cavmont, World Vision, Diamond Equity, amongst other things she’s passionate about.
Where does her entrepreneurial story start? From just below scratch. Having had no financial means to run her business after resigning from her job 11 years ago, she began a hectic path to source the money she needed to make her business work, never once letting her potential clients know she was broke and really had nothing to go on for a start.
Picture an empty office she paid for with loaned money that only came through an hour before rent was due, her switching from flats to heels in guard rooms of companies she wanted to pitch to, to finally feeding clients Black Forest Cake with coffee as they sat at a very fancy borrowed round table. Long story. You have to ask her for those details.
What we want to share is the most important tips we got from her during this Bongohive Insaka (search #BHInsaka on Twitter) for any entrepreneur who wants to start up a business but does not know how to grow it further:
- Miyanda started off by saying we all have 2 choices, to either stay in employment or to become an independent entrepreneur, but to be creative and innovative in both. If everybody was an entrepreneur, who would we hire as employees? The world need both to function.
- Delete the word “fear” from your thoughts and vocabulary. People are afraid of not making it or not making enough money out of their ideas. As long as you think of fear, you give it life. So start taking some risks.
- Read as much as you can about the industry you want to venture out in. The internet is helpful too. Set some goals you want to achieve in 5 years. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the ‘5 Year Plan’ is a thing.
- Lower your expectations. Most people think starting a business means they’ll immediately have lots of money, a huge clientele list, fancy offices, latest cars and a big house. Most businesses that have made it big all started small, and only became what they are now due to consistent hard work and financial discipline. Every cheque that is cashed in by the business should go back into the business, but give yourself a reasonable salary. They lived, and still live, within their means.
- Speak intelligently about your business and what you aim to achieve when pitching the business to potential clients. You have to be believable. The reason you’re the person standing at the front, pitching to a person or group of people, is because they think you’re an expert at what your business offers.
- When asked the question “Who else have you worked for/with?” and you do not have any previous client list, you could use you previous employer as a reference if the business is in the same line as yours.
- To ensure your brand stays strong even after you’re gone, train your team and make them feel like a part of the decision making processes about the business, making them shareholders if you must.
- Be innovative and creative, even way after your business is established and doing well. Maintain your brand but always try to find a better way to provide the service or product of yours so you keep the market happy. Keep a journal and write down all those thoughts that hit you at awkward hours, like in the shower or in bed.
- Turn travel time into reading time, like reading a book on the bus, on the business you want to make a mark in. Look for the book “The 4 Hour Work Week”, buy it, and read it!
Miyanda’s last statement pretty much summed up entrepreneurship in all industries. She said “Be creative, or die…”
Why don’t you start today with that thought?