Preparation For An Election Cycle For Smes

Electoins and SMEs

Hosted by KCB Biashara Club in December 2021

A story is told of a donkey that was tied to a tree when a demon came and released it. The donkey entered the field of a farmer and began to eat everything. The farmer’s wife saw the donkey and was afraid that it would destroy the farm, took the rifle and killed it. The donkey’s owner saw the dead donkey, got angry and also took his rifle and fired at the woman, killing her. When the farmer got home and saw that his wife was dead, he killed the donkey’s owner.

The donkey owner’s sons, seeing their dead father, burned the farmer’s field. The farmer in retaliation killed them. When they asked the demon what he had done, he said: “I did nothing, I just released the donkey.” This story relates so much with the season we are in as a nation. One simple act or word can trigger the evil intentions of men’s hearts to harm one another. So, let’s think before reacting. Be careful with our actions because many times, the only thing politics does is “release the donkey”, our role should however be to “tie back the donkey” and the force is disarmed.

Kenya is often referred to as one of the most stable African economies with a comparatively advanced small business policy. Dennis Allego, a famous editor once said “to survive this political storm and counter the ripple effect after that, businesses need to come up with strategies that will assist in cushioning the unforeseen election outcome.” This sentiment is similar to what Dr K. N. Jacob, a corporate trainer, conference speaker and life coach who was the presenter in this webinar addressed.

He shared two things to consider in preparing for an election cycle; electoral cycle conflicts and electoral cycle opportunities. Jacob mentioned we cannot ignore the fact that there can be conflicts or emotional escalation during this period hence it is good to be prepared as to be forewarned is to be forearmed. He encouraged attendees to be alert and updated on current affairs by listening to the news. He also urged people to avoid politics at work as that is usually against business etiquette. In mitigating risks during this time business owners need to have insurance for their business, move or reduce stocks, secure doors, close down, especially in volatile areas or relocate and also reduce travel during the period.

Connecting Kenyan Businesses To The African Market

Hosted by Ajira Digital on 25th February 2022

According to statistics, 93% of all online interactions start on such engines. 81% of customers research things online before they buy them. 84% of today’s customers think a website makes one’s business more credible than companies that only have social media profiles. These statistics reveal what was the main theme of this webinar as Hasnain Noorani the Founder and Managing Director of Pride Group, taught how Kenyan business owners could expand to the African market.

Tapping into the African market calls for growth in businesses. The secret to this growth lies in understanding the buyer problem; where purchasers are too busy to get to shops and hence end up relying on the same sellers due to lack of knowledge. CV is the solution to the buyer problem, the acronym stands for Communication and Visibility. These two, according to Hasnain, are key ingredients for growing any business. Communication calls for meeting as many people as possible and having one’s business card(s) during those conversations – networking.  Visibility involves rigorous activities in social media pages – branding. A dynamic and very active website is also key to visibility. Bill Gates says “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”

The pandemic provided a wake-up call to digitizing business i.e. digital methods of delivering products and services. Digitization reduces cost, automates business processes and reduces the reliance on manpower. Having an impact requires an online presence. No business in this era can successfully achieve optimum success without online sales. After all, how else will other business people in the African market get to know what one does? The challenge when it comes to visibility is that business owners have websites that are static and not updated, others lack the technical knowledge to operate the website, others find it time-consuming and expensive to maintain others are simply not connected to updated technology.

Differentiating between online existence and online presence is key. Online presence is what all business owners should aim at as it is the silent salesperson that deeply explains what one does. A good online presence is what attracts a valuable audience, not followers. Performing Search Engine Optimizations (SEOs) too is helpful.

Although there are limited platforms for the African market to showcase various businesses online, Amazon, Alibaba Group and Airduka.com are examples of platforms that have utilized the e-commerce business revolution.

Ethics, Self-Care And Burnout Prevention

Hosted by Dr Dawn Elise Snipes on 11th July, 2019

Paulo Coehlo’s quote, “When you say ‘yes’ to others make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself,” summarizes the theme of this webinar. Over and over again, ethics and self-care need to constantly be at the top of our to-do lists otherwise our productivity in any business will be compromised. We need to intentionally and deliberately pursue behaviours that not only match our moral codes but those that promote our well-being too. Burnout is associated with suboptimal care and reduced mental and physical health care. It was first spotted among those in the “helping profession” but it is now also reported among workers and other professionals who develop depression-like symptoms often due to stress-related to their vocational roles.

Some signs and symptoms include physical and emotional exhaustion, insomnia, impaired concentration or memory loss, physical symptoms e.g. hypertension, absence of positive emotions, substance use, cynicism, lack of resilience/patience and forgoing important personal activities. Consequently, this impacts one’s health, their interaction with customers, co-workers and family, their attitude and general life satisfaction. The causes of burnout maybe and are not limited to excessive workload, emotionally draining work, lack of support, resources, rewards or control, unclear or ever-changing requirements, pessimism and perfectionism, value conflict, reluctance to delegate, high achieving type A personality, work-life imbalance and unpleasant working environment. Malasch Burnout Inventory (MBI) is commonly used for self-assessment exploring three components: exhaustion, depersonalization and personal achievement.

There are individual and system strategies that may aid to curb burnout: periodic self-assessment, enforcing realistic boundaries, mindfulness and meditation, healthy breaks and exercises, journaling, planning and to-do lists, practicing deliberate gratitude, being aware of personal negative feelings towards certain clients, identifying what upsets you about them and appreciating that it may not mean you are bad- remember all behavior is a form of communication. Organizations and institutions need to: grant their employees paid time off, increase staff capacity and provide a reasonable workload for each, organize frequent retreats, improve communication, perform efficiency audits, ensure proper work-life boundaries are maintained, increase staff input on changes and decisions and have an efforts-reward balance. 

It is good to note that burnout occurs through stages: honeymoon, onset of stress, chronic stress, burnout and habitual burnout. When one is self-aware, they can notice unusual changes in their body or environment and rectify them before burnout becomes habitual.  Burnout work environments are a reality but burnout doesn’t have to be.

Fundamental Insights On Property Investment In Kenya

Hosted by Chams Media in partnership with Purple Dot International on 26th January, 2022

The webinar presenters were: Renu Hunjan a real-estate marketing strategist, Austin Waga head of mortgagees Stanbic bank and Adeel Madhani a legal expert practicing with Mohamed Madhani & Co Advocates. Together, these panelists equipped attendees with critical information on matters property investment. An investment possession is a real estate property, purchased with the intention of earning a return on the investment, either through rental income, the future resale of the property, or both. The property may be held by an individual investor, a group of investors, or a corporation. For third parties, a license allows access to a property at a fee. It could also be a long-term endeavor or a short-term investment. Investment property is also a term that may be used to describe other assets purchased for the sake of future appreciation such as art, securities, land, or other collectibles.

Robert Kiyosaki says, “Real estate investing, even on a very small scale remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth”. People, especially Kenyan investors have always had faith in real estate. Anyone interested in property investment of whatever kind, ought to establish at full length, the when, why, what and how of what they desire.  The legal requirements for anyone interested in the ownership of any investment are an identifying document (ID or Passport) and a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin.  It is important for any prospective buyer to do their due diligence before any commitment; this involves a thorough background search, finding someone locally to physically check things on the ground as photos can be deceptive at times, hiring an independent advocate, personally checking on the property developer, pegging payment on construction milestones and if possible having the bank do it’s due diligence too.

It is safer and easier to purchase properties that are fully managed. It is also critical to consider whether one’s goals can still be achieved, especially putting into consideration a country’s tax obligations. For land purchase, it is important for one to have a physical title deed and also ensure a search is done to verify that they are the rightful owner. For other properties, it’s better to have a sublease than a share certificate.

Finally, those interested in mortgages ought to understand the bank requirements and be aware that the lending bank has to consider their residential status and whether their income is sustainable and verifiable.   

Implementing A Triumphant Sales Plan

Hosted by Bemerc Consults on 13th January, 2022

This was a master class webinar to help any sales person increase their sales from what they’ve previously sold. The presenter was Mercy Maina Kimani, the Performance Coach and Team Leader at Bemerc Consults. In the Webinar, Mercy shared essential pillars necessary for the realization of any business vision, the first one being a consideration of where one is coming from and where they intend to go hence sales goal setting. The goals have to be SMART in that they are Specific in terms of the processes and resources, Measurable by objective data, Attainable in that they can be achieved, Relevant to the vision and Time-bound by a deadline.

Once goals are set, a goal road map for each objective ought to be established. In the road map for each goal, one should consider the obstacles that are likely to hinder the achievement of that goal. It is healthy to view the obstacles as hindrances within one’s capacity, not some external locus of control. That perspective of analyzing obstacles will pave the way to the solution step of how to overcome the obstacles so as to realize the goal(s). If coming up with a solution proves difficult, then consultation with a coach, mentor or counselor then comes in handy.

Another thing to consider is feedback parameters for one’s business. Reviews, whether done daily, weekly or monthly help a great deal in providing feedback. They provide a platform to analyze one’s plan(s) versus the reality of what they have been able to execute in that plan hence preparing better for tomorrow’s goals. Maximizing repeat sales is also a winning strategy for any serious salesperson. These are things customers buy in order to replace the same services or products they had bought and consumed previously. Customer loyalty, that is trust plus quality customer relationship spearheads repeat sales. If one’s business model does not allow repeat sales due to its nature, then strategies such as leads and referrals would help to keep the business going. In conclusion, the webinar attendees were also taught the proven ways to position themselves as trusted advisors (focus on mutual benefit) rather than as product pushers (focus on price) . A trusted advisor is characterized by their communication skills, optimistic attitude, self-control, professional competence, confidence, customer-focused service provision and value addition. These attributes need to be seen at all levels of interactions; personally, relationally and professionally.

Driving Change In Communities Through Financial Education.

Hosted By Banking Transformed On 1st September, 2021

“If everyone, including political leaders, is given the opportunity to learn the essential principles to smart money management, it will enable them to better plan ahead and keep their financial house in order and help others to do the same” Michael Ochieng Nyawino (2019). What the Executive Director at Christian Community Healthcare Foundation says was the heart of the webinar that was presented by Industrial Bank in collaboration with EVERFI.  

According to the Global index report; women in the developing nations, such as Kenya, have a 20% less likelihood of owning a bank account in a formal financial institution and 17% less likely to formally borrow money; deficiency in their financial literacy is one of the causes. Financial literacy is basically an individual’s comprehension of concepts such as debt, investing and saving which then contributes to their general definition of financial well-being; it begins with the awareness of matters concerning money.

For Industrial Bank, the aim is always to make a difference in the lives of their customers and employees even as they impact economic development in communities. Over time, they have achieved this by creating unique products and services that meet customers where they are and also supplementing the teachings of financial empowerment while still making money for the bank and mitigating risks. This is worth emulating in attempting to transform communities.

Information and a person’s ability to make sound decisions go hand in hand. Any business owner should therefore ensure that their customers can visualize and understand the elements of financial literacy. The simplest form of education to offer is how customers can save, invest and/or spend their income by clearly distinguishing their needs from wants. It is important to note that financial education should not be limited to schools and churches but other uncommon avenues such as jails and shelters. This is because financial literacy crosses all spectrums of age, sex, income, social status among others. Above all, in this COVID-19 era, the most can be attained by adopting digital approaches to financial education. 

Finally, there is a very strong association between financial literacy and social issues. It is said that financial literacy is a great equalizer in the battle against social justice. It contributes to the general decrease of stress levels in individuals and reduces chances of family discord. There is therefore an increasingly urgent demand for financial literacy in communities.

Successful Resource Mobilisation For NGOs

Hosted By Strategia Netherlands And Capacity Africa On 19th October, 2021.

There is a great need for funds now more than ever before, resources are shrinking while needs are growing by day. Unfortunately, international donors are now investing in their own economy in the bid to realize the SDGs rather than the developing world, especially as we approach 2030. This, therefore, calls for a paradigm shift from money to the targets. Is it possible to meet the target with the available resources without necessarily looking for money? Coalition building, networking and leveraging on other organization resources are therefore important alternative strategies to achieve organizational goals. 

This webinar was more of a follow-up engagement following a similar forum that had been hosted back in June 2021. In that forum, an overview of how to raise funds and the lessons resource mobilization experts have learned over time were discussed. Some of the ideas were still emphasized in this recent webinar as discussed but greater chunk of time was spent to train on the different elements of proposal writing as this is the means to ensuring successful fundraising for NGOs.  

In the continuous process of identifying and obtaining resources for any organization, it is important to consider the following: timing, skill acquisition such as proposal writing, innovation and creativity, having a variety of funding sources, appreciating the fact that the donor is always right and being up to date with current affairs. The organization seeking funds needs to promise performance and credibility to the donors by optimally utilizing and accounting for all the funds received. This helps to boost trust and maintain a trustworthy relationship. The element of community ownership is very important to some donor agencies- it is easier to receive organizational funding than it is to receive individual funds for personal business; the former promotes accountability and shared responsibility. When it is all said and done, follow up and gratitude goes a long way in cementing the relationship; thank the donors within 72 hours.

 When it comes to the proposal writing, one needs to understand the different concepts used, the key proposal components in their logical sequence, a clear understanding of the environment and the steps in project planning and design.

Finally, the reason some projects never get funded is mainly because of ignorance. This may be due to insufficient donor knowledge, failing to introduce one’s organization before applying for funds or failing to follow the donor’s instructions and directions.

Personal And Business Branding

Hosted by CPF Consulting on 30th November, 2021.

The guest speaker in this webinar was Mary Kimonye the Principal Secretary State Department of Public Service and also the CEO of Brand Kenya.

Branding is the purposeful and deliberate process of distilling, defining, creating and packaging one’s self-identity and image which are the two key pillars of branding. Branding allows one to tell their story as they’d want it to be told as well as establish oneself as an expert and leader while connecting with others in the industry. It is critical to mention that branding equals identity plus image. Identity is internal, it is about one’s personal definition; their true self, and appreciation of who one is. Image on the other hand is external; what others see, think, and perceive you to be, based on your projection to the world. It comes about with the choices, words actions and courses of one in life.  It answers questions such as: Who is feeling your story? When your name is mentioned what associations come to you?

Once the identity and image is established, it is necessary to clothe one’s brand with a brand identity. The packaging of a brand is what is left speaking after close of business. It is the silent salesperson. A brand identity can be in form of a logo, colour, anthem, tag line among others.  Another important concept when it comes to branding is the brand essence also known as a sweet spot. What best thing are you known for? Once a brand has established its sweet spot, it begins to attract attention, people, resources and networks hence soft power.

The building blocks of a brand include the ability to know one’s place in the world that is unique; the ability to know when to and not to speak who to speak to and who not to; the discernment to take on assignments one has skills to handle; having competencies that are well packaged and consistent; the ability to say no and mean it and being true to self.  The steps towards a successful brand are: clarify your identity; define the market you want to operate in and the target audience; understand the competition; communicate your goals and do so consistently.  In conclusion, a good brand lives in the hearts and minds of the people; have a brand proposition that speaks for the mother brand any other time you have more than one product.

Driving Change In Communities Through Financial Education.

HOSTED BY BANKING TRANSFORMED ON 1ST SEPTEMBER, 2021

“If everyone, including political leaders, is given the opportunity to learn the essential principles to smart money management, it will enable them to better plan ahead and keep their financial house in order and help others to do the same” Michael Ochieng Nyawino (2019). What the Executive Director at Christian Community Healthcare Foundation says was the heart of the webinar that was presented by Industrial Bank in collaboration with EVERFI.  

According to the Global index report; women in the developing nations, such as Kenya, have a 20% less likelihood of owning a bank account in a formal financial institution and 17% less likely to formally borrow money; deficiency in their financial literacy is one of the causes. Financial literacy is basically an individual’s comprehension of concepts such as debt, investing and saving which then contributes to their general definition of financial well-being; it begins with the awareness of matters concerning money.

For Industrial Bank, the aim is always to make a difference in the lives of their customers and employees even as they impact economic development in communities. Over time, they have achieved this by creating unique products and services that meet customers where they are and also supplementing the teachings of financial empowerment while still making money for the bank and mitigating risks. This is worth emulating in attempting to transform communities.

Information and a person’s ability to make sound decisions go hand in hand. Any business owner should therefore ensure that their customers can visualize and understand the elements of financial literacy. The simplest form of education to offer is how customers can save, invest and/or spend their income by clearly distinguishing their needs from wants. It is important to note that financial education should not be limited to schools and churches but other uncommon avenues such as jails and shelters. This is because financial literacy crosses all spectrums of age, sex, income, social status among others. Above all, in this COVID-19 era, the most can be attained by adopting digital approaches to financial education. 

Finally, there is a very strong association between financial literacy and social issues. It is said that financial literacy is a great equalizer in the battle against social justice. It contributes to the general decrease of stress levels in individuals and reduces chances of family discord. There is therefore an increased urgent demand for financial literacy in communities.

Leadership Is Essential For Business.

Hosted By Co-Operative Bank Of Kenya On 15th July 2021

The webinar focused on addressing the place of effective business leadership, it aimed at equipping entrepreneurs with essential leadership skills necessary for any successful Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Statistics as of July 2021 show that there are 7.41 million MSMEs that have employed 14 million workers in Kenya. This means that 80% of businesses in Kenya are MSMEs granting the need for essential leadership skills for business.

According to Max De Pree, a leader’s first responsibility is to define reality and their last is to say thank you; in between the leader is a servant. This, therefore, means that leadership is a proactive journey that requires action which involves directing workers with the strategy that meet the business needs. Proper leadership provides room for uniqueness since every individual is varied in how they see opportunities and gaps in the market. This calls for a business leader to be first self-aware since how they show up determines their influence. Leadership is therefore very key as it is the major factor that makes everything work together seamlessly.

The presenter shared 5 levels of leadership according to John Maxwell. The levels have to do with position, permission, production, people development and the pinnacle of respect. Any business begins with a rightful vision bearer/leader (position) who then proceeds to create relationships with appropriate people (permission) to share the vision and values they have for the business with them. Once the vision is understood, the people can follow the leader to begin working based on what they see the leader do (production) to produce the leader’s desired results. From there, the leader can now train (people development) for reproduction to delegate and be able to concentrate on other things. Finally, the vision bearer leaves behind a legacy (the pinnacle of respect) because of their achievement.

Finally, the presenter shared 9 key traits of an effective business leader: Effective business leaders plan, Ability to steer the team towards the Vision, Effective Communication skills necessary for articulating ideas and goals, Ability to offer support to employees by getting involved in their lives through interacting with them, Decisiveness, Ability to delegate roles since employees have seen and learned how to carry the vision, Adaptability and learning agility, Ability to build a support network of advisors/ mentors and Self-care to promote healthy wellbeing.