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.

Humanized Digital Experience In Business

Hosted By The Financial Brand On August 2021.

The financial brand is an online publication that focuses on marketing and strategy which aims at delivering ideas and insights on a white range of issues involving the retail banking industry today.

The Webinar presenters were Kris Frantzen (VP Product Strategy Temenos), Joseph Pellissery (CIO Wescom Credit Union) and Jim Marous (Owner Digital Banking Report). Together they took turns to describe the paradigm shift that is being experienced in the digital market where it is no longer all about technology alone but investment in the consumers’ emotions too. While COVID-19 pandemic increased the technological demand of business transactions it also increased the expectations of the experience. The three presenters agreed that the best digital experience happens when it is humanized; that calls for communication and involvement. Forums need to evolve and become more interactive than ever before.

Although the webinar majorly focused on transforming the banking business, the ideas discussed can be applied in any other kind of business that desires to bring human experience to the digital realm. Seven key elements of digital transformations were highlighted:

1. Use data and advanced analytics to drive decisions and engagement.

2. Simplify all engagements. “Satisfaction is now determined by simplicity, speed and empathy as opposed to a friendly face” Jay Baer, founder of convincing and converting.

3. Foster an innovative mindset- it distinguishes a leader from a follower

4. Invest in modern technologies.

5. Create new back-office processes 

6. Re-skill and retrain the workforce; hire for skill, not just academic qualification 

7. Provide digital leadership

The three presenters particularly emphasized the element of simplicity when it comes to the transaction of business. This is important as consumers want “everywhere anytime” engagement; hence speed simplicity and empathy is the new convenience. Simplicity helps a consumer to enjoy one stop complete experience since services have been summarized and integrated to fit their needs as customers. 

Finally, Humanized Digital Experience involves being interested in establishing a relationship with your customer as this helps to reap a harvest of loyalty irrespective of any challenges that may come along the way. In other words, what each customer is saying is “show me you know me.” This calls for shifting technology from being product-centric to being member-centric. This can be achieved by pursuing to make each experience personable and memorable. Business should never be a matter of what you sell but whom you serve- Bob Farrrel. 

By Esther W. Njaramba

The writer is a Counselling Psychology graduand from Kenyatta University who works with individuals and groups to see to it that they lead satisfying and happy lives׀njarambaesther3@gmail.com 

CUSTOMER ACQUISITION, MANAGEMENT, AND RETENTION

Hosted By KCB Biashara Club On 7th January 2021.

The webinar aimed at equipping entrepreneurs with tactics needed to acquire customers, manage and retain them within the organization. It identified customers as critical people in generating sales that earn the business revenue. To ensure customers are well served, a business needs to adopt processes that help one to serve customers, optimize costs and manage cash flows.  These processes need to be executed through people who have the appropriate skills to serve the customer.

The journey of customer acquisition begins with employing the right sales tactics, then recruiting customers. Recruitment of customers helps you to populate the customer database. You will need to develop skills and capabilities to handle customer databases and customer relationships. To have an efficient team, you will need to reward and remunerate them so that they can deliver great customer service. This team should be organized and given effective management and coaching for performance. A sales team that is motivated and focused on productivity should also be constituted and supported with well-outlined forecasts and plans.

In conclusion, the presenter emphasized that in building a customer-focused organization one needs to appreciate their customers and the people employed to serve the customer. The summarized lifecycle of customer relationships starts with the acquisition and retention of profitable customers. Winning back customers who are in the database but have not made purchases for a certain period and engaging them so that they can be active consumers of your goods or services. For customers who have turned out to be non-profitable, you need to up-sell additional products in a solution offered to them, cross-sell other products to the customer and ensure they are satisfied at consumption. Ask for referrals from your satisfied customers and reduce service and operation costs to widen profit margins.

Rick Okinda                                         The writer is a Certified Accountant working with small business owners to deliver business plans that serve their management and financial needs. | rickokinda@gmail.com

FINANCIAL CONVERSATIONS FOR COUPLES

Hosted by Virginia Credit Union in August 2020.

The webinar dissected into the subject of money which has been perceived to be a course of discord among couples. Sylvia Watford who was the presenter in the webinar suggested practical ways of building financial harmony in among couples. Silvia is a Senior Financial Education Specialist and her thoughts in the webinar were as follows:

Foremost, Sylvia Watford recommends partners to understand each other’s relationship with money, how they view it, their biggest financial concerns and their decisions regarding money that they are likely to agree with.

Secondly is value. What are your values and your partner’s values? Identifying your values helps you to identify your unconscious beliefs that control how you spend, this will enable you to align your money with values so as to accomplish your goals and dreams.

Brainstorm your goals with your partner, you can do this individually then jointly this gives room for negotiations and realizing what are your “SMART” goals as a couple. Sylvia Watford made this approach her fourth suggestion in the webinar that sought to educate couples on fundamentals of financial harmony.

Fifth is to constantly communicate and discuss your finances to eliminate distractions and hold each other accountable.

How will you manage your money? There  is no right way or wrong way, couples should have a conversation of whether they would love to combine everything , completely separate everything or have an hybrid plan where there is ours, mine and yours.

The webinar advised couples to assign roles on who will handle what in their common financial plan. Harmony as a couple is attainable if you keep  the end and the beginning in mind ,visualize success ,stay organized, be realistic ,monitor your progress, manage setbacks and reward yourself along the way.

WEBINAR REVIEW: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR SME’s

Published on YouTube by KCB Bank Group on September 29, 2020. | Reviewed by Rick Okinda

This KCB Bank Group Biashara Club webinar challenges people to apply human emotional intelligence to their business. It summarized business leadership as an ability of one to sacrifice for his business. It looked at business leadership as emanating from knowing your business. To know your business, you need to master four critical clusters of emotional intelligence, that is; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. These four build up to business development just as they contribute to self-development.

The webinar also posed a challenge to business leaders on controlling oneself. It recommended that entrepreneurs should control themselves just as they control their business. This should be done in all aspects beginning from customers, finances, processes and people. In conclusion, emotional intelligence was identified as a tool that small and medium sized entreprises can use to get more orders from existing customers and new orders form new clients.

Rick Okinda | IGBR Editor

rickokinda@gmail.com

Webinar Review: 2021 Economic Outlook and Drivers For SMEs Growth

Hosted by Inuka SME; Reviewed By Patrick Okinda.

In the hypothetical opinion of Dr. Samuel Tiriongo, Kenya Bankers Association Director of Research and Policy who spoke in the webinar; the following are key highlights in Kenya’s 2021 economic outlook.

  • A 0.1% contraction rate of Kenya’s economy by December 2020 which is better than IMF’s projection of 1.0%.
  • The impact of COVID-19 pandemic remains uneven, and recovery non-uniform across countries and sectors.
  • Contactless sectors such as agriculture have remained more resilient than the service sector which remains depressed by lockdowns and cessation of movements.
  • Kenya’s inflation rate has remained low and steady since 2018.
  • The measures taken by government (except on fuel prices) continue to support credit growth despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
  • Overall in 2021, the economy is projected to rebound by 7.6% (IMF projection is much lower at 4.7%) subject to removal of some pandemic containment measures, schools reopening, government policy support, fast paced vaccine rollout to a wide reach and at a waived fee.

The general growth of MSMEs amidst the pandemic is hinged on opportunities for business that will unlock credit, supply of raw materials, demand for goods and services in the local market and sufficiency of operating capital. The risks for MSMEs closure still remain but they can be mitigated through diversification of products and services, innovation, prudent management of resources and changing of business models to accommodate change.

Webinar Review: Introduction of Minimum Tax in Kenya, Convened by Kenya Association of Manufacturers

The finance bill 2020 introduced minimum tax that was (is) implemented on January 2021. The minimum tax states that you will be taxed 1% of gross turnover annually. Minimum tax targets three categories of businesses, namely: low margin businesses, capital intensive businesses and new businesses. The webinar explained how minimum tax works and the concerns that it raises given that its introduction comes when the country’s economy has been ravaged by the corona virus pandemic. Minimum tax in Kenya is to be paid in four installments a year that is the 20th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th and 12th months. According to the conveners, a tax system should be stable, predictable and practicable in any economy. Both private and public sectors will be affected as businesses are struggling to meet their fixed costs
during the covid-19 pandemic. Introduction of minimum tax will lead to cash constraints that will limit business growth. The webinar opines that the existing tax policies should be employed as the Kenya Revenue Authority prepares for the appropriate timing to introduce minimum tax. The webinar raised a number of concerns including the likelihood of tax shift to consumers, 1% being a high rate when compared to Tanzania and Nigeria which have already implemented minimum tax at 0.5%, need for exclusion of startups in the tax to allow them room to break even and unpopularity of the tax as its introduction lacks public participation.

Review by Effie Odhiambo

The Webinar You missed- Personal Financial Planning: Debt Management.

How can we borrow wisely? Can debt create more wealth? Is debt good or bad? How can we really manage financial distress? Some of the webinar insights include:

Debt can be good or bad. A good debt is a debt taken for investment and should grow in value in long-term, the income earned should be able to repay the loan. A bad debt is loan taken for consumption purposes, they quickly lose their value and do not generate a long term income.

Causes of bad debt may result from; wrong financial planning, over ambition in financial matters, irregular income, multiple borrowing, unstable lifestyle and lack of financial literacy.

Recommended remedial actions that can be taken to manage bad debt include; saving, investing, purchase in cash, postponed gratification, debt consolidation, counselling and restructuring.

When acquiring debt one should assess their loan repayment ability, sustainability of the repayment plan, the tenure of the loan and available alternatives to fund raise.

Proper investment decisions should be taken into account by considering the risk, expected returns, liquidity of the investment, time horizon, objective of the investment, investment goals and different investment choices available.

The words of Robert Kiyosaki will best summarize the webinar, “It is not how much money you make but how much money you keep and how hard it works for you and how many generations you keep it for.”

The Webinar you missed; Personal Financial Management for SMEs during Crisis

The journey to financial management starts with determining current financial situation. This will give you a platform to develop your financial goals, identify alternative courses of action, evaluate alternatives; consider life situation, personal values and economic factors, assess risks and time value of money (opportunity cost). Once this is done, you will be in the right position to create and implement your financial action plan. To attain precision, it is recommended that you review and revise the financial plan to attain an equilibrium.

In financial management, creativity when making decisions is vital for effective choices. The common courses of action from which to draw alternatives are: continuing the same course of action, expanding the current situation, changing the current situation or taking a new course of action.

These recommendations are suitable for both personal finance and management of finances for SMEs.

Webinar Review: The Single Income Trap

  • Drawing lessons from the Biblical parable of talents, we are all endowed with abilities in different capacities. It is therefore upon us to put to use what we have to earn profits. Centonomy’s webinar hosted by Douglas and Waceke brings us to light about the wealth creation journey. The two in the September 10th webinar advise that we should look at our resources in a holistic way to be able to diversify our revenue streams.
  • In the real world today, especially in the wake of a pandemic that has resulted into massive job losses, it is time to realize that diversification of income streams is a key principle in wealth creation. But to diversify streams of income, we must also work on our character. It is a resilient character that makes one willing to endure humble beginnings and cultivate patience when making an investment.
  • Currently, companies are looking for a workforce that can multitask. This is to say, if you can do many things you become a collateral in an organization. Stop defining yourself with your qualifications and redefine yourself with what you can do. Majority of people seldom create time for a side hustle yet in most cases a lot of their busy time is spent unproductively.
  • “You have 48 hours a day, you can use other people’s time on top of yours”
  • What do you really want? That’s always an easy question but until you verbalize it and write it then would you be able to see unlimited opportunities. People should change what they see or information they take in, if you complain about the economy, government and engage in unproductive social media content you can never see results. We often follow rules and routines but not results. Time and chance happens to all. If you can’t manage time there is nothing you can manage.
  • The big question to single income earners is this; how much of what you work so hard for is actually yours? Is that income sustainable? We all have to look back at our finances, budget and track our expenses then we can close the loopholes and channel the money to investments.
  • Money will always follow problem solvers; package your skills and you don’t have to do it alone, you don’t have to do what you are qualified at, we look too much at the qualifications and forget about the opportunity, don’t fear failing ,learn and start where you are.
  • If you have no idea give your time into something, in the process you will discover yourself and what you can really do. Take initiative and check at your environment, people can plant doubt or faith, have a positive