Where are you as you read this? Are you waiting for the government to employ you, or are you preparing to be an entrepreneur?
‘Stop thinking like employees, and begin to think like employers’, is a phrase that youth in this age have heard over and over. Gone are the times that employers would grab graduates immediately after campus, with one pilot friend of mine getting all of three offers the day after graduation!
In this day and age, jobs are scarce. With 800,000 youth being released into the workforce annually, new solutions must be sought. Kenya urgently seeks entrepreneurs and innovators to transform its future.
Dr. Paul Kibicho started from humble beginnings walking 64 km daily to attend school (It seems people back then were made of steel and cement). Now, he has been a successful insurance agent and is a CEO of two successful companies, Panorama Consulting Co. Ltd and Quest Pinnacle Investment Ventures Ltd. He gives 8 principles of being a job creator.
- Do vocational courses
Other than just doing your course for a job, engage in practical training courses. Courses like plumbing, carpentry, mat-making and electrical works allow individuals to create their own jobs. For tech enthusiasts, web development training can allow you to chart a new path. These skills allow you to make money without being employed.
- Understand what you are good at
Everyone is good at something. Take time to find out what it is, and apply it to your work. Take a 10-minute personality test on 16Personalities. A persuasive person would make a good salesperson. Knowing your strengths will give you confidence, which will attract business to yourself.
- Learn how to do gap analyses
One widely used method is the SWOT analysis. Gaps can be identified by coming up with a new product, or trying to make an existing one better. For instance, people spend a lot of idle time in matatus on long commutes. Possibly you can sell them online audio-books to use on their journey. Learn the gaps, habits, age brackets and financial ability of the market and exploit them.
- Cultivate financial discipline
For many Kenyans, their needs expand as their money increases. If money drops suddenly, then the needs can be over demanding. Have an emergency fund of at least 6 months of expenditures. Apply the 50/30/20 rule to your income. 50% for needs. 30% for wants. 20% for savings(Don’t spend everything!).
It is never too early to develop strong financial discipline, and it will put you on your way to being a job creator.
- Develop a nose for opportunities
Opportunities are problems in search of solutions. Visualize an ideal world, everything that stops us from getting there is an opportunity. The campaigns for instance; shirts, posters and caps needed to be printed, and public address systems were required, as well as vehicle branding. Identifying these gaps and placing yourself correctly allows one to exploit these gaps. You may be asking, what does it mean to place yourself correctly? Which brings me to my next point…
- Form alliances with other entrepreneurs
‘Huna connections?’, is a common phrase among the shrewd Nairobi businessmen. Yet it is a loaded question. An entrepreneur should form beneficial partnerships. Find people who have resources but no current use for them and persuade them to let you apply these resources to exploit opportunities. You can use a friend’s car to start an Uber service. Or a printer to engage in printing services. Banks can also be partners and lend money to your venture. It is important to form alliances with people who have resources that you don’t.
- Observe movement of goods and people
This can be a viable means of generating ideas as well. Observe what people are doing, where they go for lunch, how they commute and how the goods move around as well. Use the ideas you get from them to generate your income.
- Be innovative
Finally, think outside the box. Push the boundaries of what you think is possible. Cue the young man who made a shoe-shining machine used by business executives. It is all about new ideas. Engage in brainstorming sessions with like minded individuals to come up with new ideas to problems, and design monetizable and viable business ideas to present to banks for funding. Youth should stand up and make a change.
What lessons have you been applying and which new ones have you learnt?
This article is adapted from The Standard Newspaper, Sep 14, 2022. ‘I beat poverty by thinking like a job creator’ by Jacqueline Mahugu, Enterprise Magazine.