Starting small

My first business does not have a deep story behind it. Long story short, I was a student who needed money and that’s just it. I’ve been brought up by parents who emphasize thinking… think, think, think! It starts in your mind. So for me and my siblings, we’re quite mature especially in thinking because of our parents. That explains why when I needed extra money, it never crossed my mind at any moment that I needed to ask for more pocket money but I needed to think of a sustainable thing which was a business. I was quite fresh in Uni then and I remember our parents would give us Ksh.1000 per week. That sounds like a lot of money until you factor in transport, lunch, hangouts, dates, shopping and anything else a girl wants! So here I am with money that I don’t feel is adequate, but I needed some capital like yesterday!

In my heart, for some reason, I knew I could start small and make it. So I didn’t bother to ask my parents for capital. Keep in mind that as this happens, I had no idea what kind of business I wanted to start. So for 2 weeks, I cut my budget by half. I saved Ksh.500 from the first week and the same amount the second week. By then, I’d had some experience with online marketing and selling and knew that whatever business I wanted needed to be online since all I needed was an account, no rent. So with my Ksh.1000, I told my best friend that I wanted to start a businesses and he could join me by giving me Ksh.1000 then we’d be partners . He was also a student, so it didn’t come pap! He saved for a week which gave me time to think of what I wanted. Now that I think of it, dear best friend, thank you for agreeing to be part of a business that I didn’t have! Anyway, I decided to sell second–hand dresses from Toi market. So, I went with my Ksh.2000 bought dresses with all the money and I think I added Ksh.100 since each dress was Ksh.300 and my first stock had 7 dresses. I’ve been in businesses since then, not selling dresses (sold for a few months, ate the money and had to start saving again for a new business!),but I’m an entrepreneur and I thank God that I started there.

I love that I started small and I’m always encouraging people who want to start businesses not to give capital as such a heavy excuse, as valid as it may be. Start small and as you wait and trust for that opportunity, you will be learning and growing with your small business, which is better than sitting and waiting as you complain. I started with Ksh.2000 and made so many mistakes that included eating the capital and even when I started another business, I still made the same mistake but at least this time I didn’t eat all the capital! But that small seed has grown! Sometimes I look back and I’m grateful that I didn’t ask my parents for capital because I think I’d have squandered that money if I’m being really honest.

There’s a source of financing your business called Bootstrapping and what I’ve described above is bootstrapping. You start small with your own money and plough back profits into the business and the business starts to grow. It is one of the least taught sources of finance but my personal favorite because it gives us a sense of ‘It’s possible’,especially when you’re starting young with very limited income and no favor from banks in the form of loans. Bootstrapping teaches you personal financial discipline and patience because your business will grow at a slower rate than those with more financing. If you eat your profits then the growth is limited and it becomes more of a lifestyle business. But if you are disciplined, to be honest, your Ksh.1000 can even grow to Ksh.15000 in a month or less.Be smart and be disciplined with your money.The journey will not necessary be easy but I promise you,if you’re disciplined, you’ll one day look back and smile. I pray that if you’ve already started doing this, a day will come and you’ll be able to get more financing from other sources because of that small seed you planted. If you’re thinking of starting, what’s in your hands? Is it Ksh.1000 plus a skill that could bring you money? Start. Is it some little money and an idea of where to source items? Start.Once you start, be very disciplined. Don’t eat your capital like I did. Desire to see your small business grow.

If you had Ksh.1000 today, how would you grow it?


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