Friday, 25 September 2015

Personalities and how it impacts your business and possible solutions

This article deals with four personalities, how it affects your business relationship with clients.There are also possible solutions to improve the particular personality and create a better business environment.
1. Fast and Task Oriented
This business person is dominant,loves results,wants to control and is quick to take action.
This impacts the client who sees the business person as impatient,impulsive and strong willed.The solution for the business person to let the customer feel they can make a decision,do background research earlier and slow their speed to match the client.
2. Fast and People Oriented
This business person is fun,likes recognition,persuades easily,magnetic and impulsive.This impacts the client who sees the business person as stubborn,careless with important details and bases their decisions on personal whims not reason or system.The solution for the business person to simplify and order their details;this can be by having fun presentations and slow their speed to match the client.
3. Slow and People Oriented
This business person is stable,cooperative,good listener and sympathetic.The client views them as one who does not like change,hides feelings and takes time to do something.The solution here is for the business person to improve on their creativity and increase their speed to match the client.
4. Slow and Task Oriented
This business person is meticulous,conscious,analytical,correct and quality oriented.The client views them as perfectionist,has an over reliance on rules, skeptic,pessimistic and not good with feelings.The solution here is for the business person to go easy on factual information,practice patience and respect for clients.

I can say that am a Slow and People Oriented Personality.Which is your personality?
Bess McCarty

Friday, 11 September 2015

Careers in Entrepreneurship and Formal Employment

Entrepreneurship tends to be seen to be for school dropouts,retirees,jobless and the restless.This is because since childhood our minds have been programmed to be tailor made for the formal employment that offers the solace of a non-existent safety.This is in stark contrast to the financial pressure found by employees in formal employment of balancing a lifestyle driven expenses against an inflation driven income. This of course leads to the "mwezi kona" and mid month salary advance requests and more debt.

This focus on formal employment as the only way to earn a living has been attributed to Kenya's education system. It is rigid,idealistic and ignorant of learners' talents outside academia.The result is a vicious cycle of misalignment between formal job openings against job applicants.A meeting held in May 2015 by StoryMoja publishers brought together curriculum developers,psychologists,employers,teachers and parents.Here a career encyclopedia was launched to help deal with problem of youth in NEET or not in education,employment and training.The encyclopedia contains 120 careers,interviews with people in careers of interest and access to mentor ship.

There is a group that aims to inculcate the importance of blue collar jobs;the Daughters of Nile or just DON.It comprises of nineteen young women from various professional fields who reach out to young people in secondary schools to encourage them to seek careers in plumbing,hairdressing and to run them as proper business ventures.
This is remarkable because in Kenya 4 out of 10 people are unemployed and the figure rises in the youth to 7 out of 10 unemployment levels.Clearly the road map of careers needs to be redrawn at an ealier age in the school system in hand with a rigorous mindshift in parents,society and employers.

Inspired by:

Daughters of Nile "Kenya's jobless youth cry for a listening ear"

Patrick Wameyo "You retire poor because of your socialisation"

Storymoja Career Encyclopedia

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Using dreams to positively impact solutions in your business

Dreams have been used by people to improve and solve problems in their lives.Business is one such area that needs constant solutions to create products or services for consumers.It may seem impractical,illogical and slightly silly to use your own dreams to solve business problems.The following examples though show that its real and possible to do so.
Madame C.J.Walker
She has been cited in the Guinness Book of Records as the first female African American self made millionaire.This success all started out in a dream to solve a problem in her life.She had been suffering from a scalp infection that led to her loosing a lot of hair.One night she had a dream in which a big black man appeared to her and told her the remedy required to solve her scalp condition.The following morning she got the ingredients together and put them on her scalp and was amazed by the results a few weeks later.She then tried the scalp remedy on her friends and it worked and from then on decided to sell the hair remedy product.The business started small from her house and with time it grew as the demand for scalp remedies and hair growth pomades for the black woman increased.Madame C.J.Walker then hired women and trained them on hair beauty products and business presentation.They went on to be her sales agents and this led to the establishment of a company ;The Madame C.J.Walker Manufacturing Company.The company grew through franchising and became successful.
Elias Howe
The innovator of the sewing machine got his idea from a dream.Elias had been faced with the problem of a needle going through a piece of cloth to sew.He had been trying to use a needle that was pointed at both ends with an eye in the middle and failed to sew at each attempt.One night Elias dreamt that he was taken as prisoner by a group of native Americans.They were dancing around him with spears and then started to aim their spears at him.At this frightening point of the dream he noticed that all the spears had holes near their tips.In the morning he realised that the dream had offered a solution;he then located a hole at the tip of the needle so thread could be caught as it went through the cloth.This made his sewing machine operable and led to mass sewing of clothes at a time when sewing was still done by hand.
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who lived a short but purposeful 32 years, who used dreams to generate mathematical formuales. These have led to ground breaking solutions in statistical and nuclear Physics. Ramanujan revealed that in his dreams a goddess Namakal would appear and present mathematical formula.He would see a red screen formed by flowing blood then a hand would begin to write on this screen.When he awoke he would write the formula as he saw them in the dream and verify later. I would refer you to the movie, The Man Who Knew Infinity.
Scientist who created artificial arteries
A scientist in America at the New Dimensions in Medicine Center had been working hard to solve the problem of repairing bad arteries in patients' hearts.At the time the transplant method used was to resort to using other arteries in the patient's body to replace the damaged one.This came with the risk of further damage to the patient's life and a shorter life span.The scientist one night dreamt a formula for artificial arteries and the next day went to the laboratory to test it.He was surprised at the results that the human body could accept the transplanted artificial arteries. His work has been adapted and is used to repair damaged heart arteries and comes with the benefits of an improved life span.

These solutions that come from dreams reveal to us that our brains work differently at the awake and sleep state.According to research done,Laura Silva Quesada of the Silva Method found that,slower brainwave functions prepare us to solve problems.The awake state also known as the Beta brainwaves are between 14 to 20 cycles a second is associated with taking action by using physical senses to solve problems. The sleep state also known as Theta brainwaves are 4 to 7 cycles a second is associated with inductive reasoning and uses dreams and visions to solve problems.
Based on this report I seek to challenge myself and you the reader to make note of dreams that offer implicit or explicit solutions to your business problems.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Agribusiness and the misconception of GMO

Genetically modified organisms are defined as an alteration in plants genetic material which does not occur naturally. The technology used selects individual genes to be transferred from one organism to another. These selected genes are meant to increase resistance to diseases caused by insects and viruses and increase tolerance to certain herbicides. The primary objective of GMOs was to increase crop yield for farmers at a lower input price. The first GM foods were introduced in the mid 1990s in the form of herbicide resistant soybeans. There is also an extension of GMO innovation in the use of bio-fortified rice which has been found to be useful in rice based societies such as India and Vietnam. This Golden Rice is genetically engineered to have Vitamin A and zinc to combat the perennial deficiencies affecting children’s’ immune systems and eyesight. The East African region now has available bio-fortified cooking bananas and cassavas to enhance the nutrient content of these staple foods.

Professor Ochanda, the Director of Biotechnology at the University of Nairobi notes the advantage to the farmer of using GM seeds is that the crops protect themselves. This is a cost efficient method as opposed to using expensive chemicals to eliminate disease and pests. This is supported by Professor Gudu a plant specialist at the Moi University who values the use of modern biotechnology by Kenyan farmers as a way out of poverty.

However, the harsh reality for most farmers in sub Saharan Africa is the politicisation of GMOs which prevents them from reaping the high rewards of the innovation. The root cause of this lies with the great divide between lobbyists and scientists which is in turn driven by the media that has a tendency to take a bias to sensational reports. The journalists from developing countries depend on western media which is split between the pro and anti-GMO supporters. Yet, the people who suffer are the populations in the developing world from lack of sufficient food supplies when GMO innovation is disregarded.

Mark Lynas a British scientist who was once a fierce anti-GMO supporter publicly apologised in January 2013 for his former stance. This was for the part played in a propaganda generating conspiracy theories that ultimately led to the starvation of millions across the developing world. The pro-GMO decision was based on sound scientific information on the benefits of GMO. Lynas’s efforts are now on supporting the use of GMO to address food security and economic self-reliance of developing countries. He led a public lecture in Kenya on this topic in late July 2013.

The Kenyan government started with optimism for GMO innovation when it passed the National Biotechnology Department Policy. This was followed by an enactment of the Bio safety Act in 2009 and a gazetting of three bio-safety rules in 2011. Then all these developments were undermined when on November 21, 2012 the Ministry of Public Health ordered the removal of all GM food on the market and a ban on GM imports. This decision was arrived at after a harrowing report by Professor Gilles Eric Seralini and other scientists. Their study was based on a two year feeding trial of 200 rats on GM maize and plants treated with a herbicide known as Roundup. Both male and female rats developed cancerous tumours, kidney and liver failure. This implied that people were at risk of exposure to cancer and organ failure from GM foods adding to more misunderstanding of the innovation to our lives.

The GM crops on the global market are risk assessed and are unlikely to present health risks to people according to the World Health Organisation. There is also a dire need for governments, NGOs and agricultural extension workers to come together and find out the scientific merit or demerit of the GMO innovation. The agricultural extension workers in Kenya should educate the public on the real meaning and use of GMO in farming to reduce their reliance on exciting headlines from anti-GMO supporters most of whom live in Europe. There was a debate this week to reintroduce GMO foods back into the Kenyan market but there needs to be robust public and expert participation.

Business Stages

1. Startup or business birth This part of the business stage is simultaneously the most difficult and rewarding. It starts off as a business idea and progresses into materialization of the idea. This is a journey fraught with impediments, doubts, fears and wrong advisers. It comes along with the need for business planning which is ignored or found bothersome by Kenyan micro enterprises. Yet this is the roadmap needed to guide the business, passion is not enough you require direction to get the business moving forward. The next step is financial resources a real headache for all micro and small business people. This can come from borrowing family and friends, selling unwanted items you have on OLX, Pigiame and all other online platforms to raise capital. I know this as; I was able to raise some capital to run this online business from selling shoes, clothes, printers, crashed laptops, kitchen gadgets and many more. The business name, registration, location, product buying, service creation are all determined at this stage. 2. Business Survival At this stage most micro and small business are usually struggling under immense barriers such as limited cash flow due to debtors and limited technical skill to have competitive advantage. The entrepreneur should have at this stage mastered the markets fully and undertaken relevant sector training. A casual glance at businesses reveal: consecutive mobile phone shops; many of the same money transfer shops in the same area; boutiques; fruit stalls; hawking clothes and fruits and many others. This is despite the dominoes effect that occurs when markets are highly saturated. Check out the case studies of Balloon Kenya in creating business competitive edge in Nakuru at 3. Business Death or Exit This stage is the crushing finale for most micro and small businesses in the first three years.This inevitable stage in Kenyan micro and small enterprises is caused by a multitude of factors such as making small profit margins and stiff competition from rivals.Yet all that is needed is a shift of focus on policy implementation to actually reach the many micro and small business people for the sector to rival big business. Sources Kilonzo, D. (2006). “Barriers affecting the growth and development of micro and small enterprises in Kenya”. Masters Dissertation. University of Northampton, United Kingdom. Available on request. The Micro and Small Enterprises Act (2012). Kenya Gazette Supplement. The Government Printer, Nairobi.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Micro and Small Business Kenya

Most Kenyans affectionately refer to the micro and business sector as ‘kale kabiz kamine’, ‘my biz’, ‘hustle tu yangu’, ‘nikutafuta maziwa na mkate kwa biashara’. All over the country people have a business they are running to contribute to their household budgets. So the sector is actually defined as: Microenterprise - employs less than ten people and has an annual turnover that is not more than Kshs 500,000. The owner is the manager of the business with family or friends being recruited as employees. Small enterprise - employs between ten and fifty people and has an annual turnover of between Kshs 500,000 and Kshs 5 Million. The owner can be the manager and there can be part-owners as well in this sector which, has acquired a small share of the market. Both micro and small enterprises refer to the manufacturing, farming, trade and service sectors. They operate in informal settings such as hawking, home baking and formal settings with a determined office. Importance to the Economy The sector employs most Kenyans at 6.5 million persons which accounts for roughly 80% of people in employment. It contributes 20% of the Gross Domestic Product and provides goods and services. It is the key driver to innovation and competition. The enterprise culture creates and facilitates private sector development. Ironically the significant and positive role played by the sector is undermined by many constraints that deny it the full potential required to succeed. Sources Kilonzo, D. (2006). “Barriers affecting the growth and development of micro and small enterprises in Kenya”. Masters Dissertation. University of Northampton, United Kingdom. The Micro and Small Enterprises Act (2012). Kenya Gazzette Supplement. The Government Printer, Nairobi.