As usual, i was browsing the internet, can’t remember what i was actually looking for. I came across this interview that really got me super excited. After reading the whole interview, it was like attending a business seminar. The words of wisdom from this super-talented Nigerian entrepreneur will keep you thinking for a long time. I like stories like this especially if it’s about African women doing exploit.
I learned a whole lot of lessons from Miss Kehinde but i will share just 10 business lessons for you to go and think about.
A brief introduction about her:
Kehinde Smith is the President of My Extensionz, a leading retailer of unique and versatile virgin hair products. She lives in Chicago, Illinois and schooled at Northern Illinois University where she studied business management.
Enough said…let’s look at the issues at hand.
10 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Kehinde Smith, The President of My Extensionz
1. She Started Somewhere:
“I started this company while I was unemployed for 2 years after working with Red Bull.”
Stop the thinking and planning and over-analyzing. Just Start. Over thinking an idea can cause fear and doubt which will eventually make you to give up. Sadly, our educational system has programmed so. It is really hard for the engineering and medical students because they are trained to be cautious, scrutinize and analyze every situation. For a business minded entrepreneur this may be harmful. Instead of thinking so much over an idea, you can just put your head high and start while learning along the way. And if plan A does not work, you can try Plan A, B, C to Z 🙂
2. She was tired of the status quo:
“I was tired of spending so much money on hair extensions that wouldn’t even last me my money’s worth every month, so I saved up some cash and began to do my own research on Virgin hair”
You see in life until you ask questions, you’ll not find answers. until you knock the door will not open. until you seek, you will not find. Until you become angry with your present condition and look for a solution, you will ever remain the same.
She was not satisfied with the products she was seeing around and instead of blaming and complaining and perhaps cursing the entire world, she had to do something about the status quo (the mess she was in)
In the interview she stated that she lost plenty of her savings in the hunt to get a quality hair fiber. And guess what? She found a way.
“… we finally found a reputable vendor…”
Remember: Where there is a Will, there is a way
3. Giving Value to her Customers was the most important thing:
“My sister and I would stay up all day and night servicing customers online and over the phone”
Every company and organizations knows how important a customer is to their business. In fact. the earlier we realize that there is no business without a happy customer the better for all of us.
I always say that nobody will pay you for doing nothing. If your product or service does not fill a particular need and make those people happy then I’m afraid; you’re heading to disaster.
4. Be Ready To Become Everything:
“A detail many people do not know is that we “played” different characters and roles quite often at the beginning when we were trying to scale the business”
When starting a business, you don’t have to employ every Tom and Harry while you play the “President” or “C.E.O. Those tittles are not important yet. Just be ready to work alone or a handful of team.
5. Where you are going is more important than where you are now:
“…Little did they know,…we…were working out of our parent’s basements.”
It will be really crazy to start thinking of hiring a cozy and classy office with the latest furniture. Is that really necessary? Do you really need those? You can just start doing your thing right where you are and when you see the obvious need to go rent an outlet or shop then go ahead. If you really know where you’re going then you’ll not be worried about where you are.
Ok don’t take this personal. You can go and rent a million dollar office apartment IF AND ONLY IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY 😉 nobody is stopping you.
6. Know When and Who to Hire:
“As sales grew rapidly, so did our team. We employed around 30 staff members…”
As the business grows as is expected of every business or start-up, you should know when and who to hire. Be very careful of doing business with family members. We know that family comes first but you don’t want them to ruin your business or do you? Know the people to hire and their area of expertize. Enough said…
7. Hard work and Dedication is key to Success:
“Some people find it hard to believe that a young, black woman can achieve a successful career on the merit of hard work and dedication alone.”
There are no two ways about it. No playing hide abd seek. You need to work really hard and be dedicated to your course then you’ll will find success. And also, perhaps more importantly WORK SMART.
Nobody ever rewards a lazy man
8. Have a good Knowledge of your Business:
“Research! I advise them to do a good, deep research into the business they want to go into“
I tell you, you can’t afford to be a novice in your craft. The internet has made life so easy for everyone. So, go bury yourself inside that search engine and be the master of your game.
9. Passion! Passion!! Passion!!!
“… it wouldn’t be all about the money; but passion for the business is what will keep it going.”
I guess i have talked a lot about following your passion in life and here Kehinde just confirmed that. Trust me, you”ll be tired of pursuing the money one day but never the passion.
10. Your competitors should not be your problem:
“… they should stop worrying about their competitors but rather spend that time thinking of creative ways to make their business grow.”
Instead of focusing on what your competitors are not doing right or wrong, you should use that same time and energy to focus on your product/service, brand and customers.
Your competitors are not your enemies.
I’m sure you are inspired about this interview. Share with us in the comment box below. And also don’t forget to subscribe to our news letter to be the first to get this inspiring stories like this right inside your inbox.
The complete interview is found at Konnectafrica. You can read the complete Interview here