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10 Steps to becoming your own Boss.

If you want to a launch a business or company in Kenya, or if you want to be self employed, here are the ten things you must be cautious of.

1. Banks are not your friends.
Banks are hard-core investors and should be treated as such. They want big returns for minimal capital invested. Unfortunately, you will be more worried about repaying the loans than concentrating on building your venture. Get your starting/seed capital from savings, friends, family or angels. What’s more, even though capital is highly desirable for starting a business, it is by no means the only ingredient to a successful venture. Cash flow is much more important than capital, and sometimes, too much capital at the start could lead to laxity as you burn up all the money. If you can, use bank loans for expansion, not for starting up.  

2. Don't forget to use your brain.
There is no set formula for success and luck favors those who are prepared for it. Just because you have a degree in business or IT doesn’t mean that you will flourish in your new venture. Most entrepreneurs learn by apprenticeship, so, education is just a value addition to the on the hands business skills.

3. Everything takes longer than you expect.
Plan conservatively and execute relentlessly. Somehow, every entrepreneur seems to believe that their idea is the next big thing that hit the planet, but in reality, it rarely goes according to plan. Clients will take longer to pay up, an emergency creeps up, and an employee leaves for greener pastures. When faced with any of
these, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t plan well; it just means that you are now in the reality world.

4. Cash is king.
In the first days, weeks, and months, you’ll need money to pay for everything. It will take long before any money starts rolling in, and before this time, every time, you’ll have to reach into your pocket to pay up for services. Be frugal at all times.

5. Never give up
The true mark of a founder is their ability to survive in the face of adversity, and you will face adversity. Many times, the hard times are a breeding ground for many creative ideas. However, in the same breath, it’s also wise to know when to cut your losses and move on. In fact, studies have shown that many successful entrepreneurs were serial entrepreneurs of failed ventures, before finally hitting the jackpot. As Kenny Rodgers sings in his country song, ‘The Gambler’, the secret of a great gambler is knowing when to hold on, and when to cut the losses and walk away.

6. Don't get greedy
Money isn’t the only indicator of success, and your business shouldn’t come at the cost of your spouse, marriage, your family, crucial friendships, or your health.

7. Share your success
Reward investors, employees and supporters well. There is always another deal to be done and happy colleagues are your biggest asset. If possible, you could give a percentage of shares to your employees, so, they feel they are owners of the company, and have a stake in the business, and they will go to the deepest trenches for you.

8. Get a smart lawyer
To be on the safe side of the law, always enlist the services of a lawyer. In the beginning, you will be naïve, and people will want to cut deals with you. Consult a lawyer always before entering into any deal.

9. Get the best advisers
When things get tough, the advisers can chart a successful path. You don’t hold a monopoly of ideas, so, it would be best to get advice from industry veterans, and those who were there before. It will help you avoid all the eventual pitfalls ahead.

10. If it ain't fun, don't do it.
Successful founders have a passion that transcends money. They love what they do and their financial success is just a by-product of their passion.

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