Thursday, June 14, 2007

Step 2 (Reality Check)

Ooh, they preach about business plans. But honestly, its like a weight training. You may know all the reasons as to why you need to exercise, but when it comes to do it, nothing clicks. But its the same with first times. We all have ours :-) -do we?
Anyway, I gave notice at the High Court that I'd be leaving towards the end of February. In the mean time, we had registered a business name -Value Added Solutions (VAS)- with one Ryan Njeru. It was meant for the get rich schemes.
So, another lesson. Keep your friends really close, and your enemies close. You never know who will help you. To open a bank account for business, we had to produce business registration forms. Since we were two people, the bank said we'd need partnership forms. I decided instead of partnership, lets go straight and open up a Company. With no money! So, I made courtesy calls after courtesy calls asking for favors here and there and in a months time, the company was registered! That was Gods hand right there. But I used up a lot of goodwill I had accumulated with people over the years.
Business registered, now business premises! This is a really big hurdle here. But Once again, friends come in. They don't have to be rich ones, but they have to be people who are like minded. People who understand what you are trying to do. Birds of a feather flock together so, my friend Ryan was able to offer the initial office space. And with that, he is Co-Director in VAS. You have to give some, to have some. If it wasn't for him, let me just say even the internet to come up with this blog could not be possible. Ryan's story is another one all together.
So, company registered, premises got. Next, lets do business. Eeeeh, not so fast. What exactly are you doing? Have you packaged it? I hadn't.
The business plan had provided for everything including packaging my services but as I said, unless your really really *, then you will do as the business plan says. But for a start-up like me, the business plan was just that. A plan. So in to doing what i want to do I went. Programming, Networking, Support, Computer Sales etc. But that just made me look like Wekhomba. Wekhomba is a person we saw with Ryan in the papers offering overseas investments with all its risks, when the Kenyan stock market was doing really well. He was just another "Consultant". Someone pretending to know what he does but really doesn't. A stroller pretending to be a professional. And so Wekhomba means "A fake professional".
So, your friends again. I called up my former lecturer and he gave me an appointment. Went saw him and on showing him my plan, he said, "You can't do that. Go and find one product that you will be good at. You can't do everything. Only God is allowed to do everything. Man was mean to be a specialist. And once you specialize, you create a niche for yourself" . Even with all the training in school -create niches, specialize etc- once you get out here, lessons tend to evaporate and you need someone with a sound mind to put you back on track. He/she doesn't need to be your friend, but you need to be have all the respect for him/her.
And so back to the drawing board. And once again, friends and Google came in handy. What is the big thing right now. What is the next big thing. What is being done out there that is not being done in here. How can I differentiate my product. I realized that Google will give you a clue, but its you to to get the glue.
And after searching, I found it. It was really in front of my eyes all along. I had envisioned it but I hadn't put it down. So, put everything down. Any idea that comes to your head, write it down. Any continuous though flow, write it down.

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