Statistics has it that in Kenya, about 50,000 college students graduate annually. Having spent full four to five years in college, a majority of them graduate with a lot of vigour and a yearning for an employment somewhere. The prevailing economic conditions, however, are proving to be unwelcoming. Most employers reject various applications from these fresh graduates on the pretext that, “they are half-baked.” This might be true to some extent but it is not entirely their fault. So, a widow at her late ages, having spent all her late husband’s savings on educating their prodigal son, is still forced to accommodate her unemployed son. They live with the hope that someday, a ‘good-man’ will walk by to employ her son. That day proves to be a long wait indeed. Of course, this is just a single case scenario, as statistics also has it that, above 67% of the 50,000 (above 33,500) graduates remain unemployed for a considerable amount of time. That is 33,500 annually, yet the industries churning out these ‘half-baked cookies’ are always operational; even more, are being sanctioned for fresh establishments.
The end results? A mechanical engineering graduate is forced to settle for a jua-kali job. Simply say, many are under disguised unemployment, where part of the labour force is either left without work or is working in a redundant manner where worker productivity is essentially zero. It is unemployment that does not affect aggregate output. Some graduates, however, cannot stand this intellectual abuse and so, they resort to employing themselves. Smart move indeed, but it fails not to come with a problem. When you have about 10,000 ill-experienced Nairobians starting their own businesses at a go, then it is likely that about 70% of them are going for the Tom, Dick, and Harry kind of business. Unhealthy competition fuelled with sub standardized products will soon disarray the economy. Where 10 mama mbongas are selling Sukuma wiki in the same vicinity, which is not a market, (market forces alone cannot justify their actions here) then the probability of buying Sukuma chinku (china-made/fake, with no offence to the Peoples Republic of China) is a 0.2. This means many would be affected/poisoned especially in a large populated area.
A piece of counsel
Enough with the lamentations. I am simply hear to acquaint you with some little knowledge of starting a company. But I will tell you that, one good invention without a scholarship of its ugly side is an equal of Rhapsody, with the inventor likened to a scoundrel. Dissect your stuff, that you may know both sides, good and bad. Walking into a business without the knowledge on how the business, let alone the market, operates is likened to walking into a landmine field without knowing what a landmine is, let alone if they are there. I totally get you; starting your business is a very practical thing for you to do. It is very much better than that theory students learn at the university. Before you proclaim yourself a business person, discern the following. Theory without practical is lame, for you know where to go but just can't walk there. Practical without theory is blind, for you walk but you know not where you are going. Also note that wisdom is more attributed to the shrewd, rather than the experienced. For the shrewd know why, how, and what they do; but the experienced only know what and how they do it. The experienced rarely know why they do something or why something happens, they simply know how and what is done.
Fighting for something
They say, in a fight, it is the guy who is willing to die that is going to win that fight. But they fail to tell you why the guy willing to waste himself will eventually win. Why is he willing to die anyway? Simple said, he has something to die for, otherwise, why will you just kill yourself for no reason? In his mind, an interior monologue unfolds. He is at self-quagmire with himself. “if I lose this fight, then I lose my girl too. If I lose this fight then this thug will run away with all my savings, which means suffering for my family. If I lose this fight, then I stand no chance to regain my seat at the office.” It quite clear that he has attached an end goal to his fight. No wonder why the stars of almost all movies usually win their fight against their nemesis. The stars always have something to fight for yet their nemesis simply defend against the attacks, but for how long?
The power of a goal
If you have a reason for doing something, then you have an absolute certainty of winning it. A goal pulls you from your comfort. If you forgot about something or lose the momentum, your goal will pull you back. A clear example is that of waking up. If you simply want to wake up early in the morning to read or do something, then chances are that you might press that snooze button multiple times; because you simply want to read. What if you attach that reading to a goal? I have to read about electronics tomorrow in the morning for I need to build my own transceiver circuit in a week’s time.
The misunderstood goal of money
Money is simply a means to an end and never the end. When you work in order to get money, you always have something in mind with that money of yours, maybe to acquire a plot or to have power (ability to do anything you want when you want). Money is never the end goal and it should also never be your end goal for if that is so then it can be said that you love money. The Bible (1 Timothy 6:10) is very straight with this, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Don’t misunderstand this, love of money means you are willing to do anything for money and it doesn’t mean that when you do your daily job in order to earn money or more money, then you love money. That day when you will be willing to acquire more money even when you already have some, or blindly want to acquire money for no use, then know that you love money. Attach something bigger to your business in order to see it succeed cleanly.
In conclusion, know what you want to do, say start a business. Understand how that business and market operates. But mainly, know why you want to start that business, to say, attach a goal to what you are about to do. I might not know why you might want to start a business, but it is in my disposure, the knowledge of the various types of business entities in Kenya, say a private limited company; and the legal process for registering one. These I will dispel to you in a future article.