Entrepreneurship Lessons From My Village Barber

When entrepreneurship or self-employment is mentioned most people think it’s a monster of a thing left for a select few. We all have to agree besides passion or that urge to solve people’s problem the main reason we all get to employment whether self-employment or being employed is to have money to make a living and a life.

That basically means that we all entrepreneurs only that we have not unleashed our potentials. That time you plant banana tree on your shamba so that you can sell it later you are already there. That time you plant kales ‘sukumawiki’ and spinach in sacks at the plots balcony so that you can save money you use to buy kales that is the spirit we need to ignite it. That moment someone asks if you know someone selling a piece of land and you act as the middleman so that you gain some extra coin that right there is the spirit. Basically, the spirit is within all of us.

I know you agree with me that not all of us have the much ‘needed’ capital (money) to start a big business. That should not mean we cannot do something for ourselves. In this article today, I will celebrate the least celebrated entrepreneurs. I will also emphasis that there always something to learn from everyone.

During my primary school days many times pupils would be sent home for coming to school with long hair. Those days electricity was for the privileged few so most of us would be shaved using a pair of scissors.

Days went by and a neighbour, Cleophas Kimani saw the problem that most kids were facing. He decided to be the problem solver. He became a barber. Kimani had a pair of improvised scissors that required a battery to operate. When pupils were sent home to get shaved, they would go Kimani’s home. Here, they would wait for their turn to get shaved on the long queue.

This went on for years. Kimani the village barber had a dream. He rented a house at the neighbouring village and opened his barber shop there. Some kids would go there after school and during weekends to get a shave. Being in town, Kimani would also get other customers and he began reaping better profits.

Years later, he was able to connect his barber shop with electricity. Kimani now used the electric machine to shave his customers. He also started charging phones, batteries, torches for his other customers. Kimani’s business was really growing. Today he is a renowned barber in Kahuro, Murang’a County. We have remained his ardent customers to date even when some of us are married.

His life has not remained the same. From the proceeds of this small business, Kimani has built his home and educated his children. The business has literally brought a table and always places something on it. It is through him that we have more than three barber shops in Kahuro.


Important lessons I learn from him

Entrepreneurship begins by identifying a problem and getting a solution to the problem. Starting small does not mean you will never grow big. Though Kimani started small he focused on getting big. His business has grown and he tells me that he has even more expansion goals.

This man has been so persistent. We all know hair does not get shaved today and grows the next day, it takes a while. Those days we would only pay Ksh 10 for a haircut. You can imagine how much he got. Kimani had to walk for kilometres to charge his battery. Well there is no better definition of persistence which eventually bears fruits.

Thirdly, I learn that success is a process it does not just come. It is a growing process and it incorporates so much effort, determination, discipline and resilience. Yes success is a journey and thus the phrase there are no overnight millionaires.

This man has maintained so many loyal customers because no matter how tough the day was he is always in a smile. I tend to think a smile is a good customer relationship tool. No wonder all those ladies at reception are always smiling at you.

Last but not least we all have the entrepreneurship spirit. The question here is how far are you willing to pay the ultimate price in order to succeed in whatever goal you have?

Well, let us learn from this man, Cleophas Kimani. Identify a problem, get a solution, start small, dream big and start now.

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