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This story appeared on Issue 12 of Inversk Magazine
Over the years women have changed the gender normative expectation which created an unconscious probability that entrepreneurship is a thing for men. Women have mastered the art of doing business and being successful while doing it as well. It is impressive seeing how women are stepping out of their comfort zone and have begun to shine in the entrepreneurial world. It is almost fair to say that entrepreneurship can no longer be affiliated to a particular gender. One of these exceptional women is Nancy. She is a woman who has outdone herself completely with an intelligence to shine. She is also smart, young and vibrant.
Nancy is the founder and CEO of Dana communications. Her company offers courier services across the country. Nancy has done so well in business as she recently received an award for being a successful entrepreneur, in the top 25 under 25 entrepreneurship award. When asked what has been the driving force for her success at a very young age this is what she had to say.
“My secret has been hanging out with the right people. You will get ideas and also opportunities from them and confidence! Have confidence in yourself at all times!”
Nancy helps shed light on how one can build a logistic business. She does this by highlighting the process of how she build Dana Communication. She also talks about some of the milestones that she has encountered in her entrepreneurial journey as well as offering advice to you as an entrepreneur.
About Nancy and how Dana communications came to be.
Nancy was born and raised in Nairobi, Kaloleni estate in Eastlands. She went to Multimedia University of Kenya and did media and communication with a major in public Relations. Her entrepreneurial journey began after she cleared highschool. She started selling second hand clothes in Nairobi, city stadium as she waited to join college. However her business did not do so well. She quit the business immediately she joined campus but still had the passion of becoming an entrepreneur someday. The idea of Dana communications was born after a delivery for a television she had purchased took longer than she had anticipated.
“I came up with the idea of courier services when I bought a TV online and it took more than a week to be delivered so I thought to myself what could be the problem? That is how the idea of courier services came to mind and Dana was born.
I believe I am a problem solver and making the world a better place I thought of starting a company which can offer this solution and here we are”.
In business you must stay on top and always keep up with the current trends in the market. It is important to always generate new ideas so that your customers never stop feeling the impact you have on their lives. Always have something that inspires you to be the best at what you do at all times.
“I get my inspiration from everywhere, my surrounding, the people I talk to and the books I read. As to how far I’m willing to go to succeed? Lol!!! Very far. I don’t believe in giving up so that in itself is success. But I have failed and fallen so many times”.
What it took Nancy to succeed as an entrepreneur
Nancy insists that the key to ensuring that your business stands a chance of being successful is to find the right people to work for you.
“Building a team is a major component in bringing a vision to life. As a novice entrepreneur it is necessary you find the right people to bring into your organization. People who truly care about the organization values and goals the way you do”.
As an entrepreneur you have to find people who believe in you and your vision. This is not easy but it is the one thing that guarantees the success of your business.
“Finding the right people who bear the same vision as you is not easy. This is a challenge that every business person goes through at one point or another in business. You have to be patient with yourself and do not hire people just for the sake of hiring, know them and know their desire, passion and why they are looking for that job. Employees are important for building a startup. This is because, they are the face of your company. They are the people who communicate with your clients at all times. If you get good employees it’s almost guaranteed that your business will do well”.
According to Nancy every entrepreneur should exercise patience, persistence and be passionate about their business. The secret to making it in business is consistency and focus. First you should know why you are in the business and the problem you would like to solve. So many people go into business because they want to make profit without thinking of the sustainability of the business. When you are solving a societal problem then your business has potential but when not then you are doomed.
The Milestones Nancy has encountered in her entrepreneurial journey
The most important aspect of being an entrepreneur is learning how to effectively deal with the everyday challenges as they will always be there. The worst mistake any entrepreneur can do is to make a decision without due diligence.
“I got swindled the whole money I had saved when I was starting out. The best way to cope with losses in business is to forget and stride forward, at the end of the day you cannot learn without failing and losing. Do not regret but see it as a lesson that you can gain”.
Another challenge that all entrepreneurs face is learning how to manage your fears. Entrepreneurs should learn how to turn their fear into positive energy.
“I don’t really believe in fear so I don’t focus my energy on fear but rather I focus my energy on the solution to that fear. Be passionate about what you want to start, let it be a business that solves societal problems because that ensures sustainability. This way you avoid unnecessary fears of failure”.
Another very big problem that all entrepreneurs running startup businesses are all face is learning how to separate their personal finance from their business finances. This is because most startups cannot afford in-house accountants.
“What I would advise is to make sure you separate the business money from your own personal money. Even bank accounts”.
Nancy’s Secret to success.
“I read a book called richest man in Babylon and the guy argues that, it is one thing to make wealth and another thing to maintain and grow the wealth that you have made. So many people make money and then they forget that they need to re-invest. I would advise women that once you have made money and you are sure that your business is stable and can run without you being there on a daily basis then invest the money in something else or in another business. Someone said that millionaires do not rely on one business but on several”.
The lessons Nancy has learnt
“I used to be an impulse buyer/shopper (it is a women’s problem haha) there is a time I bought a very nice dress worth 15,000 just to attend an event and i have never worn it again. I’ve done this several times for several things then I realized at times I buy things that I do not need in the long run”.
Running to take loans! When most people are in business especially when they are starting, usually they need money. What most people do is that they run to the banks or micro financiers for financing. Before you do this have a plan before hand, so that when you take the loan you invest it in something that you are sure will bring a return.
“I know of a friend who took a loan and the first thing they did, they bought office furniture and got a very prestigious office, yes it is good but only for your ego. Be very careful”.
“The secret to making it in business is consistency and focus. You should know why you are in the business and the problem you would like to solve”.
If tables were turned would Nancy choose to be employed or be an entrepreneur?
“I personally think both works, depends on the individual. We cannot all be employed as well as we cannot all be entrepreneurs. For you to be an entrepreneur then you need to be good at implementation, I have also seen people who are in employment and they are so good at coming up with new ideas, I call them intra-preneurs. Like I said earlier if you’re main reason of going into business is for profits then things might not work out well for you as there will be times that cash flow is affected so then what will be your driving factor and motivation?”
Nancy’s greatest milestone has been seeing her idea turn into company. Having an idea but not having the action plan makes many people end up giving up on the idea without seeing it through.
“The satisfaction that I see on my clients face every time we do a good job for them and the fact that the company has been able to employ some people which means we are also contributing positively to the betterment of this country by creating employment. What I would like to tell young people is that whenever you have an idea make sure you have an action plan, investors do not just invest on ideas you have proven that the idea will work”.
I do not regret being in this business whatsoever but if I were to start again I would take my time and not be quick to start, when I as starting the business I was swindled first because I was too excited to start and trusted anyone that came my way! Always take your time to think when a deal is put for you on the table.”