CEO whose first company failed reveals 3 crucial lessons she learnt and how to avoid them

Her first company, protique consulting, a marketing and branding company went down precisely for these reasons.

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Joyce Muthoni is the CEO/Director of Helium Balloon Company which is based in Nairobi and has a branch in Mombasa.

She holds an undergraduate degree from United States International University (USIU) where she pursued International Business Administration and focused on marketing.

Her first company, protique consulting, a marketing and branding company went down precisely for these reasons.

She took time off her busy schedule to share tips on how to keep your company afloat.

Have systems in place

Starting a business is always challenging, I mean you are the boss, the receptionist, the delivery guy in short you are everything but if you want your business to last you have to at least have some systems in place otherwise you are just running in circles.

“It was interesting, I remember at that time I didn’t have any systems in place, right now we have an inventory management system, we have receipts books, we have delivery notes etc.  At that time you could just order, you come and collect you pay and you leave. So what happened was I found myself making very heavy losses because people would order, they don’t show up and the balloons have already been  filled with helium which is you can’t put  back in the cylinders not to mentioned they  are really expensive as well, so I learnt having systems in place is very crucial.”

Always anticipate challenges

The disadvantage of being a first timer in business especially if you are a pioneer in a certain field is you don’t always know what lurks in the corner; you don’t have prior knowledge of challenges to expect.

How do you maneuver this? Always learn to anticipate challenges, if you baking bread for instance, always anticipate the delivery truck will break down, anticipate the flour will run out in the 11th hour, anticipate your business will be raided etc. in short never rest on your laurels.

“I remember one time we had an order to deliver balloons to Mamba village which is not far from here, but that day it took us three hours to get to the venue because of traffic, the order that we received had also been miscalculated by the operations manager then and by the time we got there we realized we had to do an extra 300 balloons in a very short period of time. The client was so upset they said even the design they wanted wasn’t the one we had brought, so there was a lot of miscommunication, they were delays and even if we could have salvage the situations the traffic didn’t allow us to do that”

Follow them to the letter

Having systems in place is great but if you won’t follow them to the letter then they are useless and not worth a dime.

It is like before you started your current business, you had an idea and it is only after following through with it that it materialized into a business.

“we once made a delivery but we did not have a delivery note so even though we went there and delivered the balloons there was nothing to show that we had made a delivery and that money just disappeared like that, it was about Ksh100, 000 and that time that money was a lot and you know I was relying on that money to buy new gas and continue running my business so I learnt that even if you have systems in place you have to follow them to the letter.“

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