Did you read about the BodaBoda riders who pulled together and now own homes? Hold your reservations about BodaBoda for a sec and take a lesson from that.
One way women entrepreneurs in Kenya can help themselves enjoy greater success is by working together. But many times, their collaboration doesn’t go beyond informal networking.
Here are a few ways you and other women entrepreneurs in Kenya can explore on working with one another:
1. Back Office functions
Consolidating back office functions looks to be a long-shot idea but it is considered the future of lowering cost of doing business. It is superior to each business outsourcing its administrative tasks. Back office functions are the administrative tasks that keep a business running such as organizing business records. Women-led businesses can break ground by coming together with others like them to reduce redundancy and be more efficient.
Many people consider marketing to be the most important thing for a business. Do you agree? The challenge small businesses face with it, is that it’s way too expensive and very difficult to define the goals to get out of a marketing campaign. How about organizing a joint marketing event with your fellow women in business? Yes, even if you’re not in the same business. Your businesses will achieve greater reach while lowering marketing costs.
This is common among farmers in Kenya. But they are pulled towards it because of a challenge and not because it is an opportunity. But women entrepreneurs in Kenyan can change the terms of the game and start arranging for movement of their wares together. The economies of scale presented will lower your business cost and allow for greater profit reading.
Last week, I got to appreciate just how much information is for literally everything in life. Even for women entrepreneurs. Do you know by forming a mechanism of sharing business information, you and your crew could beat most of your competition? There is information on regulation, customers, suppliers, best business practices or new opportunities. It will reduce the resources you expend to research new business opportunities and impart new ideas in your head.
Look, don’t always be nice. Sometimes you got to fight fire with fire. Small businesses in Kenya complain of collusion by the bigger firms locking them out of the big leagues. Have you experienced this? Well, small businesses can start working exclusively with their fellow small businesses in Kenya. Your advantage of giving a better customer experience will play out more and you can get better terms sourcing from small businesses.
This is pretty common but not for women entrepreneurs in Kenya across all industries. References give greater value out of the networks women in business are encouraged to make. You shouldn’t fear that you are making your friend off at your own expense, haha! Not only does it work between businesses but the customer always remembers to refer those who helped her get her problem solved.
Another way to work together is come up with joint projects. Remember joint product promotion? How about creating things together to break new ground or produce something for special offer? Joint ventures are great because it helps you learn by seeing how other women entrepreneurs work differently so you borrow to cover up your shortfalls.
8. Formal Association
Are your networks as serious as you claim they are? Why not form an association with legal basis so you can really know your interests align? Many women entrepreneurs in Kenya wish for a voice to air their grievances but they find it difficult to do so alone. Others are also skeptical about business associations because they don’t get to rule them or they partner does not allow them to join. You can come together with other women and create one of your own.0