Herbusiness meets great women all over Kenya who have ventured into entrepreneurship. They share the story of their journey and tips for the rest of us itching to take the plunge. Herbusiness entrepreneur of the week is Liz Lenjo.
Liz Lenjo is an entrepreneur and a lawyer by profession. Here is what this former model revealed in our interview.
Tell us a bit about your business?
I co-own and co-run a law firm specializing in Intellectual Property Law, Sports Law, Entertainment Law and Media Law called Kikao Law – Lenjo, Ndirangu, Ochwada and Associates advocates. My Partner (Sarah Ochwada) and I are former models and have a passion for the arts and creative industries in Kenya and beyond. Intellectual Property, Sports and Entertainment Law are developing areas of legal practice in Kenya. But we believe they have massive potential because the creative and sports industries in Kenya are emerging. All they need is proper management and handling and they will be as lucrative as they are in developed countries.
How did you raise funds for your business?
My Partner and I put some funds together and we put a Partnership Agreement in place. Thereafter, the work we bill some portion contributes to the capital of the business.
What do you think is the most important thing a start-up needs to be a success?
Managing one’s overheads is crucial. One needs to cut their dress according to their cloth. If you are ambitious with your expenditure you will crush faster than you soar. The other important thing is that where there are partners, an open relationship on how business is conducted needs to be nurtured. Egos need to be managed and each partner needs to listen to the other and create a culture of negotiation and understanding. When choosing your business partners from the beginning you should ensure that you are all on the same page and are in it to win it.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started your business?
I have been approaching the issue of starting my own business with a lot of caution. I took a lot of time to observe how start-ups operate in Kenya and law firms as well. My partner and I did quite a lot of research as well to understand what makes most partnerships crush and burn: especially those owned by women. I am not sure why most women have a hard time working together. But we make it work. Sometimes I wish is I had realized my potential as a business owner sooner, but then again everything happens at God’s given time.
What advice would you give a young woman who wants to venture into business?
My advice is that one needs to believe in their dream and what they have to offer. If you do not believe in yourself then your business will be a hard sell. Also, in business do not play a man-solo game. Hire the right people who are qualified in what you are not. Get the right lawyer or lawyers, accountants and any other professional services you require. A good business owner needs to understand the art of balance between delegation, supervision and being hands-on. In addition, any business starts with an idea. One requires understanding the value of an idea and undertaking the necessary steps to safeguard their ideas as guided by Intellectual Property Law to be successful and achieve longevity.