It’s always a big deal when a program comes to an end, ask any Sinapis entrepreneur who has completed the program. Unbelievable how time quickly flies, and what looked like an unending 16 weeks now feels like the best 16 weeks of learning and bonding with fellow entrepreneurs who know exactly how challenging but fulfilling running a business is. You couldn’t help but notice the excitement that filled the room at the last class at Purpose Centre Church few Saturdays ago and it dawned on us that Sinapis had done a good job not only on their businesses as entrepreneurs but also in their lives as Christians. We got up close and candid with Gladys Mwatha, one of the entrepreneurs in class to hear her experience going through the program.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Gladys Mwatha and I’m a widowed mother of three daughters. I’ve been a banker all of my working life and have worked for Barclays Bank and Consolidated Bank.
How did you end up being an entrepreneur? (How did you get your idea/ concept of the business?)
In 2012, I started feeling that my employment days were over and I felt a strong urge to go into business and do something that would challenge me.I set a date for 2014 to leave full time employment.I left Consolidated Bank last year to become a business consultant and trainer for SMEs because I had a lot of experience in this area.I also have a passion for youth and have started training high school girls and primary school students in life skills.
What are the challenges you’re facing in your business?
The biggest challenge is getting people to believe that I’m able to deliver what I say I can because my business is new. Most people are not willing to give new entrepreneurs a chance, yet most who are starting out are very good at what we do.
How has Sinapis changed the way you handle challenges in your business unlike before?
The most important thing that I have learnt is not to assume that I know what the customer wants.I would give customers what I felt they needed without finding out what they wanted.I had never done market research before Sinapis and I didn’t know how important it was.I now find it much easier to satisfy my customers because I have done my research.I didn’t know that customers are willing to share information and I learnt to use Survey Monkey to gather information.I also learnt to do Kingdom Business.When I’m out in the market place, everything I do should honor God and transform people’s lives.
How were you running your business before and what has changed after taking the Sinapis training?
I ran my business on a lot of assumptions and much less professionally. I hadn’t bothered to get a business plan or do any market research. It was touch and go and I was not pricing properly. I now have a business plan in place, I have done my market research and I have a pricing strategy. I don’t do things off the top of my head any more. I will also never employ a relative out of sympathy. I learnt that it is very expensive to hire the wrong people and I should always hire people who are qualified even if it will cost me more.
If you had one piece of advice to someone starting out, what would that be?
Don’t go into business without getting the proper training. Getting trained will save you a lot of heartache and money. Sinapis is hands on and we do a lot of online simulations. Sinapis is a training program that every person getting into business should invest in.
What did you learn about Kingdom Business?(What it entails)
I learnt that although business is part of the physical world, it is also part of the Kingdom of God. I learnt that there is no spiritual life and secular life. I am supposed to use my business to fulfill my purpose and transform people in my business environment spiritually, socially and economically. My business is the platform that God has given me to impact others for Christ. As a Kingdom business woman, I will never give a bribe or give mediocre service. I will do everything with an excellent spirit because that is the nature of God.
How is your faith in your business now unlike before?
I now don’t do my business just to make a profit as I did before. I now see it as a way to transform lives. I therefore have a day on Wednesdays when I have Bible study with my team in the evenings and teach them Kingdom values and principles that they must apply in business e.g. excellence, no bribes, patience, etc.I find that the atmosphere in my office has become more calm and the team is happier and more productive.
To join the next Sinapis program at the Purpose Centre Church apply here!