Kiprono Kittony is the former National Chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and CEO of Capital Airtime Limited.
Entrepreneurship vs Employment: The best way to make money or get rich is through entrepreneurship. Employment will hardly ever make you as wealthy. For instance, take a look at the newly released 2017 Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world today. Can you spot any employees in the pack? Wealth exclusively lies in business ownership!
Biggest money mistake: My biggest money mistake so far has been on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. I had bought a good chunk Safaricom shares. However, I sold them off when they dipped. I should have held on for they soon began to gain, and I had to buy them back at a much higher cost. This has taught me the value of taking a long term view in money matters. For instance, you cannot afford to abandon resilience and a long term view if you want to stand any chance of growing wealth.
Biggest loss: My biggest loss came in 1995 when our horticultural export business went under. We had exported horticultural produce to Britain and France under Fresh Produce Limited but didn’t get paid. Our company collapsed and I had to start all over again. The failure taught me that life gives second chances! In the same vein, it is when you have failed and are trying to start from scratch that you know who your true friends really are! I also learned that there is a big premium in having a good name in the market and being truthful with both yourself and your creditors.
Biggest money milestone: I got completely debt free from a value exit when I turned 50 years old. One of the trickling lessons I have learned from this is the importance of exiting a business when the timing is right. In the same vein, after turning 50, I now ensure that a certain percentage of my resources are in liquid form.
Making it in business: From my experience, I have come to see that the real secret to making it in business lies in how a business idea or business model is executed. You may have the best laid out plans for your business but if you don’t execute them well, there is no doubt that your efforts will be put asunder. I have also observed that when it comes to business, many women will tend to get it wrong by playing second fiddle and failing to wrestle their rightful space.
If I were to start all over again: Frankly, I would not chart a different path. It hasn’t been easy, but the journey has been worth it. Kiprono Kittony.