For some entrepreneurs, the business plan is to build one new business that scales big, while for other entrepreneurial, the New businesses idea is to run multiple businesses and build an empire. At Kippa, we're interested in helping all business owners achieve their Business Success goals. That is why we spoke to Zainab about several subjects, including starting her first Start-up business in 2016; her lessons from launching 3 businesses, and growing all of these businesses using social media & a decent marketing plan.
Who would you say Zainab Is?
I consider myself Creative. I run a footwear business, Soles N Shades, and an eyewear business, Mint Eyewear. Soles N Shades deals in free comfortable fun footwear and Mint Eyewear deals in quality fashion and prescribed glasses. All of the experience I’ve gained running a successful business has also given me insight that I use for Web and Brand design for small businesses.
What was your first experience with the business?
That would be around 2016. I started selling vintage shirts at University before I started Soles N Shades in 2017.
When you started this Vintage Shirts business, what challenges did you face?
Hmm, I think the biggest challenge for me was figuring out how to use Social Media to grow my online business. Remember, this was 2016, a lot of people weren’t selling on social media then so I couldn’t even ask anyone for help. Figuring out how to own a business that drives eyeballs to my business was one thing, another thing was convincing prospective customers that I was not running a scam page. It was sort of hectic.
And what are the challenges that you face now?
I run multiple Startups with completely different models. Mint EyeWear runs with an importation model and has very few challenges because I sell items that I have in stock. Soles N Shades on the other hand deals with manufacturing and that can be stressful. Quality control, material sourcing, and managing artisans make it quite stressful. From my experience, my retail business is not just easier to run, it’s also more profitable than the manufacturing business.
Apart from the business models, how else do you manage your businesses differently?
Funny enough, apart from the business models, I run both businesses with very similar structures. I created a management system on excel to keep track of my orders, cash flow, and customer information. So all of the people on my team are able to easily track orders and make updates with the Management System. I manage both systems on two completely different excel sheets and that means I can tweak some columns based on what the business needs.
As someone who runs multiple businesses, how important is inventory and sales management for you?
It’s one of the most important aspects of my business growth. It helps my Entrepreneurship plan and manage my product or service and keeps me on top of everything related to my customers and my business. It’s very essential when you aimed to start your own business successfully.
Talking about success, do you have any experience with failure in business?
Lol. I wouldn’t expressly say failure as much as I would say lessons. I started a business called Nimah’s Honey in 2019. It was a honey production and retail brand and it was doing really well at the time but it also involved a lot of manual labor. It turned out producing honey was a lot more capital and labor-intensive than I had imagined. Although I really believed if I had the time and resources, I could definitely grow the business. I wouldn’t call it a failure though.
I agree. What lessons would you say you got from that experience?
For entrepreneurs, The importance of extensive Market-research and Business Planning when starting a business. My other businesses did not require that much manual labor and I assumed Nimah’s Honey would run the same way. I needed to be very hands-on with production or invest heavily in purchasing machines. I couldn’t do either.
Ah, I see! How do you manage finances for all your businesses?
Just as with management and inventor, with finances as well, I treat my businesses as different entities. This means separate bank accounts and separate finance tracking. I think it’s super important to ensure Business Structure you are running a profitable business. This was something I was lucky to have started early on because I genuinely think that if you have multiple businesses, ensuring that you map out separate finances would help you see clearly. You can be sure of which business is a keeper and which business you should let go of. Numbers don’t lie.
Awesome Stuff! Share a piece of advice for a small business owner with multiple businesses?
It’s going to be hard and that’s okay. You may be distracted but that’s also okay. However, until your business is profitable enough to comfortably hire people, I would advise you to manage it yourself. Content is also king, take out the time, take good product photos and understand your audience, this would go a long way. It’s also really important to manage your business transactions.
Final Question, why don’t you use Kippa?
Hahaha, in all honesty, I had not heard about this product till this interview. I’ve gone through the website and I’m quite enthusiastic about trying it out. The features look like they would be really helpful in managing my business. Is there an app I can download? Can I sort out inventory automatically?
Yes, yes, and yes. There is a bookkeeping app for small businesses you can download on the iOS Appstore and the Google Playstore. The App is free and fun fact, our users love the inventory management feature. I guess Kippa would be replacing your excel management soon. *fingers crossed*
How can Kippa help your Business?
Kippa is the simplest accounting software for small Nigerian businesses. Over 2,80,000 small business owners currently use Kippa to manage their business transactions, create and send professional invoices and collect debts 3X faster. Grow your business with Kippa.