Hair & Beauty Salon Business Guide

If you have decided that you want to enter the hair and beauty business, Yipe has a business roadmap for what you need.

This Hair & Beauty Salon Business Guide offers entrepreneurs everything that they need to know to get their business started right.

The guide contains advice on all aspects of starting up and managing a hair and beauty salon business. It contains information that even experienced salon business owners can benefit from.

What makes this guide truly unique is that it is comprehensive in offering guidance on both the practical and the business side of the hair and beauty business. Readers learn about start-up considerations, hiring, location, management, inventory, sales, marketing and much more.

The hair and beauty salon business guide also includes a set of business templates that you can adapt and use for your own business. This saves you the hours that you would have to spend to put together paperwork for your business by yourself.

With articles from various hair and beauty experts, as well as resources, you should be able to get your business up and running.

To access the Hair & Beauty Salon Business Guide visit http://www.yipekenya.org/Hair & Beauty Salon Business Toolkit.htm

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Just how many pirated DVD shops can a city have?

Yesterday we got an interesting comment on an old post Kenya’s Youth Council Bill is merely a means to keep the old guard on top:

Yipe,

I have a suspicion you might be interested in an ongoing blogging discussion between Al Kags (alkags.com) and Sonia (http://sonia.elimisha.us). The two bloggers are having a debate on their individual blogs (each blogging their response on their own blogs).

The discussion: is national policy in Kenya actually appropriately set to support young people effectively and are the funds available in Kenya being appropriately used to make Kenyan youth successful?

It would be great to see your views (maybe on your blog) on the subject

On reading both posts (sides), here is our two cents worth:

There is absolutely no point in promoting enterprise among the youth unless they are competitive.

Last year regarding the reason why many youth-owned enterprises collapse within 12 months, we posted the following:

“Taking a walk through African cities, one notices that the enterprises being operated by the youth are generally service oriented, and fall within a narrow category of retail business types. There is hardly any manufacturing and even more disturbing is the lack of innovativeness on the part of youth entrepreneurs. Just how many pirated DVD shops can a city have? The answer to that question depends on how many young entrepreneurs there are. This may sound cynical, but if one just strolls through Africa’s business districts patterns of mobile phone accessory shops, small clothing stalls and the emerging number of cramped cyber café’s tell the story of an over-saturation of enterprise but no individual firm growth. It’s no wonder most of these outfits hardly last a year, when the young entrepreneurs venture into the next big thing in small business.”

You can get the full post here http://yipeorg.blogspot.com/2009/06/ethical-business-revolution-is-emerging.html

Therefore as well meaning and consultative as the National Youth Policy is, to us at Yipe there is no point in having a policy or National Youth Council or even a Youth Enterprise Fund, for that matter if all we do is regurgitate the same old business ideas.

So even though as Sonia says “the National Youth Policy did to help organize young people and more importantly those who support youth led development” at the end of the day the only realistic youth development policy is (to put it crudely) the one that puts enough money in their pockets. And the only way to do that in an economy where youth unemployment constitutes 78% of total unemployment is to promote growth and competitive oriented sustainable enterprises.

HIV/AIDS affects more than just the bottom line

A UNAIDS study in the year 2000 on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Kenya predicted that the scourge would leave the Kenyan economy one-sixth smaller than it would have been in the absence of HIV/AIDS. Well, the pandemic has wreaked more havoc both on the economy as well as business.

Not only has the scourge adversely affected productivity and costs, but HIV/AIDS continues to have an invidious effect that is unquantifiable but yet profoundly impacts enterprise.

Absenteeism is usually the first and most common impact on business productivity. The number of days an employee reports to work can be measured, but this can also be a trigger for discord in labour relations when other healthy workers have to shoulder the responsibilities of the absentee.

The next impact is usually a loss of vital skills, which in turn makes entrepreneurs hesitant to invest in training for their employees. Most times, when a small business owner sponsors an employee to training they also expect that this employee will act as some sort of champion of the newly learned skill or knowledge, spreading it amongst the other employees. Thus the loss caused by AIDS doesn’t just end with the illness or death of that employee.

Finally there is the emergence of a loss of morale amongst the other staff members. What else can you expect when attending funerals of colleagues and their family members becomes a common event.

On World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Control Council should salute small businesses that take measures to protect their workers who are uninfected, whilst offering appropriate support and services to those who are infected. These are the entrepreneurs who are on the front-line fighting the scourge that threatens to shrink and sink the economy.

The government on its part could also provide incentives to small business entrepreneurs by introducing tax incentives for greater involvement in AIDS prevention.

Umuro Wario’s reinstatement at Kenya’s Youth Fund is a victory for public officers committed to fighting corruption

graft buster montageThe government’s decision to reinstate Mr. Umuro Wario to continue serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund should be highly lauded. It’s a point of victory for public officers who risk their jobs by committing themselves to fight corruption.

Kenya’s biggest problem with the war against corruption has always been having the corrupt have their day whenever they fight back. This has happened to so many competent people before. A number of committed and hardworking officers have often lost their jobs whenever they showed determination to fight graft. A few years back it was confirmed that in Kenya, corruption fights back. It happened to Goldenberg whistle blower David Munyakei who lost his job and died in agony after he revealed how Kenyans had lost billions of shillings through the Goldenberg scandal. The same nature of machinations worked so hard to remove true anti corruption crusaders from transparency international. It was such kind of behind the scene political games by some board members that two very competent CEO’s Mwalimu Mati and Gladwell Otieno were consecutively removed from TI Kenya. Transparency International is just one example among many where officers committed to sincerity end up losing their jobs because of the greed and immorality of some of the board members of those institutions.

The minister in charge must be lauded for taking a bold action and making the truth carry its day by re appointing Mr. Wario. The  minister has shown that if we all work for the truth, the just will always get justice too.

The initial sacking of Mr. Wario was like condemning those who fight corruption within the institutions where they work. This is because the ground of dismissal was based on the fact that he didn’t cooperate in the approval of some questionable deals pushed by the board. He must be lauded for standing strong in the interest of Kenyan youth when he refused to approve a ‘loan’ of ksh.300million to a Canadian NGO. Its noticeable that some politically connected board members wanted to use their political influence to blackmail the CEO into approving projects that mattered to their own selfish interests and not in the interest of the Kenyan youth.

It’s important that the minister was able to rescind her own earlier move of sacking the YEDF CEO after finding out the truth.

As the minister appoints new board members it’s important to ensure that new faces are put on the board to make the YEDF operate without any external coercion from various political interests as it has been before. The minister should now move to ensure that the board is fully reconstituted to include people who will work in the interest of the Kenyan youth and not those who will end up arm-twisting the CEO to give’ loans’ to foreign NGOs. A new board I believe will come up with a new way of implementing the youth projects and also oversee the funding of the youth groups by merit and not through political manipulations.

Wario is one of the competent young people who are emerging   in providing leadership in different sectors of our economy and it’s wrong for individuals to use tribalism or any other form of bigotry to sabotage such talents. He is also is famed for having rolled out the audit of the Kenya’s free primary education when he worked for the ministry of education.

I really wish that other ministers and government officials emulate the youth and sports minister Prof. Hellen Sambili and stand and support the truth always whenever circumstances of this nature arise. Through this, we shall achieve a lot in our war against nepotism and all other forms of corruption. It must be fought from all corners and sacking public officers who help fight it is not one of the methods of ridding our society of graft.

FWAMBA NC FWAMBA

A good story sells

honeyA recently published blog post by David Roodman titled “Kiva is not quite what it seems” has been causing quite a stir in cyber space. Not so much because of the provocative title mentioning Kiva – a pioneer and probably the best known Person to Person (P2P) micro-credit organisation; Roodman’s post also questions the real intentions why people choose to fund a micro entrepreneur from Cambodia, Kenya or Guatemala for that matter.

Roodman posits that a reason for the success of Kiva and similar internet based lending portals is because for as little as US$ 25, more people can become benefactors. Helping others has become a cheap commodity and not only the super-rich Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s can now claim the title “philanthropist”.

Similar to the P2P lending model, goods from developing countries that sell on western supermarket shelves bear stories – some of them wild. This has been largely propagated by fair trade products. However, nowadays even a pesticide sprayed beetroot from Bulawayo must carry a story. A honey product from Kenya cannot just simply be labelled “Kenyan honey”. What’s required is a long tale weaving in a tapestry of sensory words probably going along the lines of “…this honey comes from the honey bee whose hives are in Africa’s savannah plains … The scents from the eucalyptus ensure a wild …”.

Indeed, the more evocative the story about the terrain or about how poor the farmers who produced it are, the better.

This is what consumers want – a feeling that when they put a spoon of honey in their morning tea, they feel part of that savannah so alluringly described on the product label. And it is these stories that add a couple of dollars or Euro’s onto the unit retail price. On some e-commerce websites selling African “ethnic” products, 2 kgs of maize flour which is the staple food for most East and Central African countries goes for US$ 10. The same product in an upmarket supermarket in Nairobi costs less than a quarter of that price. The point is that with good marketing, consumers pay more for the “story” than the product itself.

With rampant corruption constantly being reported in Africa, an ennui among citizens of western nations has emerged. Commonly people question why donor aid is poured into large infrastructure projects such as roads and geothermal plants yet there are numerous instances of money being siphoned off by corrupt public officials in Africa. Just last week it emerged that World Bank money earmarked for free primary education in Kenya had been stolen; thus begging the question why fund such a project when if you gave an entrepreneur a bit of money they could then be empowered enough to send their children to a fee paying school?

Media stories on Africa which in most instances focus on crises’ or the potential for crisis have made people who would otherwise dip into their pockets to alleviate hunger on the Continent averse. Thus when one sees a picture of Mary from a village just outside Kampala who has a banana kiosk, the need to assist Mary overrides the need to assist Fatma in a refugee camp in Eastern Congo.

In an age where people are sponsoring small businesses’, children and even guerrillas in Rwanda, what does this all mean for entrepreneurs either seeking funding or wanting to sell their products on the export market?

In a nutshell there is a palpable and growing demand for “virtual tourism” – a state where one can experience a lifestyle from the comfort of their seat in front of a computer monitor, or perhaps when they hold the honey jar from somewhere in Africa, gently open the lid, and smell the scent of the wild.

Read “Kiva is not quite what it seems” here

Where the paper is worth more than the contract written on it!

The Africa Development Index 2008/09 (ADI) launched by the World Bank at the beginning of this month focussed on the urgent need for interventions to address the ever increasing numbers of unemployed youth.

Indeed the index can be described as the World Bank’s best book of numbers on Africa covering more than 1,400 indicators on the economy, human development, private sector development, governance, environment, and aid to Africa, with a series of indicators dating back to 1965.

As such, the indicators provide a useful platform to analyse the socio-economic factors that have an impact on the business environment in Africa. On doing an analysis on youth entrepreneurship opportunities, we came across some figures, which we felt should have an index all to themselves.

One of the main assets of an enabling business environment is the ease with which contracts can be enforced. According to the ADI, Rwanda had the fewest number of procedures required (24) compared with Sudan with the highest number of procedures (53).

Namibia had the shortest enforcement duration of 270 days compared with Liberia where one needs 1,280 days to enforce a contract. However a more glaring indicator was the cost of actually enforcing contracts.

The real cost of the debt

The debate between incurring costs in debt collection as opposed to writing off the debt is an issue that confronts many entrepreneurs. The ADI found debt collection costs in Tanzania and the Seychelles to be the lowest at 14.3% of the debt, whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo had the highest debt collection cost at a whopping 151.8% of the debt.

Yes, you read correct: 151.8%!

It costs more to collect your debts than it is to write them off! The DRC is not the only country where it is more expensive to collect debt (over 100% of the original amount). The ADI also listed Burkina Faso (107.4%), Malawi (142.4%), Mozambique (142.5%) and Sierra Leone (149.5%).

Contracts verbal or written, explicit or implied are what business is all about. Someone walks into your shop and picks up an item. You receive cash for that item and in exchange you give them the item. That is a contract. Contracts cover landlords, suppliers, agents, employees and run the entire gamut of business relationships.

Thus in a situation where pursuing a contract are too expensive and time consuming, the door is left open to less integrity uncertainty in doing business.

This in turn results in low levels of entrepreneurship and investment.

In fact delays and expense in contract enforcement can also have social repercussions. In Italy, a country where courts take 1,210 days on average on settle disputes, landlords were hesitant to rent apartments to young people, culminating in a large number of Italians living with their parents!

According to another World Bank product, the Doing Business Reports, countries faced with this situation have undertaken reforms to speed up contract enforcement processes.

Tonga is a country that markedly improved contract enforcement through the introduction of computerisation as well as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation. Tonga managed to cut the time to enforce contracts from 510 days to 350. Cases are now monitored daily, and if they remain inactive for 3 months, the judge summons the parties and asks whether they plan to pursue the dispute.

In 2006, Slovenia where it takes an average of 1,350 days to resolve a dispute, a law was adopted obliging the government to pay plaintiffs up to €5,000 per case as a fine for delayed justice.

Though many African countries have specialised commercial courts, resolving disputes through the judiciary has commonly been perceived as a preserve of the rich. This also keeps small business litigants away from courts, which in turn adversely affects their business bottom line.

Nevertheless even though these courts speed up the process of collecting debt (such as the commercial courts in Kinshasa which set a strict deadline of 8 days to appeal judgments), the cost of going to court is among the highest in the world. Another concern for African entrepreneurs is the prevalence of corruption in the judiciary. However, increasing judges’ salaries (such as is the case in Kenya) has been a way to ensure that they maintain their integrity. Further afield, countries like Bulgaria and Moldova introduced random allocation of court cases to judges, whilst Bulgaria also made the selection and appointment of judges more transparent.

Of course while a case is in litigation business must go on. Many times, property is confiscated and evictions happen doubly hurting the business, if not closing it down. In Brazil, to avert this problem, debtors are now also obliged to tell their creditors where their goods are. If debtors do not cooperate, they risk a penalty of 20% of the claim.

Widening the mandate of courts so they can deal with cases involving larger sums of money also enhances the expediency of justice and encourages entrepreneurs to seek this option.

Bringing justice closer to the entrepreneur

The next frontier in opening up judicial enforcements of contracts is through the internet. As internet use becomes more widespread in African countries, the introduction of e-courts, whereby certain procedures can be carried out will not only speed up justice but also lower costs of the whole process.

For instance, litigants in New York are able to access case data and documents through the internet whilst lawyers in Milan can upload case information into a case management database.

As mobile phone use in Africa is much more common than internet use, maybe the Singapore system could be an option. In 2006 the country introduced 3G mobile phones to conduct virtual court hearings and a pilot project allowing pre-trial conferences by e-mail.

However, websites of judiciaries in Africa could also replicate India example where businesses can download court forms, look at the court’s schedule for the day, check the status of a case or read the judge’s orders. The supreme court even allows electronic filing of cases. In African countries where the road network is undeveloped or dilapidated, such a system would also benefit those small business owners who live in rural areas.

Even though the judiciary’s primary role is to enhance justice, fairness and equity, efficient courts can do much more — they can help the economy grow and thus promote entrepreneurship development.