The Business Daily on February 7 ran an opinion piece entitled: "Kenya is ripe for professional Business Mentorship Since SMEs Drive Economy." Many entrepreneurs would agree it is a lonely world when a start-up is in its infancy, and one needs someone to call at 3 a.m when the accounts do not add up and the future looks grim.
Ken Blanchard and Don Hutson echo these sentiments in their co-authored self-help novel, One Minute Entrepreneur. The book deviates from the typical "do and don't" format that is common with the genre. Instead it revolves around the life of a man named Jud, chronicling his life and enterprise for over 40
years. Young Jud is a regular Kenyan teenager, clueless about what the future ought to be, and not really bothered to pry. But his turning point comes when he gets arrested while partying with a friend, who happens to have marijuana in the boot of his car.
Although innocent, the arrest sounds an alarm for Jud's parents that he could end up wasting his life if he continues on the unmapped path. His grandmother reaches out to Jud one night and advises him to find a mentor and develop a habit of jotting daily lessons on a notebook, which he dubs One-Minute Insights.
Jud realises that his forte lies in motivational speaking. He approaches Tremendous, one of the speakers at a convention he attends, whose speech has impacted him and asks him to be his mentor. He learns four basics of starting a business from Tremendous. The first is to ensure sales exceed expenses. The second is to collect all bills while third is to take care of his customers and finally, to take care of his employees. The book captures typical periods of low growth for JTA, during which an advisory board comes in handy. As soon as JTA gets on the profit path, a bull-headed CEO sets the firm on a collision course towards public listing, nearly costing Jud and Terri their marriage. Chided by Tremendous, Jud gradually retraces his and the company's footing.
Entrepreneurs will empathise with Jud's mistakes and learn from his milestones. Mentors can also map their role in their protégé's career using this book.