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I started my business with Sh. 150,000 alone then looked for partners



I started my business with Sh. 150,000 alone then looked for partners

Agatha Mumo is the founder and Lead Psychologist at Arcadian Counseling Centre, which brings together a group of psychologists to offer professional counseling, team building activities, consultancy in Mental Health and child safeguarding and protection.

I started the business in 2019 with a capital of Sh. 150,000 but officially registered it as a private limited company in September 2020. I started small and it was not easy in a field where most people believed our services should be offered for free. Today, the niche of our business is the ability to offer services outside the traditional therapy room. We believe in nature therapy and therefore most of our work is outside the office.

The business has taken about three years or more to break even. In a field where little is known, stigmatized and minimized to some fancy talk which is not considered professional, it has been pretty challenging. Many people think sick ‘mad’ people are the ones who visit our offices. As a result, our biggest challenge has been demystifying mental health and showing people the importance of accessing our services.

I was previously employed before going into private practice. I believe that my power is in what I know best and that is psychology and therefore I have maintained my career along this path. However, I would say entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted since it requires patience during the hard seasons and wisdom during hay days. Also, we are all cut differently. Go for what suits you best.

My biggest mistake was establishing the business in the first year solo. I presented myself as the face of the brand. This came out as a challenge when I started transiting to group practice. The lesson I picked from this was that in order to run a successful business, you have to trust others and invoke team work from the beginning of the business. This means that if you are sick or absent from work, the business still thrives and makes money for you while you are away. If I could start all over again, I would market the business as a group practice to allow for a smoother transition. I would also establish the structures first such as office line to avoid personal contact with clients.

My greatest moment has been Tele-counseling and basically initiating online services. This has meant that I can work at my convenience and mostly at the comfort of my home. Everything has two sides to it and this was the blessing in disguise that came out of the 2020 business restructuring.

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I have learned to separate my finances for better personal and business financial accountability.  I bank the business money and also draw a salary as if I am an employee. Out of the salary I pay myself, I am able to diversify how I use it through personal budgetary allocations that include percentages for investment-driven savings.

Networking and creating solid relationships that are genuine is the backbone to growing a business. This is a truth that I have learned over the time that I have been running this business. You will hardly get far without networking. It is from networking that you will gain new opportunities for growth and partnerships, and it is out of solid business relationships that you will grow. This includes solid customer relations that are the fuel for customer referrals.

A version of this profile feature on Agatha Mumo was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.

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