What I learnt after welcoming partners in my business

Agatha Mumo is the founder and lead psychologist at Arcadian Counseling Centre, which offers professional counseling, team building, child safety and protection, and mental health consultancy. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

Agatha Mumo is the founder and lead psychologist at Arcadian Counseling Centre, which offers professional counselling, team-building activities, and consultancy in mental health and child safeguarding and protection.

I started the business in 2019 with a capital of Sh150,000 but officially registered it as a private limited company in September 2020. I started small and it was not easy as many 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. The field is little known, stigmatised and minimised as some fancy talk, which makes it 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. In the wake of Covid-19 and its effects, our services are now more appreciated. 

I was previously employed before going into private practice. My power is in what I know best—psychology— and 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 teamwork from the start. This means that if you are sick or absent from work, the business still thrives and makes money for you while you are away. From the start, I would also establish the structures first such as having office lines to maintain professionalism.

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

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 were 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 are the backbone of growing a business. This is a truth that I have learned over time. 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.


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