Beldine Kirito is the founder and director of Beldina’s Delicacies, a Nairobi-based bakery that specializes in artistically decorated cakes for all occasions, and which offers training on baking and cake decorations.
I was employed as a high school teacher when I started my business. I started this business in October 2016 out of passion. It started small in my kitchen with a capital of Sh30,000 which I used to get training and a few baking equipment. It took about two months for the business to start making profits and recover the initial start-up capital of Sh30,000. I was quite aggressive on marketing on social media and through my YouTube Channel, and I am also grateful to my friends who acted as my brand ambassadors and sent new customers and referrals to the business.
When I started, small space and lack of proper commercial equipment were some of the biggest challenges I encountered. I realised that I needed to scale up. This is something I have been doing in a way that is sustainable for the business. I realised that rapid expansion can also be detrimental if the business doesn’t have the capacity for it.
In pursuit of expansion, we opened a hotel with my husband in Karen. This was in 2020 during the peak of Covid-19. We did not do proper due diligence or consult any expert, coach or mentor. The result was huge losses. We were forced to shut the hotel down because the area residents refused to approve a hotel to run in their neighbourhood. We made a loss of Sh6 million, most of which was funds from loans. This loss drew us back, something that has really taken time for us to recover. We however learned that before making an investment or starting a business, it is very critical to always do proper due diligence and research, involve experts such as business coaches and mentors, and also start small and grow as you learn through the process.
If I could turn back the clock and get into the world of business afresh, I would start with a business mentor and coach. I would also engage in as many baking and advanced cake decoration courses as possible. These courses are a major catalyst for accelerated growth in this industry. Currently, in building my business, I have focused more on reinvesting the proceeds back in the business. I am servicing loans for the collapsed business.
Take every opportunity you get to sharpen your skills and strive to be the best in your industry. The world is evolving at a very fast rate and so are businesses. The only way to adapt is by constant improvement of skills through training and short courses. Collaborate and not compete with the other players in the industry. Grow organically as you learn the business tricks and lastly minimize spending on the overhead costs. If you’re in business, understand the balance between passion and profitability. Personally, I chose entrepreneurship over employment.