Someone said passion is not what gives you bliss or makes you happy 24/7, but what you’re willing to suffer for — what you genuinely believe to be worth the sacrifice. This is just a disclaimer to let you know that it is not necessarily and easy ride!
At about the age of 9 I realized I loved planting or growing things. We didn't have a garden or a shamba as is commonly known in East Africa but that didn't deter me from my passion. I would collect tins/cans or any container and plant flowers. I fondly remember getting those bulbs (before the energy saver bulbs with twisted designs came) and planting indoor water plants in them. My dear Mum joked that when I grow up, I would not have chairs in my house...she could only envisage plants all over!
I pursued Accountancy to its professional level got both ACCA and CPA-U but didn't stop gardening. After completing my MBA I felt more passionate about my passion....Gardening. I have grown to love accountancy and that's the reason for The Accountancy and Business Clinic Facebook page. However I have remained passionate about gardening hence Maua and More . Maua is Swahili name for flowers but we offer flower pots, flower pot stands and other garden accessories hence the flowers and more. To bring my two worlds together, I chose to be The Accounting Gardener (hence this blog)
On the 2nd April 2016, the hobby turned small business or startup, Maua and More, was excited to have been invited to participate at the inaugural gardeners show organized by The Backyard Gardeners Uganda . It was a lovely experience, great interaction and inspiration to take on more challenges.
From my short journey thus far with Maua and More, a hobby turned small business, I share my thoughts on how one can go about turning a passion into profit
1) Spread your passion
• Sharing your knowledge can be a great way to build your business.
• Use the available opportunities and forums that will appeal to your target customers
• Write a blog or articles any the social media forums
2) Package your passion
• Put it together or pack it in a way that you can sell it. If you cannot package it then you cannot trade and therefore cannot make profit out of it
• While at it consider the common 4 Ps of marketing ( Product, Price, Promotion and Place)
3) Monetize your passion
• Determine how much you will sell your product or service
• To inform your selling price, you have to consider the cost of putting the product or service together so that your selling price is never below your cost price
4) Professionalize your passion
• Aspire to work on the business not in that business.
• Set up systems for: Inventory ordering, paying bills, invoicing customers, Bookkeeping, marketing & selling, sweeping the floor.
• You can do some of this yourself if you have inclination and the skill set.
• You can outsource them if the cash flow of the business will allow that.
• You could take on a partner to perform some functions
5) Build a network for your passion
• Join or set up a group or network of others who may like it or who are of the same mindset or have similar passion
• Relationships aren’t just about money. Connections provide advice, referrals to people who may join your team
6) Get mentorship for your passion
• Do not reinvent the wheel, learn from those with more experience even if they are your competitors
• Do not restrict your mentors to only those with the same passion as yours. What is important is to get business mentorship which can be gained for the various disciplines. Building a sustainable business needs more than passion
• Have people with the right skill set from the get-go.
• Having employees who share your zeal for the business will help your company succeed.
• Consider hiring within your means.
• Barter trade for some services makes a good option if you are cash trapped.
• Delegate some responsibility to others and free up sometime for the strategic.
• Stay involved in the aspects of the business that you love most.
8) Brand your passion
• Look for ways to make your product or service stand out
• Define your unique selling point aka value proposition.
• Have business cards and other marketing collateral
9) Expand your passion
• Diversify or widen the range of your product or service offering.
• Look for complementing products or services that you can offer in order to diversify and spread your risks.
• Change where necessary to adapt with the trends and the times.
• Successful entrepreneurs understand that change is good and that there may be more than way to meet your goals
10) Continuously improve on your passion
• Look for ways to improve your product or service offering
• Always strive to make it better, cheaper, faster
• Be good at what your business does
• Building a sustainable business requires ongoing reinvention and new development
Now go forth and start turning your passion to profit
• Start small – risk is small, begin scale up later
• Start simple – However big your vision is, starts with its simplest aspects and expand as you gain traction
• Start slim - Find ways to begin without in the cheapest possible way. Make use of available resources before acquiring others
• Start soon – someone said the best way to get something done is to begin
• Start with sales - that until you have sales you don’t have a business.
To turn your passion into profit as support system is very essential to help get started. One such support system you can find at Business Development Centre where you are challenged to consider your optimal business opportunity not just your passion. This is the intersection between
i) your passion or calling,
ii) competence and capacity to deliver and
iii) Ultimately ability to derive a profitable demand
In other words do not count on passion alone: Do a reality check; Make sure you have the other components needed for success such as willingness to work hard and a market for your products or services. Key to success is persistence. Accept that there is no silver bullet. Steady growth is more important.
Now go get started!
The Accounting Gardener