By Okello Okello
Friday 24th January 2014 at 9:00am after our Christian Leadership Impact group meeting, I am sitting with Keith Brink in one of the best interviews I have ever done. Keith is a a gold medal business graduate and an entrepreneur from Tyndale University and Seminary College and has an office in Toronto, Downtown dealing with labour outsourcing to entrepreneurs in North America. Keith is also the youngest board member of Succeed Africa Relief Organization, a Not for Profit organization that I founded and recently got approved by Canada Ministry of Government Service. This is how our interview went.
- 1. As a fellow classmate and business man, we have started so many businesses and most of them have failed terribly, what do you think about our history as entrepreneurs?
Those were the best times and to be precise, I am glad we failed because I learned a lot and I hope you did too. They say experience is the best teacher but if you can learn without experience then go for it but never be the proverbial ostrich that sinks his head in the sand thinking that his body is safe outside. So if you fail, pick up yourself, try and find out why you failed and act on it. Never let your failures block your way to success.
- 2. We wrote a business proposal to student life of starting a healthy, cheap, and convenient fruit juice business in school, full with delivery in dormitories and staff offices on our second year and it got shut down before we even defended it. Do you think it is fair for entrepreneurs and innovators to be turned down?
It is through some ideas that are considered “crazy,” that the world has changed. I am sure the inventor of light bulb was turned down, laughed at but today, it is the best thing we are having. Most people will turn you down if they see you as a threat of if they think that you have not researched a lot in whatever you are starting. On our case, it is from that disappointment that I learned to do my part well before I share it.
- 3. You recently hired two managers One Information technology and the other one is charge of operations and I am very proud of you taking that bold step at infant stages of our businesses. What is your main worry with your team as at now?
I am always worried when getting back the reports from them. Did they do the right thing? Did they finish the tasks in time, are our clients happy. Those are some of the things I worry about but generally I am having amazing team who are enthusiastic to learning and growing with the organization.
- 4. As an entrepreneur, I connect a lot with the points you have mentioned but how do you solve this problem?
The only way to deal with worries is to share your vision with your team. Let them know why you started the business and when hiring, always hire people who are in line with the vision not people who just want to work and get money in return.
Let me split this to you in fractions, 5% of my job is to model the vision. 95% is sharing that vision with people whom it can change. Another thing you need to know or any entrepreneur out there is that people don’t connect with big visions. Keep it simple and actually very simple.
- 5. So how do you bring people on board with your vision?
Entrepreneurship involves creativity; you do not have to be very formal when you can simply share your vision in a dramatic way. The point is, you want people to think like you do, you want to connect with your customers and team in achieving all the realistic goals you have set, use diagrams, visual gestures and always remember to show it on your face that it can be done. Be jovial and confident about it.
- 6. As entrepreneurs, we don’t understand everything, so what is your main fear?
There is always more to be done than time you have. Be aware of what you need to do today. Prioritize. Remember; planning is the most important thing yet less practiced by entrepreneurs and it can only result to failure.
- 7. Parting shot!
It is yourself who gets on your way to success. Always make commitments you cannot break and learn from the masters. I admire a lot Steve Holmes who is also a board member of Tyndale University and Seminary and the CEO of Spring Free Trampoline. He prays to 5 people every day on his way to work. Calls them and leaves them a prayer message on their phones. We cannot do it alone. We need God at all times.