A key milestone for 3K&L
Hello everyone. I know have been quiet, but I was waiting for today!!!
Why today? Let me explain…. In early 2016, the investors in 3K&L decided it was a viable idea to address a gap in the market for specialised financial advice, specifically targeting local SME’s. 3K&L had already been registered on 24 September 2014 (our birthday), and it presented the best avenue to address this gap. In the early days of 2016, the Executive Director, built a strategy and developed implementation plan. He tested the market to gauge the appetite for the service, and sensitivity to fees.
That is the first piece of background information.
The second bit is more of a global background. Depending on which literature you read, 70-80% of start-up entities collapse within their first year of operations. Entrepreneurs fail to reach their first birthday for various reasons. These reasons range from lack of market research or running out of cash, to inability to separate their personal agenda from that of the company or failure to convert ideas into revenue.
So why are the two bits of information relevant? Well, today marks one year since 3K&L kicked off operations in full swing!
On 11 July 2016, as 3K&L, we moved into our offices in Kalundu, Lusaka. Armed with some bits of furniture, a dream, and a heart full of enthusiasm and ambition, we began to look for partners who want sustainable growth through appropriate, relevant structures.
Initial days were tough. The central bank had put in place measures to mop up excess Kwacha to maintain a stable currency. Interest rates were well over 30% making investment and expansion expensive. Entities that could borrow, held off due to election fever, while eagerly waiting to see the long-term solutions that the Government would implement to deal with the acute electricity shortages. This was a tough environment for any business consultant, more so, for a start-up!
However, we see every challenge as an OPPORTUNITY. We used this ‘downtime’, to focus on building the company. We reflected on our strategy ‘Providing the best professional advice to local entities that want to grow through sound corporate governance, risk management structures and financial management.
To provide the best advice, meant that we had to be on top of our game. We invested in reference material, joining various professional networks across the world. In this digital age, one does not need to leave their location to access the best of information, but one needs to know where to look. We spared no expenses in signing up to associations, paying for reference information, and enrolling to online classes and webinars.
We also used this down time to start building our team. We advertised, interviewed and recruited. Using the advice we share with our clients, we immediately began a process of induction for our new employees. Explaining our mission, vision, and purpose. We explained each service and the value it adds to our partners. We provided coaching and training on software, accounting skills, and communication skills.
Our investment immediately began to pay off. We got our first call in full-time operations. A client wanted support in a negotiation that was getting to a critical stage. This assignment went on for a few months, and concluded with a satisfied client who continues to engage us for other services.
We received various other calls asking for accounting and financial advisory services, including setting up financial models. I note one client who referred us to a fellow SME, with the comment ‘You will not find a better accountant!’
I could go on about how we connect and engage with our clients, but that is not the point of this blog. We are here to celebrate one year, which is a significant milestone. A milestone that up to 80% of our fellow entrepreneurs will never see.
On 11 July 2016, we were thin on work. Today, we are helping organisations make investment decisions; helping entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of sustainable growth; giving CEO’s the most basic of financial information through bookkeeping services.
On 11 July 2016, 3K&L had one employee, now we have four young, motivated, and excited employees who buy into the dream. (Yes! I am young, motivated and excited)
On 11 July 2016, 3K&L had two satisfied clients, now we have over 10 partners who look to us for ongoing support and advice. They see the value we bring to the table. We are not just service providers to them, but trusted advisors. You don’t need to fork out the salaries needed to have a credible, reliable CFO, but you can hire 3K&L for as long as you need them.
As we celebrate today, I look forward to our next significant milestone…. 3 years old. I understand that of the remaining 20%, less than half will make it past 3 years. We have every intention of being in the half that makes it!
3K&L works with entities looking for world-class internal controls structures, processes and financials. Come walk with us on this journey. Actually, we are running, but we try not to brag about it!