How many times have you scrolled through someone’s pages on social media and found the hashtag #entrepreneur #boss #paperchasing? Moreover, when you try and read through someone’s profile and come across the title CEO of ABC…These titles are fascinating matter of fact, they give an ideology that “our time as the youth is now”. Sadly, how many of these businesses do we see standing the test of time? Entrepreneurship isn’t a docket that welcomes all, in as much as we all want to embrace it there are only few survivors. With that in mind, and as an upcoming entrepreneur I decided to have a talk with one of Kenya’s successful entrepreneur Yul Wenger owner of Yul’s Aquadrom, Mombasa Kenya on how to build a lasting business.
Yul Wenger is of German decent and as a young man he came to Kenya to attend his brother’s wedding and couldn’t help but fall in love with the country and his first and only love Mrs. Heike Wenger.Indeed Africa is a land of many opportunities! Back at home in Germany, his father owned a bakery that made this young Engineer by profession fall in love with the kitchen and cooking, hence becoming Yul’s aquadrom best chef. As if it were a match made in heaven, his wife was in the hospitality industry working for five star hotels in Europe and across the world. It was during this time in Kenya that he decided to follow his passion and start a restaurant with a small kiosk, by the beach. This was a risk for the pair as they were both leaving their lives to embark into an unknown journey with no GPS to help in direction.
As he said to me during our talk, “The vision to start the biggest water sport venue in Kenya was clear, but I didn’t have much resources at hand, nonetheless I used what I had. You just have to start! Most people miss out on what would have been their best opportunities because the starting point is not always glamorous as the destination. I started with my cook and gardener forming a team of three, in a kiosk. It was nothing like what my vision was but it fueled and drove me to accomplish what Yuls is today. Make use of the resources at hand, because even when you have it altogether it will never be enough.
“Daisy, he added as he served a cup of coffee to me, I see most businesses coming up nowadays which is exciting, however my question is, what problem are they solving in the market? What solutions are they giving their clients or is it just the same concept from one to the other? What makes them stand out in this competitive space? These are key questions that every entrepreneur should ask themselves. I was the only European located at this coast who opened a restaurant amongst heavy giants and chains of hotels. The competition was stiff and scary but that didn’t deter me from achieving my goals. I did my market research and found a market gap then decided to come up with something that my competitors didn’t have, water sports! I can proudly say that Yuls Aquadrom was the first Kenyan water sport venue since 1989! You can tell that I have been in business before your conception!” he said as he welcomed his wife who joined in.
The challenges we faced 28 years ago were part of a learning curve that contributed immensely to the growth of the business, his wife added. Any business out there should have a structure; more of a guideline of how the business should operate .At Yul’s, all credit goes to our team, we are nothing without them. Business owners should learn to interact with their employees and listen to their opinions. What we do here is build lives, once someone applies to work with us, my husband will train them in various sections in the kitchen and after two years of intense training, we allow them to pick their area of interest, be it the bakery or the bar, wherever they grew found of. Having that personal experience with them has enabled us to gain trust and loyalty from our staff”.”You can tell they are happy and some have even worked here for over 18years.Making us to retain our signature meals and ice cream with much attention paid to the entire process, added Yuri the marketing manager and that is how you become the last man standing! He said as he set up his equipment to take a picture of all of us. To add unto that, you can never ignore the era of technology, that is why Yuri here is always busy creating content for our pages. Market trends shift most times, always be ready to adapt to what favors your business, Mrs. Heike added as she invited us for the picture.
As I walked out of the venue, I wondered how many upcoming entrepreneurs were ready to walk through the journey, without giving up? This new age, makes us assume that success is an overnight story and one that can be built instantly but taking Yuls as a reference point, 28 years of building a legacy incorporates so much ,the good ,the bad and the ugly with eyes fixed on the price! As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day .So dear young entrepreneur, I know you are hungry for success, I know you want to have the best Hair studio or fashion line .I get it, its human nature, but enjoy the process on your way to achieving your vision, the time effort and input will eventually yield results.