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Otumbo Vincent | Kenya | Stay Flexible

I understand what it means to be a failure in life because it is a path I have walked, I know what it means to desire something so badly while it escapes your grasp, I have struggled to get the basics to just survive and be alive yet I never gave up on my goals and I can proudly say I have experienced success in life without getting complacent. Entrepreneurship is something that has always been dear to me. I started my first venture in high school where all I had as capital was a 4-quire book, a writing pad, Bic pen, an admirable handwriting, and love songs. All these businesses I was involved in was simply to help my mates in high school write beautiful love letters to their girlfriends despite the fact that I didn’t have one. In my primary education and academic foundation, I was an average student and it was not until I realized my destiny was in my own hand and opportunity waits for no man. Therefore, I enrolled into university and I challenged myself to do better. My hardwork, effort and commitment paid off - I graduated with first class honors in Procurement and Contract Management. Proving to myself that our biggest enemy is our mindset and if we are able to conquer that, we can conquer anything we set out to do.

I was employed for 3 years. I have more than 5 years of experience in training and running startups. Currently, I am the co-founder and team leader at Sav Skills Limited a training and management consultancy company established in November 2017. Through the support of my mentor we started the company together and we have grown to become friends and business partners as well, having supported me through my journey with identity crisis to the man I am today.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

As earlier mentioned I started entrepreneurship young, over time I started more than 3 businesses before settling where I am. One of my biggest hurdles was identity; finding myself and discovering my passion in the space of entrepreneurship. As Erik Erikson once said, “In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.”

In 2017, I was running a cleaning services business named Otuvin Cleaning services. The business was making money, The business supported me. The business brought me happiness, especially when clients gave positive feedback on how we have transformed their personal and work spaces, with our unique touch giving them a fresh look and perspective. Despite all that, I was not fulfilled as a person, something was missing.

In September 2017, I was invited to a friend’s house for late lunch. After lunch, a gentleman came to me and boldly asked, “Young man, who are you and what do you do?” I was startled but I responded, “My name is Otumbo Vincent, I run a cleaning company and I have a business club as well,” the gentleman responded, “I have heard a lot about you, I feel you are wasting your time in the cleaning business.” Perplexed, I asked again, “What do you think I should do? His response was, “Something you are passionate about. Something that excites and brings the best out of you, something that leaves you fulfilled at the end of the day.” As a student of life, I jumped in immediately, “Can you mentor me?” He responded with eloquence and calmness, “I only mentor CHAMPIONS, you have to prove that you are one.” That was the end of our conversation with no exchange of contacts or emails.

Fast forward, I connected with him through LinkedIn and learnt he was working out of the country. Whilst at work he mentored me through a three-page word document that focused on my personality, my mission, vision, values and what makes me joyful and have a sense of meaning in life. By the time he was coming for his one-week break, I had clarity on who I was and who I wanted to become, in the process, together we researched and developed a program that will help and guide people out of their personal identity and career identity crises respectively. We called the program PmP – Personal Mastery Program. November 30, 2017, Sav Skills Limited was registered with my mentor as a business partner and our first product being the Personal Mastery Program. This far we have developed other programs one day at a time as we adapt into the dynamic market of human capital and most importantly organizational dynamics in a fast changing world. As we continue growing our offering we offer an array of unique training and management consulting services as we seek and work towards growing beyond the Mombasa market. At the moment, our company has served clients in Kenya, Uganda, and Chad.

As the team leader of Sav Skills Limited, I see myself as a catalyst who provokes perspectives leading to change. What fuels my zest to bigger and more challenging goals are: People, Purpose, Passion, and Performance.

What books are you currently reading?

Currently I am reading and learning from the following books.

1. First things first – Stephen Covey (studying it for the second time)

2. Leading without authority – Keith Ferrazi

3. Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim | Renee Mauborgne

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?

1. The value of having mentors in my life.

2. Benchmarking is great if you benchmark with the right people, not just anyone.

3. Never make a promise on a promise.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

To explore life through imagination into your future, without imagination, you are a slave to a future imagined by others.

As an upcoming entrepreneur firstly. you need yourself and your imagination. Secondly you need consistent and continuous personal development. When an entrepreneur gets better, everyone gets better including the customers. Thirdly, as an entrepreneur, you need a mentor who remind you of your journey and also validate your win. Fourthly, an entrepreneur needs a consultant, someone who keeps provoking your perspective for continuous improvement and growth.

Dear entrepreneur, in war, no war is the same because war is progressive, you need innovative intruders to stay relevant in the marketplace. Most importantly, stay flexible. No flexible building collapses by the storm.

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