Focus is great, but Diversification is smart

October 22, 2020

When it comes to entrepreneurship, there are two lines of thought. One is the Silicon Valley way, where you are looking for growth and numbers without any bottom line while the other is the typical African way, where you build a real business and the business growth is only measured by the bottom line. According to Mikul Shah, Managing Director at EatOut, most business owners believe in focussing on one thing until you become good at it. While focus is a good thing, it is also important to think about how you protect your bottom line by having more than one source of revenue. This ensures that if you take a hit on one side, you will still have the potential to make revenue on another.

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped many things for them at EatOut. The Nairobi restaurant week, Burger week, Nairobi wine festival and events for corporate all got hit by the ban on events, resulting in some major business changes. The changes included terminations, resignations and reduced pay for staff among others. Mikul is also in the publishing business where apart from magazines such as Yummy and Nomad, they also did inflight magazines on Airlines such as Fly 540. With the cancellation of flights, this line of business also got hit.

Despite these challenges he still made it through. His business just had so many moving parts that seemed to stand the test of time when it came to COVID-19. Mikul has always been fast to pivot his business and jump on new opportunities, driven by his passion for the lifestyle industry. Partnerships with Corporates like EABL, Coca cola and Safaricom have been a life line for his business. He was only able to achieve this by becoming an authority in the art, food and fashion sector, and he believes his dynamism is what cushioned him from the effects of COVID-19. By focussing on one industry, but diversifying his interests to own as much of that industry as possible, Mikul’s acumen is one all entrepreneurs can learn from.

Mikul Shah was a guest at Un.thinkable roast (our monthly 10X Growth Leaders Meet-up) in June 2020. Click here to apply for membership in Un.thinkable.

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