Published: BIZNA.CO.KE | February 2, 2015
By Kinuthia Mburu
Elizabeth Simiyu-Bisher is the founder and CEO of Slim Therapy Limited.
After the birth of her son Karim in 2009, Elizabeth Simiyu–Bisher gained 13 extra kilograms. “I developed the dreaded mummy tummy once I began to wean my son. From 6 months to 10 months, I jumped from 62 kilograms to 75 kilograms. I began to think of how I could shed it. I wanted to go back to my pre-pregnancy body.” She tried exercising, diets and slimming belts but nothing seemed to work. In the end, she turned to electrotherapy. “It completely eliminated my tummy fat, and after seeing how good I looked, I began to contemplate starting a side business that could offer electrotherapy to women and men who were struggling with excess weight but couldn’t seem to find a workable solution.”
However, Elizabeth didn’t have a startup seed to set her business idea off. “Fortunately, I encountered two venture capitalists who saw potential in my business idea and helped me raise Sh. 2.3 million startup capital.” She did a training course in electrotherapy and in 2011, she opened Slim Therapy Limited in Westlands. Initially, Elizabeth began serving her friends, colleagues and their acquaintances. “Demand for the services grew at a fast pace. I began to contemplate expanding to accommodate everyone.” Unknown to her, though, her business had already hit the rocks despite the high demand that streamed her way! Reason? Her book keeping was deficient! “I did not have a solid business plan or audit reports from day to day. A normal book keeping day for me comprised recording of how many customers showed up and how much they spent.”
Consequently, although Elizabeth kept an operating float, her business lost 15 per cent of her would-be income through these book keeping cracks. “The business didn’t adhere to any cash flow rules. There was no cash flow budget, there was zero cost control, no follow up on payments, and, no projections or plans for shortfalls.” Apparently, her business was also weighed down by unplanned expenses and improper credit control. “There were times clients would attend treatments for a whole month on credit or part payments and then fail to pay on time or even fail to pay at all.” At times, she was forced to dig into her purse to supplement her enterprise’s expenses. “I did not pay myself a salary and there were days when I considered shutting down,” says Elizabeth.
“My vision was not clearly defined; my desire for growth was not backed by any strategy on how this growth would happen,” she says. In an attempt at redeeming her business, Elizabeth decided to enroll for a business training course. “I feared that perhaps my business was doing badly because I had little business training.” She took two entrepreneurial training courses with the Growth Oriented Women Enterprises (GOWE) and the Professional Business Mentors Association (PBMA). “I underwent my first audit with a professional audit firm which explained the position of my business, my enterprise’s tax obligations, and how lack of proper book keeping had created conduits for leakage or loss and wastage of funds could be sealed.” Elizabeth notes that the direct result of better book-keeping was the improved terms of employment for her employees, and clear terms of engagement and services with her clients. “Our treatment stations demand jumped from 40 per cent to an average of 85 per cent per month within a few months, and with this growth, our profits soared.”
She opened her first franchise in Mombasa in 2012 followed quickly by another in Nairobi in 2013. Over the years the weight loss benefits of these treatments started to be seen as the machine imitates normal muscle stimulation as done through conventional exercise. The machine stimulates muscle groups creating enough energy demand for calories to be burned for energy. Per session our clients burn up to 1200 calories and lose about 5kgs per month when combined with proper nutritional management. We also offer various beauty treatments including Facials, Massage, body-scrub and for the first time in Kenya; Fish manicure and Pedicure treatments.
The icing on her cake was being voted one of Business Daily’s Top 40 under 40 Women in 2014! “Today, my book-keeping is in good shape, and I have a clear budget for my franchising campaigns in Thika, Eldoret, Nakuru and Tanzania, which are my enterprise’s hotspots,” she says.
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