“Success in leadership is not automatic but must be deliberately nurtured”
In 2014, Kweku Hayford and key members of his current strategic team set out to establish KH3 Inc., a rising Accra-based construction project management firm, which specialises in commercial and residential interior decoration and fit-out.
“Originally when we started out, we weren’t sure what our drive was. We got project after project and were driven to execute well. However, at some point, we felt the need to sit down and figure out what drives us and what gets us out of bed every morning,” says Kweku. This period of reflection led to the development of the company’s vision “to become the standard of business excellence in Africa.” He is concerned that very often products, services and skills of African origin are perceived to be mediocre; a narrative he is poised to rewrite through KH3.
Joining the African Partner Pool
In 2015, KH3 became more interested in the category of clients they wanted to attract. They set a new challenge for themselves; to be able to attract high profile and high value corporate clients. Working with their foreign partners at the time, they executed projects for Google Ghana (Csquared) and Nestle CWAR. It was subsequent to these projects that one of their vendors recommended Invest in Africa’s African Partner Pool (APP) to them. The APP is an online marketplace that bridges the gap between large companies with procurement needs (referred to as buyers) and SMEs who have products and services to sell (referred to as suppliers).
The vendor who recommended APP hinted that the platform hosts many large organizations such as Tullow Oil Ghana, MODEC, Newmont GoldCorp, AngloGold Ashanti, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Ecobank Ghana and others. As a result of their membership of the platform, they were selected to redesign and refurbish the new office of a not-for-profit in Labone, a suburb of Accra. They are also grateful for the strategic connections they have developed with other SMEs on the platform.
Improving efficiency and building capacity
Overtime, the KH3 strategic team saw that although the business was doing well, they needed to work on their efficiency and cut out waste. That was when they enlisted for the Business Linkage Programme (BLP), a capacity-building and mentoring initiative of Invest in Africa that offers SMEs tools needed to improve their entrepreneurial, managerial and technical proficiencies.
Through the BLP, they have learnt that success in leadership is not automatic but must be deliberately nurtured. Additionally, they have learnt about the importance of goal-setting, planning and forecasting. They also reveal that the programme has helped them understand their areas of strength and weakness.
So far so good
Since joining the BLP, the team clearly notice that things have improved. Kweku says, “Applying what we learnt, we changed the way we work; scrutinizing expenses more effectively to ensure we get value for monies spent has helped reduce leakages in our revenue pipeline.” As a result, salaries have increased by 50%, staff strength has increased from twelve to eighteen, and they even acquired property which is being developed to serve as their new office and showroom.
Going forward, KH3 envisages that they will continue to grow and expand into other countries in the sub-region and other countries in Africa, becoming a brand that will inspire confidence and excellence among Africans.
Terry Mante is an incisive and inspiring author, consultant, trainer and speaker. Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @terrymante Email: firstname.lastname@example.org