Felix Mbugua is the co-founder and CEO of Legibra, a technology firm headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. Legibra specialises in domain registration, hosting, website design, and web application development.
1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
A few years ago, while Legibra was coming up, there were just a few employees. With growth, it got tough when the few employees became inadequate in number and skillset to deliver to the growing and more demanding clientele.
This imbalance of growth and human resource (HR) capacity took us through bouts of contemplating shutting down, dwindling fortunes, and stunted growth of the business.
We overcame this challenge by putting in place a solid HR policy to ensure that our growth and human capital investment complement each other. With time, I have come to learn that HR is the deal breaker between making it and falling off the wagon.
2. Which business achievement are you most proud of?
Providing employment to the youth and nurturing their talent to a point where they realise that their potential is limitless, is my pride. I’m also most proud of on-boarding every new client, and this is not limited to influential brands.
3. Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
Compassion. I believe everyone deserves a chance. And, in my quest to give people chances, I have realised that sympathy/empathy is not always repaid with loyalty/allegiance and hard work. This has led to investing in people, who later turn out to be no good, stab you in the back or end up going up against you.
To ensure that my compassion doesn’t negatively affect my enterprises, I have disassociated myself from the hiring process and my input is regarded as merely suggestions, recommendations and/or observations, with which HR is under no obligation to be in agreement.
The above is anchored on sound HR policies that guide and ensure risk mitigation. Sections of the HR policy dictate and outline the process of qualifying candidates for any consideration to join any rank, including entry level positions such as subordinate staff, internships, graduate trainees, and the like.
4. Which popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
That working hard is the secret to success. My take is that one has to work hard, smart and, more importantly, work with people.
5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?
Business is tough. There is a need to be patient and resilient.
It is also important to maintain the right mentality and have determination rather than small tricks and hacks. Understand the essence of building meaningful relationships with customers and other people. I wish I knew that there will never be the point of comfort.
As soon as I achieve what I want; I set higher goals.
‘The journey so far’ series is edited by Wilhelmina Maboja, with copy editing by Xolisa Phillip, and content production by Justin Probyn.