Putting Business Plans into Action

October 11, 2021
Viola is on the left

Viola, Coaching Program Graduate

Country: Kenya

Business: Gooseberry farming and products

Coaching ROI: A workable plan for smart scalability; measurable business growth with possibility for international expansion

“The Aspire program gave me the skills I needed … the coaching program helped me put those strategies into practice so I could achieve my goals.”  

After years of reliance on maize, requiring heavy chemical use, the soil in Viola Maina’s region of Kenya was depleted and damaged. After taking Aspire training, Viola successfully convinced many small holder farmers in her community to plant gooseberries as an alternative cash crop. She also encouraged the farmers she works with to use organic manure, made from the gooseberry shell byproducts of the crop itself, instead of commercial fertilizers to begin rebuilding soil health.


As she farmed gooseberries on her own land, Viola tried to branch out beyond selling the fruits to also creating food products based on her crops. However, without a background in food science or the time and resources she needed, Viola found it difficult to scale her business in the ways she envisioned.


Sinapis changed Viola’s concept of coaching


Before hearing about Sinapis coaching, Viola assumed a business coach was like a mentor, helping someone one-on-one with a particular skill. She signed up for the program hoping to get advice on how to convert her crops to a more marketable food source, reducing waste and opening opportunities for expansion.


From the first time she met with her Sinapis coach, however, her view broadened. Viola connected well with her coach, and quickly realized the value of an outside expert voice to advise her on her entire business from strategies to tactics. Her coach helped her put the skills she had learned in the Aspire program into practice in her business.


Although she initially hoped her coach would help her build a skillset she lacked, instead she was encouraged to draw on a wider network; partnering with people who did have the skills she needed to make her business more sustainable and scalable for the long term.


Learn more about the difference between training, mentoring, and coaching >>


Viola’s group cohort provided key insight


Viola was also surprised to see how much value she got from doing the coaching program with a small group of other driven entrepreneurs. The group not only learned from their coach; they also learned from one another.


One suggestion from another entrepreneur in her cohort had considerable impact on her business. During a group coaching session, where Viola described several key roadblocks she faced in scaling her business including managing a rotating pool of unskilled employees, one of her peers remarked that hiring one qualified intern with the right credentials to match her needs could be the keystone change that would help her get unstuck.


Learn more about the value of group coaching >>


Coaching helped Viola put her ideas into practice.


After taking her cohort’s advice, and with help from her coach, Viola identified the skills she needed to find in a qualified staff member and hired an intern who matched the job description. With accountability and support from her group, Viola also began reaching out to food technologists and testing labs who could help her formulate gooseberry products for different populations including children and diabetics.


Soon, she started to see results: a trusted intern relieved the pressure on Viola and freed her up to do more strategic work she had been postponing like outreach to experts. The additional time and expert partnerships enabled Viola to create jams, juice, yogurt, and ice cream from gooseberry crops—her own and those of other farmers in her community.


Learn more about the value of accountability on the entrepreneurial journey >>


Viola’s vision for sustainable agriculture and healthy food is poised for success.


Thanks to the guidance and accountability she received in the Sinapis coaching program, Viola now supplies 500 kg of gooseberries each week for international export, and she plans to put her gooseberry products on the market by the end of 2021.


Not only that, but her work brings economic value to her community as well. As she expands into more business areas, Viola convinces more farmers to join her in raising gooseberries, providing them with greater income and better crop returns while healing the land. Since the average small farm in the region employs three people, Viola’s influence has a spreading impact on individuals and families throughout the area.


Sinapis coaching empowers entrepreneurs to find God’s purpose for their work.


Sinapis uses a small group coaching model to help successful entrepreneurs take the next step toward putting their business skills and their faith into practice. Sinapis coaching provides expert input and peer support, combining the challenging and supportive accountability that entrepreneurs need to move forward.


Learn more about Sinapis coaching >>    Support Kingdom-focused business in Kenya>>

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