As our economy changes, unprecedented new trends rising women is also setting in. Women leaders in industries are emerging with significant fresh ideas that are taking the market place in a wave. As part of our continuing effort to celebrate women’s impact in business, StartUp Magazine met Lucy Kiruthu, the founder and Lead Consultant at Evolve Business Consultants. In an exclusive interview, Ms. Kiruthu tells her story and shares at length her firm’s impact in the world of business and customer focus.
When and why did you decide to set up Evolve Business Consultants?
After getting back to Kenya from a 3 year stay in the USA in 2005, I was keen on setting up a firm to offer customer service coaching and training. Having witnessed how businesses in the USA were excelling through customer focus strategy, I knew that is the niche I want to capitalise on. However, I decided to first get back into the corporate world before venturing into personal business. In mid-2009, I finally registered Evolve Business Consultants as a business name. I immediately started off the journey offering business advisory services mainly in strategic customer experience on a full time basis and have never looked back.
Briefly tell us about Evolve Business Consultants and its mandate?
Evolve Business Consultants is a business advisory services provider. We consider ourselves as a knowledge partner in strategic positioning and in customer focus. Our commitment to our customers revolves around supporting them make the right strategic moves especially in how they interact with their customers and staff. We offer tailor-made business transformation services as per our customers’ unique needs and cherish to see our customers excel.
What role do you play in the consulting firm?
As the lead consultant, I am involved in the development of customized solutions to meet the needs of our customers as well as in the roll out. Besides, I am also in the process of
growing Evolve Business Consultants to offer additional services. We are currently focusing on research and data analytics to help businesses use data to make informed decisions.
Can you tell us about your experience in the organization and how it has shaped your world of customer service and leadership?
The last 9 years have been illuminating, stimulating and fulfilling. I have had very varied experiences from engaging CEOs of some of the largest corporates in Kenya, to speaking to young women planning to get into business. These experiences have grown me at the personal level especially in the area of managing my emotions through emotional intelligence and building relationships. I have also learnt how to develop customers (I never thought I could close a sale). Most importantly the experiences have made me a better person, (for example more patient, better listener) and a better leader ready and willing to work with different kinds of people.
Why do you think Evolve is best suited to serve the local market?
We believe that there are many small and medium sized owner-led business that are meandering through business life without a sense of direction. Our drive is to see these businesses know who they are, where they want to go and how they will get there. As opposed to many other consultants who touch and go, at Evolve Business Consultants, we immerse ourselves in our customers’ business and together, we develop fresh ideas and tailor-make the best solutions to support their growth and sustainability.
When empowered, what do you think can be the impact of women in the world of business and leadership?
Women have a lot to give, they are caring and empathetic. In addition, most of them are dedicated and willing to go an extra mile. With adequate support, I believe that more women can excel as business owners, great employees and leaders who inspire other women. However it is important for women not to wait to be empowered, they already have what it takes.
How is your day at work structured?
Every day for me is different. I try and plan major tasks a month in advance. My major tasks involve developing training programs and workshop material, facilitating customer experience training sessions and strategy workshops. I also spend time with my customers getting to understand their needs and aspirations. In addition, I allocate enough time for my involvement in the community as chair of my school’s alumni foundation and leading a team of professionals from my village in a number of initiatives. The last four years have also been tough as I have been going through my doctoral studies which I have had to fit in into my work day. Besides work, I find time to read cook and travel.
How do you find work-life balance?
I love what I do so much that I almost do not consider it work. For example during training sessions, it sometimes feels like a gathering of friends, we have fun while learning. That said, I intentionally set aside ample time to spend with family and friends and to re-energize.
Best quote about customer service?
I have lots of favourite quotes and I have shared 202 of these in my book “Customer Service at Its Best”. For today let me leave it at “Customer service is the new marketing”. A free download of the book is available on www.evolve-consultants.com
Yes, I strongly believe that businesses in Africa have a major responsibility of ending poverty by providing direct and indirect employment and creating solutions for the many challenges we face. I would like to continue being part of Africa’s solution by participating in the transformation of hundreds of business especially the SMEs. As Evolve Business Consultants we want to be part of Africa’s success story!
Follow on twitter @Kiruthulucy