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It’s no longer lonely at the top

It’s no longer lonely at the top; Nathan Lyod’s experience as a 3to5 club member

Nathan runs AvoHealth, a company that processes and exports fresh fruits and vegetables to Europe throughout the year that began its operations in January 2012. Like many new entrepreneurs business processes, vision and mission are cluttered thoughts usually at the back of an entrepreneur’s mind.

Nathan shares the important lessons he has learned since joining the club in November 2014 and how his business has reaped numerous benefits.  The club is founded on a book by Chuck Blakeman titled Making Money Is Killing Your Business.

What made you join the club?

What drew me was my referral who has been very instrumental to my business growth. Whenever he sees an area of growth, he is quick to point out and I really value his input.  But naturally as a CEO or an MD, it’s not easy at the top if you don’t have people to discuss ideas and chart future courses with.  The first visit to 3to5 club made me realize it does not have to be lonely at the top.

How has its membership transformed your business?

Prior to joining the club, AvoHealth was flying in the dark. We had no vision and mission statement, no motto, no process map and no Business Maturity Date (BMD). One year on, AvoHealth has a vision and mission statement, a motto, a process map, and a BMD. All these have transformed AvoHealth by putting structures and clarity in place.

3to5 club members use BMD in their conversations a lot. What is BMD?

BMD refers to Business Maturity Date. Every business must mature if proper structures are put into place.

Nathan taking notes during a 3to5 club session at Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

Nathan taking notes during a 3to5 club session at Kivi Milimani Hotel in Nairobi

What does that mean to you as an entrepreneur?

Business Maturity Date translates to me in a form of freedom. For the first time I understand that a business should give me both time and money. It also means an opportunity for me to grow into other areas of personal interest without worrying about the daily administrative tasks of a business.

…and how about to your business?

85% of all businesses are operated by systems.BMD puts the business systems in place. But a key component to systems within the 3to5 club is simplicity. Many businesses create complicated systems that are filed. A Process Map creates systems in place leading to BMD. For AvoHealth, our BMD is 12th December 2015 at 12noon. I have less than 40 days to get to my BMD.

What do you hope to do then?

I’ll go into what I would consider part-time and focus more on mentoring especially young men and women in business. I have gained practical experiences through my failures and sometimes wished I had someone who would have taken me through the steps which would have cut down on costly mistakes.

Do you already have people you are mentoring?

Yes I do. I have by extension family members who are involved in business.  Since joining 3to5 club, I’ve also been asked to speak at Strathmore University to students who are first or second generation family entrepreneurs running their family businesses.  This opportunity came as a recommendation from one of the club members.

How would you say having a Process Map in place has transformed your business?

On two levels, we now have a strategic partner who joined AvoHealth. When they visited, they were impressed to see a Vision, Mission and Process Map in place. The intentionality to put systems in place encouraged them to invest with us.  In terms of turnover, we have grown ten times in comparison to 2014.

A picture of operation procedures, processes, Motto, Vision and Mission that Nathan and his team developed under the guidance of 3to5 Club

A picture of operation procedures, processes, Motto, Vision and Mission that Nathan and his team developed under the guidance of 3to5 Club

Can a start up join the 3to 5 club?

I think it would be very valuable for a start up to join the club. Because 3to5 refers to getting your business to maturity within 3to5 years, meaning one has started from the beginning and a start up is a beginning.  So a start up can join the 3to5 club.

What benefits are they likely to reap?

They would get numerous benefits. Like I mentioned it’s lonely at the top; we have learned through the long haul, through trial and error which sometimes leads to mistakes that are very costly. Joining 3to5 club can assist them avoid costly mistakes by getting the guidance and wisdom from others who have gone through the same path. Business is the same, different sectors but more or less the same. Other club members can propel them to achieve maturity within 3to5 years.

Nathan refers to 3to5 club as a power house. He believes there’s great value in having outside eyes (other club members) that can advice an entrepreneur about the next steps. Since joining the club, AvoHealth no longer flies in the dark. He is also glad that he interacts with fellow CEO’s and MD’s on a regular basis, building strong networks and raving funs for his business. 

His greatest influence is Jesus Christ who had a short period to accomplish so much. Nathan notes that Christ was also confident and humble, qualities he admires and aspires to as he grows in his business.