Terry McKenzie works as an international claims manager with a global health insurance firm, runs an online business called TMHoodies ‘and has a consultancy involved in customer service.
By MERCY KAMANA
If you meet Terry Mckenzie ‘and ask her, “What do you do?” expect a very long answer.
Terry, a nurse by profession, describes herself as a ‘super multi-tasker’. She works as an international claims manager with a global health insurance company in the country. She also runs an online company called TMHoodies, which makes personalised hoodies for both private ‘and corporate clients. She’s also involved in consultancy, ‘and together with three other professionals, runs Ackon Consultancy where they do customer care ‘and staff training, bills for county government ‘and other corporate training services.
Terry is also an avid reader ‘and runs an online book club called ‘What Are You Reading?’ Moreover, she does an annual school greening programme back in her home county of Tharaka Nithi dubbed GreenTNC. They have so far planted trees in 85 schools within Tharaka.
How does she do it all?
“Ackon Consultancy is less dem ‘anding since it works on a fixed schedule ‘and timelines,” she says. She gets clients for the trainings ‘and out-sources the manpower.
TMHoodies, her major business, is a purely online business that started when a friend gave her a personalised hoodie. She loved it so much that the idea of enabling other people to get such a unique personalised gift for their loved ones was birthed.
Starting very small, she’d make hoodies for families before graduating to corporate clients. Today, she has made hoodies for about 30 companies as well as individuals. Her hoodies come already customised, complete with a Kenyan flag on the side. “Your imagination is our limitation,” she quips.
They have also started making technology-sensitive hoodies for the modern client. In these hoodies, one can put phones in the kangaroo pockets ‘and fix headphones in hooks. Terry says that being an online company, TMHoodies allows her to be focused on her day job while still successfully running the company. All hoodies are preordered, with those in Nairobi ‘and its environs being delivered in 6-12 hours from the time of ordering; 12-24 hours for the rest of the country ‘and 48 hours in East Africa.
Of note is the fact that Terry grew her Facebook page to over 75,000 likes without a single invite. She’d ensure that she had put enough details, have scheduled posts ‘and ensure that what her team posted is exactly what is available. The team would then st ‘and ready to react to the feedback ‘and answer questions.
Terry says she give her staff lots of m ‘andate ‘and trust, which gives them confidence to make decisions on their feet.
“You’ll be amazed at how much people know ‘and show when they are allowed to express themselves. Your employees are your face; they should be confident to present you to the clients,” she advises.
Terry admits to not being very much of a morning person. All the TMHoodies plans are made at night. By the time her staff is waking up, they already know what to do. She gets to her office at 8:30am ‘and works all the way to 5pm. She then goes to the PMHoodies office to catch up with what happened ‘and to plan for the following day. She says she’s always online, therefore she’s able to see what is happening.
“My team is well trained ‘and they know what they need to do. I personally give them very good induction ‘and there is a procedure manual on what needs to be done at each step of the process to get an order delivered,” says Terry. Terry, a strong believer in delegation adds, “Trust that the team is up to task ‘and they can do what you instructed them to do.”
The entrepreneur’s vision is to exp ‘and the company to be the leading hoodie producer in Africa. She’d also want to have a company that outlives her. “I don’t want to run a company that dies when I die,” she offers.
Her management role model is Patrick Bet David, an American entrepreneur ‘and financial advisor, ‘and CEO of PHP Agency, Inc. She has listened to his tutorials for more than two years now ‘and loves his ideas ‘and management model.
“24 hours is a long time!” She quips! “Do all you can.”
Mercy Kamana is a freelance writer based in Mombasa.