This interview is an online coffee date with Caroline Gikonyo, Lillian Macharia, and Veronica Waithaka, the founders of Biashara 360.

In the interview, we share the behind the scenes story about our experience in the business. This is the story of what has transpired from the moment we conceived the idea of Biashara 360 until today.

It’s a candid conversation with a few surprises as we talk about:

  • What we were doing before teaming up under Biashara 360.
  • How Biashara 360 came to be.
  • Challenges we’ve had in the first year of business.
  • Our breakups and makeups.
  • Lessons learnt from our experiences.
  • Where we and Biashara 360 all are today.

We also share what we think would be great advise not just for women in business, but for anybody who’s thinking of getting into business and especially into a partnership.

Since this was a long interview, spanning over 90 minutes, we’re going to share the blog posts in a 4-week series. Also, unlike the other interviews with business women, the recording for this particular interview will only be available at the end of the series.

Today’s blog post introduces how each of us got into Biashara 360. We also talk about what we liked about the business (and working together) in the first year.

There is a wealth of information and motivation in this interview. So much so that it couldn’t all fit into the blog posts. So we recommend that you download the recording once it’s available and listen to it in your free time or on your commute.

The Biashara 360 Startup Story

How we got into Biashara 360


I had a phone conversation with Caroline in September last year (2017). I was telling her that I’m getting to a place where I feel that I’m doing business, but I’m not able to actualize my potential on my own. So I needed other people to help me get my business to the level  I wanted it to be.

During a lengthy conversation, the idea of coming together was birthed. We first looked at our complimentarities. Then we explored areas where we needed other people to come in and complement our skills and abilities. This would ensure that the new business does not suffer the same calamities that our individual businesses had.

We came together as Biashara 360 to:

  • Complement one another.
  • Ensure there’s business continuity.
  • Ensure there’s someone who’s strong where you’re weak.
  • Present ourselves to the market as a more professional and balanced outfit.

It was a really good idea and everybody came in with very high levels of energy.


The biggest attraction for me is that this was my plan for 2020. So when Lillian and I had that conversation on 17th September 2017, it was as if she was looking at my plan. And it unfolded so seamlessly that for me it was a no-brainer. If my 2020 plan has come forward, then it’s time to step into it.

I was also attracted by the fact that I was stepping into it with someone I trust. I’ve known Lillian for many years. And this is not the first time we’ve gotten into business together or conceived a business idea like this together.

We’ve been in business together, fought, and gotten back as friends. I trust her and know she has my back. So it felt so easy to just get into the idea and move to the next step.

I’d also been thinking about what would happen to my business if I’m not there. If I’m sick then no work happens. But the beauty of being with other people is that whether I work or not there’s still something coming to me. It may not be as much as when I’m working actively, but I know that my clients will be taken care of. And out of the big pot, there’s still something that I will get.

I was also looking to fill in areas where I’m weak. I’m comfortable marketing, but it’s not an area that I like. When Lillian and I identified somebody who’s a natural marketer and also a coach…we were like, “Wow! Let’s invite her!” because she was going to take that leg of the business which none of us really want.

We brainstormed and came up with people we wanted to invite. We invited them to join us, and they both accepted.

I was also looking for accountability. Being a solopreneur means you have nobody looking over your shoulders. So sometimes you can set goals, but as long as nobody is holding you accountable, it’s easy to just slide.

I knew that as long as I have my partners, and we’ve set goals for the business, and I have my goals within the business (which are public within the group), then I wouldn’t have the option of not achieving them.


I kind of tend to jump right into things, which is actually what happened to get me into Biashara 360. I literally just jumped into it.

When Caroline called me, I was really struggling as a Fulfilment Coach, working on my own. I’ve always struggled with marketing. I’m very good with people. Once I have the clients, I can help people with my eyes closed. If there was a way I could not do the marketing part I’d be so happy.

I’d had a very bad year and had taken a break for most of the year. I was ready to get my feet wet, and jump into something, preferably without working on my own. So I was looking at different options where I could work with someone else.

When Caroline called me and told me about the concept she and Lillian had, I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I need right now.”

So I jumped into it.

What did we like about this business?

1. Business continuity

When you’re a solopreneur, if you get sick or if anything happens to you, there’s nothing else that you can do. You can’t work. But when you’re 3 of you, you have more capacity and can do more things.

In case anything happens to you, you still have business continuity. This means that you don’t have to worry about the bottom line or money. And you make your money work for you, even if you’re not present.

2. Trust

We trusted each other and knew we had each others’ back. This also included knowing that the partners would not steal your work and run away with it on their own, which happens a lot in business.

3. Collaboration in weak areas

We complement each other. So every aspect of the business (life coaching, business coaching, training and marketing) was taken care of.

4. Growth

We all got to learn a lot within a very short time about areas like:

  • Setting up a business.
  • Each person’s real weak areas.
  • How we can complement each others’ weak areas.
  • Technology.
  • Planning.
  • Operations.
  • How to make a business run seamlessly.
  • Creating a win-win for other people and the business.

Also, being part of a group meant that we all planned and thought bigger than we each could do on our own. Having partners allowed us to have other people to help think in a more strategic way or see the loopholes in our individual thinking.

5. Working on areas of expertise

Each person loved the fact that they wouldn’t have to do work that they don’t like. This was because there was someone else who was strong in that area.

What’s next?

In the next post, we’ll talk about the challenges we encountered in the first year of business and the effects of these challenges.

In the meantime, you can…

1. Give us your feedback

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(Photo Credit: Biashara 360)

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Biashara 360 Team
Biashara 360 Team

Biashara 360 is a team of coaches with extensive knowledge and experience in training and coaching professional and business women. Our goal is to help high achieving women define success in their own terms, chart their course, and achieve their fullest potential.

    2 replies to "The Biashara 360 Startup Story: An Interview With the Founders"

    • Wow! Reading this is really refreshing! As someone who is also in the coaching business, you have spoken to and for me.

      Being a solo entrepreneur does come with challenges. Things happen, such as a close family member getting sick and hospitalized, bereavement, getting sick, etc. It really helps to work as a team. However, getting the right people to team up with can be a big challenge.

      √ How did you do the SWOT analysis to identify your suitability as business partners?

      √ How do you keep your working relationship professional?

      Your experience can go a long way in helping others in the coaching profession.

      • Caroline Gikonyo

        Thanks for your comment and questions Susan. It’s true, solopreneurship is not an easy journey, and neither is a partnership. Each has its own pros and cons so you need to be clear about what you’re looking for.

        To answer your questions:
        1) We didn’t do a formal SWOT analysis to identify suitability as business partners. Lillian and I had worked together for many years and also had a thriving professional relationship. The other people we chose as partners were also very well known to us professionally and personally. In my view, it’s critical that you team up with people whom you know well. And as you can see from the article, trust and complementing each other were key issues for all of us.

        2) I think being coaches made it easy for us to keep our working relationship professional. Even then, there was some drama and you’ll read about that in upcoming articles.

        I can’t share more than this at this point because it will preempt the other articles. What I’d like to note is that when you get into a partnership, you have no clue about what will manifest once you’re all in. Time and experience will reveal whether you and your partners are suitable to work together or not.

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