Category Archives: Blog

Blog

How Mike Osweto of Siko Tech Solutions is revolutionizing the world of entrepreneurship

How Mike Osweto of Siko Tech Solutions is revolutionizing the world of entrepreneurship

Technology is dynamic and it keeps changing and improving every now and then. It’s unfortunate that people are afraid of change and it takes them a little longer to embrace the changes that come with new technology. This is what motivated Mike Osweto to start Siko Tech Solutions ,a company that deals with providing IT services which include computer network, website design, social media and marketing services, branding services etc.He observed that some businesses were still using the traditional forms of marketing which have been rendered redundant so he saw the need to introduce new technology to business.

“When I noticed how many people were coming to me for help in various IT services and the limited knowledge they had on it I knew there was need for evolution. Most of this people were using the traditional way of marketing or branding and for me helping people is as addictive as it is therapeutic. To get to where I am it took the guidance and mentorship of other people so it was only fair that I give back in this way.”

Having worked in an IT company before, Mike was able to pick up the necessary skills he needed to open up his own venture. He also consulted Youtube a couple of times just to cover all his bases. The next step involved identifying the gaps and the exact IT services that most people needed help in. He runs his venture with the help of his  three employees and  sometimes outsources when there is more workload.

Osweto emphasizes that you don’t need a good education to be a successful entrepreneur but hard work, hunger to learn and having an understanding of your business will do it for you.

“One needs to understand their business in depth, the demands the trends etc. Another thing is understanding the customer needs. The customer is the reason you are in business no customer means no business so always remember the customer comes first. Ensure they get their service or product the exact way they ordered it and always deliver on time”

Some of the challenges he has faced just as with any other business includes inadequate finances. To overcome this challenge he learnt to work with what he has. He makes sure not to take over ambitious projects when he doesn’t have the funds. Another challenge is brought about  by communication breakdown and this he solved by ensuring he works with contracts that make it easier for both the client and him because  they are bound by the document that also provides clear guidelines.

The techpreneurs’ motivation comes from his urge to succeed and help others. He attributes his success to God and hard work. He adds that it’s been a tough journey but all the benefits make it worth it.

“I get to enjoy being my own boss and the financial freedom that comes with it. I also get to horn my networking skills, through interacting with different people that I would never have interacted with had I been working somewhere in an office.”


Blog

Tips on how to increase Social Media Engagement

Tips on how to increase Social Media Engagement

Social media is the most affordable marketing tool and if used correctly could have a positive effect on your business. Here are our top 8 tips to social media engagement that you should know.

1. Don’t talk just about your brand.

People appreciate when they can learn something by visiting your page instead of being told to buy your product all the time.

2. Participate in questions and answer sessions.

Actively participate in answering any questions that come up. Do your research and give correct information in terms of metrics, statistics etc.

3. Share only relevant content.

There are too many jokes and memes out there already no need to add your page to that list. Tailor your content specifically for your audience.

4. Engage your followers

Create a conversation and actively participate, do not check out in the middle of the conversation leaving your followers to carry on with the conversation on their own.

5. Personalise your response

Address each user who mentioned you by their name. There is always that feeling of joy from being acknowledged

6. Show your feelings

Make use of emojis, images, Gifs etc. in your posts to liven up responses and show users your message tone.

7. Post frequently

Just like any other relationship, there needs to be constant communication for it to thrive, your followers need to know that you are consistent and always there to respond to their questions and comments.

8. Add hashtags to your posts

This will make them more interesting and easy to be found during searches


Blog

10 Tips to Nail Your Next Job Interview

job_interview

If you are reading this and you have a job interview coming up, congratulations because you are only one step away from your dream job. However, let’s not lie that you are not a little terrified or nervous. To help you ace your interview, here are 10 tips…

Do Your Homework

Before going to any interview, it is absolutely essential that you know the background of the company you hope to work with. This shows that you are genuinely interested and you can also come up with your own set of questions for the interviewer.

Be Prepared with examples

You might be accomplished but that is not enough until you can prove it. Every question you get asked, have a practical example to back your answer. Practice this beforehand so that you don’t hang.

Go back to the job description

If you applied for the job online and you get called back, go back to the job description and study it just to be sure you have the right traits. This way, you get to predict what questions you will be asked.

Be Yourself

What I say to myself is if something is yours, then it is yours. You don’t have to fake it or put up a persona. Also, if you fake it, it reflects and you come out as inauthentic which works against you.

Eye Contact, Eye Contact, Eye Contact

Do you want to come out as confident during your interview? Eye contact will take you there. Maintaining eye contact also helps you connect with your interviewer.

Nail your first five minutes

From the time you enter your interview venue, your opportunity to nail your first impression starts. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet from the watchman to the receptionist, into your interview room.

Be Punctual

You have probably heard this before but there is nothing that makes a good first impression than being on time. This also shows the interviewer that you respect their time.


Blog

Tips On How To Spend Less Money

Tips On How To Spend Less Money

We could all use some tips on how to spend less and save more money. Today, we round up 10 tips on how to spend less money.

1. Cook Your Own Food

Eating Out can be very expensive. If you live in a major town, a plate of fries for example will cost you Ksh. 100. If you make your own food, the same Ksh. 100 to buy enough groceries to make you a decent meal that can last you more than one meal.

2. Buy Products In Wholesale

Instead of doing your shopping in the supermarket where you buy one item at a time, buy wholesale instead. It is much cheaper and you will have enough supply to last you months.

3. Sign Up for Loyalty Cards at Your Supermarket

It may take months to save up money on a loyalty card but ultimately it will pay off and you can use your points to buy something worth it.

4. Carry packed lunch to work/school

Do not spend that 100 bob or 200 bob on lunch. This way you get to save that money by carrying packed lunch.

5. Do not buy bottled water

If you know you are going to be out and about during the day, you will definitely get thirsty and spend 30 to 50 shillings on a bottle of water. Why not carry water from home instead?

6. Track your expenses

At the end of the day, be accountable for every coin that you have spent. This way, you do not stay wondering where all your money went.

7. Save as little as Ksh. 100 a week

You do not need to save thousands in order to progress. Saving that 50 bob or 100 bob goes a long way.

8. Do not impulse buy

Whatever you spend your money on, make sure it is thought out and budgeted for.

9. Avoid debt

Even if your debt is that 20 bob that you owe mama mboga, that is enough to derail you financially. So avoid debt as much as you can.

10. Buy 2nd hand clothes

If you live in a major town, you will notice that in the evenings there are a lot of affordable clothes and shoes being sold in the streets. Take advantage of this. Another obvious way is to familiarize yourself with cheap markets such as Gikomba and Muthurwa where clothes are cheaper.

Final Word

Feel free to share your money hacks with us in the comment section.


Blog

Six Tips On How to Generate a Business Idea

Six Tips On How to Generate a Business Idea

Have you been saving up with the intention of starting a business but you are now stuck because you don’t know exactly which business will work? The thought process of coming up with a business idea does not have to be stressful. It starts by being observant, being aware of what is going on around you, what is working and most importantly, what is not. Below are six tips to guide you and make it easier for you to decide what business idea to work on.

1. Need

Let’s say, you stay in an area that grows sugarcane but the people in that region have to travel quite a distance to get a sugarcane grinder, or an area that has many vehicles operating but it takes several kilometers of traveling before you come across a filling station. These are only a few examples of scenarios that can create entrepreneurship out of someone who wants to create a solution; identifying a problem and giving the community what they need. It’s a win-win situation.

2. Talent

This mostly applies to creative people. People who are good with their hands,feet, words i.e painters dancers, musicians, can turn this talent into a business either by selling their work/service or by opening a studio where they teach others how to do what they do for a fee. This is a good way to start since most talents need minimal resources in terms of capital as what is more important is your creativity.

3. Passion

Let’s say, you are passionate about fashion, and you are always keeping up with the latest trends and you have been complimented on multiple occasions on how good you dress. This could be a great motivation to start your own boutique or even a clothes line. Your passion has already made you knowledgeable in this field and all that is left to do is to research and figure out the rest of the details.

4. Experience

Growing up, you may have had parents or relatives who are entrepreneurs and you would most likely help out during the holidays. Over the years you picked up the skill and even as you move out of the nest you have enough experience to open a similar business wherever you may go.

5. Borrowed idea

Some of the best ideas around are not original. You can see a concept you like and work on improving it. In entrepreneurship, execution is everything so make sure your borrowed idea adds more value as compared to the original.

6. Available resources

You may have this grand idea of opening 5 star hotel in your county but you don’t have enough capital. Instead of giving up on it you could start with a business whose resources are easily available. You start small as you save the money that will make your dream come true when you eventually go for the business you originally intended to have.

Final Word

Do you have any other tips on how to get a business idea? Share them with us in the comment section


Blog

5 Tips to Help You Secure A Job Interview – Must Read for Job Seekers

5 Tips to Help You Secure A Job Interview – Must Read for Job Seekers

Once you get a job interview, you are already half way through the process of getting hired. It means that you stood out among tons of applicants so much that your potential employer wants to meet you. Most articles give tips on how to stand out during a job interview but rarely will someone tell you how to actually get a job interview in the first place, which is actually the hardest part. In most cases, you may have to apply to 10 or more jobs without a single call back and if you’re lucky, only one company will call you back.

This article breaks down what you can do during your job search period to position yourself better for your dream job.

Network

The days of having a great C.V and cover letter that showed off your qualifications are sadly long gone. In this generation, it is much harder to get a job simply by sending out your application and that’s it. Most employers are looking for a complete package; personality, qualifications and the ability to fit into the organization culture. This is why it is essential to network as much as possible during your job search.

Follow sites like Eventsbrite and Kenya Buzz to be updated with which events are happening in your industry, look out for free conferences and workshops where you will get to meet decision makers in your field and have the opportunity to make a great first impression. In order to stand out, have a 15 second pitch already prepared in your mind highlighting your strong points so that you don’t get ‘blank’ when you are in front of an important person.

The internet is also a great place to network and meet potential employers thanks to social media. LinkedIn is a great place to start. Build a great professional profile and make connections with people who could be instrumental to your career.

Brand Yourself on Social Media

If you are actively searching for a job, social media can be much more than sharing photos and staying updated on your friend’s lives. If you are wise, social media can be a place where you can position yourself for a job, network with potential employers and showcase your skills in order to stand out. Here are a few tips to guide you through social media;

Work on your personal profile on linkedIn; As mentioned above, linkedin is a great place to showcase your experience. Through their LinkedIn Jobs feature, you can apply for opportunities directly.

Make use of twitter since it is a great place to establish yourself as a thought leader, join conversations about topics in your industry and engage with influencers and take part in tweet chats. Popular twitter chats you can check out are #AfricaTweetChat and #WeTalkBiz

Also follow the companies you’d like to work for, that way you get a feel of the company culture, and see potential ways in which you can add value.

Whenever you go to any events or conferences in your industry, tweet about it, share it in your social media platforms, this will boost your professional brand.

Start a blog/vlog – During your free time as a job seeker, consider starting a blog or vlog about a topic you are passionate about will not only help you be more productive but also build a brand for yourself and stand out.

Use your real name on social media. This not only shows maturity but also helps create a consistent brand.

Be careful about small things like grammar and punctuation as you post online since all these create an impression.

Follow Up

The wait after submitting your job application can be nerve wracking. However, instead of just hoping for the best, you can follow up with the company after some time on the status of your application. This is one way to stand out from other applicants. However, you need to be careful not to seem pushy or desperate for the job.

Give it at least one or two weeks before following up. If you know someone in the company, you can reach out and ask for the status of the application.

Following up with a phone call is also effective, find the company’s website and get their contacts.

You can also write a follow up email with a clear subject line, e.g, “Following up on Job Application for Finance Manager”

If you don’t get feedback after following up, move on, do not write more emails. Keep applying for other jobs and be open minded.

Choose your referees wisely

Referees may be the last thing at the bottom of your C.V and you might even ignore or fail to update this part but a referee can make or break your chances of getting a call back.

Choosing the right referee is a crucial part of your job hunt since they can affect a potential employer’s decision to hire or not to hire. Employers call referees to get information about work experience, your skills, your character and to back up what’s in your C.V.

Ideally, you should have a previous employers as referees, avoid putting up your family and friends since they are biased and won’t be taken seriously. If you haven’t been employed yet, you can put up names of people you have worked closely whether it is through church volunteering or other minor jobs.

Putting up your current employer as a referee can be risky especially if you don’t want them to know you are looking for a new job. Choose someone you have a good relationship with.

It is also important to tell a referee in advance before listing them so that they are psychologically prepared when that call comes in.

Have a stand out CV and Cover Letter

In this competitive world, recruiters receive tons of applications and you really have to be different to stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips to have your CV stand out;
Attach a portfolio to go with your CV. The portfolio should include links to your body of work.

Instead of just sending out your written CV, share a video of yourself pitching instead.

Design your CV creatively; find free/paid CV templates online and use them.

Under work experience, focus more on your achievements and not responsibilities.

In your cover letter, on top of expressing your interest in the job, also demonstrate your knowledge in industry trends and insights.

Just like businesses do, you too should have a unique selling point (USP). Whether it’s a blog you write that is doing well, some volunteer work you have done or you have a huge social media following.

Ensure your CV is not more than 2 pages.

Final Word

What tips do you use in your job search? Share them in the comment section and let’s learn together.


Blog Learning

The Comprehensive Guide to Starting a YouTube Channel and Making Money From It

The Comprehensive Guide to Starting a YouTube Channel and Make Money From It

By 2021, it is estimated that 82% of all internet traffic will move towards video. This indicates that in less than 5 years, marketers are going to broaden their content from text-based to video. It also tells us that this is the perfect time to start a YouTube channel and cash in on it as well. With more than 1.57 billion monthly active users around the world, YouTube is the channel to build your personal brand as an influencer and boost your visibility.

Video blogging is the new popular culture and YouTube has levelled the playing field and given everyone an opportunity to become a celebrity while getting an income from it. So if you are looking to tap into this growing field, here are some few insights to get you off the ground;

Do Your Research

The first thing you need to do before creating a YouTube channel is conduct some background research.

The 3 basic questions to ask yourself are:

  • Why do I want to start a youtube channel?
  • What is my YouTube channel going to be about?
  • What are the current YouTubers doing that I can learn from?

The Why

People start YouTube channels for different reasons, the most common being to promote their business, build a personal brand, showcase their talents and share their hobbies. It is great to experiment and try out different things but it’s better if you figure out from the beginning what exactly you want your channel to be about.

The Topic

Before you settle on your topic, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really have passion for this topic?
  • Is there demand out there for this topic?
  • Is Youtube oversaturated with this topic? If yes, how can I stand out then?

Some topics that are currently really popular on YouTube are: tutorials, vlogs, tech, product reviews, healthy lifestyle, how to’s, fashion, beauty, food, travel, comedy and life stories.

What are others doing

  • Take time to watch other people’s content in your field:
  • What kind of content do they share?
  • How do they engage with their audience?
  • What kind of comments do they receive?
  • What can you do differently?
Young lady vlogging

Young lady vlogging
Image Credit – FreePik

Getting Started

Once you have completed your background research, and settled on what exactly you want to do on YouTube, you are need to have a few things in place before you’re ready to click the ‘create a channel’ button, and these are:

  • A content plan: This is a calendar complete with dates, topics, when to do the shoots and anything else that will go into creating your YouTube content.
  • A catchy and memorable name for your YouTube channel: Your channel name is crucial since that is your brand. An important tip is to have the same username throughout your other social media channels to brand consistently. You can also use your other social media channels to promote your YouTube content but first study how each works so as to make the best of each channel.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): For people to discover and watch your content, you need to rank highly on YouTube search results. That is where SEO comes in. Ensure you always put up high quality videos that draw people to like, comment and share your videos which in turn boosts your search result rank.
  • The right keywords in your title and description box of each video: Keywords are those words/phrases that searchers enter into a search engine and that is why they must be included in your title and description.

Example: Notice how Google has used their main keyword, ‘content marketing’ both in their title and description

Notice how Google has used their main keyword, ‘content marketing’ both in their title and description

  • A launch date: Set aside a day when your content will be going out. This is important because it will help your subscribers know when to expect new content. Start out by posting once a week and you can increase the frequency with time.
  • A pipeline of ideas for future videos: Always carry a notebook and pen to note down random content ideas so you can build a pipeline of ideas.

Basic Equipment

Among the things you need to be a YouTuber are basic video equipment. YouTubers make it look so easy but creating good quality videos that are visually appealing is harder than it seems. However, you do not need to be perfect when it comes to the whole video production process. All you need is the right equipment.

  • Camera: Obviously, your most important equipment is a good camera. You do not need the most expensive camera when starting out but any camera that can record high quality videos of at least 1080p. You can get a good quality camera from Ksh. 10000 – Ksh. 25000.
  • Smartphone: A smartphone with high resolution front and back camera is also a necessity. This is because at times you may want to shoot outdoor vlogs where you don’t necessarily need to carry a camera. A good smartphone will set you back Ksh. 15,000 – Ksh. 20,000.
  • Microphone: It doesn’t matter whether your video is of the best quality, it’s hard to keep your viewers watching with poor audio quality especially since the built-in microphones in cameras and smartphones are not always the best. A lapel mic is the best to start with since it can be easily clipped onto your clothes. You can get a good one for only Ksh. 1800 at Jumia.
Lapel Mic

Lapel Mic
Image credit – califone.com

  • Tripod: A tripod basically ensures your video footage is steady. One goes for Ksh. 2500 on Jumia.
  • Lighting: If you plan to shoot most of your videos indoors, lights are important to stabilize the brightness and mood of the video. One approximately costs Ksh. 17,000 but you can get them at discounted prices at Jumia.
Soft box lights

Soft box lights
Image Credit – adorama.com

  • Flash Disk: As you keep shooting more footage, you will eventually fill up your computer space so having at least a 32GB flash disk can help with the storage. You can get one for Ksh. 2500.
  • Laptop: It is essential to invest in a good laptop where you can edit and post your videos from. You can get a second-hand laptop at Ksh. 20,000 but it’s better to invest in a brand new one that might cost anything from Ksh. 40,000.
  • Video editing software – After getting all your basic hardware, you also need to invest in a good video editing software for post-production. There are a variety of software’s you can use either as browser or desktop apps both free and paid. Most of them have a 30 day free trial after which you have to pay a fee. As a beginner, we recommend Wondershare Filmora which most youtubers use. You can also check out ShotCut, HitFilm Pro and Cyberlink Powerdirector 18.

Opportunities

Being a YouTuber comes with a lot of benefits:

  • You have the freedom and flexibility to run your channel as you wish. You don’t need a degree, work experience, office, etc. All you need is your equipment and great content.
  • You can earn money directly from YouTube by enabling your channel for monetization through setting up a google adsense account where you can earn a certain amount every time YouTube runs an ad through your video. You can learn more about this here.
  • With time, you can approach or be approached by brands in your target content area to market their products at a fee.
  • You do not need startup capital. Even if you do not have all the equipment from the beginning but start with what you have and you can get better equipment with time.
  • YouTube is also the only video platform that makes it so easy to share content on other social media channels, embed videos in websites etc. This makes your video distribution so much easier.
  • You will also get to meet and interact with a lot of new people in your comment section only if you actively engage them.
  • Managing your YouTube channel will also boost your confidence, you will gradually learn how to present yourself better, you will learn so much about the topic you are creating content around and all these will contribute to your own personal development.

Challenges

A few challenges you will encounter as a youtuber are;

  • If you are starting from scratch, with no smartphone, no laptop etc, getting all the devices may be more expensive than someone who already has some of them.
  • YouTube is extremely time consuming. The whole process from planning content, setting up the shoot, shooting the footage, editing, posting, engaging with the comments takes more time than you can imagine. Especially if you have an 8 – 5 job with YouTube as a side thing, you may end up spending most of your free time working on your content
  • One thing that for sure you will not avoid as a youtube beginner is negative comments. Even the best of the best in this field get them. You just need to have thick skin, learn from the criticism and encourage yourself with positive self-talk.
  • Also be prepared for a lot of competition and at times even copycats. Don’t let this derail you though. Stay true to yourself.
  • Prepare yourself for a lot of work. As a YouTuber, you take the role of a whole production process. From graphic designer, video editor, social media manager, content creator, etc.
  • One thing we’d like to stress is the numbers will not be encouraging initially. Your first videos will probably get 2 or 3 views but don’t obsess about that. Be consistent and your following will grow with time.

Final Word

Is being a YouTuber something you would consider? Let us know in the comment section.


Blog Learning

Why you should run your own race at your pace

Image Credit - FILE PHOTO/NMG

On July 23rd 2018 our chief mentor wrote an interesting story in The Business Daily that I think you should definitely read. Here is the snippet;

A middle-aged man was jogging in a park when he noticed another man about half a kilometer ahead of him. The middle-aged man noticed that the jogger was running a little slower than him which made him feel good.

He said to himself, “I will try and catch up with him.” He started running faster and faster.

He gained on him step by step. After a few minutes he was about 100 feet behind the other runner, so he picked up speed and pushed himself further. He was determined to catch up with the other jogger. And finally, he did it! He caught up and passed him.

The middle-aged man felt very good and said to himself “Yeah! I beat him.”

Of course the other guy didn’t know that they were competing. Then the middle aged man realized that he had been so focused on competing against the other runner that he had missed his turn to his own house, had missed the focus on his inner peace, had missed to see the beauty of the greenery around, he had missed to do inner soul-searching meditation — which was why he was in the park in the first place — and in the needless hurry he had stumbled and might have hit the sidewalk and broken a limb.

The story got me thinking about how common it has become for us to compare ourselves with others. One thing we need to learn is we are all unique in our own way. Our individual characters, life experiences and backgrounds shape us, so we need to stop using someone else as the yardstick for success. We are capable of doing more than we do but we never realize our true potential because we’re too busy competing with those around us.

Competing with someone creates feelings of resentment towards them especially if you are unable to beat them. Because of this, you end up making enemies out of the people you’re resenting, even though they could have been great friends, or great business partners. In life, it’s not always about who wins. Life is not a race where the winner takes all. Instead, it’s about all the experiences and the impact you have created. So live a happy and meaningful life doing what you love without spending so much time worrying about what others are doing.

Love yourself enough to not want to hate yourself. When you are comparing yourself to your colleague who goes to Bora Bora island on vacation, and you know for sure you cannot afford it because of the many responsibilities you have, what happens? You start hating your life. You stop appreciating what you already have. You never for a second stop to think of your colleague’s background as compared to yours! He could be coming from a wealthy family yet for you the school fees for your siblings is your responsibility on top of the bills you have to pay. When you hate your life and start feeling like you are not good enough, that is how depression sets in. Be contented with what you have and work on making it better at your own pace!

So if there’s a lesson, instead of comparing yourself with the people around you, compare yourself with the person you were yesterday.

 

Full article https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/enterprise/Why-you-should-run-your-own-race-at-your-pace/4003126-4677766-wd0fbp/index.html

 


Blog business Experiences Learning Team

Five tips to run a successful business

Five tips to run a successful business

Kuza biashara had a community engagement day on the 3rd of October 2018, where a number of entrepreneurs were invited to learn, connect and grow their business. The speaker, Mr. Edward Ndegwa was invited to give the topic of the day, “How To Grow Your Business”. As an entrepreneur who has built five successful businesses and one failed one, Mr. Ndegwa gave several tips to the entrepreneurs who attended the workshop.

Evolve

As an entrepreneur, it is important you recognize that the world is dynamic. Technology as well as techniques keep changing. You have to make sure that you are up to date with current trends. If you were using the traditional ways of marketing, then you would need to change to the new ways such as social media. In other words, do not get stuck in one way of doing things. Just because you think your way is the best doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best. So constantly keep up to date with what’s happening around you and be willing to learn new tricks.

Reputation

Reputation is everything when you are starting out. Create trust between you and the people you interact with. No one wants to do business with an untrustworthy person. Having a good reputation will come in handy when you need financial support or someone to vouch for you when you’re engaging with clients and investors.

Resources

As an entrepreneur, use what is readily available to you at the time. Do not use scarcity of resources as an excuse as to why you haven’t started your business. Start with the idea and the little resources (financial or human) that you have and work to expand them.

Alignment

Make sure to align your goals with who you are and your values. Live within your means as it will take your startup some time before it starts making you money. This means that most of the initial profit will need to be recouped back into the business. Do not be in a hurry to acquire  the latest car model or move to a posh estate because you feel that your new status of ‘entrepreneur’ requires you to. Who you are at this point is a startup and your  goal is to take it off. Shake off anything that does not add value to that process.

Pitch

You have this great business idea, what is the next step you think you should take? Find investors and clients abroad? Wrong. Pitch to the people closest to you before you can take the idea farther. Also remember business don’t do business with business but people do business with people so pay attention to details by listening and pitch according to client. Each client is unique.

Final word

Mr Ndegwa emphasizes that entrepreneurship should be about solving a problem rather than just making money if the entrepreneur is to succeed.

 


Blog business Learning

12 Ways to Promote Your Business Online

Image courtesy: Freepik

Throughout my marketing career, I have heard almost every excuse in the book as to why some business owner was not marketing his or her business.

I have no time, I don’t know what to do, it costs money, I don’t need to market, etc.

But the excuses I’ve heard most often relate to how expensive marketing is. So I decided to write this change your mindset. Because the truth is there are a whole bunch of ways to market your business for little or no cost.

1. Start a Website or Blog

Although you might think that you need to hire a professional web design company to develop a website or a blog for your business, this isn’t the case. Yes, if your business has been around a while or if you want a tailored look or special features, such as high-end design or an e-Commerce platform, you will need to hire a company.

But if you are on a tight budget, you can probably do it on your own. There are free platforms out there that you can use to create an attractive, fully-functional site without paying a dime! For example, you can get a totally free, high performing blog from WordPress. You will have to pay for a domain and Web hosting, but you can find these things for about $5 a month (such as from GoDaddy). For this minimal investment, you can build a reasonably good home base for promoting your business.

2. Get Active on Social Media

If you haven’t used social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc.) to promote your business yet, you are missing on an opportunity to potentially have your company or its products go viral. Although you might have seen advertisements for pricey social media marketing campaigns and social media tools, you don’t need any of these things to get started to promote your business. You can sign up for business pages on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for free.

By creating complete business profiles and pages, working to gain followers by regularly posting interesting and informative content is a great way to make your business more well-known and to keep your audience base satisfied. It may not necessarily lead to more sales or leads directly. But it is great for public relations and brand awareness.

3. Get Added to Internet Directories

There are a ton of highly reputable website and business directories out there, and you need to make sure that your business is listed on them. For example, Yahoo and Google offer these listings, as do Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.

The listings are mostly free and you might be surprised by their value. Many of these sites have top search engine rankings. So people looking for your business will find these links quickly because they end up on the first page of search results. You can also gain traffic and potential customers from those who are viewing these sites looking for businesses that are similar to yours.

4. Get Active with Online Communities

No matter what your business or industry niche might be, chances are good that there are plenty of related online communities out there that you can check out. From forums to social media groups and more, these communities can provide you with many great opportunities to promote your business.

When interacting with others on these sites and communities, it is important that you contribute useful and helpful information and not promote your business overtly. But in the process of doing so, you can post a link to your website and say with which business you are associated. This can help you gather up a nice network of connections and establish you as a local expert in your field.

Once people get accustomed to seeing your name and recognize you as an expert, they may want to give your company a try or send business your way.

5. Email and Forum Signatures

Whether you’re posting on forums or sending an email to your grandma, you should always keep your websites URL and your company’s contact information in your email signature. It’s free and easy to do, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful tool. It can spread awareness about your business and help people connect your name and face with the name of your company.

With most free email programs and on most forums, you can set your signature once, and it will appear at the bottom of all of your correspondence without you having to take any additional steps. Quick, easy promotion.

6. Ask for Reviews

Review sites like Google+ and Yelp make it easy for people to rate their experiences with your business. By asking your valued customers to leave feedback on these sites, you can help spread awareness about your business and get valuable feedback from your client base at the same time.

Plus, you might be surprised by the number of people who use these sites. Positive reviews can help encourage users to give your business a try rather than checking out what your competitors have to offer.

7. Create an Email List

Building an email list is vital for marketing. An email list is essential. With a signup form on your website, you gather the names and email addresses of people who are interested in your product or service. You can also add the names and email addresses from business cards of prospects that you have gathered. Or any other list of people interested in your business.

Mailings to these lists are tremendously effective. The list members are prequalified because they have already expressed interest in your business by signing up or getting in contact with you. Your mailings let them know what your business has to offer, and you can keep everyone up-to-date on any special deals, offers or sales that you might have.

It is easy to get started with an email service like MailChimp. Most have free versions. As your list builds and your needs become more sophisticated, you can upgrade your account.

8. Blog Comments

Checking out blogs that are related to your industry segment can be a lot of fun. Not only is it entertaining, but it can help you network and spread the word about your own business.

Sharing helpful, insightful comments are a great way to become a part of the conversation on a blog. It shows to others you are an expert in your industry.

Don’t just leave a quick comment and a link to your site. That’s bad form and just spam. Make sure that you provide some sort of value to the community and the conversation. People will be more likely to be interested in who you are and what you have to say and just might check out your website.

9. Offer Deals or Giveaways

People love free stuff. So offering a good deal or a giveaway on your website or social media business page is a great way to get more interest and business. You don’t have to offer anything big. Often, a small item will do the trick.

These can be something like a coupon code for free delivery or a percentage off an order. But the business this generates can be great and people often share the good news with their friends.

Don’t put yourself in the hole with the offer. But offer something.

10. Affiliate or Referral Program

Start an affiliate or referral program so you can reward your loyal customers for sharing the news about your business with their friends and associates.

There are free online programs out there that you can use to keep track of these programs.

You only have to offer a small percentage of your sales or a set cash amount to those who refer customers to your business. But those loyal customers are sure to appreciate an opportunity to make a little bit of cash for sharing the good word about a product, service or business that they like and use.

11. Check out the Way Your Staff Interacts with Prospects

Review how your prospects and customers are dealt with by staff or messaging software for improvements you can make:

How are people greeted by you and your staff when they call in?

When someone sends an email how fast do they get a response?

Is it the kind of email you would like to receive?

When you call to reach someone and leave a voicemail, will the message entice the recipient to call you back as soon as possible?

These improvements to your sales line are not only inexpensive for you to implement, they are a necessity because you are hemorrhaging sales if they are wrong.

12. Publish an Information Pack

You should put together an information pack on your business or products that someone can download from your website. It can be as simple as a PDF document.

The key is to leave some information off your site and offer it only through the info pack. That way the prospect will have to reach out to you, by online form, email or phone, to get a copy.

For example, you can have testimonials on your website or blog, but leave off any case studies and put them in the info pack. Or you can have tips on the use of your product or how-to information or recipes, etc. and use them for the pack. Just ensure the information is valuable and worth the download.

Final Word
While you may be a bit uncertain about doing some of these strategies yourself, learning how to promote your business with little or no cost is a great way to increase traffic, improve your bottom line and help you achieve your goals.


Author: Johana Mutegi


 


Blog business Experiences Learning

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Let’s talk food. Have you ever stopped to think about where it comes from? Have you ever sat and contemplated about the farmers and all the struggles they go through? We all need food to survive so it is imperative that people understand some of the challenges the farmers go through so they can leverage on their skills and technology to come up with solutions.

Last week together with different stakeholders in the agricultural sector including German Cooperation, Make -IT, Africa Agency for Business and Economic Development, Strathmore University, IBM among others, the Kuza Biashara team had the privilege to meet a few farmers in Ngong to learn about the issues affecting them. One thing that stood out was the passion these farmers carried for their work, despite how it seems like a game of gambling when it comes to their farms considering the risks they have to endure.  For example, they don’t have access to relevant information like weather patterns and market information, which are two of the most important aspects of farming.

Let’s take the case of Pauline Ndumi who grows vegetables in Ngong area. Having grown up with a very strict father, Pauline was introduced to the world of farming by her father who owned a coffee plantation and it was mandatory for Pauline and her siblings to tend to the farm every day.

“I went into farming because I had been doing it all my life, I did not need any training as an adult as my father took care of that, I started going to the farm at an early age of 3 years and so growing up I knew I wanted to do something I was familiar with and also good at.”

Pauline’s parents may have taught her a lot in regards to farming but none of that prepared her for the challenges that farmers face. This she has had to tackle on her own as every season came with its own challenges. These include unpredictable weather patterns that make it difficult to know when to plant. Low market for her produce and the struggle of getting labor force as most of the youth in the area have taken to alcoholism and therefore cannot be trusted.

In an effort to create a bright future for her children, six years ago Pauline decided to buy a greenhouse for one of her sons so he could be able to sustain himself but that did not work out so well for her.

‘I bought the tent for my son Maverick who is mentally challenged to give him a better chance at surviving in this world. It has been such a disappointment. I bought it at a price of ksh. 400,000 nevertheless it is yet to recover the capital I invested. All it has been doing is take take and I see very little progress.”

viewing Pauline's greenhouseVarious stakeholders at the event viewing Pauline’s greenhouse

Clearly Pauline is not giving up as she has already prepared the land for another planting season. She mainly plants spinach but says its market is very low since most people in Ngong plant spinach. She also plants capsicum and tomatoes that tend to do better in the market since they are seasonal vegetables but with her green house she can plant them anytime especially when they are out of season.

“We are still struggling with different issues though. For instance, we use the normal weather applications to know when it will rain and most of the time they fail us because they are not localized. If we could get access to localized weather applications and market information that would be great as it will allow us to focus on farming knowing that other important issues have been handled.”

Kuza biashara has an agripreneur program where farmers are provided a platform to access the agricultural content such as crop advisory, quality inputs, credit and insurance etc .The most unique aspect of this program is its distribution. The content is easily accessed via mobile phones and is distributed through an edge computing device that provides a local Wi-Fi connection that can be accessed even in remote areas.

With a visit from different stakeholders in the agricultural sector Pauline is hopeful that some of the challenges she has been facing will be a thing of the past.

Alice enjoying pumpkinsKuza team member Alice enjoys freshly made pumpkins with some new friends she made at the event.

 

Related article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/agripreneur-program-case-study-kuza-biashara/

Related Video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVL3JQ9fl2o&feature=youtu.be


Blog business Learning

Keep the fork the best is yet to come

Keep the fork the best is yet to come

In Business Daily last week, our Chief Mentor wrote an interesting story which said, “Mildred was diagnosed with a terminal lymphatic cancer and had been given three months to live. So, as she was getting her things “in order”, she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” Came the pastor’s reply.

“This is very important,” the woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.

The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and pot-luck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork”.

It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?”

Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.”

Recently, I found myself thinking of this story within the context of graduation. Last week saw many students graduate after years of grueling work and determination. They had put in their best and now was their time for the next step; searching for a job and all the tasks it entails. This could be drafting a CV, searching online for job vacancies and even walking from office to office to check for job opportunities. Then there is the part of asking for advice from those who have gone before them. Pieces of advice will come pouring in and the sad part is that some of it will be negative. ‘There are no jobs in Kenya, welcome to the world of tarmacking’. This will demoralize some and rejuvenate others just because they want to prove the advisers wrong.

But who says you have to listen to them? They may have had a tough time getting a job or starting a business but your fate is not tied together. Go out into the world with your head held high. You may not know what the future has in store for you but still get excited about it. Prepare for it and believe that it will be a great one.Many are the times you have been afraid of the unknown never thinking that it could be a great time of your life. Moving forward with fear limits you from giving your best. Whether it’s a new job or a new business or anything else really be confident and have a positive attitude towards it. In so doing you will also inspire others to face their fears head on. You will leave a legacy!

https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/enterprise/Keep-the-fork-the-best-is-yet-to-come/4003126-4752940-jrfdk1/index.html