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HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

Is entrepreneurship a solution to the massive unemployment challenge in the country? Some would argue that young people should rely on their own hustles to make a living due to the huge gap between available jobs and the number of qualified people. However, other people are of the view that entrepreneurship is a tough game that has its own obstacles such as raising capital, acquiring licenses and the huge rate of entrepreneurship ventures that have failed.

This was an interesting conversation I had with Joyce Wagaki, an entrepreneur who started from scratch and is slowly building her brand in African inspired fashion.

If you had told her 5 years ago that she would be a successful entrepreneur, Joyce would have laughed that idea off as impossible. How could she be an entrepreneur yet she was a Journalism and Media Studies graduate, with an amazing voice and a ‘bright future’ in the media industry?

Crushed Dreams

“Before I graduated, I got a 3 month internship at a leading media house. We did a voice test and my voice set me apart from the other interns landing me reporting duties both on radio and on the lunch hour T.V bulletin. I knew then that my goal in life was to be a news reporter and eventually become a news anchor.” Joyce said.

After finally graduating from media school, Joyce was positive it wouldn’t be long before she got a job. She prepared her C.V and her Cover letter and started applying for reporting jobs in the media. She didn’t get any positive responses immediately but she kept applying, kept working on her C.V and following up on the jobs she had applied for.

About 3 years after her graduation with no success in getting employment, Joyce’s sister who was accommodating her in Nairobi got another opportunity in China leaving Joyce to fend for herself while sending her money from time to time for her upkeep.

Seeing her job applications for news reporter/news anchor were not bearing any fruits, she went an extra mile and sent her C.V with voice recordings of herself hoping this would set her apart. Unfortunately no station picked her and this left Joyce frustrated and disappointed.

“I knew I couldn’t go back home because I did not want to burden my parents. Even though my sister supported me, I still needed my independence.”

Entrepreneurship or Employment?

One day, Joyce’s sister saw some handbags in China which had unique prints. Amazingly, the bags were so cheap. She reached out to Joyce and asked her if she would be interested in selling the bags in Kenya.

“At first I was reluctant because I had never thought of being an entrepreneur. However, my sister convinced me to give it a try since one of my strengths was the ability to convince people.”

Joyce’s sister sent the first batch of 20 bags and 20 ear rings. True to her word, the bags had a unique design and print compared to the bags in the market then.

“I knew that my livelihood depended on the sale of those bags and ear rings so I did everything I could to sell them. I started by selling to my close friends and church mates. I also went to town daily with a backpack stashed with some bags and walked office by office selling the bags. Sometimes, I didn’t make any sales, I had to deal with some clients who were so rude but that did not deter me.”

However, this whole time, her mind was still set in the media. She sold bags during the day and in the evening, she did her recordings and kept applying for jobs.

“Impressively, I managed to sell all the 20 bags and ear rings and made a profit of Ksh. 30,000. My sister had bought and shipped the bags and ear rings at only Ksh. 10,000 in China. Since the bags were unique, I sold them at Ksh.800 – Ksh. 1000 per bag and the ear rings at Ksh. 250.”

The Birth of Gaki Collections

This experience made Joyce rethink her initial decision of being employed full time in the media to actually taking entrepreneurship more seriously. Her sister kept sending her bags from China and with time, she expanded her collection to leather bags which were more official compared to the printed ones. She even opened a face book page, Bags and Leather to take advantage of the online market.

Joyce sold the bags for a while and the returns were great, she was able to pay her bills but due to unavoidable circumstances, the bags business was not sustainable.

“I had to think on my feet since I couldn’t keep running an unsustainable business and I still had financial obligations. I thought of going back to applying for jobs but considering how far I had come, this wasn’t an option for me.” Joyce said.

One day Joyce had gone to Eastleigh to meet up a friend. However, as is the typical Kenyan style, her friend kept her waiting for over an hour.

“I was so frustrated when my friend eventually never showed up and called to cancel our meeting. Instead of wasting my day, I decided to take a walk around Eastleigh and window shop because Eastleigh was popular for getting quality items at affordable prices.”

As she was window shopping, Joyce met some ladies selling deras. At the time, she didn’t even know what deras were since it was 2014 and deras were still a new concept in Nairobi.

“I got curious and asked the lady to tell me more about deras, how much they cost, how they are made, e.t.c. She sold me a material for Ksh. 300 then directed me to a tailor who sew the dera for me at only 50 shillings and in a few minutes, the dera was ready.”

The Birth of Gaki Collections

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

Joyce was so impressed with the end result that she wore the dera to church the next Sunday. Being a lover of taking photos, she took a photo of herself wearing the dera and posted it on facebook that Sunday evening.

“When I woke up the next day, I was surprised to get a lot of requests from my comment section and inbox from people who loved the dera and wanted one for themselves. I was so shocked by the numerous requests but I also saw this as a great business opportunity. Also most people perceived Eastleigh to be unsafe and I took advantage of that by being the middle person between the traders and my clients.”

However, Joyce still hadn’t figured out how she would run the dera business since she needed people’s sizes thus each dera needed to be custom made. So she asked people to send her their measurements and design preferences and she would ensure they get their deras delivered to them at a fee of Ksh. 500.”

That was when Joyce opened Gaki Collections, a face book page that she used to sell deras.

The Birth of Gaki Collections

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

“With time, one of my clients asked me if she could get African sandals to wear with her dera. At that time, I had no idea where I would get African sandals but one lesson entrepreneurship had taught me was, You do not tell a client No, Just say Yes and figure it out later.”

That is exactly how Joyce started the Gaki collection sandal line which consists of custom made sandals tailored to a client’s needs. All a client needs to do is send details of their shoe size, what color and design they would like their sandals to have and Joyce makes sure she gets the sandals made and delivered anywhere in the country.

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

HOW UNEMPLOYMENT PUSHED ME TO START AND RUN A SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN FASHION BUSINESS ONLINE

Since my business was purely online, I knew there was more to social media and in order for my business and brand to grow, I needed to pick up social media and digital marketing skills.

“That is when the She Goes Digital program came along. Through the program, I learnt how to boost my page, make use of online ads and figure out details such as what time my audience is active online. I made use of the skills I gained through the program and by the end of 2017, I had shipped my goods to Ghana, Liberia and U.S.A and I got even more clients online.”

This year, Joyce plans to open a website for Gaki Collections and also open a shop in town.

Final Word

Our take-away from this interview is that we are all gifted in many ways. However, we need to have the heart to explore. You don’t need to close up your mind to employment as the only source of income, open up your mind to more possibilities.

So what’s your excuse? Get up, identify opportunities around you and make a difference.

 


Blog business Experiences Learning

My Entrepreneurship Journey: Lessons from Gina Din Kariuki

My Entrepreneurship Journey: Lessons from Gina Din Kariuki

Earlier this week, I was going through my YouTube feed and bumped into a Caroline Mutoko interview with Gina Din Kariuki titled Gina Din Kariuki – @20. Having drawn so much inspiration from Gina Din not only as an entrepreneur but also as a pioneer of Public Relations in Kenya, I knew the interview would come with a wealth of knowledge.

Here are some things that stood out for me from the interview about the different phases of entrepreneurship.

PHASE 1: DENIAL PHASE

The denial phase signifies the early stages of entrepreneurship where you are transitioning from employment or whatever else you are doing to entrepreneurship.

It’s called the denial phase because as a new entrepreneur, you think you’ll have more freedom, more free time and more money. You enter this phase with high excitement, high expectations and high energy while being in denial about the harsh realities of entrepreneurship.

As a new entrepreneur in the denial phase, you have a clear idea and vision about what you want to do and you can see the potential of your business but you are also not sure how to execute everything at this stage.

PHASE 2: WILDERNESS/HYENA PHASE

During the wilderness phase, your business is gradually picking up and your main focus is bringing more clients on board.

You realize you have bills to pay, new staff to hire and salaries to pay. So what do you do? Be like the hyena, and grab every opportunity available, get as many clients as you can so that you maintain cash flow.

At this point, you rarely consider the quality of impact a client’s project will have. You believe you can do it all as long as it translates into more cash for your business.

PHASE 3: BOUTIQUE PHASE

So you’ve launched your business, gone through the denial phase where you had a fairy tale about how you envision your business to turn out, your business is just starting to pick up and you have already adjusted to life as an entrepreneur. This is where you transition to the boutique phase.

The boutique phase means you are getting work done, you have secured some clients and you can comfortably pay your staff salaries and cater to your bills.

However, you still hunger for more growth.

PHASE 4: DESERT PHASE

The desert phase is probably the trickiest part for most businesses and if you are not careful, this is the phase where you get stuck.

At this point, you have an adequate number of clients, however, you still want more clients. This means you hire more staff thinking it translates to more business. You also want to probably move your office to bigger better premises at a posher location.

However, this becomes a vicious cycle that doesn’t translate into more money for your business because the more money comes in, the more it goes out to other ‘non-essential’ expenses.

The desert phase is hypnotizing, you feel good about yourself about your business and you may end up staying at this phase for too long without any notable growth.

PHASE 5: PERFORMANCE PHASE

This is the phase where you get a harsh wake up call. The issue is no longer, Is there work? But Is the work I’m doing impactful?

You realize that you don’t need to have a million clients but only a few whose work is impactful. The performance phase is where you scale down on your employees based on their professionalism, performance and stick to projects you can deliver with impact.

This phase also means you have figured out how to make more money for your business while still cost cutting and maximizing on your profit to help you be more flexible financially.

FINAL WORD: Are you an entrepreneur? Can you relate to these 5 phases?

Watch the full video below.



Blog business Learning

How to Start and Run Your Own Small Bakery

How to Start and Run Your Own Small Bakery

Getting into entrepreneurship is becoming a popular trend among youth in Kenya. Starting a small bakery business is a profitable business idea you can explore especially if you have a passion for cooking. That said, owning a bakery business needs a lot of commitment and capital but it’s a great way to earn extra income. A bakery is also a good business idea because baked goods are quite popular and move quite fast. Baking also requires little to no formal training but if you need to sharpen your skills, you could consider taking a few baking classes.

If a bakery is a business you would like to get into, here is what you need to know.

1. Getting Started

Register the bakery – If your plan is to run your bakery as a full fledged business, you will need to register your company name (cost – approx 1000Ksh.), register your limited company (cost – approx 30,000Ksh.), get a KEBS licence (cost – approx Ksh. 20,000) and a single business permit (cost varies from county to county)

Licences – To run a bakery business, you’ll also need these licences;

 Food handling Medical Certificate – This certificate makes sure people who handle your food are free from disease. It costs Ksh. 600 and is valid for 6 months.

Food Hygiene Certificate – Valid for a year and starts at Ksh. 300 depending on the size of the business.

Fire Safety Certificate – Valid for a year and costs Ksh. 3,000.

2. The Business

Get Your Recipes Ready – Create a list of all the baked goods you intend to sell. Start with a few items and diversify to more products with time. Prepare a Menu. Prepare a Price list that puts in consideration the cost of ingredients, labor and any other expenses.

Get Your Ingredients Ready – Purchase all the ingredients you need; flour, sugar etc. Also purchase packaging materials, labels, boxes and anything else you’ll need.

Marketing – Find out your target market. Baked products sell quite fast in offices, schools, canteens and local kiosks. Where exactly is your demand?

Figure out how to grab the attention of your target audience by using specific marketing strategies like using fliers, posters, social media, etc.

Network – Attend relevant events, workshops and meetups organized by bakers groups in order to grow your networks.

3. Investment

Starting a small bakery will set you back any amount between Ksh.100, 000 – Ksh. 150, 000 inclusive of licenses and required business permits. Here is a breakdown of the basic items that you’ll need to start out.

Basic Ingredients (prices are approximated)

Wheat Flour (1 bale)  Ksh. 1400
Sugar (50kg)  Ksh. 7,000
Margarine (carton)  Ksh. 2,000
Icing Sugar (5kgs)  Ksh. 850
Baking Powder (4kgs)  Ksh. 500
Eggs (Tray)  Ksh. 300
Milk (box)  Ksh. 500
TOTAL  Ksh. 12,550

Utensils

Electric Hand Whisk Ksh. 3700
Cookswell Oven Ksh. 26,000
10 Baking Pans Ksh. 2,500
Icing spatula Ksh. 550
Noozle set Ksh. 1,500
Other utensils Ksh. 2,000
TOTAL Ksh. 36, 250

Others

Charcoal – 1 bag Ksh. 1,500
Fliers, Brochures Ksh. 1,500
Cleaning agents Ksh. 1,000
Packaging Materials and labels Ksh. 2,000
Miscellaneous Ksh. 5,000
TOTAL Ksh 11,000

TOTAL INVESTMENT: 11,000 + 36,250 + 12,550 = KSH. 59,800

Depending on the quantity and demand of your baked products, you can make up to Ksh. 5000 a day.

Expected challenges

  • Price fluctuations of raw materials like sugar, flour.
  • Baked goods are perishable thus they need ready market when they are still fresh.

Final Word

Just like any other business, starting a small bakery is not a smooth sailing venture. However, as long as you have figured out your target audience,  get the required equipment, get the required ingredients, have your recipes in place, figure out your workspace, get all the required licenses & permits and a marketing plan, you are ready to go.

 


Blog business Experiences

Developing Start-Up Strategies Poised for Success

Developing Start-Up Strategies Poised for Success

No astute definition of ‘start-up’ exists. It is broadly categorized as a new business venture. It could be based at home, a street-side stall or have hip presence on Internet. In brief, all new businesses are start-ups. Everything from a new neighbourhood sandwich cart to glitzy high-tech software companies are start-ups. Businesses less than five years old get included in this definition too.

A word of caution

Setting up a start-up is easy. Finding funds is hard. Keeping the business afloat is harder. Findings by British commercial insurer RSA indicates, 50 percent of all start-ups in UK failed within the first five years. Insufficient government support, lack of bank loans, regulatory issues, intense competition and high operational costs are cited as reasons. Venture capital experts claim that about 90 percent of all start-ups fail . This scenario indubitably requires strong strategies for launching any start-up.

Off the beaten track

Proverbial flock mentality plagues most start-ups. Entrepreneurs eye successful ventures to imitate. Pitted against established businesses, they stand little chance for success. Uniqueness or exclusivity is the first rule for success. Evolve concepts nobody dreamt of. Get a fair idea about target customers, suppliers and logistics. Discuss ideas with people from diverse industries but remain secretive of your own concept.

Putting it in words

Type the concept on a PC, laptop or simply write it down. Readable concepts can be further developed and refined. Amend any feature where required. Once you have a clear idea about the start-up, draft an excellent project report. Funds permitting, rope in services of a professional project report writer. Great project reports attract attention. Finer detail boosts prospects of the right person reading the project report- and taking action.

Incubators and Accelerators

Joining a renowned start-up incubator works wonders. Start-up incubators guide and instruct entrepreneurs. They refine a project while developing business models. Incubators focus on innovations and are industry specific.

Accelerators help businesses grow. They help by focusing resources of start-ups in most profitable directions. Accelerators look at putting start-ups on the fast track of growth.

Both are vital for a successful start-up strategy.

What’s in a name?

Everything and more, as history has proved. Catchy, easy-to-remember, innovative brands fare better in the market over those with boring, traditional identities. Stretch your imagination, get creative or seek help from relatives and friends. Great concepts with brand identities exhibit a penchant to flop. A good sounding brand requires great looking logo. Presentations for start-ups look better when made under a brand and logo. They lend a business look. Make branding a major part of your start-up strategy.

Money matters

The trickiest part comes here. Funding start-ups is extremely complex and tiresome. Angel investors and venture capitalists are spoilt for choice. Bank loans for start-ups are almost non-existent. Financial institutions do not lend to companies that live in fertile minds and a few scraps of paper- they require proof.  Thrift is key for start-ups. Launch the business with minimum budget, limiting operational expenses where possible. Common and not-so-common modes of staffing and operations combined help save costs while maximising profits during initial years. Successful start-up strategies do not include high costs.

Finding money

A great strategy for successful start-ups involves finding seed or initial capital. Knowing who can finance how much is key to successful funding. Start-up incubators and accelerators provide essential insights into the complex world of angel investments and venture capital.

  • Self finance: Investing your savings/ assets to seed a start-up.
  • Crowd funding: Collecting money from public for a start-up. These investors get stocks of your company, commensurate with amounts chipped in.
  • Bank/ Institutional credit: Money borrowed from banks/ financial institutions to fund start-ups. Most lenders are reluctant but with some collateral, you may get lucky to get bank loan.
  • Government funding: Almost inexistent. Yet, some ministries do offer soft loans and credit for ventures they believe may help the society at large. These include start-ups concerned with environment protection, animal welfare, alleviation of poverty, child and mother care, facilities for persons with special needs, prevention of HIV/ AIDS and other sensitive, global concerns.
  • Social organizations: Start-ups with obvious benefits for the society attract attention of social welfare organizations. Some consider chipping in with seed investment.
  • Family holding: Hailed as best way to fund start-ups. Getting family members interested in your start-up by encouraging them to invest in exchange of stocks. Ensures your successful start-up remains within the family.
  • Venture capital: Those who got strategies and presentations right attract venture capital. Such funding is limited to seeding the business and initial years of operation.
  • Conglomerate funding: Business conglomerates look for start-ups that can assist their trade. A good presentation to those in your field can help generate much needed funds.

Saving taxes

Taxes and government charges often wreak havoc on profitability. Acquaint yourself with local taxation regimes. Superb strategies for successful start-ups find ways and means to lower tax burden. This means operating from a section of your home, if merited. Avail tax benefits offered to new businesses.

Low cost employment

Students, fresh graduates and freelancers make excellent staff, once trained. Base your start-up strategy on employing these categories of manpower. They can be paid by the hour or for specific jobs only to help cut expenses on wages. Qualified professionals can be hired as consultants only, when required. Working online and getting staff to work from home reduces transportation expenses immensely.

Carpet bombing the market

An essential component of a successful strategy for start-ups is creating brand awareness before hitting the market. Teaser ads in local media, through stores and restaurants, clubs and community hang-outs, social circles help create excellent brand awareness. Those lucky may find investors and customers well before launch.

Splash in cyber world

Strong presence in cyber world is prerequisite to any successful strategy for start-ups. Register the domain of your company and post regular updates about the project. These should be sufficient to keep interest alive but insufficient to alert competitors. Blogging about your start-up, posting frequent press releases and ‘leaking’ insider news to websites works in favour. Email stakeholders frequently about latest developments and innovations, company news and other relevant information aimed at keeping them engaged.

Social media spans the world

A decade ago, nobody would have imagined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to stand where they are. For start-ups, healthy social media presence works miracles. It helps disseminate information about your start-up to people across the world at fraction of a penny. Social media allows stakeholders, decision makers, investors and other entities to “feel” your start-up through pictures, videos, posts and comments. Social media offers essential tools for introspection and quick turnaround of offerings.

Health and wellness

The secret to successful start-up lies in your health and wellness strategies too. Setting up a business is indeed tiresome. Lack of sleep and skipped meals are common. These take severe toll on wellbeing of entrepreneurs. Lack of concentration combined with mood swings can destroy an enterprise before it gets off drawing board. Include health and wellness as part of your start-up strategy. It also helps foster a good impression among investors and other stakeholders.

Author Bio:
Pritam Nagrale is a blogger and running a digital marketing company in Mumbai. His blog MoneyConnexion writes about make money ideas & tips on Saving Money.


Blog Experiences Learning

Our top 10 blog articles from 2017

Our top 10 blog articles from 2017

2017 has been a tough year for small business owners in kenya mainly due to the political uncertainty that clouded the country for almost half the year. However, one thing stood out; the resilience shown by small business and sme owners in kenya through this tough times. Through the year however, the kuza biashara blog has remained consistent in sharing informative articles that empower budding entrepreneurs and small business owners to start or grow their businesses.

It’s that time of the year where we reviewed the articles that resonated most with our audience from inspiring life stories from entrepreneurs who had to overcome major struggles to build their business empires to creative business ideas you had no idea we’re viable and motivating articles to get you out of your comfort zone to go out and implement your business ideas.

Here is a roundup of our favorite articles from 2017;

10. 5 REASONS WHY “MACHOPI” (SMART PEOPLE) GET E GRADES IN LIFE, INVESTMENTS AND BUSINESS

You’ve probably gone through the best schools, gotten excellent grades all through your education which helped you secure a job quite fast and now you have a healthy paycheck every month. However, could the fact that you are smart also be a hindrance to your progress in life? This article definitely gives you something to sit down, analyze and rethink the decisions you make in your life moving forward.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/smart-chaps/

09. PROGRAM TO EQUIP WOMEN WITH DIGITAL SKILLS, INTERNSHIP AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES LAUNCHED

The Kuza Biashara #SheGoesDigital Program was undoubtedly one of the most successful programs we conducted this year. The program attracted over 600 applicants from all over the country out of whom 50 young women were selected to go through the intense practical training free of charge. After 45 days, 42 young women successfully graduated from the training and were placed for paid internships at leading companies in the country.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/digi-training/

08. HOW TO START A SMALL MABATI FACTORY

When you think about starting a mabati factory business, you think big expensive machines and a lot of capital. However, this article gives insight into how you can break through into the mabati industry with about Ksh. 5 Million and make a healthy profit of about Ksh. 4 Million per month.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/mabati/

07. HOW TO START A SMALL NAIL (MISUMARI) FACTORY

With a budget of as low as Ksh. 500,000 to as high as Ksh. 1, 000, 000, you could be well on your way to having your own Misumari Factory. This is a great business idea especially due to the booming construction industry in Kenya. This article clearly states all you need to know before venturing into the misumari business and make approximately Ksh. 210,000 profit per month.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/nails/

06. MEET NAIROBI WOMAN, FORMER GUARD BUILDING HER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY BLOCK-BY-BLOCK

Tycose Keeru is one of the few women who has climbed the ranks in the male dominated field of construction. A graduate of Kuza Biashara’s Mason’s program to equip masons with digital literacy, entrepreneurship and soft skills, the founder of Typca Contractors has had to overcome a lot of challenges to build the booming construction business empire she runs. Her inspirational story is one of our favorites;
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/mjengo-business/

05. FROM BORROWING A LAPTOP IN 2013 TO GROWING A MULTI-MILLION CONTAINER BUSINESS IN 2017 – HOW THIS YOUNG MAN MADE IT

Moses Ndura’s story is certainly an inspiration to young people, especially those keen to venture into entrepreneurship. At barely the age of 30, the founder of Container World Kenya proves that you do not need a bank account full of cash to build your business empire. If you have been notorious for procrastinating implementing your business idea, Moses’ story will challenge you to get off your comfort zone.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/container-business/

04. 10 SIMPLE IDEAS YOU CAN START WITH AS LITTLE AS KSH. 1000 CAPITAL

This is one of those articles that totally demystifies the mindset that you need hundreds of thousands to millions to start a business and make a healthy profit. With a little as Ksh. 1000, you can venture into any of these 10 businesses, start small and eventually grow into a full fledged business;
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/simple-start/

03. WHY MOST SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES IN KENYA ARE PECULIARLY LINKED TO NAKURU

What comes to your mind when you think of Nakuru? The flamingoes, the sizzling Menengai crater or the friendly locals? Despite its calm exterior, Nakuru town is responsible for some of the most successful businesses in Kenya. Read all about it in the article below;
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/peculiar-nakuru/

02. HOW EMPLOYED PEOPLE REMAIN POOR DESPITE WORKING FULL-TIME, SAVING AND INVESTING

Most of us wake up early every morning to go to work so as to create a better future for ourselves and our families. However, does the comfort that employment provide also contribute to the costly misinformed decisions you are prone to make. This article is certainly an eye opener for us employed folks.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/working-poor/

01. HOW DID THAT FOOL OVERTAKE ME? MATATU TOUT VS. BANK EMPLOYEE

This article takes the crown of our favorite article from 2017 because of how the writer paints a clear picture of how the choices we make in life have long term implications that you may ignore especially if you are short sighted with your goals. If you haven’t read this article yet, you have no idea what you are missing out on.
www.kuzabiashara.co.ke/blog/tout-vs-banker/

FINAL WORD

Do you have any favorite articles from the Kuza Biashara Blog in 2017? Feel free to share with us in the comment box below.


Blog business Experiences

7 Apps that Will Help transform your Sales

7 Apps that Will Help transform your Sales

If you are looking for different ways to ensure that your sales increase, you may need more than just an advertising team. You need to make maximum use of current resources and productivity. You might need a new approach to solve problems that may arise and to keep a closer look at your team’s work. You will also need proper analytics, data, and insights. There are some things that Salesforce cannot do but luckily, there are some apps that will help you get all that is missing.

There are very many apps you can use to help increase your sales but here are the best apps that you need:

  1. Inside View

This app’s main aim is to deliver the right messages at the right time and to the right person. It triggers events and analyzes your social network connections. If your sales force contact base is a bit lacking, Inside view will provide you with updating and import features. It also lets you monitor over 30,000 sources so as to get sales intelligence. Sales intelligence helps you to execute shifts, business mergers and release of new products. Those in your sales team can also look at valuable information from prospects and it lets you track activities from their profiles and also act at the right moment.

  1. Market analytics

This app helps you boost your marketing campaigns and improve the quality of your leads. It easily helps you create landing pages on your website. It also has an in-built lead scoring ability. The system handles lead scoring with a fresh approach and saves effort and time.

  1. Demand tools

Salesforce tools such as Salesforce DX can be time-consuming. This app (https://www.flosum.com/flosums-integration-with-salesforce-dx/) aims to provide you with an improved and more enhanced structure while also automating some tedious admin duties. It also removes duplicates and cleans up standardized data so as to sort it easily.

  1. Cirrus Insight

If you are using Google apps along with Salesforce, cirrus insights will help you integrate sales force with Office 365. You can also track emails and see when and where they have been opened and on which device. Integration is easy and fast. It makes managing effortless.

  1. Conga compose

This app will help take your sales force fields and objects and turn them into documents. It works very well with HTML-based emails and PDF forms to help you create more invoices, proposals, and quotes. It uses existing rules to distribute and craft reports automatically. The most valuable feature has to be its ability to integrate into your existing Salesforce workflow. You can also schedule solutions and use event triggers to increase productivity.

  1. Geopointe mapping Analytics

Many businesses or companies need to unlock customer data and Geopointe provides companies with systems that work in a similar way to Google maps. They help create boundaries and assign territories. This tool also helps improve the productivity of salespeople.

  1. Gravity Forms and WordPress

Gravity forms plugin will move data from your contact forms to your sales force. You may also use the built-in-web-lead system.

 

Author bio
Sujain Thomas is an app developer and business marketer who has worked with flosum.com for 6 years. She uses Salesforce tools to implement ideas and develop apps add-ons.

 


Blog business Learning

10 Tips for Finding a Workplace Dream Team

workplace dream team

In today’s world, working in line with a team of good employees is important if you want to attain success. Good employees will keep your business afloat in a variety of both predicted and unforeseen situations. Simply put, whether you are the CEO, manager, or undisputed company superstar, the future of your company does not depend on you. It’s all about your employees. For most companies, however, finding good employees has become hard and seems to be getting harder all the time. A recent study indicates that 68% of human resource departments report problems filling positions. This has gone up from 50% in 2015. If you can’t find good employees, here are ten tips to help you find a workplace dream team.

1. Use Social Media
Facebook, twitter, and other interactive platforms have not only changed how we do business but have also transformed how companies recruit employees now days. Hiring managers and recruiters are increasingly using social platforms to search for talent. You should also use these platforms to find employees as well. Use social media targeting features to reach people who match the talents, region, and even hobbies that you require.

2. Take Advantage of Recruitment Organizations
In-house recruiters are relying on recruitment agencies to fill vacancies. Recruitment organizations align their support with your goals and help you cut costs that you would otherwise spend on conventional methods of hiring and recruiting candidates. If you are looking for IT professional, for instance, you can partner with IT recruiting agencies to ensure you get exceptional IT experts.

3. Break Geographical Barriers
The world has evolved, and geographical limitations should not stop you from getting the employees you want. Technology lets you connect with people around the world. Use it to look for employees beyond your locality.

4. Use Your Current Team to Find New Talent
Your employees know everything about your company and can give potential candidates a real insight to your business. They understand your company’s values and expectations and will help you bring in people with the necessary experiences and expertise.

5. Figure out What Positions Job Seekers Are Looking For
When posting a job opening, you want to make sure what you post compliments job searchers needs and ambitions. A simple research online and offline will help you know what job searchers want and help you come up with titles and content that match what most job seekers are looking for.

6. Use Mutual Connections
Use your colleagues, former colleagues, and friends to get new talent. Those close to you know more about you and your company and will recommend the right type of candidate who would help you enhance productivity. Use mutual connections to learn more about a candidate. This will not only help you get competent employees but will also influence and motivate employees to live up to their reputation.

7. Use Emails to Hire Candidates
Email communication has become an integral part of the recruitment process, and more recruiters are embracing it. When it comes to emails, job seekers are incredibly responsive and are more likely to pay attention to what you are saying. Use emails to reach the candidates that you need.

8. Contact Previous Candidates
Don’t let the resumes and data of previous candidates collect dust in your desk drawer. Use them. Previous applicants can be turned into a talent gold mine. They know about your company and are interested in working for you. Contact them.

9. Target Your Rivals’ Employees
If you are in an industry where there is stiff competition, poaching for talent can help gain an edge. A recent study reveals that employees who are contracted to work for an organization that competes with a former employer come in with enhanced energy and motivation that translates to increased productivity.

10. Use Paid internships
Investing in paid internships will help you lure the brightest and most talented candidates available on the job market. Internships allow you test the waters and help you identify which of the interns suits your needs and wants.

Final Word – With these tips, you will certainly find a workplace dream team.


Blog business Experiences

Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes

Practical Tips to Grow your Small Business without making major changes

Growing your business is a step by step process that certainly does not happen overnight. However with dedication and persistence growth is inevitable. Today, we share 10 practical ideas that you can turn into action steps for the growth of your small business.

USE YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS

When you think of growing a business, the first thing that comes to mind is getting new customers or expanding your client base. However your current customers could be the key to your increased sales. All you need to do is to vamp up your customer service strategy with more focus on customer retention and word of mouth marketing. Some simple tips like remembering your customer’s names, responding promptly to customers queries online and listening to your customer’s needs and feedback can help promote customer loyalty and have your current customers bring in new customers.

PARTICIPATE IN TRADE SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS

As a small business owner, you need to take every opportunity to showcase your business and get your brand out there. What a better way to do this than taking part in trade shows and exhibitions that are relevant to your industry. If you are a fashion startup, find ways to get into popular local fashion shows and fairs. Food startups can make use of food expo’s, and the list goes on. The best thing about trade shows is they draw people who are already interested in your product/service and it’s a great way to get new customers, investors and suppliers.

DIVERSIFY YOUR PRODUCT LINE

Another way to grow your small business is to slowly introduce new products/services related to what you are currently offering. When you start a small business, for example, a bakery, you will have that one product that your customers will love the most hence defining your brand, like cakes. After some time though you can try expanding to other pastries like cookies, bread, maandazi, e.t.c, as long as you maintain the same good quality. This concept can apply to other businesses as well. However, before you venture into new products, it’s important to conduct a market research first so that you may know what your customers needs are exactly.

EXPORTING YOUR PRODUCTS OVERSEAS

It is much easier to have a global market for your product/service now than it was in the past, thanks to tools like social media that have made the world a global village. With a great online marketing strategy and a quality product, you’ll definitely start attracting international buyers who may request to have your product shipped to them. You can start off by shipping to one or two customers as you expand and slowly penetrate other markets. To make it here though, you need a strong online presence since that is where your customers are.

QUICKLY ADAPT TO CHANGE

One thing that will make your startup grow and set you apart, is being able to quickly adapt to changes in the market and within your industry. I’ll use an example of the food industry. There was a time when you only had to go to a physical restaurant to dine. However, the concept of delivery came through and the restaurants that adopted to this quickly gained a whole new client base that had food directly delivered to their homes. Restaurants that didn’t catch up however are not reaping the benefits of the new market. Ensure you are up to date with changes and innovations in your industry.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

As a business owner, you constantly need to diversify your skills and be all rounded. As much as you have a team in place to handle different tasks, you’ll definitely play an oversight role and this requires you to have basic knowledge in most topics like IT, finance, and communications. Make time and take business related courses, further your studies, attend relevant workshops and conferences. All these will translate in making better decisions for your small business and in turn boost your growth.

FOCUS ON ONE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM

Social Media is huge. There are clearly big sites like facebook, twitter and Instagram that have been there for a while but newcomers such as Snapchat are also gaining ground quite fast. However, as a small business, instead of opening accounts on multiple social media platforms, why don’t you conduct some research, find out where your target market is and use the best site to reach them?

EMBRACE LOCAL WEB DIRECTORIES AND S.E.O

Search Engine Optimization is a detailed topic but for this article, my advice is to have your business listed on as many local web directories as possible. Web directories are a great place for your business to be found when someone searches for a product/service you offer on the internet. Examples of local directories you can sign up for are Yellow Pages Kenya, Kenya Business Directory and Kenya Business Listing.

DELEGATE

You cannot possibly handle everything yourself as a business owner. You have to figure out what your personal strength and skills are and delegate the rest of the work to an experienced team of people you trust.

REWARD YOUR TEAM

Most small businesses have quite a small but productive team. This is why it is so important to keep your employees happy and motivated. Some simple ways to do this are giving them bonuses once in a while, having clear communication lines, helping your employees achieve their personal goals and having rewards for outstanding performance.

FINAL WORD: Do not be overwhelmed by all these ideas but pick one or two that are relevant to your business and work with them. Overtime, your business will reap the rewards.


Blog business Experiences Learning

Inspirational: Great Lessons in Failure from 3 Top Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Great Lessons in Failure from 3 Top Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Show me a successful entrepreneur who has never failed not once, but multiple times. Whether its investing all their savings and losing it all before the business even takes off, having extremely harsh competitors who can do anything to keep someone else off their monopolized market or even business partners walking out on you. The list is endless.
If you are in business, or looking to get into business but are too scared to dive into the deep waters, here are 3 successful Kenyan entrepreneurs who have had enormous failures but still made it big.

Tabitha Karanja
Tabitha Karanja

When you think of success, you think Tabitha Karanja. However, the Founder of Keroche Breweries has had to encounter so many challenges that could have completely set her back. Being a woman in a male dominated industry and getting into a business that was already monopolized, her resilience pushed through to make her one of the top entrepreneurs in Africa.
Some of the major challenges she faced were a smear campaign against her drinks that claimed her drinks were unhealthy for consumption. She also had to fight a court battle on tax where she was asked to pay Ksh. 1.2 Billion in 14 days but she fought the case and won. At some point, Keroche Breweries billboards were pulled down upon charges of unethical trade practice; and these are just a few obstacles she faced.
In an interview with Capital FM, she was quoted saying;

The way my challenges came you could never try to think of giving up because if I ever gave up, it meant that I could have hurt a generation, especially my children and anyone trying to come up in business. Then people would have later said… you remember that woman who started a beer business and closed down?

She has gone on to win several awards such as the Business Woman of the year 2014 at the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards, Transformational Business Award 2015 and Entrepreneurial Excellence in Africa Award just to mention a few. She also believes that women have an equal chance as men to succeed in business if they set their mind to it.
Lesson; Don’t be afraid to take risks and walk the path that many seem to avoid.

George Wachiuri
George Wachiuri

George Wachiuri is undoubtedly one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kenya. The founder of Optiven Limited started his company 18 years ago with savings from his previous jobs. When he first got into real estate, his focus was on providing value added plots to Kenyans. However, it wasn’t easy at first. The first plot he bought worth Ksh. 5 Million ended up being a con and he lost all his savings. Things were not looking great. The huge loss took the company through a great depression and Mr. Wachiuri started applying for jobs in order to make ends meet. He got a job as a lecturer at a local University but his income still wasn’t enough to meet his needs.
In an interview with Business Daily, he was quoted saying,

After the loss I swore that I would never do business again, but I remembered that winners never quit and quitters never win.

He then ventured into property investment afresh having learned from his past failure and went on to make Optiven Limited one of the most successful property investment companies in Kenya.
Optiven has been continuously recognized for its impact to Kenyans and they have won several prestigious awards including coming first in the Kenya Top 100 SME competition and being voted a Super Brand. George was also recognized this year as the Best Entrepreneur at the Diaspora Entertainment Awards and Recognition (D.E.A.R).
Lesson; Do not give up on your dreams even when you fail. Use your failure as a stepping stone and a lesson to do better next time.

Chris Kirubi
Chris Kirubi

Unlike some of us who had a fairly easy childhood, Chris Kirubi grew up in a poor home, he lost his parents at an early age and he had to start work early in order to meet the daily needs of his family. This experience lay a foundation for him to become the successful entrepreneur he is today. However, building his business empire did not come without its fair share of challenges and failures along the way.
One of his notable failures was when he tried to venture into the painting industry. Chris thought that as long as he produced quality paint, his product would sell. At the time, the paint industry was dominated by a few individuals who were also the major distributors and contractors. They were threatened by Kirubi’s new product and in order to stifle his product, no big contractor would buy his paint and there was no one willing to stock his product. The few who took his paint took it on credit with the promise to pay back but they never really paid him. After some time, Kirubi went into huge debt and he was forced to shut down the company.
However, this did not stop him from trying out other business ventures after learning from his past failure. In an interview with Capital FM, he was quoted saying,

All this did not deter me from achieving my vision. It however gave me the strength and power to move on to better things. I became wiser and made sure that every business I invested in thereafter would be a success.

Lesson; Know when to move on when something isn’t working but keep your dream intact.

Final Word;

As an entrepreneur you’ll never be successful if you are unwilling to take risks. Have an open mind, push for the results you want to see and accept that at times, you will fail. However, do not allow your initial failures to define your entrepreneurship journey. More so, a failure may be the motivation you need to move forward.


business Experiences

6 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them

photo courtesy of www.freepik.com

Everyone has a business idea that if provided with adequate capital, and everything else they require, they will be well on their path to entrepreneurship. However, there is a big difference between having an idea and executing the idea.
A business idea may sound easy and straightforward but most new entrepreneurs are hit with a rude shock of how tough it is to get a business up and running.

Here are six common mistakes new entrepreneurs make and tips on how to avoid them.
1. The ‘I can do it all attitude’
A new business idea is like a baby, you want to cuddle it, stroke it and protect it from anyone who shows up to critic your idea, give you a list of reasons why your idea won’t work or even explain vividly how it will be impossible for you to implement the idea. These often makes new entrepreneurs shy away from sharing their ideas and involving other people in the potential business.
The feeling of, “Since I came up with the idea, I am best placed to implement it and have it come out exactly how I want it,” takes over more often due to pride or fear that bringing in and listening to others will corrupt your original idea. However, instead of helping, this might slow down your implementation or result in you getting stuck along the way.

TIP – As much as it is not advisable to listen to everyone’s opinion about your business, it is important to seek a mentor preferably one who is successful in the same business you want to venture into. Potential customers are also key as they are the ones who will make or break your business, reach them through a market research strategy such as questionnaires to find out how your product will be embraced in the market. All in all, listen selectively sieving out useful suggestions from those that won’t help the business.

2. Focusing more on the idea and not the execution
Every business startup starts with an idea. Now ideas are great, but your potential customers will not buy an idea neither will investors put their money in an idea that doesn’t have an executable solution. Most new entrepreneurs get stuck at the idea stage. They spend months talking about how great their ideas are, how it’s going to make them lots of money and change their lives forever but they never really take the first step of execution.

TIP – Do you have that genius business idea you have been sitting on? It’s time to begin drafting an execution plan. To start you off, ensure you have a business model with a clear value proposition based on current market dynamics, an innovation that does not necessarily have to be new but should have a unique solution compared to what is currently in the market and a growth model that guarantees a great profit margin in order to attract investors. When you have these, take your first step, whether it’s designing your new website or setting up that first pitch meeting with your first potential investor.

3. Being short sighted with your first profit
Depending on the amount of work and commitment you place in your start up in the initial stages, your business might reward you with a huge profit. However, the decisions you make at this stage are crucial for the long term success of your business. As much as you are justified to treat yourself as a business owner at this stage, making financial choices such as taking a fully paid vacation to Zanzibar or buying your dream car could prove costly for your business.

TIP – Growing a business requires setting short term and long term goals. Both goals should help you achieve your overall vision for your business. Some tips on how to use your first profit wisely are;
• Re-invest back into your business based on your strategies.
• Invest in marketing strategies both traditional methods and digital methods based on your target audience.
• Invest in a more qualified workforce in order to have a productive team.
• Investing in yourself by taking more business courses and learning new skills that will better your business

4. Dwelling too much on failure
When it comes to turning your business idea into a startup, it’s not a matter of if failure will happen but when. Failure is inevitable, whether it’s making a wrong business move that suddenly makes you bankrupt, hiring a rogue contractor that ends up damaging your systems or your business partner walking out on you. Whatever it is, it is bound to happen sooner or later and dwelling too much on it won’t make it any better.

TIP – Rather than having a fear of failure, it is important to prepare and plan for it so as to recover much faster. The good news is that once you overcome a failure in your business and pick up valuable lessons from it, you become stronger, your business benefits from it and you set strategies to prevent the same from happening in future.

5. Trying to maintain your normal lifestyle
Has your life always involved Friday evening dates with friends, watching and following up all Premier league matches or never missing out on all the latest parties and concerts in town? Well, if you have chosen the path of entrepreneurship, you should be ready to make major changes including working longer hours and focusing more energy on your business compared to your social life.

TIP – One thing entrepreneurship does is make you more focused since you now have this new responsibility, extra bills to pay, investors holding you accountable and people looking up to you every month for salaries. For your business to make it through the first years, you need a strong network of friends to support you. Despite the sacrifices you’ll need to make, always think long term.

6. Thinking you have no competitors
Due to the initial excitement of a new business idea, most new entrepreneurs get carried away by their idea and they think they have no direct competitors or their idea is way better than current solutions in the market.
However, the reality is no matter how innovative your idea is, someone else is most likely to come up with a better idea. The competitive business environment in the 21st Century also makes it quite challenging to monopolize a certain market because once people see how great you are doing, they will quickly pick out your weaknesses and come up with a better product/service.

TIP – To be on the safer side, do adequate research on competition before launching your business. Ensure your business has a better value proposition and your business model fills a gap in the market.