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Starting small in fast-moving products distribution business

Starting small in fast-moving products distribution business

They say you cannot start by becoming great but you can become great by starting. This is a mindset that has indeed built great business intrapreneurs the world over.

Let us take, for instance, the business of supplying fast-moving goods such as cakes, mandazis, soft drinks, and bread among others from manufacturers which requires small capital to start.

In fact, a product’s route to the market is one of the crucial factors every manufacturer considers in their quest to make sales by moving their goods closer to consumers. 

Here is where you come in as a distributor by either becoming a subcontracted distributor by the appointed agents or doing it solo by buying as a wholesaler.

In both approaches, you do not need to own a company under which you operate but a capital of Sh50,000 which you can easily get if you have been doing some savings with a Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCO) or otherwise.

The benefit of being a member of a SACCO is the ease of accessing loans as they give up to five times the amount saved allowing you a very good capital base for the business and low interest.

With this money, you need to, first of all, identify some of the small shops or resellers and which products they sell as they would be your main target markets before setting up or renting a store where they will easily locate you.

In Nairobi’s central business district (CBD), for example, you can actually get a rental store of 50mat as low as Sh1,500 a month or Sh200 per square feet of rental space.

You will then need some means of transport to move your goods around and because you want to start small, avoid a pick-up or a car, hire a tuk-tuk (three-wheeled vehicle) or motorcycle which can be charged Sh1,000 per day depending on the load weight given they are meant for short distances.

Load weight equivalent to that of three passengers is charged Sh50 depending on the distance.

When this is done, you can then approach the manufacturer producing the products that you want to trade in or their agents and buy the goods wholesale for distribution.

Baked mandazis like the famously known KDFs are always packed 60 per packet. This is the same as the small cakes which are always sold at Sh10-20 in small shops.

You can acquire these from bakers at Sh45 per packet then distribute to resellers at Sh50 earning Sh5 a packet.

Assuming you can carry not less than 200 such packets in crates on your motorcycle at a go, you will make Sh1,000 gross profit and Sh2,000 in a day if you have two trips in the morning and evening.

Alternatively, a piece of bread in wholesale will cost you Sh43. You can then distribute it to the small shops at Sh48 getting Sh5 per bread.

Now, a crate carries about 10 pieces of bread translating to Sh50 per create and assuming you can distribute up to 100 crates a day (on the lower side), you will be carrying home Sh5,000 gross income a day.

As you grow and you want to get more formal, it is good to note that of the various distribution channels, manufacturers often appoint a third-party distributor to undertake this function by entering into what is known as distribution agreements.

A distribution agreement sets out the contractual relationship between a manufacturer and a distributor detailing the terms under which the distributor may sell the manufacturer’s products in a given market.

Laws regarding products distribution

Do not trade blindly or else you will get yourself on the wrong side of the law. Like any other business, the distribution of products is also protected by law.

According to the Competition Act, No.12 of 2010 (the Act) restrictive or anti-competitive trade practices which may affect trade within Kenya is prohibited.

In this action under Kenyan law, distribution agreements are deemed to be vertical arrangements within the production or distribution chain.

Consequently, they are capable of involving negative trade practices that impact competition. Such practices in distributorship include the unreasonable increase in the cost of production or distribution of commodities resulting in higher market prices, price-fixing on the selling price, misleading or deceptive advertising or any other trading conditions and setting of minimum prices in form of retail price maintenance.

To be compliant with the competition law, parties must be keen to ensure that exclusivity provisions and terms restricting the minimum resale prices are adhered to.

This is because if you are found guilty, you will be liable to a fine of up to Sh10 million or imprisonment for a term of up to 5 years or to both. 

Though this normally applies to big players in the distribution chain, you should as well ensure you do not get involved in unfair trading as it can adversely affect the reputation and the entire business.

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 –

  • 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 –

  • 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.


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.


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 business Learning

How to tap into Influencer Marketing for Your Small Business

Image Credit: Freepik

Small businesses, startups included, are not known for having endless marketing budgets. Usually, their resources are allocated to more practical aspects, like day-to-day operations and maintenance, sales operations, and employee benefits. Marketing becomes part of their priority only when they are expanding, in order to reach more audience or try new markets.

However, with the help of the Internet, there are now new ways to make a name for your business even when you’re just starting up. Through tapping into social media and other platforms to connect with large numbers of people online, small businesses can start their own marketing campaigns and one way to do so is through influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing, from the term itself, is the approach that focuses on individual influencers, rather than your usual marketers. Influencers range from well-known celebrities to experts in niche topics of your industry. You could include knowledgeable bloggers with a sizable following, or social media personalities that tackle topics related to the industry you are in.

Maybe now you’re wondering if influencer marketing would work for your business. Take a minute to think about how well your brand is engaged online: how many followers do you have on your Facebook or Instagram account? How often do you update your accounts, or post something new for your followers? If your answers are leaning towards dismal numbers, then perhaps you should consider going with the influencer marketing route. And no, this is different from social media management.

You’re not getting another person to handle your accounts or post updates about your brand. What you’re doing is targeting influencers with thousands of followers to talk about your products or services and promote them to their followers. Their influence is what you’re after, and just like any other marketing campaigns, your aim is to attract and engage the right audience, only this time, these are the influencer’s audience too.

To have a simplified understanding of what influencer marketing is, refer to this 4-step process:

Step 1 – Identify the experts in your industry, specifically in your chosen niche/field. Learn how well-connected they are, to see if they are influential enough to be an influencer for your business. Come up with as many as you like, so that you’ll have an extensive list of potential influencers before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2 – From the compiled list from the previous step, make a shortlist of those who are closely related to your business. These people should be complementary to your business, meaning, they are targeting the same audience bracket, as well as their reach, and their tone. It would help if you could find some that have the same target audience as yours so that they won’t have a hard time selling whatever product or service it is you are offering.

Step 3 – Start building a connection with your influencers. First step is to follow whatever platform they have so that they’ll know that you are connected through the same industry. Formally introduce your business, and express how well their blog/page resonates with your brand. State that you are looking forward to working with them in the future and are open to discussing a partnership. Share their content on your end, so that they’ll know you’re positively considering them as an influencer.

Step 4 – Once you’ve formalized a connection or partnership, you can now start to create content with them. These could include videos, posts, info graphics, and other items that they could share with their followers. This would be something related to your brand and will be promoted by them in whatever platform they have.

Why is Influencer marketing effective?

This type of marketing works simply because it helps you go directly to your target audience. Unlike typical marketing, which is like casting a net in a wide ocean, you’re cutting through all the unnecessary noise of your usual advertising efforts. From the get-go, you’ve identified influencers whose audience are quite similar to yours, so running campaigns through them would assure you that the ones on the receiving end are at least interested in what you’re offering. This method would be like casting a net on a commercial fishing pond, wherein you are highly likely to catch something.

But of course, it still takes a lot of work for this kind of campaign to work. Going back to Step 4, you’ll need to coordinate with your influencer in order to create a content that will capture your audience. You can’t just go and ask your influencer to say something about your brand and tell your audience to buy from you. Just to give you an idea of what they can do, here are some of the tactics that influencers usually employ:

– Your influencer gives you precious blog space so that you can write a content that’s related to their blog theme, and find a way to mention your product. In a way, you’re projecting yourself as an expert, and it builds trust from influencers’ audience, drawing their attention to whatever your brand is offering.

– You create a content for your own platform, but this time, you’re using your influencer as a subject matter expert. By interviewing your influencer for your own content, their audience (fans, followers, etc.) will likely go visit your site to see the content. You can also ask the influencer to promote it by sharing the URL on his or her accounts.

– The influencer will create a content that includes your product, either as a part of a tutorial (how-tos, FAQs, etc.) This can just be a subtle mention of your product as an ingredient, or as a material to whatever they’re creating. The influencer can also allot a post especially for you, to review your product or service. If they’re pleased with your brand, their followers would know about it and most likely try it out, too.

Final Word

Going back to the original question, should I get an influencer for my small business? The answer is obviously, Yes. It’s a great way to make your presence felt in a jam packed industry, and hopefully, help you make a name even when you’re just starting out. You can couple influencer marketing with other marketing strategies like mobile marketing in order to achieve best results.

Author’s Bio

Francis Mansueto has been writing for more than a decade now, focusing on Digital Marketing in the last couple of years. He is currently in charge of writing web-optimized content for RingCentral, an industry-leading cloud phone systems provider. Francis is also a voracious reader, spending most of his free time immersed on fictional worlds. You can reach him through Twitter.

Blog business Learning

How to Start a Motivational Speaking Business in Kenya

How to Start a Motivational Speaking Business in Kenya

Do you love speaking in front of a crowd, inspiring people and have a likeable personality? Then you should consider starting a business as a motivational speaker. Everyone likes a passionate speaker who motivates them to accomplish what seems impossible and fuels them with hope. Motivational speaking is also a business which once you get right, you’ll reap a lot of rewards while leaving an impact on people’s lives.

Big names like Robin Sharma and Zig Ziglar have all built a strong brand in this industry and so can you. Here are the basics of starting out a motivational speaker business;

Getting Started

One advantage of being a motivational speaker is you do not need hundreds of thousands to start. The major capital you need to invest in is yourself. Start by identifying your area of expertise depending on your back ground, interest and expertise. Some places that are most receptive to motivational speakers are;

  • Schools (primary, high school and university)
  • Corporates
  • Churches, etc

You also need to fully invest in yourself and your skills by;

  • Developing public speaking skills: strong public speaking skills are a must have for any motivational speaker. You can invest in some lessons and tutorials on public speaking and even though you won’t be perfect overnight, practice makes perfect.
  • Gain experience: become an expert in your field by going to school, gaining work experience and trying out new opportunities. Successful speakers have gone through success and failures then talk about what they’ve learnt during their speaking engagements.
  • Maximize on your life story: life stories draw people in and make you more relatable.

Build your Networks

Networks and recommendations are what will take you far in this business. Build your networks by joining professional speaking organizations, reaching out to various trade groups, schools and corporates and joining reputable clubs and societies like Rotary.

Market yourself to your networks by creating and sharing business cards, brochures and having a website which should include testimonials and short clips from your presentations.

Build your Brand

Every professional needs to intentionally build a reputable personal brand. However, motivational speakers should take their brand seriously since that is what will sell you. Before you start building your personal brand, take time to think about who you are, what you have achieved and how you want others to see you.

To get your brand out there, have professional headshot images of yourself taken, build your online presence through branded social media pages and a personal website.

With time you can also venture into other fields. Most successful speakers are also authors, T.V show hosts, etc.

Set a speaking fee rate

Determining what your speaking fee should be can be so stressful especially because when starting out, you may have to do some speaking engagements for free. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before choosing a speaking fee rate;

  1. Will travel expenses be included? What will be the mode of transport?
  2. What audience am I speaking to? Speaking to experienced professionals for example will definitely cost more than a speaking engagement with high school students.
  3. Is accommodation covered? As a motivational speaker, you have to travel a lot. Set your accommodation standards from the beginning and don’t accept anything that is not decent.
  4. What’s the audience size?

Whatever you do, make sure you do not work for free for too long and don’t underprice yourself. However, the more times you speak, the better you get, the more you should charge.

If you are an author or have DVD’s of your talks, you can sell them during the events.

Get Registered

After you have everything ready, register your company and get the relevant licenses. You also need to get certified by the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) to have an edge in the industry.

Final Word

Would you venture into motivational speaking as a business?

Blog business Learning

When a Business Idea Comes to You in an Unexpected Place, Run With It


Kenya is a growing nation and everyone seems to be moving towards making it a 24 hour economy. People are either busy at work or at their business. Many are the times that these people need to run errands but they don’t have the time! What could be better than having someone to run these errands for you?

George Kamau is the founder of HCS Errands, a company that runs a variety of errands for people who may be too busy to run them on their own. This is an idea that was conceived by coincidence. As George was busy looking for a job from office to office and getting little to no response he noticed one thing. In most of these offices he visited he would hear of the receptionist either struggling to get someone on phone to deliver company documents or they would be complaining about delays in the delivery of their documents. It occurred to him that this was it! It was time to try and venture into the world of entrepreneurship. Running errands such as delivering packages among other services would be his entry point.

Services he offers include making deliveries/courier services, data entry services, government online related services, banking services etcetera. This is one of those businesses you can start with very little money or literally zero capital. As George himself puts it, “The most important capital in this business is the idea, a positive attitude and commitment. In terms of money you need transport money which was a challenge for me when starting out since I was jobless and didn’t have money, so I would sometimes have to borrow from friends then refund upon being paid.”

Despite this hiccup in the beginning George has been able to persevere due to his resilient nature. He adds that entrepreneurship has shaped him up and he is happy that he has been able to create opportunities for young Kenyans with the skills. The young CEO is a proud employer to five other people, two stationed in the office and the rest work in the field “The company has really grown from the time when I would do everything by myself to now where I have people to assist me. To be more effective as a businessperson you need a team of people who understand your vision”

The business has not been without challenges. For one George says entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. “You will find that very few people believe in you. Some view this business as that of the illiterate! It’s up to you to believe in yourself. Work with those who support you strive to be the best and you will see that the doubting Thomas’s will get on board eventually”

George adds that in this business one must remember that the client is king. Provide to their level of demand and ensure your services offer them a solution. He attributes his success to God, hard work and being dynamic. Despite all the challenges he faces he is very confident in his business and sees a bright future ahead. He urges the young people who may want to go into entrepreneurship not to be afraid to start, “Don’t let challenges weigh you down you can start with the little that you have. Use the resources that are within you, visit places that mentor young people like Kuza Biashara and be open to learn.”

Blog business Learning

5 Ways to Make your Small Business Stand Out from Competition

5 Ways to Make your Small Business Stand Out from Competition

If there is one challenge that every entrepreneur faces across the board, it’s being able to stand out from competition. Do you ever feel like everyone in your industry is doing the same thing, sharing the same message, using the same tone and style?

Standing out from competition may be a difficult task but it’s not impossible. There are major brands that have built strong brand identities for themselves and acquired a large share of the target market in their industries.

As a small business, you can still use the same strategies as your competitors but add a unique spin that makes you unique.

Here are 5 ways to do this;

  1. Providing Exceptional Customer Service

    75% of customers state that they consider customer care as a true test of a company’s competence. Whatever business you are in, create an environment where your customers don’t want to leave. Great customer service is about making sure your customers feel valued and this does not even have to be expensive.

    Simple things like calling to follow up if a customer’s issue was resolved, listening and acting on customer feedback, calling a customer beforehand to remind them of an appointment they made stand out and make a customer want to keep coming back.

    Another way you can stand out is to be honest with your customers especially if you know you cannot meet a specific need they have. This helps build trust instead of hiding some information or even lying just to make a sale.

  2. Offer a Powerful Guarantee

    Having a guarantee is a great way to draw people to your product/service and boost sales. Guarantees communicate your company’s commitment to stand behind the product or service you provide and makes customers more confident in investing in your product/service.

    Examples of popular guarantees are;

    • If your competitor offers 6 months warranty on their product, offer a 1 year warranty.
    • You can guarantee that every call or email query will be handled within 24 hours.
    • You can have a 30 day money refund for customers who will not be satisfied with your product/service.

    Depending on your industry, figure out what guarantees you can provide that will make you stand out.

  3. Constantly Innovate

    In this increasingly competitive business environment, innovation is vital to the success of your small business. Being innovative provides an edge and boosts your company’s growth and profitability. Innovation doesn’t have to be a complicated, world changing break through. Even the simple improvements in how you do things can be innovative and stand out.

    Here are a couple of innovative ideas that you can incorporate;

    • Embrace green energy, it’s much cheaper, reliable and cost effective.
    • Improve packaging of products.
    • Find creative ways to organize your workspace
  4. Be Easy to Work With

    Having talent, education and experience is no longer enough to survive in today’s competitive economy. Neither is offering the best product/service in the market. Key soft skills such as having a good attitude, having good communication skills influence how likeable you are personally and professionally.

    Here are a few other qualities you need;

    • Be reliable – Being consistent and dependable will help you win contracts and maintain your work relationships.
    • Be honest – In every tough choice you have to make, choose honesty over deception.
    • Have a great 1st impression – Whether you like it or not, people are going to form judgments about you the first time they meet you. Make sure your first impression exhibits your professionalism both in real life and on your social media handles.
  5. Narrow down your Target Market

    Narrowing down your target market can be quite tricky. It might not make sense at first since we all want a bigger market so that we can make more profit, right?

    Assuming that everyone is your target market when starting a business is a big mistake most new entrepreneurs make. You end up spending time and money attracting them while your actual target market who needs what you offer doesn’t even know you exist since you are not directly targeting them.

    If you want to stand out from your competitors, narrow down your market, figure out the little details including what challenges they face, what their needs are, where to find them and how to effectively deliver your message to them.

Final Word

Are you an entrepreneur? What do you do to stand out from competition? Let us know in the comment box below.

Blog business Experiences Learning



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


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


“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.



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 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


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


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 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 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.