Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Reasons Why The Smartest People Aren't The Richest.

      Have you ever paused to think about why you are so smart, talented and amazing yet you're ever broke?    Maybe not or could be you're rich  already, but here's a few reasons why the world's smartest people aren't always the richest. Before I proceed you need to get on the edge today to engage the world on social media.

     They don’t want business partners
      There are loads of smart people out there doing cool stuff, with amazing business ideas but they will never grow. These people are local heroes in their state, county, province or nation but one thing that they lack is that strategic partner to catapult their businesses to national or global market. One major reason is greed, these guys want full control of their ventures! They want to own 100 percent of 10 million rather than get a partner, allocate some equity and own 60 percent of 1 billion. How dumb? These partners could be distributors, well known people with the influence and connections an entrepreneur needs to grow or could even be a financial partner. The other reason why smart people fear partners is that they are afraid of losing their business. Well, that’s a valid point however there are lawyers to assist in this, to ensure the deal/ agreement is binding to both parties. Most of the successful business today sought partners. From Facebook to Instagram, to Microsoft; their founders had co founders! 
      They don’t know people
      Not all the smart people are blessed with connections and networks in the right places. Having the networks doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to be from a rich family, however to succeed in business you need to be known! How do you get known? Befriend the press, get social, attend forums, hangouts, seminars and events where you are likely to meet the bigwigs in your industry. If you’ve got a nice cool product people will like it, you may get new customers, coverage in the media, meet potential partners etc. So go out there and seek contacts, do not chill out and bum all day, seek help out there and most important don’t be selfish; always approach people with a clear value proposition. Remember it’s not all about you, always demonstrate clearly “what’s in it for them”! 
      Lack of Information
There a lot of smart guys out there who do not have the information on what’s happening, what they can use to their advantage, how they can benefit from various organizations and platforms. As entrepreneurs complain of lack of funds, there are very many government, private sector bodies, trusts and other non-governmental organizations that disburse funds either inform of soft loans, grants, or offer non financial assistance to business owners. There are also loads of other business clubs and networking forums that you could take advantage of. Just ensure you are in the loop, seek to know who’s doing what, where and when, then analyze whether you need to participate individually or as a business.
     They never see the business angle
      If you’ve met a few smart then you understand this point clearly. These guys simply don’t see the money in what they do! For one reason or the other these people do not want to commercialize what they do! What happens when they don’t see the business angle? This is what has led to the creation of agencies, brokerage firms, agents who manage talented people like artistes, athletes and such. Brokers for example will go out seek business, come back armed with a deal and loads of cash, pay them a small percentage to do the work. The brokers live large and happily, the smart guys struggle to make ends meet! These smart people have fallen for rogue guys who steal their ideas and implement them. Why? If someone is sitting on diamonds but doesn’t see the cash in the stones then someone who does takes the opportunity because they can see the business and thus the huge returns from what the smart guys are ‘sleeping on’! 
      Lack of customer focus
Smart guys tend to think everyone in the world is as smart as they are; well its not the case. These guys are very innovative, they do really cool stuff that no one else understands how to use or operate. Whenever Facebook changes its design people complain, when we moved to the timeline people wanted the old Facebook! Why? People want to use simple, easy to understand gadgets and appliances. The literacy levels in the world are still very low, In Africa we still have people who haven’t touched leave alone seeing a mobile phone! These people cannot operate an I phone even if you gave it to them for free!
     They simply don’t want to be rich
These guys simply do not want to be RICH! For one reason or the other some of them want to popular, well known, others want to change the world, others want to be recognized and win global awards. However in a capitalist world you need money, if you can do something to change the world, make some money out of it. Have a revenue model to ensure your business is sustainable, monetize some of your services or products, make some $$$$. We are on planet earth, you need money here, probably if we get to the next world where the bible tells me everything will be free then we can chill out and enjoy but for now you’ve got pay your bills. The only free thing we got today is the dirty air we breathe; well someone has been selling clean air (oxygen) and very soon you may need to buy some from him should we keep burning more carbon and cutting down our trees!

Monday, 25 June 2012

The 6 Reasons Why Your Business Failed

Why do these reasons remain untold? Simple. Most of the time, the business owner doesn’t realize that these reasons are what caused their failure, and consultants generally don’t ask the kinds of questions that would identify them.
There have been many articles written on the subject of why businesses fail, and most of them point to the same reasons, such as:
·         Inadequate funding
·         Bad location
·         Lack of a well thought-out business plan
·         Poor execution
·         Bad management
·         Expanding too quickly
·         Insufficient marketing or promotion
·         Inability to adapt to a changing marketplace
·         Failure to keep overhead costs low
·         Underestimating competitors
These reasons are widespread and no doubt cause many businesses to fail. However, the reason for a company’s failure is not always something so obvious. Here are 6 lesser-known reasons why a business might fail. Why do these reasons remain untold? Most of the time, the business owner doesn’t realize that these reasons are what caused their failure, and consultants generally don’t ask the kinds of questions that would identify them.
1) Focusing on Short-Term Profits Rather than Building Long-Term Value
 It’s important to be profitable, but NOT when short-term profits come at the expense of the long-term value of the business and the lifetime value of the customer.
In other words, a profitable business opportunity consists of people who have dire wants that are being unmet so much that they will jump to buy your solution (product or service). A profitable business opportunity can be compared to a lake with thousands of starving fish. All you need to do is throw in the bait and it turns into a feeding frenzy.
It’s important to consider the lifetime value of a customer. Repeat business is way more valuable than short-term profits. Saving 20 cents on a smoothie today will cost you big in the long run.
2) Ego Business vs. Business Opportunity
The foundation of a good business is a good business opportunity. As an entrepreneur, you want to fill a need in the marketplace. Unfortunately, many businesses are started solely to fulfill an entrepreneur’s ego (or, to put it less harshly, to satisfy one of the entrepreneur’s interests).
This can often be seen in the restaurant & bar industry, where too many entrepreneurs open shop because it’s a “cool” thing to do. Such businesses rarely succeed.
The success of a business solely lies in being able to fill an unmet need in the market, unfortunately many entrepreneurs engage in business due to personal and selfish gain controlled by their egos. This also drives us to realize that many entrepreneurs are driven to start a business because their friends/colleagues are doing the same. There is nothing more destructive than to pick a business which you can’t fully embrace or which costs you a lot of money to sustain.
3) Lack of a Business Plan:
Business plans are critical for setting goals and mapping out your plan to achieve those goals. They are also critical in order to raise capital. Whether you are seeking a bank loan, or capital from angel investors, venture capitalists or corporate investors, a formal business plan is simply a requirement.
One of the absolute keys to a successful business plan is to create the right business plan milestones. Doing so is essential to securing investors and making real progress towards achieving your goals
 4) Bad feedback & white lies
 People like spending time with friends and family.
 Unfortunately, when it comes to business, friends and family members don’t always give the best advice. This is especially true at the birth of a business. Nobody wants to be a buzz-kill. No one wants to tell an entrepreneur their idea is bad, or their location stinks, or anything else negative. Most people are conditioned to be supportive of their friends and family regardless of the situation.
 Plus, nobody wants to be wrong. Imagine your friend has an idea that you think is terrible. You share your objections, but the friend goes ahead with the idea anyways, and it succeeds. Now you’ll always be the naysayer that never believed in them. Nobody wants to be that person.
 That’s why you’ll rarely get honest, objective business advice from friends or family members. And yet, oftentimes friends and family are the first people entrepreneurs turn to for advice.
 5) Maybe the owner is just a jerk
 There are a lot of great people in the business world, but there are also some jerks. And these jerks sometimes start their own companies.
 A jerk, in this case, is someone who a lot of people can’t get along with. Maybe it’s because they’re a super-perfectionist, or they yell a lot, or they demand that everything be done in a certain way, or they constantly complain. Or maybe they’re annoying in some other way.
 The key is that nobody -- not employees, customers, partners, suppliers, clients, etc. -- wants to give 100% for a jerk. Clients and customers will be turned off, and employees will start cutting corners. Most people believe that life is too short, and don’t want to spend their time working with someone they can’t get along with.
6) The entrepreneur never took the full leap
 In most new business attempts, the entrepreneur never leaves their day job, or they create a back-up plan, or they have a job lined up in case the new business fails. In these cases, failure is an option, as the entrepreneur has a safety net to fall back on. In cases where failure is NOT an option, and the entrepreneur depends on the new business to provide food, shelter and clothing, the business has a greater chance of succeeding.
 Every business can be compared to a baby that needs nurturing and protection from the owner to ensure that it grows and lives. Therefore, concentrating on two different things at the same are most likely to affect the growth of that business.
 “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
(The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar)
Finally here's something really cool that you should LIKE. Its good to Get on The EDGE!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

5 Business Lessons From Chief Francis Kariuki On The Bench

Lessons For All The Recent Graduates in Kenya- Who's Smarter Now?

Francis Kariuki is the simple chief of the dusty Lanet Umoja location in Nakuru County. His name may not ring a bell to many Kenyans. The fact that he is now one of the most sought after civil servants by the international press, due to his innovative use of information technology, may surprise many. The 47-year-old chief has moved from addressing small village barazas to addressing the international press that has been making a beeline to his office. He has talked to CNN, Associated Press,Huffington post, BBC, Daily Telegraph , Mashable e-Africa and yesterday he was on Capital Talk with Jeff Koinange yesterday, all this is thanks to the tech-savvy chief’s innovative use of Twitter to fight crime. Twitter is being used as a crime-fighting tool by a tech-savvy village chief  he has used the micro-blogging site for everything from tracking down missing sheep to stopping home invasions. His Twitter account is so popular that, he says, even the thieves in his village follow him. The chief uses Twitter to help solve problems and maintain order in his Kenyan village, showing another example of how social media has evolved beyond wired metropolises to reach even the most previously unconnected corners of the globe. Kariuki has used Twitter to organize a rescue operation after a man fell into a latrine pit. Chief Francis Kariuki tweets to defeat thugs and thieves, locate missing children and farm animals, and organize village logistical matters, he once mobilized residents to track down a lost nursery school pupil, who was found at Nakuru Central Police Station, 15km away. On many occasions, he has been called upon to attend to women giving birth in the middle of the night through Twitter. Although the residents do not have smart phones, he advised them on how to set up their normal mobile phones to receive his tweets as text messages. “From a chicken to a human being, everyone now feels safe in Lanet Umoja because if anything happens, it only takes minutes before the entire population is in the picture as the chief keeps us updated. But just what lessons can we the recent graduates and all the young people in Kenya learn from this brilliant chief on innovation & business?
            1. It’s in the simple things
 Having cleared campus last month I had the opportunity of listening to students better known as comrades on their plans after campus. Some of the smart guys really think big, with great ideas that will never be implemented (Kenyans are good talkers) while others lack the customer focus or generally the business angle. My point here is that we have graduates who think that starting another social network, application, software or a gadget is what innovation is all about. To some extent that’s the notion and perception however innovation isn’t just only about that. Chief Francis Kariuki didn’t spend years coding that SMS service he uses, he just leveraged on two platforms (Twitter & Safaricom). Is that rocket science? NO! was he taught that in college? NO!  From doing that he has now become a local hero, a globally recognized figure, he’s now training his colleagues on using the same. We need to think about ideas and concepts that change our communities, country, Africa before thinking of ideas that storm the global market. Do not focus on the complicated issues, think 'within'. Evans Wadongo came up with solar lamps to solve the problems in his village, through that he's now well known globally. When a few of us endlessly tweet about everything all day Chief Kariuki approach to Twitter is strictly business, he understands personal branding on the social networks etc yet our business leaders do not understand the basics of engaging on social media!
          2. Be Passionate
Chief Kariuki was a head teacher for 21 years, a job he would have kept till his retirement but he left to pursue his passion. He wanted to serve more people thus he felt that serving in the provincial administration would quench his thirst to lead. It wasn’t for money for him as he said on the bench, that wasn’t the motivation as he pursued his quest to become the chief of Lanet Umoja. Currently a large number of graduates want to run businesses only for the profit motive. Well I agree that we all have to make money, that’s why businesses exist however it is passion that drives you past the challenges that you’ll face on the way. After you've made your first 10M you no longer wake up every cold morning to go the office just because you're making money! It's not!  Mr Kariuki definitely makes more money nowadays, he gets more allowances, he could be paid to train his colleagues and when he makes presentations in conferences he definitely gets a "Thank You"cheque from the organizers. Being as smart as Mr Kariuki doesn’t call for having an Ivy League education, James Mwangi has done it with Equity Bank so the world is watching you! 
  3. It doesn’t cost so much money 
Mr Kariuki sends his tweets as messages to over 21000 people instantly using 1 bob; and that’s ridiculously cheap! Why then should the young people argue out that they need to work for 10 years to save money to start a business? Why should someone, a commerce graduate tweet arguing out that money is all they need to make more money? Another bigger group fail to go business citing lack of capital as the largest impediment to their dreams. In as much as funding is a huge problem there’s always money chasing great business ideas. Start, build something then seek help, do not sit there waiting for someone to do it all for you! The business also has to be scalable-with a huge potential for growth. If you come up with an economically viable business people will invest in your idea!
        4. Befriend the Press.
Mr Kariuki definitely understands the power of PR, he’s been addressing the international press having talked to CNN, Associated Press, BBC, Daily Telegraph , e-Africa and Capital Talk with Jeff Koinange among others.
There’s nothing as powerful as someone writing or saying great stuff about you, it changes the way the world thinks about you as a business or personally. It may not be that easy to get media placement on leading dailies, but if you’ve got a great product, story or unique idea the media will hunt you down to cover you. Ensure you’ve got something newsworthy. Getting the attention of international press and leading blogs isn't that easy, getting them to 'chase' after you for a feature is something every PR agency would want for the brands they handle. For Chief Kariuki it came effortlessly, by doing something for his community now every media house, blogger and writer wants to do a story on him! (Ooh I also did one on him) Do not be surprised if Mr Kariuki wins coveted global awards, gets invitations to international conferences, becomes a global ambassador to some UN or global organization or even gets an honorary degree from various local and international universities. Why? He’s smarter than most US!
        5.Ethics , Values & Morals
Mr Kariuki isn’t just another government official, he doesn’t talk about beating corruption and later pick bribes to serve the community. What amazes me about this tweeting chief is his values, ethics and his high moral standards. Whenever there are "Kazi Kwa Vijana" jobs he invites all the youths who are interested, then writes a YES or NO on papers and should you be lucky to pick a YES you’re hired on the spot. That’s very transparent, time saving and very efficient; you can’t interview or select 1500 people for 25 menial jobs! Back to you now, to make it life and leave a legacy you got to have high moral standards. We cannot fight corruption yet we are the same people who pay bribes to access services. The young people have been blamed for the recent fraud cases in local banks. It seems we (the youths) have an insatiable urge to make money quickly, we all want to make it in the shortest time possible. Rather than work hard, in legitimate businesses we sell drugs to make cash fast, we get into crime to make ends meet. We’ve seen the recent cases of corporate governance issues at CMC and a number of other companies, all this points to lack of morals and being unethical. The sad thing about this is you’ll never be peaceful, the drug barons are billionaires but they have to be on the look out always and they’ve been blamed for the recent Ngong plane crash. To what extent can they go to silence people who have information on who they are? Why make billions and yet remain on the run, no peace or spend your life in jail. You can read more here about how great personal brands lose trust.
If you've got anything to add on to the above (comments, compliments and lessons) kindly follow @Chiefkariuki  & @KenyanMarketer .

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Social Media For Business in Kenya- Frida Owinga

Frida Owinga
CEO & Founder
Passion Profit 
Tell us something about your business or professional background?
 PassionProfit equips aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with skills and tools to create ,manage and grow successful world class organizations.
In what ways do you use social media personally and for business?
Personally - to connect with friends and family. Especially friends abroad as I lived there for 10 years.
Business wise - to build my brand as a speaker and authority in entrepreneurship by sharing relevant content and some times general ideas.
What are some of techniques that you apply online and offline to drive traffic to your page, profile or twitter handle? In what ways have you managed to grow your audience i.e. friends, Likes and followers?
1. Driving Traffic - I try to update consistently with relevant content.
- every time I speak at event or media, I share my FB name and twitter handle.
When did you get into social media (and marketing)? 2010 How frequently do you update Facebook and Twitter? At least 2-3 times daily.
What percentage of referral traffic do you think your site gets from social media sites? Over 70% after an event the numbers grow.
Can you quantify leads from social media that you converted to sales?
               Yes. I can.
What has been your biggest achievement in Social Media Marketing?
One of the anchors on NTV saw my tweet on PassionProfit and it landed me an interview on NTV PM Live show.
And what’s your take on social media give aways?
It all depends on what the give away is and what is the objective of giving it away.
Are they sustainable?
Depending on the answer to (a) above, they can be achievable if one starts with the end in mind, what do they want to achieve, how long will it run, etc.
Would you recommend them to someone? Yes
 What are your strengths and weaknesses/challenges in social media?
Time to be consistent.  Sometimes I forget to  update.
Sometimes I forget and post things that are not relevant to entrepreneurship… e.g. politics. So I try to balance and minimize that.
And would you involve a social media consultant in managing your presence online?  
I would but not at the present time.Is it economically viable to you? No.
Do you feel that you are well connected in Social media spheres?  Does your social media account carry influence? How do you measure success on social media and what metrics or tools do you use to measure the effectiveness of social media? I will pass this one.
How do you manage an online reputation? How do you handle criticism of a company online? What would you recommend to others?
Just be authentic, post value and respond within 24 hours to all requests. Avoid getting antagonistic with people. Social media allows everyone to express themselves and not everyone will agree with you, that’s ok.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt about social media that you’d like to share with us? Your advice to Kenyans? Etc All I have said above, I have learnt !

Here's a quote for you from @KenyanMarketer
 “We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.” -Pierre Omidyar, eBay Founder

Social Media For Business In Kenya- Ryk Mchoraji

 Tell us something about your business or professional background? At what point did you start doing what you currently handle, manage or run?
My name is Erick Kivuva- Better known as RYK MCHORAJI I am 23 years old. I studied Social Science, economics major, sociology minor and graduated with a Second Class Lower Division. I have worked as a  B.G Project Beneficiary Supervisor, AMREF, Kenya, Research Field Supervisor, Royal  Media Services Kenya and Barclays Kenya, sales and marketing (the project did not run so I took the chance to start my own venture). Currently I am the creator and head fashion artist of  Re’Touch Designs.
In what ways do you use social media personally and for business?
I use social media for everything. I look at the internet as my office. If it was not for social media Ryk Mchoraji n Re’Touch Designs would not exist. I am not outgoing, I’ m almost always indoors no it has been like magic  that people could just see what I made n without hustle n bustle, order and get the service or design they desire.
What are some of techniques that you apply online and offline to drive traffic to your page, profile or twitter handle?
Most 99% of my clients are absolute strangers. A hand-full are friends who always call when they need a fix. I use the picture n photo apps that are available for uploading. I use photo tagging. My audience has grown simply by friend requests, when u tag, someone else is bound to see and want.
When did you get into social media (and marketing)? How frequently do you update Facebook and Twitter? 
I got into social media 2 years ago, one year as a personal account and after graduation, as a commercial account. I’m always online.
 What has been your biggest achievement in Social Media Marketing? And what’s your take on social media give aways?
My biggest achievement is remaining relevant. People go out of style as quick as they got in. I don’t give away stuff for free, as much as they bring in numbers, discounts are better. Give aways in these economic times are counted as losses rather than investments in opinion.
What are your strengths and weaknesses/challenges in social media?
My strength is the amount of trust that clients put in when ordering . My weakness is maybe the personal relationship that other people grow with the clients, I just keep it all about business.
Do you feel that you are well connected in Social media spheres?  Does your social media account carry influence?
My Facebook is powerful; I am added by people who like and want art. People who know and seek what they want. I measure success on social media by the presence of my name among people who don’t know me personally. I feel happy when people mention Ryk Mchoraji in art gigs and yet they don’t know me personally. I measure the effectiveness of my presence on social media by the units of pieces sold per week.
How do you manage an online reputation? How do you handle criticism of a company online? What would you recommend to others?
I manage it by providing quality n nothing else. I always pray not to be criticized. I always say there is no mistake in art and mistakes in business is experience.  I handle criticism by taking it as pointer on how to polish up and improve the quality of what I do. I recommend people should do research on what they are and what they represent, do not do something because others are doing, do it to forge your own style and brand, then you will grow.
Since everyone is into social media nowadays (including your competitors) how do you differentiate your presence? Apart from pushing what you offer what else do you share?
I share a lifestyle that many seem not to be able to afford. My brand is worn internationally. My aim is to make the man and woman in the street feel classy and worth adoration. My designs set people apart, give you a different look plus it’s a lifestyle altogether.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt about social media that you’d like to share with us? Your advice to Kenyans?
The potential on social media is huge, it has helped me cut down on my sales and marketing costs. A website is good but you don’t need one at the beginning. We should all work harder as Kenyans, be cautious of con men and sharpen our skills in whatever we do to remain competitive. Moreover I would like to urge all Kenyans especially the youth to embrace the web. 

FACEBOOK: RykMchoraji
TWITTER: @Ryk_Mchoraji
CELL : 0724917959
SHOP  1 ; Bishan Plaza, Westlands, Ground Floor, Below Red Tape, COOL BEANS,
SHOP 2 : Nakumatt Junction, Ngong road, new block, next to Kfc, UNITED rugby shop.


Kindly follow me on twitter @KenyanMarketer for more insights on social media, however before I sign out here's a quote for you-
 “Ultimately, brands need to have a role in society. The best way to have a role in society is to understand how people are talking about things in real time.” -Jean-Philippe Maheu, Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy