Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Peeling Back The Mask; 5 Business Lessons Startups Could Learn From Miguna Miguna

Miguna Miguna's new book "Peeling Back The Mask" has generated so much buzz in the media in the last few days. Hate him or love him, we are all talking about this guy, he's got Kenyans talking, writers & journalists have and will write and say more about this guy. We are tweeting about him, his book and giving our side of the story/analysis. Thank God for social media we can all use #ComeBabyCome to tell the world whatever we have to say but as an entrepreneur and a blogger I chose to focus on a few lessons I could pick up from this whole hullabaloo. Miguna was ‘spitting fire’ on the bench last night; word after word, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s got his facts rights and he has more lined up; Daily Nation has also serialized his book giving him more coverage (good pre launch) for his new book.
There a few lessons all entrepreneurs, start ups and Kenyans could learn from Miguna, well this guy is smarter, intelligent and understands the rules of the game. Miguna has strategy and he has so far executed his idea well better still the guy is set for anything that may come out his expose’.
1      1.Grab attention of the media/ Be newsworthy!
Let’s face it, you always experience a little envy when you see or hear people on television and radio. You wish it was you… in fact; you’ve been working so hard you know that it should be you. But when will your time come? And the sad part is, you know that when your clients see one of your competitors on television and don’t see you they often wonder if they should go with him or her instead. You need to establish yourself as an expert, and getting interviewed by radio, podcast or TV hosts can help you do just that. Never underestimate the value of networking with people in person,you could run into journalists even on Twitter and all you need to have is a great product or a service that can generate buzz, get journalist fighting to interview you first. Chief Kariuki has done that and you too can do it!
2.Have your facts right/ understand what you are doing.
Miguna Miguna definitely has a story to tell. He has promised to expose more in his upcoming books. He has enough information, know what he’s up to and understands what he is doing. He has a strategy that will make him famous and bring in some cash too. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to know the rules of your game. To be competitive you’ve got to know exactly what you’re doing, your target market and have a product that people can buy. You cannot get away for so long by offering a shoddy product or service to your clients because your clients will switch to your competitors sooner than you think. Before you venture out to start a business, have a plan, do thorough research, understand what you’re up to and then roll out what you want to do.
3.Launch at the right time.
Miguna Miguna has ‘peeled back the mask’ at the right time, it was an idea that was brought to the market at the right time. Some people may argue he’s being funded by enemies of RAO but when you look at all this as a business person/ entrepreneur if you launch your product at the right time then attracting funding from investors will not be a hard task. Instagram was acquired by Facebook at a staggering price of 1Billion. Ridiculous?  Right?
As an entrepreneur you’ve got to scan for gaps in the market that you can fill profitably, once in a while we bring ideas whose time hasn’t come to the market, in other times we copy and paste what others are doing and launch. I am sure you know we operate in a world where people copy & duplicate ideas. Evaluate your business idea, see the market and sales potential and tap into it boldly. Miguna is definitely a bold guy, he isn’t afraid of the challenges he may face in future so when you have that great idea, DO IT….. Start! There’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come!
   4.Keep people guessing!
When DN began serializing Miguna’s book before its launch we all wanted to know what next will be on the paper the following day. Miguna also promises us that he’s got more lined up for publishing in the reproduced version of his book; he even has two more books lined up for publishing. In as much as Kenyans may dismiss this guy what he’s doing is ensuring that Kenyans keep waiting for more from him. Apple Inc does that with its launches, we all wait with bated breath to see what new gadget Apple will be offering to the world (good strategy).  There’s nothing as bad to an entrepreneur as sending you best soldiers first into a war, because should you lose round one of the battle then your best men will be gone. What this all means to a start up entrepreneur is keep doing the best to your clients, you may not have the best resources, offices or machines but you beat all the big dogs when it comes to customer service. Do the best, amaze your first few clients, and show them the best you can do. Deliver excellently, but just how do you keep your clients guessing? That comes as a result of constant innovation; you got to read widely so that you remain competitive. Secondly do not empty your strategy out there, have a solid game plan, you don’t want to let your bigger competitors what you’re up to days before you launch a new service or a product. ODM is definitely going to come up with a strategy to counter what the book says about RAO, politicians allied to the G7 alliance have something to talk about in political rallies. The headache RAO is facing is what else Miguna might expose and how to counter that in good time. Miguna may not have much left to expose but he has definitely intimidated a few men in the country.
5.Know your friends well!
Finally RAO definitely now knows he can be betrayed by anyone, it’s a crazy world, in one moment someone could be praising you and the next moment the same guy is spilling all the dirt he/she knows about you. In business you’ll have employees who once they resign or they are fired work tirelessly hard to bring you down. It’s a crazy world,  you can’t trust anyone in business and in life. Guys have ill motives, not everyone out there is genuine. Do not trust everyone, what you see as someone trying to help could be what brings you down. A partnership with a bigger brand maybe a plot to take over your business.  Watch out for guys who want to offer you help, could be financial or otherwise. Seek to know who these people are to avoid headaches in future.  My advice to all entrepreneurs is “Hire character, you’ll train skill”. Watch out for people who might 'peel your mask' after you they leave!

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