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Category: Entrepreneurship

GNLD, Forever Living and Other Stories

 

GNLD session

It’s many moons ago, and I am fresh in Nairobi (just after I had come into the city in search of education and proper initiation into the world). I have lots of time in my hands and it has not occurred to me that I could use that time to William around and build an empire (Those who did CPA full time know you aren’t in class all the time). So, my free time is spent lying on the bed with kina Kero and Flo staring at the ceiling and imagining how we’ll stop eating Ngumu Strungi and start owning Nairobi, “because if kina Kibaki own the city, why not us?”

One day, Flo, drunk with strungi says, “My cousin is quitting school to concentrate on another business she’s running. You know she just bought a car… what else would you be looking for in school when you can buy a car from your business?”

“What?” That jolts me out of bed, with lots of questions. I want to buy a car too and if this Third Year cousin of Flo’s has quit to buy a car, why am I struggling with this CPA which isn’t my passion, anyway?

We bug her so much she promises to introduce us to her cousin, which she does in a few week’s time.

I meet Esther. She is very very charismatic, articulate and she’s a girl who knows what she wants in life and is mapped out. She gives me this motivational speech on life and how I can get the position that I so deserve. I ask her if and how she can help me attain that, given that I have heard stories about her success.

So, she invites me to a meeting in Eagle House, 6th Floor, I think. And my-oh-my… That’s a superbly motivational meeting. People are giving testimonies of how right they are, how they quit employment and school to become very very rich. This year, the top “managers” are going to holiday in the US or some other country.

It gets me dreaming, this GNLD meeting.

I grabbing the opportunity to own cars in Nairobi, then buildings, and who knows, even Nairobi!

Registration is Sh. 6,300 which I promptly pay. (Remember I saved some money when I went to Visions Institute of Professionals rather than KCA?). Yeah, so I pay and forth to convince people. Esther, my manager, tells me I don’t have to convince people. I can identify people and she will do the rest.

2 months later, and I don’t have a single follower. Maybe that’s why I’m not a pastor. I can’t convince people to do shit.

how GNLD works

How GNLD works and all these networking stuff works

And there is another major detail that was conveniently left out: I have to buy and sell products worth Sh. 6000 or so (I think)! That’s should shitty… Why didn’t anyone tell me that? Esther again tells me no problem if I can’t sell, she will have someone sell it for me and give me the money to buy another one. The catch? Buy the most expensive thing and break it down into small packages. It was a cleaning liquid. That was another Sh. 3,600.

To date, I have never received a single cent from that… and my 10K+ with GNLD drank water.

A con job interview

A few years later, I’m still lying in bed, after class, browsing the internet. I’m looking for a job and I see an exciting one on Brighter Monday. Someone is looking for an accountant, with at least CPA Section 2. I have already completed Section 4 so I know I’m very qualified.

So, I send my CV and application letter. 2 days later, I am invited for an interview at Nairobi Cinema. God has answered my prayers and I’m finally leaving Satan’s poverty.

Dressed in a suit complete with a tie, I go to the place. Only that I see other smartly dressed people in a full room with a teacher at the front, doing sums on a whiteboard. I’m confused. Is this an interview or a training. I think they are teaching us something, then give us a small test for the job.

It takes me almost 10 minutes to realize that this ain’t no interview. The bastards are telling us about GNLD!

All the people on the room are CPA students and graduates, and the guy at the front was an accountant who quit to do GNLD full time. I am hurt, very hurt. Why would anyone do this to all these desperate people?

I raise my hand as if to ask a question and he excitedly allows me.

“You invited us for an interview to sell us this shit GNLD scam? Guys, these people are con men! All this is is bullshit!” I say with the anger of a Baite and walk out, leaving the teachers with open mouths and a few of the students scrambling to leave.

My friend Bernard Muiru also got this GNLD “job”: Part 1 | Part 2

—-

The Crush Calls… wants us to Live Happily Forever

Yet a few years later, an old classmate of mine, Josephine is reconnecting. We have not been in touch since we finished school. I’m thinking she is missing me because she keeps calling me. All.the.time! I’m actually feeling lucky – Josephine was a cutie when we went to school together. And we were quite good friends… after the crushing ended. Could she be crushing on me after my crushing on her ended? Or does she want us to settle and make a family? 🙂

She tells me she will buy me one glass of my beloved mango juices, because she wants us to talk. Badly. Feels like a booty call.

So, of course I agree to meet her. And we meet in one of those restaurants in town, drink our juice and catch up. You know, what we are doing after CPA… I’m interning at an IT firm and she’s in business, because jobs are hard to get. Bla bla bla. And she wants me to meet some people who can help.

So, off we go, to Eagle House again…and it gives me a really bad feeling.

“I hope we aren’t going to GNLD”

“Oh. You know GNLD?”

“Yes. And I really hope you aren’t taking me there because this will be bad.”

“No. I can’t be involved with GNLD.”

Phew! We walk into a huge room with desks. If this ain’t GNLD, is she introducing me to Illuminati or something?

Only that it’s not. I get introduced to everyone around a table, who are all genuinely pleased to meet me. They tell me I must be a very good friend of Josephine – she must love me to give me this opportunity.

Of joining Forever Living!

Forever living discussion

It was a round table discussion like this. Image: teachingprofessor.com

I tell them I know Forever Living is like GNLD and they tell me those are two very different things. You don’t have to carry bags of products or even invite people if I don’t want. You just start amassing wealth as soon as you join. They show me progression charts and what you get when you get to a certain level. You start with cars, then houses in South Africa and some other place, then a helicopter and finally a yacht!

Do you know anyone who owns a yacht anywhere? I would be that guy.

By then I am streetwise enough to know nothing comes that easy. Hii ni Nairobi bwana!

“Don’t you have relatives to show this shit before showing a stranger, me, such an opportunity to get rich?” I asked.

They look at me, fumbling for words.

“Exactly.” And left with a glee.

Conclusion

You can’t get rich through these network pyramid schemes. Unless you started it.

Addis Ababa I

Ethiopian Airlines to Addis

There were many reasons why I was looking forward to my hastily prepared trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Let’s assume the beautiful women we see in pictures was not one of them – you know, a man has to feed his eyes. I and I Rastas and weed lovers would enjoy a pilgrimage to SHASH-amane and us Baites would want to go see the Ethiopian miraa, the only other miraa in the whole wide world (btw, let me put things clear, muguka is not miraa).

Anyways, I went to Addis to explore the digital market for Africa 118 – stick around if you are a business head, I’ll be telling you about that.

I love window seats on planes and buses – is there anyone who doesn’t? I love watching clouds and cities below me, it’s just like sitting by the windows in a bus to a route you aren’t familiar with. This time, I got a wing seat… It’s the window all right, but there are no great views – just a huge spanning aeroplane wing. I would have been gutted, but I was now enjoying an amazing engineering sight. You would imagine a plane wing is a huge sheet of metal, but I learnt it’s a buzz of activity – moving parts, flapping flaps. I think whoever designed airplanes was looking at a bird. “Let’s give this baby some feathers.”

This particular plane did not have a screen, so, I spent my two hours watching the wing, listening to hip hop on my iPod, eating and drinking wine.

Why are immigration people always so angry? When we landed, this immigration guy had frozen a group of soldiers from DRC and demanding to see their Ebola clearance letters. And he was too angry when they were unable to produce that. Is that even a thing? It was in this mood that I found him, ranting and gesticulating like my grandmother when we let the cow into her garden.

“You! Where are you coming from?”
Placing my passport and boarding pass on the counter for him to see, “Nairobi”
“What are you coming here to do?”
“Business.”
“What sort of business?”
“ICT.”
“Where will you be staying?”
“Err… I don’t remember the name of the hotel, someone is picking me. “
“Call them.”
“I don’t have a number, but I have the reservation in my email.”
“Stand with the others there and use OUR free wifi.”

The others were the soldiers, and I was there willing my dying phone to connect to the poor Internet, while breathing in air that the guy believed was contaminated with Ebola.

It worked, and he gleefully stamped my passport, right in the visa of another. I think that guy had just been dumped.

Ethiopian Airlines Addis Airport

Anyway, I walked through the immigration doors and got my driver. A cheerful guy who knew more about Mambasa than I do, despite the fact that he had never been to Kenya. His main intrigue was the beach. Ethiopians love the beach. Because they don’t have a beach after Eritrea seceded. Folks, when Mombasa threatens to secede, be very afraid. Imagine not having a beach? (Never mind I was in Mombasa last in 2011, it just feels good to have a beach, given how miserable that driver was, talking about a beach).

Ethiopia drives on the right-hand side of the road. Which always feels weird. This driver spoke very little English but he was fun, more like a big kid. He drove me right through the Addis Red Light District. Who would have thought Ethiopia had prostitutes? There were lots of those beautiful Ethiopian girls you drool over catcalling us in a street! And the driver was having a lot of fun just watching them. Okay, I was also having fun. Who wouldn’t?

It was a Wednesday night and the clubs were thumbing. Addis knows how to have fun. I had always thought Ethiopia was a conservative, Muslim-like country. Speaking of Islam, Ethiopia is predominantly Christian. On that first drive alone, I counted no less than 10 churches right inside the city. Praise the Lord.

Addis View Hotel is a small hotel (in Addis standards because Addis has lots of hotels – more than Nairobi) located in, Kabena – with a good view of Addis Ababa – it’s rightly named. That’s where I was staying. And every morning I would look past the mud houses to the city in the distance. That’s right, there are mud houses almost everywhere. I was told Addis doesn’t have class segmentation – there is no Kayole or Runda. Everyone lives everywhere comfortably.

Addis View

ATMs Everywhere

The following morning, literally my first interaction with the city, I made two discoveries I would wish for Nairobi – there are ATMs along every street without any security and basic consumer commodities are very cheap:

I did not have Ethiopian Birr so I wouldn’t buy from a shop. Both ATMs outside the hotel were being loaded, so I just walked in the hope of getting a bank. I passed the first two ATMs because there were people hanging around there (that’s what you do in Nairobi) and walked into the next bank to ask if I could withdraw Birr over the counter from my card. The guy I spoke to walked me out to their ATM in the street and, it wasn’t working, so he took me to another, all the while holding my card. I was feeling so insecure I almost told him to forget it… but he was too aggressive. Long and short – he helped me withdraw my money and refused my tip. He was just helping. There were people around and no one was paying attention to me.

Then I walked into a shop and asked for toiletries using sign language (because, Amharic). I ordered a fancy toothbrush, a large Colgate toothpaste, Vaseline, lotion and shoe polish (don’t ask me why I had traveled without all these). When I paid, I was surprised. That was all less than Sh. 200!

Now I was in love with the city… I could foresee great times ahead. I will tell you about my escapades in Part 2.

Forget the Ps… It’s Time for the 4Cs of the Marketing Mix

MARKETING mix - 4cs

Let’s talk about marketing a little… will we? When we went to school, we were taught about the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.  Famously known as the Marketing Mix. Remember that? Is it what you have known all along?

Well, you are behind… sorry. The world moved on to the 4 Cs, kitambo! Let’s explore them:

Consumer – not Product

The reality is that your product is the most important part of what you do as a business. It defines who you are and why you are in business. But what is a Product without the Consumer? Nowadays, you can’t just create a product because you know how to do it and it looks cool. You have to study consumer wants and needs and then create a product for them.

Find out what people want and then “build” it for them, their way.

Cost – not Price

Price is quote subjective. Look at it this way – an inappropriate price may cost your firm a great deal of money. This can happen both through lost sales (due to a too-high price) or through money left on the table (due to a too-low price). So, what’s the best thing? Consider your entire cost and spread it. Take into account not simply the purchasing price, but also the entire cost of time spent to acquire the good or service, the cost of ownership, and even a ‘cost of conscience’ if purchasing the product is associated with feelings of guilt.

Rather than simply stating the price, ensure both sides are well balanced… to satisfaction.

Communication – not Promotion.

People hate being marketed to. I hate it when people market to me. People prefer two discussions which are what communication is. Promotion is manipulative – it’s from the seller. Communication requires a give and take between the buyer and seller (that’s nicer). Be creative and you can make any advertising interactive. Use phone numbers, URLs, email address, social media etc. – Listen to your customers when they are “with” you, even as you promote your brand!

Talk with your customers. Don’t talk to them!

Convenience – not place.

Hey! It’s the era of people-not-going-out. We are either too busy or too lazy to go looking for shops. What’s the internet for? Sometimes I go to the fuel station and ask if they take cards or M-Pesa…and if they don’t, I drive away and not come back. Or when I see something being advertised the first thing I ask is – do you deliver? You must think of convenience to buy instead of place. You have to know how each segment of the market prefers to buy – on the Internet, from a catalogue, on the phone, using credit cards, etc.

Make it easy for your customers to buy your product – in their own way!

How are you doing it? If you need help streamlining your marketing strategy, get in touch.

10 Corporate Social Media Mistakes

You are likely well aware of how powerful social media channels have become for Corporates and Brands. When used correctly and mistake-free, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product.They can also harm your reputation, big time. Let us look at 10 Mistakes you are probably making on your Corporate Social Media efforts and how to avoid them:

1. Just plain boring.

Being boring could ‘kill’ your Social Media following. It will make people perceive your brand as a super duper boring brand. Therefore, you must think of some interesting content that can make people like it, comment on it as well as share it among their friends. Think out of the box or look for ideas in other brands’ circles so that you could come up with something more interesting of your own.

2. Overdoing Freebies!!

Using free gifts, cool contests and lucky draws to entice people to like your Facebook page may be a good idea. However, don’t overdo it. It will make your brand look like a sugar daddy who always like to give away freebies.

There is a saying, “you’ll harvest what you sow.” By overdoing the freebies marketing, you will get a lot of non-loyal fans who are there for your free stuffs only, and not because they love your brand’s products and services.

3. Going Totally Out Of Point!

Your Social Media theme must be closely related to your brand. It must reflect what your brand sells or market to the world. Always share content related to the things in your industry. If you sell shoes, your content should be about shoes and not about food or other things that are completely alienated from what your brand really is.

When it comes to business, stay focus. Funny, cute and unrelated stuffs, please stay away from it.

4. Lack of Interaction

There is only a one way speech and not a two way dialogue. Brands would just behave like news anchor persons disseminating information. And when people gave their feedback, only the positive ones stayed and the negative ones, banned. There is hardly any dialogue between the brand and the fans.

Social media is a two-way street. It can’t be just one person talking all the time. It’s a conversation. You need to be active on all platforms. Don’t just talk about yourself or only share your work. Post content that will generate discussions. Pay attention to the people in your network. In other words, show people you care about them, and not just yourself. You’d be surprised how this type of interaction pays off.

5. Advertisement Galore

Facebook gives your brand a personality or a voice in the social media world. Your brand speaks and interacts with your clients and prospects. You educate your fans on the benefits of your brand so that it would position your brand well in their minds.

Don’t constantly ask people explicitly through online offers and sales discounts; shouting them out in each and every single post of yours, to make people buy your stuff.

Educate, don’t hard sell.

6. Boss’ Birthday? No one Cares

No one cares whether today is your boss’, your boss’ father’s, your boss’ brother’s or your boss’ cat’s birthday? Talk business and give your clients what they are looking for in your page. People just want to know how your product or services is going to be of benefit to them.

If you have to share, don’t make it a ritual.

7. Not Monitoring your Social Media for Negative Comments…all Comments.

Monitor your social media regularly. Check all the comments, all the tags..etc. Negative comments can bring down the credibility of your brand. Hence you to constantly manage the brand reputation.

If the negative comments are proved to be genuine, it is ok not to delete or hide them as spam. You could simply publish your apology openly to the said user so that this will make others perceived your brand as honest and transparent. Who in the world has no flaws?

Sometimes you will get companies advertising on your Page or competitors putting nasty and untrue comments about your brand on your timeline. Put them in their place. Be alert. Block, Ban and Report!

8. Too Much Technical Jargon

By putting too much technical jargon or scientific terms is a bad strategy. It is not a PHD textbook, you know. And unless you want to make your fans and followers professors and doctors, refrain from using complicated jargon.

9. Tag or RT to Your Friends NOW!

Never ever try to ask people to tag their friends to your pictures. Worse still, don’t give them a specific number of friends to tag in order to exchange some kind of gifts from you. Tagging and RTing is good as it can increase the brand’s exposure virally but let them do it out of their own wish.

It is very irritating when that funny “spammy” picture just appears in your profile page without your permission. I block the company’s facebook page immediately.

10. Not Taking Advantage of The Bio

The first item for visitors to spot on A social media page is the bio(About on Facebook). You must complete this section with vital information, like location and website [URL]. It should look interesting, too. Have a little fun with it. If you’re creative and interesting, it will give more of an incentive to follow or like you.

What other mistakes do you think Companies do with their Social Media? Add in the comments section below.

40 Entrepreneurship Lessons From World’s Billionaires

Here is a collection of quotes from the World’s biggest entrepreneurs-Billionaires. Valuable advice for start ups:
1.      “For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.”
          Sheldon Adelson
2.      “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.”
          Ingvar Kamprad
3.       “I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
          Elon Musk
4.       “If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through’’.
          Isabel dos Santos
5.       “Whether you’ve found your calling, or if you’re still searching, passion should be the fire that drives your life’s work.”
          Michael Dell
6.      “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”
          John D Rockefeller
7.      “Getting the job done has been the basis for the success my company has achieved.”
          Michael Bloomberg
8.      “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
          Steve Jobs
9.      “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
          Mark Zuckerberg
10.   “Loyalty is not won by being first. It is won by being best.”
Stefan Persson
11.    “There has to be a balance in life. A balance of business, family, and the opportunity to learn and teach.”
          Chuck Feeney
12.    “If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small.”
           Azim Premji
13.    “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
          Richard Branson
14.    “You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
          Ted Turner
15.   “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”
           Mark Cuban
16.    “If I’m going to do something, I do it spectacularly or I don’t do it at all.”
          Al-Waleed bin Talal
17.    “When there is a crisis, that’s when some are interested in getting out and that’s when we are interested in getting in.”
          Carlos Slim Helu
18.    “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
          Bill Gates
19.   “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.”
          Donald Trump
20.   ‘‘No action is too small when it comes to changing the world… I’m inspired every time I meet an entrepreneur who is succeeding against all odds’’.
          Cyril Ramaphosa
21.   “Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.”
          J. Paul Getty
22.   “Vision is perhaps our greatest strength… it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown.”
          Li Ka-Shing
23.   “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
          Andrew Carnegie
24.   “What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction”
          Oprah Winfrey
25.   “Don’t think you are unstoppable or foolproof. Don’t think that the only way your business will work is through perfection. Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for success.”
          Eike Batista
26.    “Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.”
          Tony Hsieh
27.   “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
          Henry Ford
28.   “If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”
          Jeff Bezos
29.    “I think in business, you have to learn to be patient. Maybe I’m not very patient myself. But I think that I’ve learned the most is be able to wait for something and get it when it’s the right time.”
          Bernard Arnault
30.    “After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.”
          Aristotle Onassis
31.    “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”
          H. Ross Perot
32.    “In Life, you don’t get anywhere or do anything you hope to without some sort of sacrifice’’.
          Stephen Saad
33.   “I think that our fundamental belief is that for us growth is a way of life and we have to grow at all times.”
          Mukesh Ambani
34.   “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.”
           Larry Ellison
35.   “Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
          Sara Blakely
36.    “I’ve never chased money. It’s always been about what I can do to motivate and inspire people.”
          Tyler Perry
37.   “I feel like in a world where we all try to figure out our place and our purpose here, your passions are one of your most obvious guides.”
          Nick Woodman
38.   “Hard work certainly goes a long way. These days a lot of people work hard, so you have to make sure you work even harder and really dedicate yourself to what you are doing and setting out to achieve.”
          Lakshmi Mittal
39.    “I realized that in a lot of failures, there are a lot of opportunities.”
          Clive Palmer
40.   “High expectations are the key to everything.”
          Sam Walton

Pic Source: Harvey Mackay | More Start Up Advice: Addicted2Success 

MCashBook: The Ultimate M-Pesa Application.

In a world of hundreds of Thousands of Android applications, I have ‘discovered’ an Application that is actually relevant … that works for me.

M-Pesa is arguably the greatest innovation of our time, a revolution in mobile banking. Any banking has to have a trail, though-bank statements, a transaction history, among other reports. M-Pesa has been lacking these, and sometimes all you have to show for your transaction is an SMS-which you may lose! Granted, Safaricom Self care is now solving some of these, at least you can now get your statement. But that’s still basic!
This is where M-CashBook comes in! M-Cashbook is a mobile phone application intended for M-PESA mobile money transfer users in KENYA, designed to help you keep and easily view your MPESA transactions-even if you lose the MPESA confirmation SMS messages.
MCashBook will automatically save your MPESA transactions on your phone immediately the MPESA confirmation message is received by your phone. Transactions that were previously done prior to installation of MCashBook on your phone and are still in your inbox can be scanned and saved by the application. MCashBook will also enable you to backup all your MPESA messages in your inbox to an excel file that you can transfer by bluetooth or email to your PC. 
So, MCashBook can be used by both MPESA users and MPESA agents to keep,manage and backup their MPESA transactions.
Some of the features it boasts include:
  • Backup SMS messages. 
  • Export MPESA transactions to excel. 
  • Organise transactions into different categories. 
  • Create reminders. 
  • Scan messages for and retrieve MPESA messages. 
  • Group transactions into categories i.e. Deposits, Withdrawals, Bill payments e.t.c
  • Handles both MPESA client transactions as well as MPESA Agent transactions. 
  • Summary and transaction details reports.
I have tried all these, and yes! It works perfectly! 
What’s more-it is FREE!
Download it here: SAFARICOM APP STORE or SAMSUNG APPS
M-Cashbook has a phenomenal 4.5/5.0 rating on Samsung…I give it 6.0/5.0.  🙂

7 Tips for Successful Business Social Media.

Last week, I commemorated (not really, just nominally) my year in Corporate Social Media. I now feel like a guru! I believe I now know a thing or two about Social Media to “write a credible academic journal”-or not. Corporate Social Media and personal social media activities are the same. You adopt your industry current and swim along. Only that you can’t Retweet some stuff. 

Let me share with you the following tips that I have learnt over time. Tips for successful business social media activity:

1. Use your Personal Voice

People want to communicate with an individual, not a business entity. Keep all of your posts in a personal voice. This way, people will respond to you as a person.
Don’t be flat, or Robotic. Be personable.

2. Provide Information.

Each of your tweets has to have a purpose. It has to provide information about relevant topics in your area. People want to engage social media accounts that provide useful information. I read somewhere, and I totally agree, that only 20% of your social media activity should be self-promotional.

In Social Media, stand for something and become an authority in it.

3. Know your audience and engage it.

We all want to reach everyone with our posts. That’s not very possible if you want Point 2 to hold. Know what your key demographic is and who you are going after, then create and design your content specifically for them. Keep them engaged, or you will lose it all.
Relate with your audience. 

4. Connect Individually

Social Media is about interaction.  If someone tags you in a post or tweet, try your best to comment back when possible. This will help build a direct relationship with the individual. You want a personal connection. This is why you need to engage your audience by sharing articles of interest and talking about issues that are important to you and your customers. Something else that works: Greet them by name.
Respond to your followers and engage your audience. It’s ‘Social media,’ remember!

5. Be Honest

Are customers complaining? Are you running a social media campaign? Stay transparent. This way, your customers are going to look favorably on you and it adds to your credibility. Don’t overhype something and then the customer feels short-changed. 
Be frank. 

6. Use Hashtags

Hashtags turn words into hyperlinks that connect with all the other folks using that same term on the Social Media platform. Twitter has been known for hashtags, but now Facebook and Google + are in the mix. They are a great way to engage with a broader audience of people talking about the same topics. This helps draw attention to it, and is more likely to connect you with your target audience. 
Hashtags connect you to your audience. Be relevant. Don’t overdo them.

7. It’s never too serious

Remember Point 1? Because you are tweeting for a business doesn’t mean that it’s all business. Post/tweet fun photos and quotes. Make your timeline interesting! You can create a viral post too! And you know what normally goes viral-fun!

All work and no play in social media makes you a boring corporate.

Something else that works for you? Share it with all of us in the comment section below.

Want ‘Free’ Information? Pay me.

Be nice, Share information

I once wrote a rather historical-informative article for a company blog. Now, it required information from either books, or people who had been in the organization for long. You know, to provide me with the milestones and important dates for the organization. I dug in the archives and got little such information-so I had to resort to the latter-people.

As always, they were very helpful. That organization  is one where teamwork and ‘community’ is embedded. I got information, and where they could not help, they would refer me to someone who was likely to have the information. Most pointed to someone who has been around for some time. Their father figure.

So I talked to him. And got shocked.

“Why should I help you do something for your own benefit? When you write that story there will be nothing for me, all the accolades will go to you. So, I am sorry I can’t help. I don’t work that way”

To say I felt dejected is an understatement. Why did he have to behave that way? What’s in such information, anyway? It is common knowledge, and you have nothing to lose, so why, hold such information? It’s for the benefit of the organization. So, why hold it?

It reminds me of the 2009 Kenya National Census which I took part in. Two homes bluntly refused to be enumerated. Why? Because I was being paid to talk to them and they were not being given anything? So? One old lady even asked for a bribe.

Why do you refuse to assist when you can? This is one very bad trait. There are people who outwardly appear friendly, decent colleagues but inwardly are withholding information, playing dumb, and looking to gain any minimal advantage. For example – A software which is relatively straightforward to use, but might be a little clunky to use – Colleagues will give you no hints, tips pointers, overview. They won’t give you the real knowledge to get the job done well – whereas its bare minimal information, with nothing to lose!

Assisting others helps develop a reputation as a team player. This altruism also can enhance individual feelings of worthiness, competency, and belonging.

When that student comes to interview you to complete their college research work, why not help them? Or the intern/new employee looking for their way around, why withhold the information they need?

And there is the stranger who asks you for direction.

These are some of the basic qualities of being a human being. You never know where you will meet them tomorrow.

6 Things you Must do to be Effective.

What does it take to stand out as an effective person?

The other day, we had a sit-rep (that’s military lingo for unofficial inter-flow meetings) with Christine (you probably know her as MrsMwiti). Now, if you have had a chance to visit her blog, you will be mystified by the wisdom that she oozes. What’s more, she is my official mentor. We sit-rep all day at work. Call me lucky.

Now, the other day, we had a meeting, and the topic of discussion was Personal Branding- that is, how I can brand myself, how to be really effective, productive….. how to be perfect at workplace.

We came up with the following points:

1. Write things down

Christine emphasizes this to me, always. She had told me to get a get a diary for 6 months, and I kept, well postponing. I had this book where I used to write my stuff, and it was a huge excuse I had-I would even write the date at the top daily. One day, she just brought me a diary- and I am better! You see, a diary makes you more focused, helps you plan and grow. It helps you gather your thoughts, hold yourself accountable and helps you not forget, even the small important things.

This is age old. When you write things down, you can’t forget. I have learnt to write a to-do list every morning, but Christine told me I need a Not-To-Do list. This helps you have the things you ought to do at the back of your mind, and in view. It helps you know your priorities-what you must do ASAP,what you can do later, what you can do if time remains, and what you won’t do! Go back to pint one-those are the benefits.

2. Always Respond to communication, ASAP

You receive an email or a phone or a message on social media from a workmate, or a customer. You need to respond! Even if it’s just to say ‘Noted’. This lets the other person know that you have received the message, and now, the ball is in your court. It makes them satisfied and earns your brand a point or two. When someone addresses you, kindly respond. Let that person know that you heard him. This is common courtesy. This alone will set you apart from others who routinely say nothing, but stare blankly into space.Responding to people is just another way of showing them that they matter. Believe it or not, some customers will determine how much business they will bring to your place of employment based on how well you treat them.

Urgency is also a virtue here. You need to do what needs to be done immediately.

3. Build the reputation you want with people 

People see what you want them to see in you-and they will treat you that way. For example, in my work line, I depend on other people to fulfill most of the duties. If I don’t pester (oops! Follow up on my teammates, I will build a reputation of “Frank’s work is not so urgent, he doesn’t follow up, so, let me push it down my to-do list” and I will be grounded. Or if I don’t do my part of the bargain, they will say “He doesn’t do my work well, so, I won’t do his well”. In a nutshell, the golden rule applies. Attitude for attitude, respect for respect.

4. Be dependable

Christine tells me, Always deliver. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but just deliver. Be dependable. By your actions, show people that they can depend on you, and that you keep your commitments. Arrive to work on time, return phone calls, and perform tasks on time—remember that simple commitment is important, too.

In addition, no matter what you are assigned to do, strive to achieve a consistent level of quality and excellence. Be known for performing tasks well all the time.

5. Interact, Be Up-To-Date.

You need to know what is happening around you. Get the broad picture (national, global view) and the local view (your workplace, departmental view). Read news daily, keep learning. You can get news on the internet, papers, books.. and most importantly, people! Grapevine is very important for growth. It doesn’t always have to be useless gossip. Milk information from people, pop into conversations if you have to-it’s a gold mine. Just don’t look snobbish. 🙂
In summary:

  • Know what your tasks are and accomplish them well. Prepare a to-do list if you must to ensure that nothing will slip through the cracks. Your checklist will help you keep track of the things you have to work on.
  • Be a good teammate. The office works like a machine with many parts. If one part does not function well, the entire machine will not work well. Participate in all activities. Cooperate. Do your part of the job, and do it well. Always keep in mind that there are people depending on you. Don’t let them down. Be dependable.
  • Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it.
  • Avoid procrastinating. Do not delay performing tasks which you can work on today. Be proactive.
  • Keep learning new things. There’s always something new to explore and learn about. Learning new things will help enrich your knowledge and capabilities even more.

Pic Source: Inside Facebook

This list is not exhaustive. Add your tip in the comment section below.

10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Business on Facebook

Social media marketing is an important part of the business world these days, and your average company will have a Facebook page. Mark Zuckerberg’s creation is the most famous social media network and it offers plenty of welcome trade boosts for businesses across the globe, but few firms know how to tap into this potential properly.

The worst mistake any business can make is to view social media as a glorified marketing opportunity. It isn’t – the social media accounts you run are your business’s voice to your customers and the world. If you make a mistake, or remain inactive, the world will either reject or ridicule you. Due to this it’s important to keep your Facebook page active as there are a billion users out there to tap into. In this guide I’ll note the ways to keep your customers entertained, and how to draw in more “likes”.

1. Engage With Your Customers

The worst thing a company can do is be inactive or boring – lay off the business spiel and engage with what is, essentially, your fan base! There are simply too many distractions online to risk not being immediately appealing; internet users are notorious for skim reading and will dismiss, or embrace, your Facebook account in a matter of seconds.
Being active with your customers is a good start – if they ask you a question respond immediately. If there’s a complaint, or a problem, strive to get the issue sorted as quickly as possible. A negative comment on your wall can become a terrific boost as customers will often respond gratefully based on your quick response.

2. Promote Fun

It’s important to remember to not flood your customer’s News Feed, so use moderate amounts of entertaining posts on your company wall. These can help keep customers entertained and will aid the viral success of your content, creating organic links (new traffic) to your website. Pictures or puzzles would always go down well.

3. Post Videos on Your Facebook Page

A great way to enhance your page is to include interesting videos that are relevant to your business. For example, if you have a hardware store, then a short instructional video comparing wood stains could benefit your customers. Alter this to your brand’s needs and you’ll be seen to be engaging with customers in new ways.

4. Link to Interesting Articles

Posting articles of interest to your business will also help your website go viral. This can be of your own doing; articles, blog posts, guest posts. Get them onto your wall! However, it wouldn’t go amiss to post links to interesting articles from other sources.

5. Run Competitions

Facebook don’t strictly allow you to have competitions in order to boost your “like” ratings, so what you can do is hold a contest for something which involves your current users “sharing” an image. This can be spread out amongst tens of thousands of people over the course of a few days as more “shares” lead to greater exposure.

READ MORE…

Things every young Entrepreneur should know

Being an entrepreneur is a little like being a musician.  There are countless kids singing in choirs and carrying guitars but only a handful will ever record a hit song.Some of the not-so-lucky eventually pick themselves up and build a better career that the lucky handful, by hard work and sheer luck.  There’s as much luck in entrepreneurship as there is in any other shoot-the-moon career.  And sometimes it really is more about who you know than what you know.

In the end, any measure of success will come down to five critical areas of knowledge.

Marketing
Know marketing.  Know how to get your idea out.  Know the different theories on the cutting edge of the marketing world.  Know what’s working for other companies like yours.  Know where marketing is going to go.  If you subscribe to only one magazine, make it a marketing industry journal.  Great ideas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on if they aren’t marketed effectively. CIO East Africa is my bet.

Finance
During the very first stage of your undertaking finance won’t matter.  It will just be you or you and your partners, putting in long hours to create the first iteration of what you believe will be a great online business.  After that, money matters a lot.  Knowing finance will help to instill confidence in your investors; knowing how to use funding when it becomes available will help your business to grow; knowing how to invest and expand as you achieve success will help to turn you into one of the winners.

People
In the early stages of building your company, you are going to inspire people to contribute far beyond what you’re paying them for.  You’re going to have to sell the excellence of your idea in order to compel excellence from your contractors and employees.  You can’t do that if all your passion is wrapped up in your idea and your ambition.  You have to have some of that passion (and compassion) left over for the people you engage.  Remember:  if you make every one of your early employees a winner, you’ll win by default.  If you make them losers, you’ll fail.

Information Technology
Most startups begin by outsourcing most of the technical processes involved in running the business.  But outsourcing isn’t an excuse for not knowing technology.  You should still operate as your own CIO, even if it means taking IT courses while you’re working toward launch.

Networking
No man is an island.  No company is an island either.  The network that you build, through school or through professional contacts, is going to have a huge influence on your ability to make your company work.  While you build your network through work and play, in person and online, your contacts are building their networks as well, and when it comes time to make critical choices – a crucial hire, solicitation of funding, etc. – having that well established network in place can mean the difference between success and failure.

When To Start a Business

So,when is the best time to start a business?
Came across this on my internet prowls,enjoy

WANNA BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Ventures Africa runs a series called The Diary of an Under 30 CEO,which has become my Financial Handbook.You see,I am theoretically one-Whatever that means,and I want to be a good one.Through the ‘pilka pilka’ of reading this,I have taught myself some stuff on entrepreneurship.
Making Small Money Big
You see,there are two ways to make money in this world.
1. Sell a million shillings product to one person/company.
2) Sell a one shilling product to a million people.
Any which way, you become a millionaire but the best method is to have product that sells for Sh1.00 and sell to 1 million people. Through that everybody can afford your product without breaking a safe”.
This is the same weapon being used by the rich men in our nation and continent at large; masses foot their bill unconsciously. They keep spending bob by bob enriching some people. Since they can’t innovate, they keep paying to use innovations. No wonder the Holy Bible says we shall collect from the hand of the poor and give to the rich.
Apparently, you don’t just swing into action without having a thorough plan of how you are going to hit the market right and leverage on our population to make a fortune. 
These steps will be of great values in helping out;
  • Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you are truly ready to go into a business – don’t deceive yourself.
  • Identify your strength in terms of what can you do to help people out – a flash back on your past could help.
  • Create a niche market out of your strength – don’t be a general merchant, at least for now.
  • Research into the field; SWOT analysis – Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat, Competitors etc of the business,
  • Map out you strategy
  • Gradually execute your action plan.
  • Go into the market with the mind of rendering service, not making money. Late Steve Jobs once said and I quote; “we don’t sell gadgets, we sell comfort to people so they can live life easier”. Apple is presently the most valued company just by making lives easier.
  • If you are going to bootstrap the project, start small. Pushing 10% of your saving s into it won’t be a bad idea. Never inject al your life saving s into a business.
  • Start selling to friends, family, colleagues etc – charity begins from home
  • Package your brand
  • Don’t be scared to hurt your fingers – Yes, this is business. Some things would go wrong along the line, try to sort them out instead of quitting.
  • Expand fast but slowly – starting a business means sharing ideas with competitors.
  • Blue and red ocean –  as it is in life, it is always good to be a trailblazer, get to the market before others,  build loyal customers, enjoy monopoly for a period and get set for a stiffer environment
  • Pump your profit back into the business – this helps for sustainability
  • Measure your growth.
The Rules

Don’t listen to those who think there is a shortcut to wealth. There is no shortcut.  You might as well get that out of your head right now. Wealth is created when you provide something interesting of value, unique to people who demand it either faster or cheaper than the current providers. Until then, you will be trading hours for money and you’ll always think you’re underpaid. “Find a need and fill it” is the old mantra and it is still quoted because it’s true. In today’s world it should read “Create a need that only you can fill well quickly.” Then you’ll be on your way to wealth. The lesson learned: figure out where there are unmet needs and figure out a way to fill those needs by turning them into opportunities in form of a product or service that people will happily pay good money for.
Learn how to negotiate-This can save you a great deal-bargain on everything, including a maadazi in a hotel if its possible! Prepare by educating yourself and always be willing to walk away because “The doors of wisdom are never shut.” Benjamin Franklin
Money doesn’t spoil, it keeps. Start investing early.  I don’t know about you but if I look around me, how much stuff do I have to show for the money I got as a kid? Not much. Invest early but I guess that is well reflected in this great quote: “Winning is not everything but making the effort to win is.” Vince Lombardi
 Don’t do Multi Level Marketing “business” that requires you to sponsor new distributors. They are all scams. You have been approached by GNLD/FOREVER/TIENS guys, right? You are not “DIRECTORof your own distribution network”–you are a commission-based salesperson relying on the liquidation of your social capital (i.e. alienating your friends and family) to make any money at all…and 99.5% of people in MLM’s lose money, as has been shown again and again in numerous studies. The only profit you can ever make is by turning what would be called “customers” into “distributors” and then taking the money from the 99.995% that lose money in the organization and giving it to the 0.005% at the top (the people who started the whole “business” in the first place). Stay away no matter how glossy the brochure looks and how enticing the holiday package sounds.
Btw,I was duped into the GNLD thingy, and sales not being my thing, I lost a cool 7K(I was 19!) 
But then, like Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
 Education is very important so stay in school. Don’t quit. Sure you’re bored now, but wait until you’re in a dead end job that you can’t stand but you’re afraid to lose. The power of self-discipline can never be underestimated especially in business world when you have to employ people.
Finishing your degree will open up many more opportunities than you currently realize. Arrive on time, do your homework, study, and treat your learning process as if you were at a real job because these are the skills that you will need once you have started your business and are on your way to making your millions (in your dreams) but then again like Eleanor Roosevelt said   “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Now that you want to Resign and Start a business 
Yes, it is possible . . . . But the truth is if you want an initial freedom, being an employee is better than starting your own business because you will never do 9 -5 on your business. Business owners spend every minute thinking and working on their project. No weekends, No Xmas, No Easter. Every day is a working day.
So before you resign from that job to start your own business, you must know that entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted . . . . . it could be more demanding than the job you hate with so much passion.
Even if you are not truthful to everybody, it will help you a lot if you can tell yourself the truth. Do you think you have the courage to push your own business? Many left their jobs, ventured into business, failed and rushed back to the labour market. 
Before you turn in that resignation letter to escape the 9 -5 syndromes, sit back and answer these questions:
1.Why do I want to start my own business? Is it because I hate the stipend I get from my employer or I had this plan of being on my own a long time ago?
2. Is my office environment; boss, co-workers, infrastructure pushing me away?
3.Can I combine my 9 -5 with my business tentatively?
4. Am I gaining any experience from this paid job?
5. Will I miss anything if I resign now? 
6. How much do I know about the business I want to start? 
7. How do I cope if I fail to breakeven in 2 years? (Backup Plans)
8. Do I have a little money set aside that can take care of me for 3 months?
9. Am I really ready for a change?
Resigning from a paid job to start a business is not as easy as we think. Talking someone into it is even more difficult. The best advice is to sit down and talk to your mind. Whatever decision you make now determines where you will be in future.  Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Now is the time 
Waiting for the right time to start your own business is tough. The time is never right . . . . .expenses on expenses – You need to take care of your family, push your social status higher, do personal development, cater for the known and the unknown, spend some money on wants and needs. The capital will never be enough to start!
No matter where you are and what you are presently; a student, job seeker, uneducated, employed . . . the best time to build the next 10 -20 years of your life is now. Whatever is planted now will be a giant with many fruits in decades if properly managed.
Mark Zuckerberg had many reasons not to start Facebook in 2004. Yeah! No capital, dearth of technical ability, he was still in school and his GP could suffer, some friends didn’t support him, no idea of how to monetize the startup …but despite that he got started and I’m happy to tell you he made the Forbes list of world billionaires, and very soon FaceBook would be available for you to trade on wall street. His tree is just 8 years old.
There are many success stories that tell us to start, stand the storm and win the game. Business is not an automatic success and requires lot of planning to get on board.
Let’s share a few points together:
PART A
  1. Understand what you want for your life
  2. What is your present background – Passion and Qualification
  3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  4. What are your competencies?
PART B (Sketch it down on a notepad)
  1. Write out 5 business ideas you have
  2. In front of each idea, write the estimated capital and how many months needed to set up
  3. Write out different ways you can use to raise minimum capital
  4. Do your research
  5. Pick one of the ideas
  6. Write out your implementation plan
  7. Gradually start implementation
Starting now doesn’t mean having everything set. It takes time to conceptualize and execute, so don’t rush yourself, just make sure you start the first step of putting your ideas together and move to the next step.
SEE YOU ACROSS THE RIVER,FRIENDS!

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