Blog Archive

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Entrepreneurship - Summarised

Credit to Maishinski. Check the link above for the original source...

Our guys back home have mob talent - but they simply don't know how to make money from it! So they get frustrated and throw stones at the police (blame government) or each other (blame other communities)... :-)

Many of us in Diaspora have experienced intense global competition - and as a result, we have gained useful knowledge that we can share with our fellow Kenyans to help make them successful as entrepreneurs or employees.

We have our part to play in Vision 2030, and we may even realize its objectives in 2020 if we can get as many Kenyans as possible to be successful and self sufficient.

Lesson 1: Know your talent & develop it. Have some general knowledge about your area of specialization - but be EXTREMELY good at one thing (e.g. Database Tuning / Financial Analysis / Applications Programming etc). Dont try to be an expert in everything - just the one thing you enjoy the most.

Lesson 2: Believe that you control your own destiny. Don't expect handouts from governments, politicians etc. Be a go-getter. Get one good suit; get appointments with potential business contacts; discuss our product/service with them and land some deals.

Lesson 3: Market yourself. Whats your unique selling proposition? Why should someone pay you for your talent? The answer to that is the value of your talent. Dont do what "river-road businesses" do (i.e. At XYZ enterprises river-road, we specialize in everything, cleaning, building, painting, computers, typing, ironing, babysitting etc) - no one believes them!

Lesson 4: Know some basic business:
-ACCOUNTING; Break even points, cash flow statements, balance sheets, P&L.
-LAW; contracts, sale of goods, forms of businesses, licensing;
- MANAGEMENT strategy making (five forces/value chain etc); HR issues etc
- SELLING, ADVERTISING and MARKETING - and the difference between the three!
- ENTREPRENEURSHIP - how to start and run your own business..

Lesson 5: Read. Read. Read. Read. You dont have to go to college to learn accounts, management, entrepreneurship, etc. Cultivate a reading habit.

Lesson 6: Stay curent. Go online once a week and visit Bloomberg, FT, Investopedia, Bdafrica. Approx 20 mins - 20bob. Reasonable cost/week to stay on top.

Lesson 7: Be CONSTANTLY on the lookout for new ideas or opportunities that can be turned into money makers. For example if in the budget they talk about ICT villages in upcountry - see whether that's something you can do. If the minister announces that Matatus will be parked outside CBD - consider a coffee shop near the station. If CBD is to be a pedestrian city in future, think of possible tourism opportunities and start working on proposals... if Fibre optic is coming, think of online sales, remote software contracts, shareware, value added services, IT consulting, BPO etc etc.

Lesson 8: Protect your intellectual property. Never give out source code for free. Never publish your invention/discovery without getting a patent first. Share your business - not your IP. IP is too valuable!!!!

Lesson 9: Don't give up. Read about successful business people. They all have failed in their initial effort. The only thing is they failed smartly - and learned from their failures. Failing smartly is about planning for eventuality of failure so you can minimize its financial impact! Always test your business idea at a small scale first. If it's an area you don't know about, volunteer to work for a future competitor for low salary so you can learn the nuances of the business and survival tricks before you start your own...

Lesson 10: Watch the Apprentice Season 1 (Donald Trump): You will learn that its easy to get rich legitimately. If you really want something you will get it. The episode where the guys made $1,000 selling lemonade really stumped me! The simplest of businesses brought in Ksh 67,000/= in ONE DAY!!! Why? Because the candidates put their ALL; they put their best efforts to win. No handouts from IMF, CDF or YDF - just plain simple brains and hard work.


Friday, August 29, 2008

EcoBank Rights+Offering opens...

We thought Safaricom was big... Ecobank's Rights+New Share Offering is 3x Safaricom...

KCB raised Kes 5 billion to fund its Kenyan & regional expansion... while Ecobank is raising almost Kes 175 billion to fund its African expansion... and it is doing so on 3 stock exchanges... Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

BTW... Ryan Shen-Hoover of Investing In Africa was quoted... I have blogged on his excellent newsletter. I understand he is working on a local (Kenyan) method of payment for Kenyan subscribers...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Investment in Africa not for the faint-hearted

Virgin might dis-invest from Virgin Nigeria since the strong-arm tactics used by the Nigerian government were not to Virgin's liking. The gov't sent in goons to smash up Virgin's counters at the airport!

Many Nigerians were happy that VN brought in better schedules, better planes & safer aviation to Nigeria but regression to the old ways in Africa is not new...

I used to wonder why KQ did not expand its services to Nigeria but no wonder they are cautious about flying to Nigeria... And Nigeria might not be a very profitable market esp with the inefficiencies and corruption there. Did you know Nigeria - a huge oil exporter - imports refined oil products?

When will Africans learn that negotiations are a better way to go...

BTW, if you complain about Kenyan airlines, once you fly Nigerian 'airline matatus'.... you will never complain about Kenyan airlines!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Real Estate in Africa - Very Risky

I own no real estate in Africa...


The protection, offered by the law, of one's property in Africa is almost non-existent. If the laws are there, the courts or enforcers are lazy, corrupt, powerless or do not care.

Kenya is an example where kamau wa ngengi (aka jomo "land-grabber' kenyatta) and his family acquired huge chunks of the best land through theft. Many of the victims were law-abiding citizens who had bought their land. kamau who became senile in the early 70s still dreamed of acquiring more land even in his senility.

Zimbabwe is another example where for all the inequities, there were many who lost their land. Of course, the land was 'taken' to benefit the majority but given to mugabe's whores & cronies. Senile is too kind a word for mugabe. Why don't the Zimbabweans just assasinate him?

Tanzania nationalised the farms to catastrophic results.

Uganda's idi 'idiot' amin kicked out the Ugandan Asians, grabbed their properties without due process and coz he had some dream that he had.

Rwanda saw bloodshed with over 1mn deaths. All for 'land'.

Kenya has had land clashes over the years but it reached new heights in early 2008.

Anyway, I was watching a video on KenyanEntrepreneur's site... the house was being demolished... and it sorta explains why I rent...