WANGALWA MUSA: How to start a business

Business & Entreprenuership Feature

Kindly introduce yourself to us and what you do

My name is Wangalwa Musa. I am a business development professional. For 5+ years now, I have been immersed in youth-development and economic empowerment interventions.

Currently, I lead the implementation of a skills development & wealth creation programme dubbed “2jiajiri”. 2jiajiri is a KCB programme that seeks to create employment opportunities amongst the youth in informal sectors by providing them with:

  • The technical skills needed to produce good/services.

  • Business development support to start and/or grow their enterprises.

  • Access to start up & working capital.

  • Market linkages.

What motivated you to take this career path?

I think my character led me to this career. I must have a humanitarian’s DNA. I derive immense satisfaction from witnessing growth & positive change in the lives of us young people, more-so when I have played a significant part in that. My motivation is creating an ecosystem of change-makers.

mwangaza | Mwangaza

They say business comes from ideas. Does any idea make business? What makes a good business idea?

Now, there are essential qualities of a promising business idea. And the list isn’t exhaustive. I’ll mention a few;

  • Probably the most important is your business idea has to solve a problem for your end user. In a simple way. I don’t think we humans love complexity. Your idea must meet a clearly identified market need to be commercially viable.

  • Can this idea be packaged into a product or service that can be sold for a profit? Not just an idea.

  • Is it sustainable? Durable? Where you have a long term vision. Where the key resources needed can’t be exhausted tomorrow. Where you have a solid foundation for longevity.

  • A successful business idea is scalable. This is the characteristic that will allow your business to grow from a micro business today to the corporate of tomorrow. From revenues of Kshs. 1,000 a day to Kshs. 5,000 a day.

  • Your idea must have an existing market. If not, it ought to have the capability of creating a new market.

  • Profitability. Isn’t this the reason why we all are in business? Create realistic financial projections with rough estimates on how your business will perform within the first three years. This will be a good gauge for your business idea.

There are lots of other characteristics of a promising business idea. Like it’s uniqueness, a growing market, low-funding requirements and many more. It’s important to assess your idea before designing a product/service for sale.

So this idea needs to be registered. What are the forms of business available? Any requirements?

Business registration in Kenya is done via the Ecitizen platform, through an almost similar registration process across all types of registration, with an exception of Limited Liability Partnerships which is still done manually at the company registry.

The most common requirements for business registration are the proprietors’ KRA PIN Certificate, proprietors’ passport photos & ID. You can register your business as;

  • Business name or commonly known as sole proprietorship. This registration will cost you a minimum of Kshs. 1,050.

  • Company. You’ll need to fill more forms & information on this one. The company registration form (CR1), shareholding details, the statement of nominal capital. It will cost you about 10,650.

  • Partnership.

mwangaza | Mwangaza

Is capital important when starting out? How do we source for funds when starting out?

Yeah! Capital matters, a lot! The easiest to source & most affordable are usually the most ignored. They are human & social capital. Less tangible yet equally important.

Human capital refers to the skills, knowledge & abilities of your labour. This is the ability to produce quality goods & services. It’s contribution to a company’s success is no less important.

Social capital is the relationships we have with one another. Our networks. I stand to be corrected, with a high social capital, you have more opportunities for advancement & development. You can draw on the strengths and resources of those within your networks. I mean, if you have a rich uncle, why take a loan?

There’s equity capital. Usually structured in the form of shares. And since private equity usually comes from investors and owners, it underscores the importance of pitching for investment.

mwangaza | Mwangaza

How do we find market for our products?

In my opinion, a business that seeks to find market for its products is a poor one. It therefore means that the business doesn’t have a clearly identifiable market or market segments. And if a business doesn’t know who it is selling to, it won’t know how to sell them.

Your product should be solving a problem/need of an end-user or a set of end-users. This is your market. By launching your product, you then ought to have a clear knowledge of whom you are going to sell to, what of their problems are you solving and how does your product/service solve that. Understand your customer needs and create a solution they’ll be willing to buy.

What makes a successful marketing strategy?

Marketing strategies are the channels to which you’re communicating with your customers and potential customers, to grow your business, increase your brand awareness and build trust.

A successful marketing strategy foremost understands the target audience. Who are you trying to reach through your marketing efforts? Once the target audience is on lock, what means will suit them in your bid to create awareness? The various channels that you’ll use to achieve better awareness among the target audience. Of course the most common is social media. But maybe my target audience don’t have access to Internet.

A good marketing strategy maintains consistent communication with your clients. You cannot simply create social media profiles and use them whenever you have time for them. The connection you develop with your customers is a key aspect of your marketing strategy.

Ask yourself, what are the main things that distinguish your product/service from the similar ones on the market? Focus your marketing strategies on promoting the and their unique features.

Ultimately, what is your parting shot for us?

According to Business Daily, a fundraising tracking firm has revealed that Kenyan start-ups raised Sh43.5 billion ($428.91 million) last year. Kenya came only second to Nigeria in the amount received during the year, indicating the attractiveness of the country to deal financiers.

What’s your excuse again? Capital?

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