How This Entrepreneur Built a Digital Strategy to Save His Business

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Lately, I met a powerful business guru. His business had been completely shattered by the “Anglophone crisis.” When the crisis began, it initiated an economic recession in Cameroon’s duo English-speaking regions. He felt the death touch. Then he went bankrupt. Until he met a digital strategist who helped him find a path out of the plague by supporting him to use a digital strategy to make his business portable and discover high paying clients across the world.

Earlier this month, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Crafts (CCIMA) published the economic status quo of this part of the country. The difficult socio-political situation in the Northwest and Southwest caused the loss of more than 41% of the income of companies in these regions.

This survey involved 385 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which revealed a 41.80% decrease in the turnover of businesses in these regions. It also identified that the most affected are precisely, very small enterprises (VSEs).

The economy was losing billions to the “Anglophone crisis.” As the crisis blew past the Northwest and Southwest regions of the country, businesses went dark.

This Buea-based entrepreneur felt the pangs of the economic stalemate. He started a business to supply computers and stationaries to organizations. However, he lost it all to the recession – a feat he prefers being anonymous. He left University with the hopes of one day creating a business and he did. Within 6 months, he was already making a high turnover.

He had clients but like Oliver Twist, he needed even more.

When it comes to spreading news of your products or services to your target audience, the analog world has very little to offer. Worst still, in the event of an economic recession. The internet provides an endless source of opportunities.

He realized it was time to begin selling internationally. He had to take his products online. Yet, financial constraints were an integral part of the business.

Before he could raise more money to expand the business, an economic recession set in. Economic activities slowed down, then many businesses shut down eventually. He was hopeful things would get better. They only got worst.

First, “ghost towns” prevented him from visiting his shop in Malingo. He could not make any sales on such days. Three days were taken ripped off his usual six working days every week. Sure, he was losing more clients. His income was dropping as he made fewer sales. He could not move his products to customers who requested them.

At last, he lost his business to the recession, especially after the government decided to shut down the internet in these regions. Communication with his customers went dead.

Eventually, he lost more than half of his customers. Things were becoming rough for him and he had siblings to take care of. But all his investments had been lost. One thing he had learned was that you never give up. But now seemed like the perfect time to call it quit. For one thing, nothing seemed to be working anymore. It was like the world had paused.

He had no choice but to close down.

Other businesses were beginning to pick up gradually. Then, he felt an ounce of hope. He knew once he figured out how those businesses were picking up; his business will be back on its feet.

After carrying out some research, he discovered the secret to reviving his business was buried in creating a strong digital strategy. But how was he to go about it? He had no clue as to where to begin.

It was but logical that he seeks help from Makonjo Media – a growth marketing and technology company in Buea that has spent its last 3 years, building strong digital strategies for businesses.

As it turns out, his efforts weren’t in vain. The mentorship he received from this company, virtually gave his business a new facelift. Though he had to start all over again, it wasn’t all that difficult. He had a strong digital strategy in place for his business. He was now thriving more than ever, reaching more clients, beating his competitors and realizing more revenue.

According to HubSpot, a digital strategy is the series of actions that are going to help you achieve your goals using online marketing. The term ‘strategy’ might seem intimidating, but building an effective digital strategy doesn’t have to be difficult.

It’s literally, any plan for maximizing your business’ benefits by using technology-focused initiatives. Most of these plans involve taking your business online and reaching a wider audience.

Businesses should consider looking at the international marketplace to increase sales for both products and services. The international marketplace is definitely their best way out of this recession. Online market stores like Jumia, Konga, Kaymu, Hi-tech cm, Alibaba, Upwork, eBay, Amazon, etc, are options these businesses can choose from.

Many businesses in Africa have continued to thrive because they had a strong digital strategy to work on. They looked at the international marketplace to sell their products and services.

The Nigerian multinational conglomerate, Dangote Group has been making high turnovers by selling its vast products on Jumia. Kenya’s fashion brand, Vivo Activewear also sells its fashion collection of clothes on its online store. The telecoms giant, MTN has all its products and services on major e-commerce platforms across Africa. They have all thrived online because of a strong digital strategy they created for their brands.

However, this entrepreneur wasn’t ever going to breathe new life into his dead business unless he understood what it takes to thrive online. It wasn’t just about going online. Taking his business online could be easy. However, thriving online, against his competitors was what mattered the most. It’s about building a strong digital strategy.

The following steps really helped him in his doom days to create an effective digital strategy that enabled him to set up a successful online business and thrive online.

1. Market Research

Everything starts with research. Marketing research can give your business a picture of the kind of new products and services that may bring you profit. Since you’re probably just starting up, you know the kind of business you want to venture into.

Market research is the first step in building a strong digital strategy

Failure to do market research before you begin a business venture is like driving a car from Buea to Yaoundé without a map or street signs. You have to know which direction to travel and how fast to go. A good market research plan indicates where and who your customers are.

2. Select a target market and do a persona

Once you have determined your business; the products and who your customers are, you must identify your target market. The target market is the actual customer group or audience. Those you will attempt to sell your products and services to.

Find a target market to build a strong digital strategy

Although it’s impossible to capture every customer within your target market, gearing your services towards the identified market, will make sales much easier. However, creating a persona of your target market will equally help you understand your customers better. Personas are just fictional characters that encompass the various needs, goals and behavior patterns among your real potential customers.

3. Check out logos and website designs of your competitors

Because you’re just new to the business world, you want to be the best. At least, that’s what your competitors are trying to do. One good place to start is to check the logos and website designs of your competitors and see how you can create something better. It’s about creating a “Purple Cow.” Creating something unique for your brand.

Check out your competitors' logos and website designs

Perhaps, you already have a logo and website. It still doesn’t change a thing. Your competitor’s logo and website are probably better than yours. What you can do is to redesign your logo, branding elements and website to look as good as your competitors’ (or even better), else your customers will buy from them, not you.

4. Review your social media design and content strategy

Social media and content strategy are really powerful when it comes to creating a strong digital marketing strategy. Reviewing your brand’s social media design and content strategy can really be of great help to your business. If your social media design is not good, no one cares to look at it.

Improve your social media design and content strategy to build a strong digital strategy

If you’re not creating quality content that’s worth sharing or hooking your customers, none of them gets your message.

5. Demonstrate your authority online

Write an e-book on a topic about your business to demonstrate your authority. Collect emails and names of people in exchange for giving them your free e-book. These people could be your customers. Educate and market to them.

Create an ebook to demonstrate your authority online and build a strong digital strategy

6. Contribute expert content on other blogs

Contributing articles on business blogs in your niche, is one great way to demonstrate your authority. By continuously appearing on such blogs with quality content in your niche, tells your potential customers one thing you know what you’re talking about. You are someone we can trust.

Contribute expert content on blogs to build a strong digital strategy

7. Market to your old customers

Your old customers are probably still around. Many of them may have abandoned your business the moment you went bankrupt. But you can still sell complementary services from your friends to your old customers and people in your email lists and get a commission.

Market to your old customers to build a strong digital strategy

8. Keep educating new leads with emails

New leads will definitely come your way. The best you can do is educate these leads, keep them glued to your business and eventually convert them into customers. You can offer some of your services as discounts in your emails. People will buy.

Keep educating new leads to build a strong digital strategy

Identify what’s working, improve on them and remove what’s not working.

“Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.” Amrita Sahasrabudhe

Building these strategies are not as complicated as it sounds. However, there is always need to call in the services of an expert if you really need to revive a dead business. Contact marketing technology companies like Makonjo Media or Blog Vista to help set up such a strategy for your business. Makonjo Media offers a free strategy session for people suffering from the recession and you can book here: makonjo.com/corp/strategy-session/.

Because of the economic recession brought about by the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, this Buea-based entrepreneur and other businesses went into full-scale economic hardship. Building strong digital strategies was no doubt, the best choice they could ever make to get their businesses up and running. But until they built a strategy that worked for them, their businesses would never have seen the light of day again.

 

 

The Hustler’s Digest – MoMo is Rocketing MTN Cameroon’s Revenue Despite Hikes

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The Hustler's Digest - MoMo is rocketing mtn cameroon's revenue despite hikes

Africa

Ghana extolled for hosting maiden African Air Expo 2017

Ghana is receiving a lot of appraisal for hosting the maiden African air expos . People like the Secretary-General of the African Civil Aviation Commission; Iyabo Sosina have commended Ghana for taking the “giant” step toward making Ghana aviation a hub in West Africa. Everyone is saying it is in the right direction as it will open up Africa for foreign investments.

French, African business leaders meet in Les Rencontres Africa

The “Les Rencontres Africa” is a business meeting in Nairobi which brings together the French and Africa. Recently in Nairobi the meeting witnessed Several hundred prominent personalities and also many middle-sized business leaders . It gathered more than 1,000 African leaders from 30 countries and more than 300 French entrepreneurs. A first of it’s kind in Africa.

Kenya’s Presidential election is in a continuous loop

On Thursday, Kenyans hit the polls again to vote a new president. It’s a rerun. This same vote went down earlier this year, less than three months. An election the country’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga boycotted. Odinga’s boycott essentially guarantees victory for President Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila Odinga said the previous election was rigged. Kenya’s Supreme Court agreed there were irregularities and called for a rerun. But then, Odinga turned around and dropped out of the race, saying it was also going to be rigged. The repeat election took place amid a tensed atmosphere and recorded 4 deaths.

Cameroon

MTN’s revenue boost owes it to MoMo

In June, MTN Cameroon decided to increase fees for its mobile money service. But that didn’t stop people from using the service. Instead, it seems that decision has been the telco’s main revenue booster in the 3rd quarter of 2017. Infact, MTN’s revenues rocketed by 13.2% by September 30 this year. Besides, it was during this period that MTN increased fees for its MoMo services. At the same time, internet revenues grew by 18.2% during the same period. A growth attributed to the rapid growth of smartphones and data users.

CICAM grabs FCFA 5 Billion investment from Cameroon government

The government has flushed FCFA5 billion into CICAM to buy modern equipments. Njoh Nicholas, commercial director at Cameroon’s cotton company (CICAM) announced in a recent interview with the Cameroon tribune. In Nicholas opinion, the Cameroon government wants to innovate and adapt to the market because the textile industry is a key sector for the country’s development.

Cameroon’s high commissioner to UK has just been sacked

Paul Biya, Cameroon’s Head of State, dismissed Nkwelle Ekaney, the high commissioner of Cameroon to the United Kingdom, following suspicions of smuggling. A network had been created which allowed staff of the high commission of Cameroon in the UK to bulge their pockets. They encouraged fake diplomatic exoneration rights to exports for some Cameroon citizens living in Europe.

World

Amazon will now let strangers into your home in your absence

Amazon wants delivery people to be able to drop packages off inside your home. The company says it has a safe way for you to allow delivery drivers inside your home, even when you’re not there. It calls the service, Amazon Key and will launch on November 8 this year. You order something for delivery and click the “in-home” shipping option. When the delivery driver arrives, Amazon verifies the address allows him into your home.

But hey! You can watch from your phone as the camera records the whole thing. Amazon isn’t the first retailer to experiment with remote delivery access. Last month, Walmart tested the service with delivery startup, Deliv.

Spotify’s success is a paradox to the music industry

With 140m active users, 60m paying subscribers, a long list of radio stations, and the recent launch of their upcoming artist program, RISE, the company has nearly become its very own music industry. This scares the rest of the biz in a big way. Spotify is now more than just a music-streaming service.

As much as Spotify seems to be hurting the traditional music game, it also seems that those same labels need Spotify to survive. In 2015, Spotify and its friends, brought in 45% more revenue to the global music industry. In the first half of this year alone, streaming revenue has rocketed to 48%. So, is Spotify really creating a better way forward for artists, or is it just aggravating the same issues that have plagued the industry for decades?

Trouble looms on Trump’s tax reform

A few days ago, the House voted on the budget blueprint that’s already been OK’d by the Senate. It’s the next step in the Trump administration effort to overhaul the tax code. But there’s trouble on the horizon. Many House Republicans are upset over the budget framework’s plan to wipe out the deduction for state and local taxes. That tax break is extremely popular in high-tax states like California, New York and Illinois. So, Republican leaders are scrambling to come up with a compromise.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Make a date with Cameroon’s largest gathering of techies and developers during the Silicon Mountain Conference (SMConf) on November 18, 2017 at Chariot Hotel, Buea.
  • Join Cameroon’s dynamic tech gurus as they discuss the realities of cyber security during AISCON’s annual conference on October 28, 2017 at Scandinavia Hotel, Limbe.
  • Be part of the 10th edition of IYA Griot Night, a celebration of poetry and storytelling at IYA Buea, Former Alliance, Buea, on October 28, 2017.
  • Take part in the Royale Business Summit seminar organized by Junior Chamber International (JCI) on October 29, 2017 at Protea Hotel, Lagos Nigeria.
  • First Massive Literati (FML) has organized the FML Economic Summit  for Nigerian youths interested in transforming their societies. The event takes place on November 4, 2017 in Lagos Nigeria.
  • Participate in the IDEA Entrepreneurship Summit, 2017 and discover the role of entrepreneurship in economic empowerment and development from December 5 to 6, 2017, in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • SK Telecom Americas Innopartners has launched the Startup Demo Day event, showcasing emerging companies and startups on November 07, 2017 in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Join the Founders Space Pitch Day event for startups, Vcs and Angel investors on November 14, 2017 in San Francisco.

Jobs

Opportunities

Featured Articles

How Entrepreneurs Like Otto Beseka Disregard Family Status-quo to Start Their Own Businesses

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otto beseka

Otto Beseka had no passion for accounting. However, he spent over three years of his life in the university studying Accounting. He wanted to please his family. Sooner than later, he gave up trying to please anyone.

“Study hard, get good grades and find a high-paying job with great benefits”; the crowning achievement that every Cameroonian family wants for their child, which is not out of place. But it is a feat Otto Beseka didn’t share. For him, instead of going through a long career while looking forward to retirement, he decided to play the game of life by a different set of rules.

As a parent, it is important to encourage children to aspire towards whatever they would like to be and have a variety of different options to choose from. That way, they can end up getting a satisfactory or a dream job. Have your kids to be pleased with their jobs, be it an artist, teacher or an entrepreneur; as long as they enjoy their job. Whatever they choose to do, they will generally have happier, fuller lives.

otto beseka

They won’t have to complain about how their job is tiring, inflexible, or unstable. Instead, they will lead great lives, at least in the career arena. This good mood resulting from a good job will positively affect other areas of their lives. Therefore, give the children a chance to make their own decisions so that even if they fail, they can learn from their own mistakes.

A career is an individual’s journey through learning, work and other aspects of life. Every parent should strive to put in their best s to shape their children’s careers, encourage them to choose the right career as it can impact them all their lives. Parents shouldn’t always try to dictate the path their offsprings should take in life.

besseka

In Beseka’s case, he wanted to become an entrepreneur and build his own company. But because he belonged to a typical Cameroonian family who thinks entrepreneurship is not a secured job, his dream was shorn of.

It is easy for parents to assume that jobs are the safer way to succeed in life. They do not realize how risky it is to depend on a pension plan or to expect continuous flow of salaries in today’s ever-changing business environment.

On the contrary, entrepreneurship is fast becoming safer than employment, not because of the lack of failure. On the contrary, 90% of businesses fail. However, entrepreneurs soon develop a thick skin to the worries of failure, giving them the ability to iterate through many failures which ends up leading to success. This is the kind of mentality that pushed Beseka to pursue his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

It’s actually not that easy to go against the grain of your family. It’s reasonable too. But what if Beseka followed his parents’ dreams till the end? What would have become of him?

Could Akwajobs which has helped reduced the rate of unemployment and improved the lives of many young Cameroonians ever have existed? The answer is NO.

Otto Beseka wrote public exams, went to the university which he later dropped out from, worked as an accountant in several companies. All in an attempt to follow the path his family had laid for him. However, he never found contentment.

Only then he realized it was not the kind of life he wanted, he deserved better.  With this in mind, his journey to pursue his own dreams and start his own business kick-started.

In 2013, he founded several companies like Pursar, a consulting firm, Carbon Group and Topup Desk which all crumbled.

In 2015, he started a school of petroleum logistics which also failed. He was misinformed and duped, so the school was shut down. He got frustrated and it is easy to get tired and give up at this point but he didn’t. Shockingly, Beseka kept pushing because he understood what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

There are risks involved and you don’t just overcome them by playing it safe, you learn to manage risk. He kept testing and researching for business ideas till he landed on the recruitment business.

Today, he has one of the best recruitment businesses in Cameroon.

Nonetheless, other thriving Cameroonian entrepreneurs like Churchill Nanje Mambe of Njorku and Javnyuy Joybert of Wikajobs, have effectively created recruitment businesses as well. Which is why, you should learn how to create a recruitment business and maybe start up your own.

otto beseka

The goal of every recruiting business is to fill temporary job openings, permanent vacancies or both. Building a successful recruiting business involves a lot. But the following steps should guide you on how to create a successful recruitment business like Beseka did.

1.Determine the type of recruitment services you wish to provide:

You might choose to fill only temporary job openings across many different industries or focus on a specific industry. Beseka’s recruitment business was not limited to a particular industry. He wanted to provide jobs across every industry in Cameroon.

As a statuper, being more specific about the area of recruiting you wish to focus on, increases your success rate. Also make sure, you study the challenges other recruiting companies are facing in various sectors.

2. Evaluate recruiting business startup costs and your financial situation.

Beseka knew he had to calculate operating cost, cost of recruiting staff, employee benefits, insurance, marketing and other business expenses. While starting up Akwajobs, Beseka had nothing. He had no idea how much he needed to launch such a business.

His journey into the business world was just beginning. But one thing was sure – he needed to create a business that creates jobs for job seekers.

3. Select a location for your recruiting agency

To increase Akwajobs’ visibility and access to both employers and job seekers, Beseka chose  a professional and centrally accessible location. He decided to situate his recruiting business at the heart of the country’s economic capital – Akwa, Douala.

4. Create a recruiting agency marketing plan

When he started out, Otto Beseka made a list of potential clients he would have to work with. This included some of his personal contacts, a list of companies in the recruitment and business industry and a general list he obtained from an Internet search.

His next logical step was to produce marketing materials. He also created a logo for office documents but didn’t fail to design a website. Besides, the entire business was based online and going without a website, was out of the question.

5. Focus on something unique

Akwajobs which is now very admired and successful was disastrous during creation but that did not stop Beseka. The fact that he wanted to be master at something unique, made him persevere on Akwajobs until it worked.

If you want to build something revolutionary, you need that focus. Focus and determination are things you need in order to build a business of your own. If you do not focus on one thing, you will become good at nothing.

6. Create a business model

Now that he had assembled all his pieces and tools together; and knew how to start the business, he decided on a business model. Beseka knew just how he was going to make money as well. After he finally launched, he created the “Active Search” feature on his online recruitment portal, a model that has sustainably generated income for Akwa jobs ever since.

It’s important to identify all the pieces involved in the process and map out how your model will produce the kind of income you seek.

Becoming an entrepreneur like Beseka could be a very tough journey. You’re going to choose the life of a pilgrim by constantly denying yourself of certain luxuries. You are going to push yourself hard but it’s going to be worth it.

Initially, Beseka on his journey failed several times and learnt to grow from his mistakes. A rare privilege most people might never get if they let their families decide their destinies for them.

 

Kocela Defeats Celullant at African FinTech Awards 2017

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Kocela Wins African FinTech Awards

Last year, Celullant bagged the champion’s crown. This year, Kenyan-based software company, Kocela has emerged as the winner in the Payments and Transfers category at the African FinTech Awards 2017. The winners were announced on October 13, 2017 after a 2-day intense pitching battle between African startups.

Though Africa’s Fintech sector is booming and attracting lots of investors, only a handful of countries in Africa are thriving in the startup ecosystem. Some of these startups that seek to provide solutions to the continent’s most pertinent financial challenges are still low-performing.

The African FinTech Awards, therefore, seeks to reward the continent’s most innovative and disruptive Fintech companies.

About 500 handpicked entrepreneurs, bankers and investors, meet at the event to expand their network, share knowledge and develop business. The awards are part of the annual Finance Indaba Africa – the largest annual expo and conference for financial professionals in Africa. It brings together thousands of technology dealers, tools, platforms, experts, CFOs and the continent’s most inspiring thought leaders.

The African FinTech Awards consist of two rounds. The top 3 companies in each category are generated by combining results from the public and expert voting. In the second round, top 3 companies in each category pitch to a panel of judges and a winner is selected.

On the road to victory

Kocela’s journey to victory began with a nomination to this year’s African Fintech Awards. This meant one thing for the tech firm. The African Fintech community recognized Kocela as one of Africa’s most promising companies in the Fintech sector.

It was only after 2 months of public voting that Kocela made it to the top of the public vote, emerging as top in Kenya and top in the Payments and Transfers category. But it still had to compete with two other startups before grabbing the trophy.

The firm then made a headway to the next stage – pitching at the African FinTech Awards. Along with its two rivals, Celullant (last year’s winner) and Nomanini, Kocela pitched before a panel of judges. Once again, it emerged victorious in its category.

According to the firm’s CEO, Abel Msai, “It was great to compete on stage with the biggest players in Africa and emerge winners.”

CEO of Kocela, Abel Msai pitching at the African FinTech Awards

CEO of Kocela, Abel Msai pitching at the African FinTech Awards

About Kocela

Kocela is a 4-year old Kenyan software company that focuses on developing mobile applications for smartphones. The company developed the famous KCB Mobile Banking app that is used by the Kenyan banking group as well as in Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi.

The company’s products include a mobile banking/payments platform that allows financial institutions to avail their suits of service through mobile (app/web/USSD). It also includes backend tools for administration, predictive analysis, reports and reconciliation. Kocela is a cross-platform compatible system that combines M-Pesa, PesaLink, mViSa and Masterpass to allow customers pay directly to any mobile wallet or mobile money merchant.

Here’s the complete list of winners at the African FinTech Awards 2017 under the various categories:

  • Overall winners: ThisIsMe and Easy Equities (tie)
  • Blockchain and Bitcoin: The Sun Exchange
  • Incumbent Banks: FNB
  • Innovative Banking: ThisIsMe
  • InvesTech: Easy Equities
  • Lending and Financing: Ovamba
  • Payments and Transfers: Kocela

Before now, the continent was yet to see highly performing Fintech startups. But Kocela’s recent rise to power during this year’s African FinTech Awards, is a clear sign that things are changing. Kocela’s victory will definitely spur the rise of many other FinTech startups on the continent that will provide even better financial services through tech.

Wandia Gichuru Saved Her Dying Business with These 5 Influencer Marketing Techniques That Can Save Yours Too

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Wandia Gichuru saved her dying business with these 5 influencer marketing strategies that could save yours too

Wandia Gichuru is a very successful businesswoman in Kenya today because she was ready to learn some influencer marketing techniques. It wasn’t always like that. In 2013, her business was dying and she went bankrupt.

Being relatively new to Africa’s marketplace, sifting through the online noise to reach her audience using traditional adverting methods almost ruined Wandia’s promising business.

Could an industry influencer give her a shout-out on their social media profiles? Perhaps, mention her in an article? These could be her best routes out of the bankruptcy her business was now plunged into.

But that was also never going to happen unless she had built a rock-solid relationship with an influencer. The beginning of her life’s greatest challenge had commenced.

According to the Huffington Post, influencer marketing is a way of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) with a huge online presence. A recent Twitter research shows that people now trust influencers nearly as much as their friends. Perhaps, the reason influencer marketing is very powerful.

Twitter-influencer-marketing

Source: Twitter

The recent McKinsey study highlights that marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates twice the sales of traditional advertising, with a 37% higher retention rate.

With a growing number of Africa’s consumers starting to distrust branded marketing messages in favor of word-of-mouth recommendations from their influencers, Gichuru’s Vivo Activewear company was doomed.

She was spending a huge amount of her marketing budget on promoting her brand’s products, using the traditional methods of marketing. In a way, this meant throwing money away – money the business didn’t quite have considering it was just a startup.

After working with leading development and corporate firms for almost half her life, Wandia Gichuru ended her career and sought to create her own business.

Together with a partner in 2011, they invested $70.000 and set up Vivo Activewear – a Kenyan brand which produces and sells affordable casual clothing for women in their mid-twenties and late forties, as well as the “young at heart” in Kenya. This was her “aha!” moment.

Everything seemed to be working out just fine.

Later on, everything began to fall apart.

One new yoga brand of clothing from South Africa wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. It was not generating, it was consuming instead. Wandia needed a less expensive way to create awareness for the product.

She had tried everything she could, nothing worked. Then, she tried paid advertising. After all, it was working for everyone, or at least the big brands. She spent $5.000 of her initial capital in a paid advertising campaign for the brand. Then, she realized her sales could not cover advertising cost.

When Gichuru eventually put the new brand on the shelves, customers didn’t buy. Things were beginning to go sour now. She didn’t give up though. Two years later, they still had the product in stock and Wandia Gichuru thought this was her chance to make things right again.

Wandia knew the product was pretty cool and her initial thought was, people had not heard enough of it like the other products in her shop. She pumped in another 25% of her initial stock on one supplier for the brand and launched another disastrous campaign. Things were getting even sourer now.

Her once promising business was now only a shadow of itself.

She knew her business was gone. More than half of her company’s budget had been lost to the yoga brand. The feeling was excruciating. She could see her business crumbling before her very eyes.

What else could she do?

Perhaps she needed to raise investment capital. How could she know? In her line of business, raising money is hard.

Nonetheless, Wandia knew she had to keep fighting. She had to succeed in business. It’s like she was losing her soul. However, she was hopeful that she would find her way, her own little secret to success. She knew that once she discovered her little secret, everything will fall into place.

Wandia continued to try business strategies of successful entrepreneurs in Africa. After trying strategies of over 17 different entrepreneurs, she discovered that industry moguls like Tony Elemelu continuously hack their way to success with Influencer Marketing. She dug deep to see who else was benefiting from Influencer Marketing.

Marketers of famous brands – Resolution Insurance, Guinness Kenya, Safaricom and Africa’s top entrepreneurs – Aliko Dangote, Peter Nduati, N.J Ayuk and Tony Elumelu, have used influencer marketing in many different ways to reach their varied audiences.

Digital Marketing Strategist, Petra Liu, Managing Director of Wetpaint Advertising, used influencer marketing by partnering with celebrities in South Africa to advertise their marketing agency.

After studying these stats, Wandia Gichuru began trying some of the ideas, and a good number of them worked well for her. They reached more people and eventually sold the yoga brand.

Vivo Activewear started using media personalities, fashion bloggers and designers to showcase its collections. One of the influencers it works with is Grace Msalame, a former TV presenter who regularly posts images of herself dressed in Vivo.

She leveraged her solid social media fanbase consisting over 162.000 Instagram followers, 17.000 on Twitter and 46.000 on Facebook.

Vivo also partnered with fashion blogger, Sharon Mundia to showcase their collections to her legions of fans on Instagram.

However, achieving such a breakthrough in Gichuru’s business will never have happened, unless she built a relationship with these influencers. This is how she did it in 5 simple steps.

1. Catch them on social

Most influencers communicate with their audience on at least one social media platform. At least, that’s where most of them spend their 24 hours every day. The first thing you want to do is check which channels your target influencers are active on and engage with them.

Dan Nash, a successful lifestyle South African blogger, believes social media platforms can provide marketers with far more effective customer-targeting than traditional media can.

Joan Ngomba, the founder of the entertainment blog, Dcodedtv, identifies influencer marketing as one of the best marketing strategies for Cameroonian filmmakers to market their productions.

engage influencers on social media for influencer marketing

Wandia Gichuru’s first interaction with Msalame and Mundia was actually on Instagram. She realized these two influencers had a huge following not only on Instagram, but on other platforms as well. Besides, they were the perfect match for her brand – lovers of fashion and lifestyle.

She began posting some of Vivo’s collections, tagging them in every post. They subsequently found the collections interesting and began reposting and retweeting them on their social media accounts.

The seeds of a relationship were planted. She had just built a relationship with her first breed of influencers.

2. Drop insightful comments on influencer’s blog posts

When Gichuru first discovered Sharon Mundia’s blog, she would consistently comment on her articles. For one thing, she loved fashion, she was a producer of African fashion wears for women.

She won’t just leave any comment, but a dramatic comment that makes the author eager to know who she is. Of what use is it to leave a comment the author won’t even pay attention to?

influencer marketing tip: leave insightful comments on influencer's blog posts

Bloggers usually appreciate insightful, relevant comments/questions because it shows people are reading and getting value from their articles. One of the keys to blog commenting is leaving a thoughtful question or comment, rather than just a generic answer – “great post” for instance.

3. Purchase influencer’s products

Wandia Gichuru didn’t quite buy any products from her influencers. But she did purchase some fabric following a recommendation from one of her influencers. And she found it really good. She wasn’t just going to buy this fabric because she needed to build a relationship – she was in a recession.

influencer marketing tip: purchase influencer's products

Naturally, a relationship arises when you buy products from your potential influencer.

One naturally cool side effect is that you get to know some of your influencers a lot better after buying their products. They also get to know and remember you.

4. Include influencers in expert posts

Almost every business has a blog. That blog could be a gateway to connecting with the most powerful influencers. Expert roundups happened to be one great way for Wandia to build relationships with her influencers.

influencer marketing tip: include experts in posts roundup

She invited a lot of influencers to participate in one of her roundups by answering a question. She eventually compiled the answers into a single blog post. Sure, many of the influencers shared it on social media.

The influencers got a link back to their site and some exposure.

Her audience got a piece of content that spills a lot of advice from trusted voices in Kenya’s fashion industry.

She finally built a solidified relationship with the influencers that participated in her roundup as a result.

5. Focus on growing your own influence

People naturally like connecting with others they have something in common with. When they see you’re also willing to put in the hard work required to succeed, they’ll start to notice you.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

John C. Maxwell

Instead of trying so hard to connect with other influencers, Wandia Gichuru realized she could focus on growing her own presence instead.

influencer marketing tip: focus on growing your influence

Activities like guest posting on popular blogs, helped her in the early days to get noticed by other influencers and some of them even reached out to her. Showing other people that she was in the game to stay, helped her build relationships a lot easier.

Today, Wandia Gichuru is herself, a popular influencer in Kenya’s fashion industry. Her company Vivo is now one of the most popular influencer brands in Africa as well.

Wandia Gichuru learned Influencer Marketing the hard way. Today, her business is thriving with the help of these influencer marketing tips she has been using and continues to use. Instead of using what doesn’t work, why not try Wandia’s techniques and reach the right audience? Only then, will you be on every influencer’s radar.

 

 

 

The Hustler’s Digest – Orange Cameroun-Camtel Battle Finally Put to Rest

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the hustler's digest-orange cameroun-camtel battle finally put to rest

Africa

Nigeria invents new technology to prevent food poisoning

The Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bag technology has been instituted to put an end to the wrong application of chemicals in the storage of grains that result in food poisoning like “killer beans.” Other chemical-related preservation methods that have caused a lot of deaths in Nigeria. PICS will soon be put to good use. In this light, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has organized training for farmers, traders and other stakeholders in Abuja.

South Africa’s data breach is undergoing high investigations

Investigations are at fever-pitch levels in South Africa. This week, an alleged “masterdeeds” data breach which exposed personal details of millions of South Africans, went into a full-scale investigation by the Hawks. The database contains the names of people, their gender, ethnicity, home ownership and contact details. The information also includes identity numbers and details of employers.

According to a Fin24 report, private details of more than 30 million South Africans had apparently been leaked online. This may be the biggest breach of the Protection of Personal Information Act to have ever hit Africa.

4 killed in Togo during protest against President Faure Gnassingbe

Togolese city of Lomé remains tense following Wednesday’s brutal clash between protesters and law enforcement. Due to that clash, four people were killed in Lomé and Sokodé, the two largest cities in Togo. 14 opposition wings organized marches against President Faure Gnassingbé’s regime in the country’s capital despite the banning. Similar fate gripped Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions when residents decided to push through with a protest march that led to the loss of lives.

Cameroon

Orange Cameroun pays FCFA 1.6 Billion to end conflict with Camtel

The financial battle between Orange Cameroun and Camtel – the public telecommunications operator which holds the monopoly over Cameroon’s optic fiber’s management, may have come to an end. After the mobile telco, Orange CM settled its FCFA 1.6 billion debt with Camtel, the telecoms sector felt a wind of peace. When Camtel disconnected access to some of Orange Cameroon’s optical fibers as a repressive measure against non-payment of its debt, the mobile operator raised eyebrows.

New measures taken to improve Cameroon’s microfinance institutions

Despite their significant role in providing access to loans, microfinance institutions in Cameroon remain quite fragile. To put an end to management malpractices, BEAC is elaborating new measures to improve the management structure of these institutions. The financial governing body for CEMAC has now put a close watch on three microfinance institutions for 10 months. Cameroon’s Mutual Savings Bank is now the third lender to be placed under provisional administration in the last 10 months. Crédit Mutuel was first in 2016, CECEC S.A, this year.

Will P.M Yang’s reconciliatory tour be a sham?

Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, began a “reconciliatory” tour targeting the restive Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest. According to some citizens, political parties and civil society organization, the mission is a doomed one already. This is because amongst other reasons, the Prime Minister descended from Yaoundé with a fixed agenda in hand. However, the Anglophones don’t appreciate being told what to do, they want dialogue. The “minority” as they call themselves are asking for federation but the government believes a decentralized system is the best they can offer.

World

Magic Leap has $5 billion worth of potential and still no product

The “mixed reality” startup Magic Leap, just closed a massive $502 million funding round, putting their post-funding valuation at about $5 billion. But it’s funny because they still don’t have a working prototype. So, what did Magic Leap do with the other $1.4 billion? Prior to this funding round, the Florida-based company raised $794 million about a year and a half ago, putting their total backing at $1.4 billion.

Augmented reality remains an untested market. Consumers have been hesitant to shell out big bucks for Oculus’ virtual reality headset. There’s no guarantee that Magic Leap would do much better.

Robocop cars may soon spot suspects before officers do

Police cars of the future may do more than just take officers from point A to point B. Coban Technologies, a Houston-based company that sells cameras to police departments, recently announced a new dashcam designed to use artificial intelligence to identify everything from people and vehicles to guns. The dashcam’s features are currently limited. But the underlying technology sets the table for law enforcement to use advanced technology to make better sense of video data. The dashcams in them may also be able to ID suspects all on their own.

John Kelly’s condolence statement sparks controversy

The White House Chief of Staff’s appearance in the press briefing room was extraordinary and emotional. John Kelly was there basically to defend President Trump from the criticism he’s been getting over how he handled a condolence call to the widow of one of the four soldiers killed two weeks ago in Niger.

Kelly said he was “stunned” and “brokenhearted” by a Florida congresswoman’s actions. Through tweets, Trump continued to blast this congresswoman and the media for talking about the call. While Kelly’s words seemed stirring, they were not enough to clean up the mess the President created when he dragged politics into the matter.

 Silicon Times

Events

  • The Academy Alumni Association – Cameroon has organized a two-day event on navigating the new economy for professionals and students in the business world. The event will take place at IYA Buea, from October 21 to 22, 2017 from 8 am to 7:30 pm.
  • The Millionaires’ Circle has organized The Food Business Event to take place at Harglena Hotel, Buea on October 21, 2017. Register here.
  • AISCON’s 2017 event comes up on October 28, 2017, at Scandinavia Hotel, Limbe. This year’s event will focus on wireless security.
  • The Business Leadership Centre is organizing a training on Corporate Strategy Process and Project Quality Management for businesses from October 21 to 22, 2017. Grab a ticket here.
  • Apply before October 27, 2017 for the Make-It Accelerator program in Nigeria and Kenya and scale your startup’s innovation and growth.
  • The High Growth Africa Summit for 2017, has been launched for African businesses and entrepreneurs that wish to learn how to build, scale and fund their ventures. The event takes place in Lagos, Nigeria from November 21 to 22, 2017.
  • The School of UX Design is organizing a training on designing chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) in London on October 28, 2017.
  • Birkbeck Careers & Employability has organized the Birkbeck Graduate Careers Fair 2017 to take place on October 21, 2017, at the Woburn House, London.

Jobs

Opportunities

  • Seedstars World, the biggest seed stage startup competition for emerging markets is coming back to Africa to scout for top high-growth startups and entrepreneurs to accelerate them on their path to global success. Apply for the competition before November 10, 2017.
  • Participate in the Wiki Loves Africa Annual Photo Contest 2017 and win more than $1.500 cash prize. Submission deadline is November 30, 2017.
  • Apply for a fully funded leadership program, Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders Program 2017 in Morocco. Application deadline is October 23, 2017.
  • The South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) 2017 is open for independent digital media outlets in South Africa. Application deadline is October 31, 2017.
  • The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) has launched the Bertha Scholarship program for social innovators and entrepreneurs. Apply before October 31, 2017.
  • Google has launched its Google Women Techmakers Scholars Program 2018/2019, for female students. Apply before December 1, 2017 and benefit from a 7.000 EURO award.

Featured Articles

Skyhigh University to Deliver Certified Insurance in Cameroon with Gambia’s WAII

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Skyhigh University partners with West African Insurance Institute

In the quest to provide certified insurance tutoring for Cameroonians, Skyhigh University Centre (SUC) Douala, has partnered with the West African Insurance Institute (WAII), Gambia.

Most mainstream higher institutions in Africa fail to integrate insurance programs into their overall educational frameworks. As a result, the majority Africa’s insurance market is significantly less advanced than the rest of the world, with a significantly low insurance penetration rate and Cameroon happens to be in this picture.

The African insurance market is significantly less advanced than the rest of the world, with a significantly low insurance penetration rate and Cameroon happens to be part of them.

With the numerous professional business institutions in Cameroon, it is still surprising that very few of them delight in offering insurance as part of their curriculum. Even worse, the country has no professional institutions dedicated to promoting insurance.

The Cameroon-based business engineering school, Skyhigh University which seeks to meet the needs of the fast-growing business world, took a step forward to partner with the West African Insurance Institute of The Gambia to realize this mission by offering accredited courses in insurance.

According to an official communique from SUC, these courses that will focus on training insurance experts in English, will be delivered at the Skyhigh University Centre in Douala. Upon completion of studies, successful candidates will be awarded WAII Certificates.

As of now, this partnership intends to offer the following certificates/diploma programs:

  • Insurance Foundation Course (IFC) – 6 months intensive course for 50 students only.
  • One Year Diploma Program in Insurance (12 months course) for 50 students only.
  • HND in Insurance (18 months course) for 50 students only.
  • MBA Insurance and Risk Management (16 months course) open for 25 students only.

To make studying at SUC comfortable and affordable to all, students will have the possibility to study online (during the day) and onsite (in the evening).

Such a partnership is expected to change the insurance industry in Cameroon that has for the past years, suffered a premature status. Africa’s insurance penetration rate is no doubt, going to increase as well.

Candidates interested in benefiting from this partnership can contact any of the institutions for more information.

Skyhigh University Centre, Douala

Email: contact@shyhighuniversity.com

Website: www.skyhighunversity.com

Tel: +237 678437891

West African Insurance Institute, The Gambia

Email: info@waufis.org

Website: www.waufis.org

Tel: +220 3707110/3579994/4460319

 

The Hustler’s Digest – Kiro’o Games Secures Sponsorship for Rebuntu Platform

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The Hustler's Digest - Kiro'o Games Secures Sponsorship for Rebuntu Platform

Africa

After creating 160.000 jobs, 1.300 Afripreneurs descend to Lagos for the TEF entrepreneurship forum

Tony Elumelu has once again, unleashed the continent’s most potent development force – the entrepreneurs. “On October 13 and 14, we invite the global entrepreneurship community to Lagos towards the realization of a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results we have seen in our ground-breaking program.” Tony Elumelu said.

For the first time, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) opens the forum to non-TEF entrepreneurs to attend, network, connect with investors and share knowledge.

Andela is $40 million richer. What next?

The Pan-African coding school Andela securely raised $40 million in Series C funding from a host of investors in a landmark round, taking its total venture funding to over $80 million. According to Andela, it will use the capital to fuel its expansion plans in Africa.

It’s aiming to launch offices in two additional African countries over the next year and double its developer base to 1,000. Unfortunately, though there is more capital to fund global ideas, there are people fewer people to build them.

Back to 783: Jacob Zuma’s past has followed him right into the present

In 2009, South Africa’s Supreme Court dropped some 783 corruption charges against its current president, Jacob Zuma. These charges were partly linked to alleged bribes Zuma received in connection with an arms deal and were initially instituted since 2005 – long before he even became president.

But a South African court yesterday, paid Zuma’s case file a legal visit. And they are struggling so hard to reinstate the whopping 783 charges of corruption and fraud against him.

Cameroon

Minpostel sponsors 2000 ICT projects on Kiro’o Rebuntu Program

Late in September, the Cameroon government launched a call for the submission of IT projects. Olivier Madiba, founder of the startup, Kiro’o Games (the first made-in-Cameroon video game studio) intends to share with 10.000 entrepreneurs, 13 years of experience in fund-raising through the Kiro’o Rebuntu program. However, it turns out most IT project bearers can’t afford to pay a registration fee of FCFA 10.000. This week, Minpostel opted to sponsor the registration of 2.000 ICT projects on the Kiro’o Rebuntu mentoring platform.

Bank at night with BgfiBank

Banking in Cameroon before now was limited to day-time banking. But all that is beginning to change with Gabonese bank, BgfiBank. The banking group intends to swing open all its offices until 8 PM through a service called “BgfiNight.” As a result, customers will still be able to carry out their financial transactions till nightfall. Meaning, a dedicated team will be available to provide customers with “secure services.” A similar service was introduced in Gabon in 2016 (BgfiTime).

Movie star breaks the silence over Anglophone predicament

Ever since the “unequally represented” English-speaking people of Cameroon took to the streets, the country’s celebrities seemed to have swallowed their voices. Until recently, the popular Cameroonian actor, Epule Jeffrey decided to break the silence. In a Facebook post, he opted for dialogue against violence, “YES to dialogue, NO to violence.”

His call for dialogue precedes a heightened level of struggle after October 1 incident that led to some deaths and malicious arrests of civilians.

World

Alibaba is flushing $15 billion into new research labs

On Wednesday, the company came out clear, announcing it will drop $15 billion on a program involving 7 new research and development labs worldwide. It’s part of Alibaba’s goal to become a global tech juggernaut. Therefore, it will compete with tech titans like Google, Microsoft and their inspirational rival, Amazon.

And they are calling the program, DAMO – Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook. DAMO will focus its energy on disruptive technology research (quantum computing, machine learning, data intel and natural-language processing are some areas they will focus on). The company is not bluffing. Whatever Amazon does, Alibaba intends to do it better.

Microsoft bids farewell to Windows Phone

After 17 years of existence, Microsoft has finally realized that not many people are using its phone and apps. So there will be no new features or hardware for the Windows 10 mobile. There was a hype that Microsoft was ‘hurtingly’ laying off its mobile device. But it turns out it wasn’t really a hype after all as the Head of Microsoft’s Windows Division, Joe Belfiore recently confirmed, the company is not and has no plans to work on any new hardware or features for the device.

However, Microsoft promises to continue fixing bugs and running security updates. This public admission seems to have initiated the final shutdown for Windows phones. Microsoft’s new mobile approach will definitely focus on building Android and iOS applications.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Cortana can now find answers inside your Skype chats. Is Skype your chosen chat app? You’re lucky. As of October 10, Microsoft rolled out its Cortana assistant into its Skype app for Android and iOS devices. It will allow you to ask questions and get answers right inside your conversations. Too bad, Windows phone won’t be getting it.

Hollywood soul-searching in wake of Weinstein scandal

The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault allegations unleashed a dizzying, eight-day whirlwind through Hollywood. One that has seen a steady onslaught of new accusers. Even before the New York Times story first hit, there were already reports that the high-profile producer and executive, had put together a legal and publicity team to battle coming stories about him in the Times and the New Yorker.

Weinstein’s scandal also exposed another. Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios who has been put on leave after making obscene comments to a TV producer.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Ignite your creativity and acquire skills for self-empowerment at the Do it yourself Workshop on October 28, 2017, Chariot Hotel Buea. Register via 679977607/693541733.
  • Start your own business and get full support and personal mentoring with Forever Living on October 21, 2017, in Douala. Register here for the event.
  • From November 7-9, 2017, African telecoms and technology giants will be in Cape Town, South Africa for the AfricaCom 2017 media event.
  • Join the “One Big Secret to Local Marketing” live event on Facebook on October 18, 2017 and learn marketing insights for small businesses.
  • Take part in the Rule Breaker Awards Ceremony on October 24, 2017, in Arizona to honour exceptional entrepreneurs.
  • Transform your career at the world’s largest software conference, Dreamforce 2017 Blaze Your Trail! in San Francisco, Califonia on November 06, 2017. Register here.
  • Register now for the DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference that takes place online from November 14 to 16, 2017.
  • Learn about leadership and innovation from Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk and 11 others at the Synergy Global Forum in New York from October 27 to 28, 2017.

Jobs

Opportunities

Featured Articles