What you need to know:
Reuben King'ori is the CEO and Director of Corporate Marketing at Promote Kenya Ltd, a marketing and innovations startup company creating awareness about Kenyan brands, companies, Kenyan heritage, history, culture and Kenyan products
The business was first registered as a marketing agency to showcase Kenya through content creation. The company started as a partnership. Startup costs came to about Sh30,000. We were then fortunate to get some seed capital from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The business converted into a limited company and commenced full operations towards the end of 2021.
We leverage experiential marketing to 'beat the drums' about the authentic and lesser-known aspects of Kenya. We do this through immersive and memorable experiences to showcase Kenya's rich cultural heritage. We deploy our skills and technology to complement different government institutions’ work.
I was employed in the insurance industry as a financial advisor and sales agent before I started my own business. It started as a side hustle, but it morphed into a full-time job. It has been two years of operation. The greatest challenge has been the working capital and operational finances needed to execute all the projects.
I invested almost all of the funding we got as seed capital into creating and building an app that wasn't necessary. In hindsight, I would have used that funding better to align other parts of the business. Maybe we will revisit that conversation at a later point.
Some of our greatest business moments have come in the form of experiential events. Two events stand out. One was an outdoor movie screening, held in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya, of a movie depicting Kenyan past history and heritage. The second one was a 3D hologram show we held showcasing the ancient bio-diversity of Kenyan early historical life.
If I could turn back the clock, I would make better choices with funding and how we use money in the business. Also, I would stop procrastinating and not delay our starting as much as I did. We lose really good opportunities because we are afraid of what will happen if we put our money into a certain investment or even open a certain type of business. All you need is to do due diligence and start.
I save my money using a unit trust – a money market fund. I also save money using a platform on the Safaricom app known as MALI. These work for me by creating a balance in my savings portfolio such that I do not save just for the sake of it, but rather save as a form of investment. Previously, I used to save using mobile money and end up impulse buying through spendthrift tendencies.
Find your BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) and go after it one foot in front of the other. As Kobe Bryant – one of the greatest basketball players – used to say, ‘the greatest fear we face is ourselves. Not anything external or superficial.’ Because we all have dreams and it's very scary sometimes to accept the dream that you have and it's scarier still to say, you want it and go after it. My big BHAG has been entrepreneurship. I am a marketer and salesperson by extension and thus with entrepreneurship, I can challenge myself to attain targets and goals beyond my wildest dreams.