What you need to know:
What you need to know:
- Muthoni Njakwe is the founder and CEO of StedComm Limited, a digital marketing and advertising agency that works with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on their digital strategy
Muthoni Njakwe is the founder and CEO of StedComm Limited, a digital marketing and advertising agency that works with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
I am building a brand that I never got a chance to work for. That's a brand that balances profitability and social consciousness. I come from a very humble beginning, I have experienced poverty first hand and as I grew up, I wanted to change the world. I envisioned a world without extreme poverty. Empowering small businesses is the surest way we can eradicate poverty. Being able to serve hundreds of small businesses through my company is an honour.
As the firstborn in the family, I had to grow up quickly. I grew up with a lot of challenges that moulded me into the woman I am today. After starting my business, I spent the first five months making thirty cold calls a day. I sent endless business proposals. I knocked on many doors. Cold-calling was a big lesson. It taught me to think on my feet. So many doors slammed on me that I had to develop thick skin. But the work fascinated me, and I kept my sense of humour and adventure. I thrive on competition.
I once took a Sacco loan to start a business. It wasn't a good idea. Just like most entrepreneurs, I did not take into account how long it would take to break even and make a profit. It doesn't happen that way. Most likely a business will run at a loss for a year or more while it builds a clientele. When you start thinking about opening a business, the first question you must ask yourself is "How long can my business survive without making profits?" If the answer is less than two years then you need to reconsider the plan.
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected the marketing sector where I operate. Many companies have cut marketing and advertising budgets, gone silent on social media, and simply stopped communicating with their clients and customers. But big problems always create even bigger opportunities. Companies that maintain their investment in branding and marketing through great depressions always come out ahead of others after the recession.
I had no mentor when I started my company. I took time to think, I had to learn and do things on my own. I was afraid to expose my vulnerabilities. In retrospect, I should have walked with the right mentor. Get a reasonable mentor if you have a young business. Don't be afraid to admit you don't know. When you acknowledge your weaknesses and ask for advice, you'll be surprised how much others can help.
I save my money with a Sacco. The more savings I have, the higher the amount of loan I can be able to access.
The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. I've also learnt that success is a process. Expecting your business to take off right away is like expecting your one-month infant to walk immediately. Business is like a baby. You have to nurture it, give it constant attention, and constantly feed it. As it gets older, you become more experienced as an entrepreneur. You also learn. Seek to constantly learn; Stay hungry. Constantly evolve and innovate to remain relevant. On money, avoid unnecessary spending, as it can be the difference between failure and survival.
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