ack of self-confidence and capital to start are the main drawbacks to many young people venturing into entrepreneurship. Nairobi based entrepreneur, Ms Loise Kamanu, who doubles as business mentor, says connecting with the right people in the market is the key to unlocking vast resources and knowledge to start a business.
“No one was born with capital,” says Ms Kamanu, 25. “Getting out and meeting people can give you an idea of how to get the capital or how to go about it. Get out and interact with people.” Ms Kamanu, the founder and managing director of Modest Collections, a delivery service company in Nairobi, won the Transport and Logistics category in the just ended 2019 SME Awards.
The awards, organised by Bizna Kenya, gauged performance, profitability, customer relations and quality of products and service.
Ms Kamanu’s journey as an entrepreneur is an interesting one. Growing up in Kajiado County, her parents were entrepreneurs. Seeing the hustle that comes with this industry drove her to think of something different.
“I always wanted to be a psychologist,” she told Business Today. To fulfill that dream she worked hard in high school and got enrolled to study counselling and psychology in the University of Nairobi. She later graduated in 2012 and started job-hunting like many university graduates in Kenya.
The job-hunt, which is considered a ‘job’ in itself, landed her in a real estate company as a sales representative. “I met a lot of challenges on this path which I believe were equipping me for my current journey,” says Loise, who is also a certified sign interpreter.
She decided to quit her job where she earned Ksh20,000 and ventured into online selling. A huge chunk of young entrepreneurs in the country have plunged into online shops to escape the menace of unemployment. “It is a real challenge being on online selling. For the first three months, I did not sell anything. It was frustrating but after six months I had several customers,” says Ms Kamanu.
It was during this period that Ms Kamanu discovered her niche. “There was a huge problem with the delivery of goods to the customers. The goods arrived either late or damaged and the customer would return them and fail to pay,” she says.
Ms Kamanu decided to venture into delivering goods from online sellers to their consumers. She bought her first motor bike and hired a rider. Three years down the line, her business has seven motorbike and eight employees.
As a young employer, Ms Kamanu ensures her workers display discipline and execute their duties with the highest standards. “Being a leader is not about giving orders but how you serve the clients and the workers.”
Every month, the best employee of the month is rewarded to appreciate them and challenge others to do better job.
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The online selling to delivery service has not been a smooth path for the young woman. “I pitched my business idea to a bank that I had approached and it took me months before they finally came on board,” recalls Ms Kamanu.
The growing e-commerce enterprise in the country provided a wider market for the young entrepreneur. “It is unexploited market making the demands is so high.”
Customer experience for Modest Collections is the heart of the venture. “I feel satisfied when a customer calls back to say their good have reached on time, then they call again for another delivery. That get’s me out of bed every morning.”
Facebook platform has been the best medium for the delivery company since 2016 when it was registered. This is where many buyers and sellers in the country meet unlike in other social media platforms.
When she is not busy answering delivery calls and giving out instructions Ms Kamanu hikes, swims and reads a lot. “It is very important for me to have my personal time away from the weekly hustles that can be draining at times. I take time to reflect and strategise on how to grow my business to cover the country in the next few years.”
Her parting shot: Success in business is determined by how well it has been planned and executed. Not the gender or age.