I recently had a random talk with one CEO of a successful start-up grossing over 10m annual sales, who requested for anonymity. What I thought was just a BTW chat as we had met on the streets of Nairobi turned out to be a one hour full of laughter, priceless lessons and experiences and subsequently this blog.
Something he said resonated with me, the kind of advice you can get around here especially in Tech is “TechCrunch advice” his words.
a person who gives advice, typically someone who is expert in a particular field.
“From reading a lot tech blog and start-up videos”
N/b He has no beef with Techcrunch or any other tech blog, actually he is full of praise for the platform. However that should not dictate how we do business in Kenya.
I later analysed that statement and found a lot of truth within it especially with things that are currently happening at our start up Gigwapi.com.
TechCrunch doesn’t tell you how to deal with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) it doesn’t tell you that KRA will most probably fine you for some absurd reason you don’t even know about. It doesn’t tell you that most clients require a 30 days credit policy but KRA requires taxes on all accrued invoice that month despite the money having not hit the bank account.
TechCrunch doesn’t tell you that almost all industries in Kenya are controlled by a monopoly that controls almost 80% of all the businesses except Telecommunication where Safaricom has tight competition. These guys will dictate the price and when to pay you not the other way round.
TechCrunch doesn’t tell you how hard ecommerce is in Kenya , they give us worldwide stats , that seems all juicy and simple and forget to state how much money you need and the red tape involved when dealing with different government in Africa. See America has a population of 348 M, internet penetration of 273m that about 78% of the whole Population, one Federal Reserve and a willing consumer.
E-commerce is a game of numbers, if you are launching in USA you have the 273 million market, one governments to deal with as opposed to Africa where if you successfully launch in Kenya you still need to deal with Museveni of Uganda, Mugabe, Zuma, Kagame with all their different government requirements.
I drifted a bit there. OK. Back to TechCrunch
TechCrunch doesn’t tell you it’s a bad idea to go on TV announcing your net worth in front of the whole country. Go figure.
TechCrunch doesn’t teach you of the sales cycle in Kenya, Funny how it similar across all industry. Once you have conquered one you can work in any industry.
Having run start up for the past two years, I would take the hustler, the hawker, the loans sales guy for advice over any other.
There no single advice that can solve all your business problems, you need to listen to people who have done it share their experiences then extract what’s helpful and run with it. Keep listening, keep learning.
A hustler will give you stories but it better than Adviser who refers to tech crunch or any other tech blog to get industry advice.