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Functional And Emotional Connectivity: The Hidden Reason Why Businesses Collapse

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The saying goes, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. This explains why the shoe shine business at Jevanjee Gardens will always have clients because neatness is of value. Men are often judged from their shoes going upwards, by the color of their tie and by the firmness of their handshake. Women make great first impressions by their ensemble too and also by their command of a room without saying a word.

Your business too creates a first impression to clients; however, profit comes from maintaining a lasting impression. Impressions are logical as well as emotional, they are formed when a person is exposed to experiences that sway their personal judgements about something or someone, in this case, your business.

Almost all Banks have the same standardized procedures while opening accounts for clients. I have banked with several during my years after high school until now in my mid-forties. What I can say for certain is that I still maintained two accounts from that era, I wonder how they retained my patronage.

Nostalgia has a part to play in this story as I recall filling in my first deposit slip, receiving my first banked cheque and my first withdrawal. The process was new to me, but it fulfilled my needs quickly. Their processes became second nature to me, I became functionally connected but my emotional attachment kept me there all these year. Functional and emotional connectivity comes into play here, understanding these leads to leaving a lasting impression on clients.

Functional connectivity is a client’s interaction with your business procedures or systems that serves their needs. The mediums through which you offer your services to them creates a bond between them and you. The practicality or ease of the process you have laid out for them from start to finish will either bring them back or send them away. How much time they take to get served also contributes a big deal to their functional connectivity to your business. If a fast food restaurant serves its food 11 minutes after the order, that is no longer fast food, it should be called moderately fast food.

There is no hurry in Africa is the usual excuse that is given after a tourist or expat complains about how slow they are being served. What follows next are curse words and expletives as they rant and complain about how think-blink-appear their systems are out there ‘huko majuu’. They would go on to exaggerate that their part of the world is almost heavenly, YouTube videos tell a different story however. That notwithstanding, the important question to ask is, which operation mantra does your business operate by?

Emotional connectivity on the other hand is the client’s feelings towards the business. This begins from their first impression of the business through adverts and other marketing activities, to the point they deal with your business and these emotions are strengthened by their after thoughts about their experience. They can be either positive or negative even as the client is being served. Marketing and Public relations activities are best at promoting positive emotional connectivity to the business. Ever wondered why other business get more word of mouth marketing from their clients and not yours? The functional and emotional connectivity they have with your business makes them proud to be associated by your business.

Every entrepreneur needs to periodically review their systems and procedures as it always contributes to their outlook by outsiders. Good and swift procedures may never be spoken about, but the positive feelings they bring will be expressed by a courteous thank you. Just wait until the day you mess up in a small way and your business becomes a meme on social media for just one hour of failure.

We all remember the day when M-pesa services went offline for a few hours last year, it was the talk of the town for a week or two. Not many openly celebrated M-pesa when it is working at full capacity because they have already built a certain connectivity with their clients. This connectivity is one of efficiency, this becomes their reputation. This reputation builds up their customers’ expectations. The day they went offline is the day we understood how much impact they had on people through their M-pesa platform. Efficient systems always ensure good service experience, this is what brings their clients back.

Therefore, functional and emotional connectivity is all about satisfying the client’s appetites and expectations. A prospective client walks into Paul’s barbershop, immediately surveys the place and before Paul or his colleague approaches them, the client walks out dissatisfied. It used to bewilder Paul and his colleague as they were always left wondering what they did wrong or what they needed to do right. They then realized that it’s just that the client walked in with an expectation and was not impressed by the ambience of the place, haitoshi mboga.

The client was already exposed to better looking barbershops, he could judge the quality of service just from the look of a place. If Paul profiles his clients well enough, he can estimate their expectations. He can alter the arrangement of his business premises, signage, lights, levels of cleanliness, interior décor and the display window in a cost effective way for the sake of the clients. Pricing strategy is also determined by the look and ‘feel’ of the business to the client.

If you look well organized and your detail levels are excellent, not expensive but well thought through, a client will not feel the pinch of paying that extra Sh 200 bob for a shave. The difference between a barber shop and a kinyozi ceases to be the language, but becomes the functional connectivity a client gets when they get served by you. Their expectations are always met and they leave satisfied. That feeling of satisfaction is the emotional connectivity that develops from all the small details you took care of.

Your employees or members of staff also experience both types of connectivity with the business. When a discord between the two develops, as many employees will call time on their careers and the business will develop a high turn-over of employees; zeal and passion for work diminish and most will be deflated like a slow puncture.

We should work hard to ensure that all our customers develop both a positive functional and emotional connectivity towards us. The banking industry has evolved over the years to make more flexible lending facilities and to improve customer satisfaction. In my time at Credit Bank, we have simplified our processes and solutions to ensure that your business keeps moving forward no matter what adversity you face.

We recognize that our success is tied to our customers’ success.

By Eric Nyachae is the executive officer of business and strategy at Credit Bank Limited.

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Business

How To Get Out of Startup Mode and Grow Your Business

Your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode.

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Entrepreneurs stay in startup mode way too long. Keeping a small business in startup mode requires you to stand on the brake. If you keep telling people you’re “just a startup,” you will never take actions for real growth.

It’s time to move from startup to grown up mode and from planning to doing. In two years, you want to look back at your startup phase as an important part of your thriving business’ history. You want to say, “I remember when I was sitting on my floor packing boxes myself. Now I employ over 100 people.” This is the mindset to move towards and here are five ways to do it:

1. Delegate. When you’re in startup phase, you are handling everything. To become a going concern you have to start investing in people to do tasks you can no longer do. Three quarters of all small businesses have zero employees, which underscores the resistance people have to delegating. You have to grow your business. It is a misnomer to think people cost money. A lack of production and failure to grow your businesscosts far more.

2. Pick your battles. Don’t get wrapped up for a week deciding on a logo when it ultimately doesn’t matter. Your brand will evolve as your business evolves, so your logo is likely to change. There are more important things to obsess over – gaining customers and making money. When you are hunting big game, don’t swat mosquitoes.

3. Get attention.The single biggest problem every startup has is becoming known. Your most important task is to get attention for you and your company. It’s the gateway to every dollar you raise. Muhammed Ali told the world he was the greatest long before anyone knew him. He got attention and infuriated people. But he proved himself, which turned criticism into world admiration. Get attention. Get critics. Then get admiration.

4. Change your pitch. Instead of saying “I own a small web design company,” say “I own a web design company like none other that guarantees your company increased sales.” Notice the difference? The first makes you seem small and insignificant. It makes no claim. The second makes you seem unique, confident and capable of being a money maker. Know how to pitch yourself and your business. Be ready to quickly explain what your company does that is better, faster and of value to the marketplace. Then, make big claims to the world.

5. Create urgency. If you start a business venture without setting specific timelines for action and achievements, you will be stuck forever with excuses. One of the biggest mistakes I have made in business was not operating with enough urgency. Being an entrepreneur is a marathon activity with lots of sprints. Win a lot of little races and you will provide your people and company with momentum.

We recently shot a television show at my office and I told the editing staff that I wanted rough cuts in half the time they thought necessary. Then I called every day for a progress update. This pressure to perform doesn’t lead to inferior products; it get products to be finished. Urgency is key to getting things done.

Remember: Your vision is not improved by staying in startup mode. It’s time to accelerate and become a going concern that is grabbing market share from the other bigger more established players. It used to be the big who ate the small. Today, it is the fast who eat the slow.

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Resilience Is The Key Ingredient In Entrepreneurship

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Resilience is a common trait among entrepreneurs. The degree could differ among individuals depending on their needs, but plenty of it is required at the start.  

The modern entrepreneur has plenty of resources at their disposal that the older generation wish they had a fraction of. Blogs, YouTube tutorials, incubation hubs name them, and yet still click on suspect links that urge them to make fifty thousand shillings in a week. What they fail to understand is that life on the proverbial fast lane takes years to build.

The ‘10,000 hours’ concept is quite simple. You work on a craft or skill by dedicating 10,000 hours to it then maybe you become a master at it. There’s no way around amassing a fortune unless through corruption or theft. This ethics go all across the board into pop culture where famous actors win awards after so many years of doing low budget films away from the limelight. Even TV reality stars gain their names by putting in hours of work. Resilience is what allows business owners and brands to keep at their ideas and not give up even when they make dismal profits.

The transactions of an entrepreneur do not end with sales of a product or service. An entrepreneur wants to learn the market and identify gaps for innovative products and services. Besides, how else will you spot a gap if you don’t painstakingly conduct due diligence?

Persistence spurs action. How, you ask? It presents opportunities to engage directly with your potential client. You are asking them to take a chance on your product or service and therefore will get used to being hanged up on or even insulted as you conduct one on one sales. If you strategically keep marketing you will recognize what works to your advantage and how to gain a profit.

The hustle will consume most of your time especially when you’re starting out. You will be knee-deep in accounts and before you know it, a week is gone! Then you scroll through your social media feed and see your friends colourful pictures in events you were dying to attend which might further depress you. Then your bills will jolt you out of your misery because they need to be paid which again comes back to your determination to succeed.

A successful entrepreneur will learn how to cut costs and plough profits back into the business for growth. The success of this decision could be affected by investors other than you. This is why vetting to find partners who share your similar ideas and goals is important.

The laser focus that comes with the resilience trait distinguishes people who start ten businesses and fail at each of them or focus time and energy on few at a time and do them well. This growth will help an entrepreneur decide if they will pursue it or if the business isn’t viable anymore. Spreading yourself too thin affects creativity and production if you’re a sole proprietor.

When you believe in the brand you’re building there’s so little that can move you. The confidence you have in your business inspires others to want to do business with you because they trust your person to person interaction.

When you narrow it down further to creative entrepreneurship, personal character defines individual artists even as they transact their art for profit. You could say the rules change for entrepreneurs in different fields but they actually remain the same. The setting may be less formal but still has peaks and dips like other sectors.

More young people are looking for freedom to express themselves creatively and have found a niche in this market. They have to constantly reinvent themselves and be extremely good at what they do to remain above the pack. They do all this and insist on ‘passion’ being the driver of what they do.

The creative industry is structured such that the profit earned from a service provided is paid to the ‘artist’ or through their representative. The split allowance is then ploughed back to learning another skill and the cycle continues.

At the end of the day it is all about resilience.

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How To Become A Contributor for Inversk

You do not have to be an entrepreneur for you to write for Inversk Magazine. You can be somebody who has worked for a big company.

Kimani Patrick

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Over the last couple of months, Inversk has grown to be a powerhouse community of entrepreneurs who read our business content on a daily basis. So far Inversk is Kenya’s fastest growing business magazine and our blog is the premier source of actionable business content for entrepreneurs.

As a result, we receive requests asking how one can become a contributor to Inversk and our bi-monthly magazine. So I’ve decided to write a post with information and guidelines that I could send to people.

One reason you may want to become a contributor at Inversk is to position yourself as an authority over your area of specialization, to boost your credibility as an entrepreneur as well as impact other entrepreneurs positively through sharing your knowledge with them.

If you want to speak directly to an audience of committed and curious entrepreneurs or wantprenuers, Inversk is the place. Also, it is good to note that we do not pay contributors for both our magazine or blog.

Please note that being a contributor at Inversk does not offer you an opportunity to promote your business. The platform only provides you the opportunity to put forward your best advice and help readers accomplish their goals. Our readers always come first. If you want to use the platform to promote your business that is not the proper way.

First and foremost, you do not have to be an entrepreneur for you to blog at Inversk. You can be somebody who has worked for a big company.

We are more interested in ideas and the way you present your ideas. You don’t have to have your own business to write for us but you do need to have expertise in the area you’re writing about. We are looking for subject expertise and personality which is very important as well.

What to write: At Inversk, we strive to share actionable advice on how to build a business. Pieces about starting businesses, growing businesses, ideas, productivity, small business, leadership, technology, management, customer service, Finance, and entrepreneurship resonates well with our audience.

We recommend writing actionable advise/tips that our readers can put to use right away. The advice should be clear enough for a reader to put into action. The best tips are often ideas our readers haven’t seen before but offer them a new solution to a common problem. Consider your personal experience. What problems have you overcome? What unique perspectives can you bring? Tell that story.

The ideal length for your article should be between 800 and 1,500 words for online content and between 400 to 2,000 for magazine content. This content must not have been previously published on any site or publication. The content must be original and exclusive to Inversk. We will reject any content already published on other sites or in print and further blacklist your from submitting any content to us.

The steps to take;

  1. Read our site, and get familiar with the content we share. Search the site for what you’re writing on, see what’s already been written and find your own unique angle.
  2. Come up with a great idea.
    It should be within your area of interest or expertise. We want you to write something that you would want to read yourself.
  3. Pitch to us
    Send our editor a proposal – not a full article. Our Editorial email is: kimani@inversk.co.ke. Keep it brief: a tentative headline; two or three sentences explaining what your articles will be about; and one sentence saying why you are qualified to write them.

Based on this proposal we will let you know within three business days whether to start submitting your articles. If you do not hear from us in that time, please assume that we will not be able to publish your submissions; you should then feel free to offer them elsewhere.

If you qualify to be a contributor

Submit completed articles.
Please don’t send us rough drafts and ask our editors to critique or tell you whether you are on the right track. Attach your article as a Microsoft word document and send it via mail.

What happens next?

Our editor will acknowledge receipt of your article the same day, and let you know whether it has been accepted for publication.

If it is, our editors reserve the right to edit the article at their discretion, including changes in the text, subheads and headline, to improve readability and maximize web traffic.

After that we will request you to send us your brief bio. This means: your name; the name of your company (with a link to your website); and your social media links.

We will then create an author’s account on our site and send you login details to start contributing at Inversk as well as the magazine.

How often should a contributor write? There is no magic formula or number. It depends on what you’re writing about and what message you want to send to readers. We have contributors who write twice a week, weekly, every other week and monthly. If you’re writing about a niche topic it’s probably best to scale back.

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