The last few weeks I am beginning to meet very interesting clients. The initial plan for these particular client meeting is simple; we were going to discuss how we could work together to build and communicate their brand story. As the conversation progresses, I realise the clients aren’t sure about their brand offering. It is becoming a very common challenge I meet in entrepreneurs.

In the Kenyan market I have seen that entrepreneurship is mostly subsistence and not so much solution oriented. Subsistence may work for a while because it is conventional business; you have a product or service and you believe the clients will come. And they do come, then you meet an individual who has been in business for 2 years or maybe even 13 years and they are now stuck or out the door.

The market has evolved or the market never really took up the product or service for various reasons, it could be that it was a copycat business. Or the business just failed to evolve.  In most cases in Kenya, it is the former.

When you don’t fully understand what solution you are offering as a business. That is the beginning of the end. You have no clear direction for the business. And when you have no direction that means the operational and governance models will be shaky. That affects your product quality, which also means you won’t lure customers organically.

For most, it now becomes guerilla sales. Anyone will do. That now means you will start spreading resources to sell a very vague and obscure product or service to all and sundry. Soon cash flow starts choking, because your overheads are now through the roof. People aren’t buying and soon you are in debt and closing shop.

One thing I constantly tell my clients is you cannot communicate if your operations are flawed. If you have a random product, with a random name being sold to random people, your communication will be random. Random communication means there is nothing unique or substantial that you are reinforcing on social media, on billboards, TV ads or even radio. You become part of the noise people want to avoid on these platforms. If you are in business and see no return on investment from your advertising and social media, this could be one reason it is not working.

What started off as a meeting to discuss brand communication and strategy has turned into a business advisory service. I am meeting more and more people stating that they want to be in business but the sad thing is they don’t actually have a solid idea what they want to do.

Bottom line, before you jump in and say I want a logo and other fancy branding stuff and social media pages and a website. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What solution am I offering the market?

You are in business to offer a solution. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering at times it is as simple as, people are too busy to go to buy groceries. I will shop for them at a fee.

  1. Who is this solution for?

You need to really narrow down your target demographic group. A perfect example is music. What you like, your kid sister likes, your parents or even your elder siblings like is completely different. Everyone doesn’t like everything. You need to be very precise on who would want your product or service. Be specific about age, gender, locality, interests, etc.

  1. Why should they care about the solution in the first place?

Just because you have a solution, don’t expect people to run to your product or service. You need to give them a reason and reinforce that reason; this is where your targeted brand communication comes in handy.

Here’s an article I wrote a few months ago. This is an initial guide to get you in the right frame of mind to provide an earth shattering business solution, to a targeted market ready to embrace your offering.