Through this series dubbed, Daily Grind Founder360° CEO and Head of Content Vallency F. Otieno chats with Young Successful entrepreneurs and frontrunners on various topics including actionable steps on driving sales, exceptionable leadership strategies and staying afloat through the obstacles among others.
It was after attending a Google-sponsored training programme for University students that June Syowia envisioned Beiless Group, an innovative digital marketing agency offering creative digital and technology services in Kenya. While this came after successive ventures as a community mobilizer in the heart of Dandora, a perceived crime-ridden suburb located on the eastern part of Nairobi, June has been able to successfully build Beiless Group into one of the most-sought-after digital agency boasting of more than 80 clients in the region.
At only 23 years, June Syowia has achieved a feat not many of her age and background have done. The Economics graduate from the University of Nairobi is not only the CEO and Founder of one of the fastest growing startups in Africa according to Global African Business Awards 2018, but she was also recently listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 2018 edition.
She has been awarded Top 40 Under 40 award by Business Daily Africa 2015 and successively won the Global Student Entrepreneur Award in 2017 representing Kenya at the finals in Frankfurt, Germany.
While her entrepreneurship journey has not been easy, June believes that perseverance and patience is one key attribute to build for oneself if you want to be successful.
“Being an entrepreneur is not cool, it’s actually quite a learning curve and perseverance is important in the game. Another mistake young people do is not getting a mentor or someone.”
June Syowia shares her valuable insights from her 3-year journey on how to remain in steadfast in the game.
Tell us about your background; i.e. family, education and any work experience before starting Beiless Group etc.
I am the first born of 4 and I was born and raised in Dandora, Nairobi. I then began my education at a school that was located right next to the biggest dumpsite in Nairobi. Paying for a good education was a challenge but through it all, I got to the University of Nairobi and recently completed my Bachelor of Economics degree.
My first job was at the House of Manji when I was 18 years old. I then I worked for Kisima Park Real estate in the same year. I did contractual jobs for the University of Amsterdam and Innovation Prize for Africa right before I started my own company.
What in particular drove you to venture into entrepreneurship / starting your own business/company?
I love coming up with solutions and executing them. This coupled with my desire to change systems and grow enterprises catapulted me into starting my own company. Initially, it was just me offering my services to my CEO friends then it grew into corporates to a point that I had to hire people to help out.
Secondly, my mum is an entrepreneur and growing up I used to help her sell in her shop. That process of exchange of products with money was quite intriguing from then on I knew I wanted to get into the business. I believe making a profit is a thrill.
What are some of the actionable steps one can use to make their personal and company profile be heard/known?
What I always say is let your business, enterprise or what you are doing sell you. Don’t start building your personal brand when you are not doing anything tangible. As for your company, hang around the right people, network and give every small job you get the best you can and you will get referrals.
Those referrals will lead you to get even bigger contracts. You can also advertise online. Figure out where and who your target audience is and create the most engaging creative content that will catch their eyes then advertise.
Sales are important for any business to thrive. What are some of the sales techniques /strategies do you use when hunting for new clients?
Most of our clients are referral based. Our work speaks for itself and this is our secret to client acquisition. Our results and analytics from campaigns and platforms created are our selling point. We focus on conversion and not flat-out digital advertising.
Clients always want to know what is in it for them, give them what they want then over deliver. They will always look for you. Design “killer” presentations when pitching with the aim of pleasing the potential customer and ultimately close the sale.
Design “killer” presentations when pitching with the aim of pleasing the potential customer and ultimately close the sale.
What kind of strategies do you use to move forward when you experience a setback? How do you stay afloat?
Setbacks will always be there but what we always have in mind is the vision of the company and the direction we are going. It’s bigger than the present so we have to persevere even through the tough times.
The client always comes first no matter what and they are also right so we have mitigation strategies in case of a mishap. Every day and every project presents a new lesson and we pick up quite fast.
What do you think are some of the mistakes that young people do when they venture into Entrepreneurship?
Wanting everything to happen really fast and this is never the case. Things get hard and when you realize you cannot do what you have ventured into for free then do not go any further, you will fail miserably.
Being an entrepreneur is not cool, it’s actually quite a learning curve and perseverance is important in the game. Another mistake young people do is not getting a mentor or someone in that particular field to hold their hand. This is important because you get to avoid mistakes you’d have made if you did not have a mentor.
Being an entrepreneur is not cool, it’s actually quite a learning curve and perseverance is important in the game.
As a CEO with a team under you, what are some of the leadership blind spots you have faced and how do (did) you overcome them?
My biggest leadership blind spot has been going it alone. I can literally do everything I have employed people to do so when someone fails to get to the standard I want them to reach, I sometimes tend to just do the corrections myself.
How I overcome this is by simply delegating and leading by example by showing my team the level of standards to reach and having a conversation about it until we get to a reasonable conclusion.
How do you manage to keep being competitive in your industry (niche)?
By ensuring our Unique Selling Point is clear to our clients and perspective. Just like our name (Beiless), we offer priceless, invaluable services and this has set us apart even in the experience we offer our clients.