Last evening was yet again another interesting one at Bongohive as their Insaka had a special guest appearance from Chabala Kaunda, lead consultant at CSJ Partners which is a leading consultancy firm in southern Africa.
Chabala has spent 18 years in the mobile industry working as a market developer for big brands like Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens and more, and he was there to share what he’s learnt over those years with us.
Over 18 years, he had some values to share. You might want to save these somewhere if you are a young entrepreneur who wants to develop a start-up, even if your work isn’t in telecoms or the mobile industry.
- Passion/Interest vs Financial Gain – We all want to make money off our ideas, but we need to have passion first, it’s very important to. Love what you do and it won’t even feel like work. The rewards will come hurtling in.
- Persistence – Nobody who’s made it in life became who they are by not pushing their ideas forward and never giving up. Chabala Kaunda is NOT Chabala Kaunda right now because he relaxed. He fought to get to where he is.
- Vision – See where you want to be, keeping your future in mind at all times. Set realistic goals and achieve them. Again, persistence is key. Always have your idea’s end in mind.
- Wisdom – Nobody knows it all. Seek new and old ideas from people you know will add value to what you want to do. Chabala quoted Henry Ford who said “Expert? Fire him”. There are no real experts. Everyone just knows part of a truth, some more than others. In the end we all just need to keep learning and keep reading to expand our personal knowledge.
- Write a plan – Nothing oozes professionalism like a document put together. It shows you mean business. Sometimes passing on an idea by word of mouth has no lasting effect on who you’re sharing it with. A written document helps put it all together and can be used to refresh your memory incase involved parties forget some points.
- Focus – Know what you want to do and keep your goals in check. Do not deviate from your original plan unless it will improve it.
- Faith – Whatever it is that keeps you going in life, hold on it to it and let it motivate you to get to where you want to be. Hustle hard!
- Keep Circles of Influence – Who are you hanging out with? Do they add value to your goals? If not, you might want to change and find people who can influence you in the right way and help you grow. “Stay young, stay curious, stay foolish, above all, stay humble”.
- Be proactive – If something does not seem to work, find a solution. Do not give up.
- Seek first to understand then to be understood – Know exactly what your idea means. Research about similar ideas and how they were developed.
- Think Win Win – for both/all parties involved. It has to have benefits for you and solutions for consumer. If you’re pitching your idea to a potential client, make sure you stress it’s benefits to them,
- Embrace change and failure – nothing works out just fine all the time. Sometimes before it does, you have to fail in order for you to realize what you’re not doing right, and correct it.
- Find a mentor – a mentor is important. Learn from them about how to handle different situations with regard to work ethics, how to run a business, and how to handle clients.
- Team work – Make sure you find out what talent/value each team member brings to the table and then make it work to yield results.
- Right partners – find people who have same values as you, network in circles that you will find like-minded people. Have good people to work with, and depending on what you’re trying to start-up, how you structure your management will depend on product/service being worked on and the individual value of each member.
In conclusion he said if you fear that your idea will not be accepted easily, bear in mind that new ideas are always received with some level of skepticism. Make sure you prepare your presentation with as much factual backing as possible, especially when pitching to a potential investor.
Hope you learnt a thing, or five, out of what Chabala Kaunda said so until the next Bongohive Insaka talk, keep your dreams alive and turn them into reality.