‘Branding a key business component’
STARTUP entrepreneurs have been urged to adopt branding as an important aspect of building their businesses.
The call was made by Vodacom’s Senior Brand Specialist Charma Mwansa during his address at the recent Vodacom Innovation Park business clinic in Maseru.
The Vodacom Innovation Park is an incubator for budding entrepreneurs in all areas of business that are looking to leverage the power of technology and mobile communications to differentiate and make their businesses more competitive and productive.
Mr Mwansa told participants that company branding was the “most efficient way to show potential customers what your business is about”.
“Branding is reflected visually via the logo and company design elements as well as through slogans and informational copy,” he said, adding “the brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive”.
“Most businesses fail because entrepreneurs do not give their consumers anything to resonate with,” he said.
He stated that although branding was important for the growth of the businesses, most entrepreneurs still believed that investing in branding was a waste of time.
Speaking to the Sunday Express, Vodacom Innovation Park Administrator, Hlalefang Makoae said the aims of the Business Clinic were to ensure growth of local businesses, explore business opportunities and challenges as well as the development of entrepreneurs through sessions to share ideas.
She said before they came up with the business clinic, Vodacom Innovation Park used to periodically take groups of entrepreneurs for training and mentorship to equip them with skills to refine their business ideas or actual business.
She said they had to change tactics to adopt the business clinic after realising that they had limited space to take up all the applicants.
“We then decided to come up with the clinic to give start up entrepreneurs a chance to have an open dialogue with people who have been in business for a long time.”
She added that every Friday they had guest speakers chosen from seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals. These included professionals from bodies such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation, Lesotho Enterprise Assistance Programme and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation.
One of the participants, Teboho Mphana told this publication that attending and “listening to people who are very young and are good at what they do gave me inspiration to do something for myself”.
Mr Mphana is the Chief Executive Officer of a specialised mobile waterless carwash service provider called Mervice.
“After competing my studies, I knew I didn’t want to get hired but I didn’t know how to go about my business idea but the sessions helped me in many ways.”
He said the clinic not only offered a platform for networking but it also helped with communication skills and knowledge about managing businesses.