Sound advice: So you want to give sound solutions?
Andrew Mwangi Wambui, 24, dropped out of Strathmore University where he was pursuing a degree in Commerce due to lack of fees and founded Mambo Yote in 2014.
Mambo Yote is an entertainment company that provides sound, DJ, MC, lights, stage, and roadshow trucks for all kinds of events.
A year after outsourcing equipment from other service providers, he bought his sound equipment, a DJ kit and a van.
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“The sound system was worth Sh400,000, the DJ kit Sh450,000 and the van, a Townace, was worth Sh500,000,” Andrew says.
He raised the capital from his savings, borrowed some money from a friends and bought some equipment on credit. According to him, it’s good to have starting capital, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for not starting a business.
“Most people wait to have millions to start a business, which might never happen. It has everything to do with your plan and the ability to execute that (plan).”
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The company, now valued at Sh4 million, operates in Nairobi and Mombasa. Within the three years of business, he has done more than 300 events and for his efforts, he has received two major recognition.
“The Top 25 under 25 entrepreneurs 2015 by KCA University and Top 40 under 40 2017 by the Business Daily, were proud moments for Mambo Yote,” he says.
“We aim to provide the best services at fair prices. Our charges start from Sh50,000 depending on what the client needs,” says Andrew
Mambo Yote is the official entertainment service providers for Law Society of Kenya Nairobi Branch, Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya and the National Counties Baskets League, among others.
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According to Microsoft Founder Bill Gates, it is fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. For the three years in business, Andrew has been learning on the job and, more so, from his failures.
For his first job, he charged a client Sh8,000 but incurred a Sh15,000 expense from equipment he had hired. He also had to hire someone to do the setup as he was a greenhorn.
Andrew says that age has been one of the greatest challenges he encounters in his line of business. He says people find it hard trusting young people, especially in the service industry. They fear that they might not deliver or they are just brokers. To counter this, he acts mature with the client as well as taking them to his store to show them his equipment and, hence, the capacity to deliver. Besides, he relies heavily on testimonials from my previous clients.
When starting, Andrew says he didn’t do his research well on what equipment were necessary. So he ended up buying things that were not needed at all and left others that were a necessity.
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“Starting out, I did not really need a DJ kit, which I spent almost half a million on. My main reason for starting the business was to provide sound system services. The DJ kit was unused for some time and I had to sell it for Sh300,000,” he explains.
Ideally, Andrew says, he would have bought another set of sound instead of the DJ kit. It came to a point where he would have two events in a day and he would be forced to hire the sound equipment from other companies.
Another mistake he did was using a significant portion of his savings and so he had no working capital. According to him, he had projected that he would do many events that would provide him with the working capital. However, this was not the case as he would go even three months without an event.
“I lacked a mentor to help me in business and hence had no clear vision of what was needed in business. I also ended up getting wrong ideas from some of my friends,” Andrew recalls. The now wise Andrew ensures that he manages his working capital.
“When I do an event, I divide the money whereby some goes back to the business. I have developed that discipline to stretch the working capital such that the money set aside can run the business for six months without any other event,” he says.
Besides, he has mentors who help him in business and also role models whom he looks up to. Robert Kiyosaki and Richard Branson are among them. His local role models are Kev of Mo Sound and Big Ted. He says he admires their desire to impact lives.
“I believe we should all have role models and mentors. They help us realise we are not yet there and get us out of our comfort zones. They also help us avoid some mistakes since they have already gone before us,” he says.
Since he was young, Andrew has always been involved in entertainment. “I was always finding fault with the sound setup at other events and offering a helping hand to correct the mistake. I was also a musician before starting the business and I would set my sound before I go on stage. I loved doing it, so I did not struggle to know what business to start” he explains.