He dreads to imagine the path his life would have followed had he not taken the bold step to quit formal employment — first as a news anchor at the State broadcaster, KBC, and then as an accounts director at a now defunct advertising firm — to venture into the world of business.
A passionate broadcaster who says he never took home a cent during the early days of work at the then Voice of Kenya (VoK), Mr Edmund Mudibo would earn a tidy sum from voicing over commercials. This money, he says, would more than compensate for the months he worked without pay at the State broadcaster.
“A lot was going on in my life, especially after my dad died in 1999. There was also the pressure of wanting to do something different. I thought of charting a new journey of entrepreneurship,” Mr Mudibo said during an interview with Money.
He worked at KBC from 1984 until 2006, when he quit, at a time when the media industry had changed a lot, especially with the opening up of the sector to many players. Before he left, he was involved in the training of a new crop of journalists, some of whom would take over from him, given that he had decided to quit.
His journey as an entrepreneur began in 2001, when he launched Forward Vision, an advertising and brand management firm.
“Advertising as an industry is one of the highest paying. Survival for me was not much of a problem. By 2001, I had been saving roughly between Sh70,000 and Sh100,000 a month, savings which I would later use as start-up capital,” he said, adding that his start-up capital was Sh500,000.
Before quitting formal employment, he juggled his entrepreneurship roles with his work as a news presenter and as an accounts manager at a local advertising firm.
The business he started would offer various services, including advertising and strategy making, media liaison and public relations, origination and production of adverts to different media.
“My image as a news presenter went ahead of me to sell me. By the time I went to make presentations to clients, I had no difficulty in getting business,” he said.
But when the local advertising firm he initially worked for closed shop due to mismanagement and failure to honour its tax obligation to the Kenya Revenue Authority, Mr Mudibo paid even closer attention to his start-up.
“We have managed to come a long way because we have employed the right people. If you are the one doing the work, you must do it very well. At first, I was the central figure at work in charge of almost all operations, but tapping into the talent of colleagues, friends and family members, who would chip in once in a while,” Mr Mudibo said.
When he was starting out, he had difficulties accessing credit from banks to expand his business.
Cash flow was also a major challenge, especially since most of his clients would pay him after about 45 days, or even three months after the services had been offered.
“It is still the case today. But what has helped me is the name I had made for myself and the network I had created while working as a news presenter and as an accounts director at an advertising firm,” he said.
His advice: “Appreciate the value of networks, which grow continuously. Be good at what you do. Offer the best possible product or service. Be reliable and consistent with what you do”.
His company, which he estimates is worth more than Sh100 million, boasts of a big client portfolio, including UAP Insurance, The Nairobi Hospital; Consolidated Bank, Hillpark Hotels, Kenya Tea Development Agency, Kenya Wine Agency, BOC Gases, Oxfam International, iWay Africa, K-Rep Bank and Air Mauritius.
For a company that made its first million in the first year of operation and currently makes between Sh20 and Sh25 million, he does not regret the decision to go it alone.
Now, he has brought on board three more directors to help in the management of the company.
Story by Joshua Masinde-Nation Newspaper