Staying on top of the latest online trends is key in the world of marketing, and for Zimbabwean company 143 Communications, headed by entrepreneur Geraldine Eve Kasambara, those trends bring exciting business opportunities.
What does your company do?
At 143 Communications, we focus mainly on Social Media marketing. We also specialize in Advertising, PR and Marketing Strategy.
What inspired you to start your company?
My grandmother, yes as old as she is! When we were young she used to have a stall for sweets, biscuits, any junk food that appealed to young kids right outside her house. She used to make us go to the bus terminus to sell freezits (super cools) - I do not know what they are called in other countries but In Zimbabwe it's a sweet coloured ice put in plastic. Anyway, it was so embarrassing as other children at school would laugh at us, but my grandmother would sing this song to us - ‘usambonyara chero uchishanda nemaoko ako' in Shona (a local Zimbabwean Bantu language) which means ‘do not be embarrassed with the work you do as long you are working with your hands.’ So at the back of my mind, I have always wanted to work for myself, inspired by an almost illiterate old woman who only got to standard 3 and had been raised only to be a housewife but managed to take care of her family alongside her working husband. I loved the financial freedom it gave her, I loved the way she could just close her stall and go home to prepare a meal for her family. I loved that balance in her life.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Because the world is making a paradigm shift towards social media marketing. You do not want to find yourself lagging behind because you fail to realize the potential that lies within Social Media Marketing. You should also work with us in particular because we are dedicated to our clients, we are ignited by passion. Often people ask us why 143 Communications and we tell them - 143 is a numerical representation of I love you- I (1) Love (4) You (3) , when you love someone you go far ahead the call of duty and you go the extra mile for them, you are willing to do anything to see them happy, and that is the main reason apart from the fact that it makes basic business sense.
Tell us a little about your team
Our team is passionate about their work, we are young and vibrant and dream great things. We have vision boards, each and every one of us, because a person with no vision has no business being involved in other people's visions if one has no vision of their own - so what first happens when you join 143 Communications is that you make a vision board. We work hard, extremely hard. We laugh a lot and have fun but when it is time to work, it's time to work, no excuses are tolerated. We complement each other and we are a family and we get along quite well. We are determined to succeed and grow, and each team member knows the vision of the company and what each one of us has to do to play their part in order for us to reach our set goals. #team143Communications
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Yes I come from an entrepreneurial background, as alluded to before - up to now my grandmother still has her stall outside her house. At the age of 17, I attempted to register my own company, it was a stock taking company. The same year I asked my uncle to buy me a shelf company. I first ventured into my own business at university, I started making samoosas and selling cake pieces - it would keep me liquid. I never wanted to be one of those girls at school who would have sugar daddies on the side to help them with money. I did as my grandmother had advised me, I used my hands and worked, and it paid off. I was noticed by someone who asked me to be their business partner at university. The university was offering an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to have one of the tuckshops, so all you had to do was to pitch your idea. I did and they loved it and we got the tuckshop. We ran it for a year, and I went for my attachment after that. I wanted to go for attachment at my own company but one of my very wise mentors said to me "Geraldine you will never have the discipline to work for yourself until you have the discipline to work for someone else.” Wise words that I have taken to heart up to now. I worked and I was getting comfortable, it had to take getting fired to jolt me back to my dream. I got offered other jobs by the competitors of my previous employer and I said no, I knew it was time for my dream to start becoming a reality. It was tougher than I had envisioned, and I realized that hard work, sweat and blood were not enough. I had to go the extra mile because of four things: I was unknown, I was young, I am beautiful and I am a woman. At one time I wanted to give up, no-one could get my dream, no-one could identify with it. At most I got pitying eyes for the girl who was fired. As if that was not enough false rumours about why I had been fired started being spread around further ruining my reputation - I broke down and cried, I could not take it, it was horrible. I had some clients wanting to work with me because they thought I could offer extra 'services' to them. I stood my ground and said no, I said I would rather not have the client than to lose my integrity. And living in a society whereby most men hold influential positions, they thought I could sleep my way to the top (watch out for my book on that subject being published early this year). I stood my ground, I persevered, I strived to be a better person and above all I prayed and God saw me through. Now our team has grown, from one young girl with a dream to ten young ladies and gentlemen who are striving to see this vision and make it a reality, all in the space of two years. I give all glory and honour to the Lord above.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
In five years we are going to be one of the most powerful companies in Africa. Of course what is wealth without power and what is power without wealth.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The work... weird I know, but knowing that I am working for a dream that is becoming a reality. The fact that I already inspire young ladies, and will inspire more for generations to come.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Like I said in my book that I am writing on entrepreneurship, you should always know what you are worth so that you know when you are worth more than the crumbs you are being given. Knowing your worth is the only way you can stand tall and not fall into these traps that are set before us as women - you are not a sex toy, you are worth more than your boobs, you are worth more than your private parts. Jesus left the glory of heaven just to die for you, if he had to do it all over again, he would, even if you had been the only one he had to do it for, he would. If you realize your worth, then all will be well.
Source: Lionesses of Africa