For Patrick Mugambi, starting a business as a website creator happened as a moonlighting affair in 2014 when he was still employed as a software developer.
During this period, he would rush for client meetings over lunch breaks and have other meetings between 7am and 8am just to earn an extra coin.
“It was a year of literal running to make meetings and running back to the office, jumping from one matatu into another and lots of sweating,” he recalls.
With time, his side job was competing with his main job.
“Things didn’t get easier and by the end of 2014 my employer drew first blood and I was out of a job with my fledgling business but determined to make it work,” he says.
His then-young company Urban Kreative was getting a growing clientele and he decided to focus on “building websites that build businesses.”
He designs company websites mainly for small emerging businesses that need to hit the ground running against a pool of more established businesses.
“We realised that search engines like Google are giving consumers more power to search for what they need without feeling the need to run and get a hard copy of the directory,” adds Patrick.
He says that companies that have well-designed and optimised websites reap big.
“We provide end-to-end online solutions that largely focus on providing a well thought out website design that simply does one thing, that is delivering results,” he adds.
The company has the capacity to deliver services for fifty clients in a month and Patrick is in the process of scaling up to enable them to onboard more clients.
What lessons has he gathered, having failed in other businesses?
“I realised that it takes a sweet blend of failure and fearlessness to build anything, not just a company like this one. I failed spectacularly in prior attempts in getting businesses off the ground,” says Patrick.
He adds that this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t make mistakes to date, but that he takes the chance to grow and do things better.
His golden advice is that having a website just for the sake of it is a bad idea because the first point of contact for any brand in relation to its consumers has significantly shifted from offline to online.
He notes that nine out of 10 consumers visit a brand's website for the first time before making a purchase.
“This is our unique selling proposition. We build websites for our clients that will enable the nine out of 10 consumers that visit the website to have an experience that will trigger an action that will benefit them both,” he says.
The cost of the services offered is relative to the needs of the client, which also ranges from basic to more complex platforms.
“For example, for some clients, we register one domain at Sh800 while for others the domain will get registered at Sh1,200 and it, therefore, depends on the kind of domain name a client wants,” he adds.
For a website, his charges start from Sh100,000 while and can go as high as Sh500,000. The cost changes depending on the specific things a client wants.
Over the years, he says he has learned from his failures and successes.
“The two things that I have acquired over these years are one, the outcome of anything depends on the actions or inactions of today. The future is simply a compounded product that is a sum total of the things done now. Two, I’d rather fail than not attempt,” he adds.
His job comes about with a number of challenges. He says the nature of what he does is dependent on keeping up with changes in many areas.
Sometimes these changes happen concurrently, and they include cybersecurity. “This compels us to always be on our toes and to be aware of the new cybersecurity threats that we need to stave off,” he adds.
He says when some of these changes happen clients might not be ready to adopt them right away.
“Convincing them that they need to switch from what they have been used to something new becomes a challenge,” he says.
To overcome this, they have to keep the clients up to date with advancements in technology.