With high unemployment rates, the few that are lucky to find jobs often cling to these opportunities even if they do not necessarily interest them. Many end up resigning to fate and losing hope for a brighter future.
But that ‘not-so-good’ job may actually hold the key to great tidings, as was the case of Mr Cosmas Musyoki, the owner and chief executive of PowerPoint Systems East Africa Limited.
Mr Musyoki initially worked as a sales and marketing agent for electronic products in Nairobi. This job may not have been his ideal choice, but it exposed him to market gaps which propelled him to start the now thriving enterprise.
“As I did my job, I noticed that most companies just imported and sold electronic products to customers without giving warranties. So once the products stopped working, clients had one to turn to,” he says.
To address this challenge, Mr Musyoki started PowerPoint Systems in 2002 and decided to use a different business approach. Instead of just acquiring products blindly, the company began by first getting few samples and testing their effectiveness.
“Once we were confident that a product was good, we would then release it to the market and offer warranties as we already understood the entire working mechanism of the device,” he says.
This strategy proved successful and soon many people – mostly through recommendations from previous satisfied customers – increasingly began buying electronic products from the company.
Mr Musyoki states that PowerPoint Systems began as a part-time business for him, but its burgeoning growth finally gave him the assurance to resign from his previous work and rely solely on the business.
The company now registers a turnover of more than Sh70 million annually through its Clean Power devices and renewable energy (solar) products. It has excelled in the Top 100 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises survey thrice (in 2011, 2012 and last year).
Moreover, PowerPoint Systems continues to enjoy an impressive growth rate of about 20 per cent each year.
A major contributor to the company’s performance, says Mr Musyoki, is the high market appeal for its products which endeavour to fix challenges facing a large number of Kenyans.
For instance, their solar panels and associated products address needs of close to 80 per cent of Kenyans who are not connected to the national electricity grid.
Mr Musyoki says that families in these areas can greatly cut on fuel costs by replacing the kerosene lamps with solar lanterns. The latter produces 10 times the light of the former and does not release toxic fumes like carbon dioxide, a major health hazard and cause of global warming.
Since the lanterns can also charge phones, people in remote areas do not have to walk for long distances in search of charging services. Even for those with electricity in their homes, he says, products such as solar heating systems offer an alternative free energy source for warming water.
Musyoki says that Clean Power products sold by the company – such as surge protectors and voltage regulators - aim at protecting electronic devices from “dirty” electricity (comprising of spikes and surges) which according to research, causes about 95 per cent of electronic device failures.
He warns that certain sensitive electronic equipment, such as those used in health facilities, may give wrong medical results and even cause death if exposed to fluctuations in electricity voltages (spikes).
Similarly, continuous interruptions in power supply (surges) can destroy household electronics like television sets and refrigerators which are costly to replace.
PowerPoint Systems has more than 200 dealers who market and sell its products all over the Kenya and in Uganda where the company has also established an office.
Building on their vast experience and expertise on renewable energy, Mr Musyoki states that the company has since expanded its services range and now offers consultancy and installations for organisations interested in going green through the use of solar energy.
The company is currently implementing such projects in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To further expand its market reach, PowerPoint Systems in April 2013 launched an online shop that allows millions of Internet users to shop, buy and pay for the company products online.
“Wherever you are, we will deliver the products to you,” says the entrepreneur.
He attributes the company’s success to staff dedication and good customer treatment. “For us, a customer complaining is our worst nightmare,” he says. “We always seek to avoid this even if it means incurring losses at times”
He adds: “It is mainly through word of mouth that our company has grown. So we value the customer more than any other mode of advertising.”
Mr Musyoki says that those interested in entrepreneurship should embrace patience since it takes time for an enterprise to grow. “If you are looking for quick money, you will not find it in business,” he warns.