Beyond the Loan: Marketing Workshops to Maximize Profits February 6, 2014 by Nick Johnson
For just over a year and a half, CFK has been partnering with Kiva Zip, an initiative started by Kiva.org that provides direct, peer-to-peer microloans to people hoping to expand their business. Rather than giving people loans directly, CFK serves as a trustee, recommending business owners to Kiva who then lists them as candidates for loans. Over that year and a half, CFK has endorsed 39 microloans with almost all of them being repaid in full. (Check out our profile on Kiva Zip to learn more about CFK-endorsed small business owners.) These microloans have helped several small businesses across Kibera find their footing as they begin to grow.
But what happens after a loan is repaid? A temporary increase in capital on its own does not guarantee long-term success. Many small business owners who have received small loans from Kiva Zip still struggle to maintain a steady income.
Enter CFK’s Economic and Entrepreneurship Department (EED), which holds business and marketing trainings for aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition to vouching for business owners who desire loans from Kiva, the EED also helps people maximize their profits by teaching them about strategies to achieve their goals.
Betty, who runs two businesses in nearby Toi Market selling second-hand children’s clothes, had been hearing about these business trainings from friends and colleagues in the area. When she heard CFK was the organization behind the trainings, she grew very excited to attend. Betty proudly states that her household was one of the first to pay for garbage pick-up from Taka ni Pato, CFK’s trash collection program. She also received a loan from Kiva Zip through her involvement with CFK.
At the training, where about 35 small business owners gathered together, the facilitator emphasized that simply having more stock is not enough. Even if you have stock to sell, customers won’t necessarily come to shop at your business. Rather, one must know their customers, where they are located, and how to communicate with them. Through group discussions, the facilitator helped attendees to think differently about their businesses, talking through strategies and promotions to draw in and keep customers.
“I’ve never thought of it that way,” Betty admitted about the discussion. “It really caught me. After [the workshop] I went to my old diaries to look up former customers and started to text them. This past Saturday, one of them showed up. I hadn’t seen her for two years.”
Talking excitedly about how the lesson was still on her mind a week after the workshop, Betty said she now understands the importance of maintaining a good customer base by knowing her clientele and anticipating their needs. With these newfound strategies, small business owners such as Betty can begin to maximize on their loans and truly transform their businesses.