Wanjiru Mambo Mutethia always looked for something to do to gain an extra coin. Her passion for business started early as she sold second-hand bags and other items while still in university. Having received a degree from Kenyatta University in Marketing, she worked in several marketing companies as an account executive. Armed with experience and the dream of being her own boss, she set out to start her own logistics business. She has also done Accounting (ACCA) from Strathmore University. “I have always been somebody who is good at planning and also realized there was a gap,” she said. “People wasted time to have things done and I could be of help to them”
On setting up her business
Wanjiru was often restless when employed. She settled on starting up Mambo Express Courier and told herself that she would run it for 3 years without scattering her brain elsewhere. As a child, Wanjiru saw her mother start many businesses. She was a big inspiration to her. Watching her mother run her businesses taught her the importance of focusing on one thing at a time. “My mother was what you call a serial entrepreneur,” she joked.
Wanjiru started her company with only one rider. Business was not always consistent but she pressed on. She handled all the operations and marketing herself and started to notice results. “I now concentrate on putting up proper strategies for the company. It has led to growth,” she said. The company operated from her house for the first 3 months. She later relocated to an office in town and is now located at Danny’s Court along Mombasa Road.
Mambo Express Courier Ltd is a licensed company by Communications Authority to offer sending and delivery services. Its license is intra-country though its current concentration is in Nairobi County and its environs. They have a fleet of 17 motorbikes that contain carriers. The company’s services include mail and parcel deliveries, bulk mailing and dedicated rider service. It also does personal and business errands like statutory payments and renewing licenses. The company has recently ventured into mini warehousing in order to provide e-commerce clients with space to keep their products. “We give them a total logistical solution,” she says.
Wanjiru encountered several setbacks before reaching where she is today. The main barrier was financing. After intense marketing of her services, she found it difficult to keep up with the demand. “I did not foresee the amount of growth we have had in the past two years. To buy more bikes and add resources was a challenge,” she said. “I always say the most important thing is to start and the rest will fall in place.”
In the male dominated field of logistics, Wanjiru had to embrace the fact that she was the only lady in the company for a very long time. She developed a positive attitude towards this nonetheless. Basic operational cost was also very high. Fuelling and maintenance of motorbikes cost a lot of money. “We currently outsource where necessary to make our operations more efficient,” she explains.
Ms Mambo emphasizes the importance of being brave in running business. She attributes this trait to having enabled her to overcome challenges and grow. She also does daily personal improvements to build herself and her brand. “I always say small improvements done daily make a whole lot of difference,” she added. Networking in formal network organizations proved very influential in getting her new clients. She experienced great difficulty doing business but referrals from people helped her business expand. She is currently a member of a networking forum called BNI International. She met her business mentor, James Karundu at a Speed Networking event. “I always say people cross paths for a reason. James has really helped me since I met him,” she recalls.
Wanjiru did the Harness Your Brilliance course at PassionBiz Academy and is currently doing the ‘Clients and Cash Flow Mastery’ course. Reaching out to clients was a problem she knew needed urgent attention. “He has really taught us proper strategy on how to reach out to your clients. If you reach out to your clients, that is equal to money in the bank. They are able to give you more business, use your product and at the end of the day both of you are happy,” she explains.
Mambo Express Courier aims to digitalize its functions. This will allow for people to monitor the progress of their products as they are being delivered. The company also plans to be present in other Kenyan towns and the East African region. “We want to be known for providing the best customer service and efficiency,” Wanjiru adds.
Ms Wanjiru has seen her business grow into a well-known brand and aims for the company to continue with this trend. “I did not anticipate it. I feel so proud about my brand. The growth has been so good and people appreciate what we are doing,” she concluded.