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Monday, July 5, 2010

What I liked most about KeNIC AGM last week

... was the open forum session that preceded the meeting proper. How participants shared ideas and knowledge freely and animatedly was a breath of fresh air. The truth is, if the enthusiasm levels in that room are a reflection of the passion that local entrepreneurs have for developing the ‘e’ in Kenya, then the sky is the limit! Like with any ‘hot new’ market the breathtaking growth of internet usage in Kenya will eventually be matched by a plethora of internet related products/services. At the moment however all that seems to have happened is an as yet disproportionate increase in the number of internet related service providers, ranging from established ISP’s & Safaricom on one end to briefcase domain registrars & hosting companies on the other. The reason I referred to the internet as a ‘hot new’ market is because in Kenya it still is. Yes, many people have had email addresses and websites for over a decade now, but the internet only started showing practical commercial potential in Kenya with the emergence of affordable internet enabled mobile phones.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

“I don’t like my domain name anymore”,

...was the first thing that came out of my clients’ mouth when they walked in to e-biz offices for a meeting. It was a complaint I have heard quite a number of times before and having been through it, I know exactly how they felt. In my case it was 8 months before I woke up one morning thoroughly disliking the name on my websites’ banner. In other cases I’ve heard it sometimes happens as early as a couple of weeks or even days. The common denominator here is that whereas most active domain names were chosen on the spur of the moment, only a very lucky few of them retain their appeal over time. Admittedly some of it has to do with the degree of success that the website has had e.g. if Yahoo was a huge flop I think Yang & Co might have reconsidered their silly sounding domain name, ditto Google. More often than not however, a domain names lost appeal is quite simply because very little thought went into choosing the name in the first place. The reality is that nowadays companies in the US and Europe take naming so seriously that they are prepared to pay professional firms colossal sums of money (up to $ 35K) to come up with the ‘perfect name’ for their business. WHAT!! US$ 35K could finance the entire operation of many e-commerce startup's in Kenya for a couple of years including a handsome advertising budget. Well luckily for us small–fry is that we don’t really have to sacrifice an arm-and-a-leg to name your website, as long as you remember that the most important thing about choosing a domain name is Relevance.