Nkubu Town is a mid-tier business and residential township in Meru County. While previously ranked ‘sleepy’, the town’s in hot pursuit of the county’s major administrative sibling – Meru town, just a couple of miles north. High rise business projects are slowly changing the town’s skyline, and I had a dream to be part of this new tide.
I chose to invest into the hardware business field – supply building materials. While I had majored in business in college, my folks (who were the principal financiers) had little faith in this venture. The ravaging Covid-19 virus situation also didn’t help. I had to be different.
I was also informed that the construction field was filled with fraudsters. Conniving contractors are a dime a dozen. I didn’t say lest I gave off a cocky vibe, but I’ve had encounters with fraudsters that had weaned me off.
The first was an experience in my first week in high school.
A day or two after reporting day, we had settled in class in the evening. An innocent bunch of ‘green monos’ – freshly issued uniforms crisp and fitting. We still hadn’t started lessons, as belated reporting was ongoing. We hadn’t met all the teachers, yet.
Presently, a pair of smartly dressed gents in fitting blazers and blue jeans (and, white sneakers) enter our class. They introduce themselves as Biology and Chemistry teachers. They are well-informed, and pleasantly casual. While one intimates that he’s wishing for an administrative allocation as our class teacher, the other says he’s keen on drama – wants to know if there are any acting enthusiasts in our lot.
The entire class instantly wanted to be the ‘Next Break-out Star’ in Drama Club!
After a while, they tell of their purpose to visit. They express regret that they welcoming us with bad news. The bad news? One of their colleagues – a Physics teacher – had passed on just a day earlier. The school tradition is that students and teachers contribute to some welfare fund for the bereaved family.
Long story cut short, a pair of flashy, smart-talking Fourth Formers ripped us off our pocket money, after a tall story. They were so good – they successfully repeated that charade in four streams. Of course, they couldn’t be traced.
I lost Kes.500 on that evening’s preps.
For my business, I decided to learn from one of the town’s most established hardware merchants – The Kinoti G.K Hardware. The business is located in an iconic building along the highway that splits the town.
Meeting the gentleman took a while, but I learnt a lot as I waited at the premises. One, he rarely worked there. He ran the business from home. Two, the customers rarely came to the premises. All day long, I’d see pick-up trucks getting loaded for deliveries to construction sites.
When we met, the pleasant gentleman was keen to share his business strengths, on a mentorship role.
He had opted for cashless payments, and its success to the E-commerce solution offered by his banking partner, Co-op Bank.
E-commerce afforded him a variety of advantages.
Customers do not need to be physically present. Payments can be transacted at any time from any location in the world and delivery is done. For instance, Kenyans in the diaspora with construction projects in their rural homes would pay make payments directly to his Co-op Bank account. Delivery of materials to the site is then made.
With an outstanding real-time processing speed with average authorisation response times typically below 2 seconds, such clients would find it very convenient, and safe.
There’s more sales, too, as E-commerce allows flexibility for multiple currencies – Kes, USD, GBP and Euro.
Besides, a customer enjoys a variety of cards: International VISA credit and debit cards, pre-paid cards.
While I’d like to serve clients even in the diaspora, I said that am targeting local customers. The merchant advises me to visit Co-op Bank. They’d assist me get a Lipa Na MPesa till number for my business.
In the face of danger with the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s safer to go cashless with the E-commerce solution from Co-op Bank.
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