Five financial tips to keep your start-up afloat

Charmaine Mogari founder of Mbewu ecommerce store.
Charmaine Mogari founder of Mbewu ecommerce store.
Image: Supplied.

Charmaine Mogari is a busy working mother who could hardly find the time to feed her family healthy meals. Mogari’s dilemma made her realise that there was unchartered territory in the produce market, a business venture she had not taken seriously until she drove past a fruit market.

Realising how affordable fruit could be compared to the misconception that it is expensive, she was inspired her to create a space for other busy parents to purchase affordable produce.

And that is how Mbewu was born. The ecommerce store delivers fresh and healthy produce to its customers at the click of a mouse.

“Mbewu was born from the idea to make produce more affordable and convenient to people like me – busy working moms who hardly ever have the time to go shopping,” says Mogari.

Mbewu seeks to offer a personal shopper experience with a next day delivery service. A great convenience she can relate to as the mother of a 15-month old who has been keeping her on her toes. But that is not the only baby on her hands.

“As a small start-up I have to handle everything myself – running the business, marketing, even doing the shopping and deliveries. Sometimes I’m at the market at 5am shopping to fulfill the day’s orders, and then at my job at 9am,” says Mogari.

Mogari hopes that Mbewu can take hyper convenience to unchartered heights. One of the many ways she plans to do this is by introducing specialised menus based on each shopper’s cart.

Mogari’s top five tips for start-ups to stay afloat:

Be flexible

“Some of my customers come across a tweet or Facebook post, inbox me to buy something and I have it delivered, completely bypassing my website and its process. I have to accept that. Once they’ve bought through social media, there’s trust that’s built and the next time they buy it will be through the website.”

Collect data

“When I look at my stats, I see a lot of abandoned shopping carts and when I follow up with that potential customer, I’ll get things like, ‘I was just testing the site to see if it really works, I wasn’t sure that it does.” Having a cash-on-delivery payment option has alleviated a lot of these trust issues because the customer can evaluate their products on delivery and choose to pay or not to pay.”

Drive for more brand awareness

“I use the likes of paid Facebook advertising to drive awareness and I encourage my customers to give me honest reviews on social media too.”

Your business vs. your customer’s lifestyle habits

“Your new business is constantly in competition with customers’ current lifestyle habits. You constantly have to remind them why they should buy your offer and not from a supermarket that they’re used to.”

Listen to your customers

“Although I started Mbewu for time-starved individuals like me, I’m not my customer. So I keep an open mind, I take their suggestions very seriously. Some of these suggestions have made it onto the store as new products.”

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