Business is a competitive venture. Should you decide to go down that road, you have to have a good business idea that will set you apart from your competitors. Hawa Milimo, Mary Muricho and Josephine Abwao, saw strength in numbers when it came to setting up their tours and travel business.
“We decided to come together because pulling forces is easier, the risks are shared other than doing it alone,” Mary said.
The three women had previously worked together in the tours and travel industry for 10 years. It was while there that they saw a gap which they sought to fill. Thus, Iconic Getaway Safaris Ltd was born.
“We have clients that we’ve dealt with before so we wanted to give them something different from what they’ve been getting from the everyday business that they’re getting from the tours and travel,” Josephine explains.
Every entrepreneur will tell you that starting a business is costly. For Hawa, Mary and Josephine, it was their combined savings and additional help from their friends and family that gave them that necessary initial push.
“We needed roughly 1.5 to two million,” Josephine confirms.
Even with a brilliant business idea and experienced staff, your business is bound to come across challenges. For Iconic, marketing is their biggest challenge.
“Marketing requires a lot of money and a lot of time,” Hawa says. “Everything else we are able to brainstorm and come up with solutions.”
Josephine adds, “You approach somebody and you tell them you are from iconic and they tell you they have never heard of Iconic before. So it takes time convincing them.”
In spite of these challenges, one thing is a constant source of motivation to these women.
“One thing that gets us out of bed in the morning is knowing that you took a client somewhere for a honeymoon or an anniversary, they enjoyed, they sent you photos, they sent you a referral…that is how Iconic is growing,” Josephine says.
Having repeat clients is another reward of their hard work.
These businesswomen have one goal and that is to see their brand grow to be the best not only in the country but in Africa as a whole.
Hawa says, “In five years I would like to have people in Europe, US, Australia to have known Iconic and to trust us enough with their travel plans to come to Kenya.”
For budding entrepreneurs, the women had this to say, “Start with what you have, where you can and don’t follow hearsay. The journey is not easy but you have to be strong,” Mary advices.
“Sacrifice everything you have for it to work,” Hawa says.