Name: Ndiangui Kinyagia ( Dee)
Company: Ari Limited
When did you start your business? June 2012
Why did you decide to become a business owner?
I used to work as a mobile applications developer and after some time figured that I could do the same work for other people.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I’m a Computer Science graduate consequently I gravitated towards technology and what I was really great at was mobile applications designs and development.
What market does your company serve?
We mostly serve the retail, manufacturing, and insurance sectors.
How have you expanded your customer base?
ARI’s customer base has mostly expanded by referral from customers, friends, and family with the rest of the growth coming from social media advertising mainly Facebook and Linked In.
What makes your business unique?
ARI’s business is unique because it is very specific and niche i.e. We connect Bank and M-Pesa transactions to accounting systems and ERP solutions, which means we do a very specific thing for a very specific type of customer. This has enabled us to become among the best in this sector.
What are your typical responsibilities as a business owner?
The main responsibility is basically being a KYM “Kanda ya Moko” especially when the business is young, today you are an accountant, tomorrow the messenger, developer, sales and marketing guy e.t.c but as the business grows you hire competent team members and your transition into a strategist that drives the business towards your vision and meeting customer needs. This entails doing a lot of research, talking to customers, and ensuring the team is delivering more like a project manager.
How many employees does your company have?
Currently, we are 2 full-time employees and 6 dedicated consultants. We also outsource most functions I.e. Marketing, Accounting, Finance, and Human resources.
What services or products do you offer?
ARI connects M-Pesa and Bank transactions to accounting systems and ERP’s, reducing reconciliation from 20 minutes to 2 seconds per transaction.
How do you advertise your business?
We mostly advertise on social media mainly Facebook and Linked In and from time to time we are called upon by national television stations and newspapers to give insights and opinions on the status of the ICT industry in Kenya.
Do you use any professional services for your business?
Yes, we outsource functions like Marketing, Finance, Accounting, and Human Resources to competent firms like Bright Spark Media, Ushuru, and Alternate Doors Consulting
What made you choose your company’s location?
Accessibility, cleanliness, security, and parking. We are based in Westlands at the All Africa Conference of Churches along Waiyaki Way. It’s easily accessible and one of the best-maintained properties in Nairobi.
We had a very bad experience in our previous location where our office was broken into. The thieves stole our laptops, computers, and other valuable. Unfortunately, the landlord did not even care. The other place was quite run down, despite being in a very strategic location.
Does your company utilize any performance rewards?
Yes, we give an annual bonus based on individual and overall company performance.
How does your business compare to competitors in the market?
The technology space is quite competitive in Kenya and we have managed to carve a name and niche for ourselves, we are among the best in payment integration with some of our competitors even giving us contacts to implement since we are quite experienced and talented in M-Pesa and bank payments.
What does your company offer in terms of pay to employees?
We offer a basic salary and benefits that include medical insurance, transport, and airtime allowances.
How would you describe your company’s workplace culture
ARI’s work culture has 4 main components derived from our core values i.e. You are your own boss, working as a team, only doing “Noma” stuff and the wisdom of 10 is better than the knowledge of one.
Which qualities do you look for in new employees?
When looking for a new employee I normally look for; someone who can be their own boss and does not need to be micromanaged, honesty, a team player, and most importantly smart and quick in decision making.
How much time do you spend working on your business each day?
I spend approximately 2 hours every day working on the business with this time mostly spent looking at numbers, cash flow analysis, and how best we can improve our product and services.
How would you describe your company’s success so far?
I can describe ARI’s success as being customer-driven, most of our success has been based on opportunities that our customers have given us to design and develop innovative solutions for them.
Advise – someone wanting to start a business and someone looking for employment- SMEs
My experience looking back from when I started ARI has enabled me to realize a couple of things that are relevant for someone starting a business; Everything that I think of doing is an assumption, what I do 90% of the time is validate my assumptions to be either true or false the more I can do this and validate true assumptions them more success ARI has had. E.g. When hiring a new employee I assume that I’ve made the right decision, when launching a new product and service it’s an assumption that we have captured the correct customer needs and build the best solution to address those needs etc.
To someone looking for employment. When I’m interviewing candidates we are looking for character, skill then experiences in that particular order. How you convince me to give you the job is by showing that you have great character, you are skilled in that particular area and you have the relevant experience if not you are willing to quickly learn and adapt fast.