Taking the Brand To Higher Heights
We all know the inspirational stories of heroic struggles against odds, survival and eventual triumph, giving people hope and egging them on to persevere. Botswana’s media entrepreneur Phenyo Moroka, who has had his own fair share of challenges, hopes to use his own personal story of struggle and success to make people realize their power.
Moroka is a former radio personality turned entrepreneur. He co-founded 19 Minutes Media, a multimedia company with the sole mandate of creating and implementing content. He is also one of the most sought after corporate MCs in Botswana and currently the Brand Ambassador of Shell. After a successful 5 year stint as a Radio Presenter, he left to pursue his passion for business.
However, the road to entrepreneurship has not always been rosy.
Failure is a part of business. Very few entrepreneurs ever make it big without first experiencing some massive failures – be it running a business into the ground or getting fired from a job – plenty of successful entrepreneurs have seen huge failures before ever accomplishing their dreams.
“I have tried my hand at this business thing before and failed miserably. I had started a mobile phone distribution business with some partners. Granted the recession played a role in the business’s failure, but had I managed it properly it probably would have survived. It was a good one, making a turnover of about P5 million a year. But at the time I hadn’t learnt the difference between the company’s money and my money, I was balling with company money and when things changed the business couldn’t meet its obligations and ended up in debt. There is so much that comes with dealing with people’s money.”
He has therefore embarked on a journey to become a business speaker, addressing entrepreneurship seminars in both Botswana and South Africa.
Breaking into the South African market, he believes, will afford him the platform to spread his wings to the rest of Africa and eventually the world. “You learn the best about any game if you play it. This is why I am taking the Phenyo Moroka brand beyond the borders of Botswana. I would love to share my story with a global audience and make people realize their power. That nothing is impossible and that you can recover from anything. It is not self-help, but rather motivational. I may not tell you how to start and build a successful business, but I will certainly tell you what NOT to do – if you want to tank a business I’ll tell you” he said, with a slightly comical look on his face.
Subscribing to the aphorism that every setback is a setup for a comeback, Moroka contends that running down his first business venture, together with a failed marriage, was actually a great blessing in disguise that turned out to be the beginning of a very good journey as he learnt about life and himself.
After a conversation with Moroka on business and entrepreneurship, one cannot help but realize the man’s tenacity – he is a doer who simply cannot let go of something once his sights are set on it. “It may sound cliché but break downs are breakthroughs. Wisdom and experience teaches you that what appears to be a disaster can turn out to be a great learning experience. In business it is about survival, growing and learning.”
The term branding has always been associated with companies. But today, due to our digital footprints, most individuals have a personal brand – whether created consciously or not. Brand experts say the question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but rather if you choose to cultivate it and let it speak for you.
Phenyo Moroka, the brand, is certainly a brand that is being consciously guided to mold a certain perception, without taking away from Phenyo Moroka the individual. In this light that Moroka explains that he deliberately positioned himself in the corporate space, and ensured that he did it well. This is because the end of the day, it all aligns with passion and aspirations in the entrepreneurship space, which he operates in.
“The trick – be it business, media or any other platform – is to be authentic. Establish your market and network with people you resonate with. It is very important to understand who your market is and consciously craft your offering to that market. Figure out who you are and where you fit in. That is how you sell your brand.”
By: Rorisang Mogojwe