Property Management Business in Kenya: Many people have a mind block of lack of enough money to start a business but today we demystify this challenge in our lengthy one on one interview with Mr. Emmanuel Ndubi, the founder and C.E.O of Razaki Holdings under which are several subsidiaries that offer Property management/Estate agency and Integrated security services including Guarding services as he explains in the below interview.
What is your name and why did you decide to get into this type of business? How long have you been in it?
My name is Emmanuel Ndubi – CEO, Razaki Holdings (www.razaki.co.ke) which is a conglomerate holding company controlling;
a) VPM & SC LTD (Property management, Letting, Rent collection, Tenancy screening, Preparation of Tenancy agreements, Repairs and maintenance, Value addition and Cleaning services)
b) County Sheriff and Security Services – CSSS LTD (Guarding & Patrol Services, CCTv Installations and surveillance, VIP protection, Private investigations, Crowd control, Bespoke security services & consultancy, Document authentication and Cash In Transit services – CIT).
So, back to your question. First, I’m an early bloomer of sorts, always inquisitive from a very tender age. I loved seeing amazingly beautiful houses in magazines, newspapers, photos or even in our neighborhood from when I was the age of around 9 years. I think it was my hobby and I’ll look for any photo that had a good building from whoever had it no matter the risk involved. I did it relentlessly and passionately. Sometimes, people used to discuss how irritating I was. I swore it to myself that when I grew up, I would definitely look for a job and work in the best Real Estate company in the world, nothing less.
Two, Property owners (Landlords and landladies) in particular and businesspeople in general have for a very long time been taken for a ride, suffered from persistent neglect, incompetence, lack of professionalism and half-witted falsehoods from those whom the responsibility of securing and managing their hard earned investments had been bestowed on. This was and is still unpleasant. That’s why we came in with the sole reason of bringing order. Investors must be respected, protected and taken a lit bit seriously.
This is why we came up with a reliable Property management company and a dependable Security firm. Kenya’s future starts here.
I have been in this business for 10 years hence massively accumulated experience.
What major challenges in business have you faced so far? How did you handle them?
We’ve encountered an avalanche of enormously complicated challenges which include but not limited to raising of the working (initial) capital when we started off, operational cost in Kenya is just way too high, dealing with impatient clients, dealing with con men masquerading and posing as potential customers and finding talented experts to work in different departments.
The solution to all the above was to try and be as relentlessly honest as we possibly could, doing prior background checks and research, minimizing on expenditures and maximizing on profits, liaising with different government agencies and other institutions such as the National Police Service, Provincial Administration, Judiciary, Ministry of Lands, National Land Commission (NLC) and County governments. It was initially a long and tedious process but with time, it became our way of life. We usually go out of our way in order to make our clients content just as a way of appreciating them. Additionally, we recognize everything we do as a process that can be improved, simplified or perhaps even eliminated altogether if need be. That’s the unwritten cardinal rule.
Remember, our companies are composed of people who are strategic nerds and this is what has irrefutably set us apart.
What is the greatest achievement you have made in business so far?
Frankly speaking, we’ve made a lot of strides in this field but one single biggest achievement is definitely to make all our clients happy. As long as they (clients) remain satisfied, we’ll forever count that as a very enormous achievement.
We always believe that a client is always right, remember they are our employers. We earn our license to operate from our clients which is the very reason why we must take stress out, help resolve their pain, add a bit of joy to their lives and forever become their Fulfilment Centre. The Customer is definitely the king.
Lastly, in whatever we do, we always refer to our three guiding principles and we call them PPS – People, Purpose, Success. For us, it’s extremely critical.
Anything you ever regret not doing? / Anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had started a little bit early, perhaps five years earlier. All the same, it’s never too late to start. I’ve already moved on after having worked on the regrets.
Who is your ideal customer?
I actually believe whoever is satisfactorily benefiting from our ever professional services remains our ideal customer. Additionally, everyone is our potential customer but to be more specific, (a) Individuals e.g homeowners, landowners, landlords/landladies for both commercial and residential buildings (b) National and County Governments including their agencies and departments (c) Factories and Companies (d) NGOs and Embassies (e) Private Organizations (f) Learning Institutions (g) Health facilities (h) Religious organizations (i) Financial Institutions (j) Hospitality industry.
Do you have employees? How many?
Yes. We have 194 direct employees and 23 indirect employees working for different companies under Razaki Holdings.
Have you ever received any form of loan or funding?
Not at all. Everything has purely been raised through savings and pooling together. However, we may strategically consider taking a loan but it must either be a Debt capital or Equity capital for expansion purposes only. Sometimes, if not careful, Kenyan banks suck that’s why we try to avoid them but at the same time leave all our options open.
What would you say is the biggest reason for your success/failure?
It’s pretty simple why we’ve actually succeeded. Look, failure is still part of success. It all depends from which angle you look at it and if you’re ready to learn and soldier on. Were it not for failures tinted with persistence and focus, maybe Thomas Edison wouldn’t have succeeded on his experiments before he finally invented the light bulb. For us, the following is what has really helped us; excellence, affordability, accessibility, professionalism, honesty, agility, quality, dependability, consistency and remaining true to everything we say and agree on.
Where is your business located?
Our head office is located at Uchumi House, Aga Khan Walk, Nairobi but with several branches in the country. We can alternatively be reached on 0722 283 120 or 0733 894 357.
Email: [email protected]
Or find us on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
What type of business form do you have, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation?
Both of our two companies (VPM & SC LTD and CSSS LTD) dealing in Property Management and highly Integrated Security services respectively are all Partnerships. The best managed in Kenya so far I must say. Never forget this!
How do you market your business to get more customers?
Ok, how we market our services in particular and companies in general is largely dependent on who we are targeting and the message we want to pass across.
We currently employ 21 effective different methods of marketing but some of them include using our current customers (referrals), use of social media, one on one, print media like newspapers, mainstream media like televisions, billboards among others.
Who are your competitors and how do you handle them?
I’ll talk about some good companies in Kenya for now. In the world of Property management and estate agency, the companies that are doing well are Lloyd Masika, Knight Frank, Villa Care and HassConsult. In provision of security related services, there are the likes of KK security, G4S, Securex and Wells Fargo. Interestingly though, we neither compete nor compare ourselves to any of the so called competitors. Firstly, we don’t compete with any company because our biggest competitors are our respective companies’ Taglines, Visions, Missions, Core values, Positioning statements, Ambitions and the contracts we have entered into with our clients.
Secondly, we don’t compare ourselves to the above named companies or any other for that matter because when it comes to speed, efficiency, effectiveness, excellence and accuracy, Cheetahs never compare themselves to dogs with reasons best known to all of us. On this one, we are the Cheetahs. Unlike the rest of the companies out there, we are addicted to professionalism, honesty and excellence.
What’s your biggest fear in business?
Honestly, we only have one fear, and it’s fear of disappointing our already signed up customers. Our clients are without any iota of doubt our daily number one priority.
We equally fear for our potential customers and our advice, urge and ask is that they should continue to be cautious with regard to other companies they hire which in most cases appear highly overvalued and overrated based on our own understanding of the fundamentals. Their plans in our view and analysis seem to lack future and are built on quicksand, believable as their stories may be.
Name one person that has influenced you the most….and the reason.
I’d say it’s an American business mogul, Warren Buffet. He’s one person who has really proved to me beyond reasonable doubt that the higher the risk the higher the return. He invested in companies very few people would have dared to. He insanely transformed an era and just like John Maynard Keynes, his ideas have shaped the course of history, he surely can’t be ignored. He clearly knew when it was either time for bear or bull market. Buffet started investing at a very young age and the rest can be googled.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from everything good happening every day in the world and particularly numerous scientific and financial inventions but I’m also motivated by the people who have completely refused to give up including our employees and customers. Our clients are incredibly awesome. They are undoubtedly the heartbeat of this country. Even though we serve a multiplicity of intensely competing clientele, they are simply the best and we care for them all. They inspire and motivate us on daily basis to keep on improving in order to retain our relevance and vitality. We’ll be forever indebted to them.
What’s the best business advice you have ever received?
I recall being told by my brother, whenever you feel bad, just remember that Coca-Cola only sold 25 bottles in its first year in business. Winners never give up. Quitting is never an option. If you want to start any business but you’re a quitter, don’t even start it because you’ll be very disappointed. Lastly, not to be a slave of situations however harsh they are.
What’s the one question you wish someone would have asked you but never did?
What keeps you up at night and what’s the best companies that one can depend on to manage and offer security services to his/her building or business respectively?
My answer would be very simple. The undeniably obsessive focus on ensuring all our clients are attended to and are fully satisfied. For the second part of the question;
VPM & SC LTD (We do it Right First Time) – All matters Property management, Estate agency and Logistics.
County Sheriff and Security Services (Your Security Our Concern) – Integrated security services for Corporates, SMEs and Estates.
What do you do when you are not working?
Analyzing how companies are performing on the bourse, reading business related articles (e.g Newspapers, Magazines, Online), swimming, watching documentaries and football (Manchester United fan).
What’s your most prized possession?
My Laptop. I madly love it. It’s my portable office. It’s my business microscope
State a piece of wisdom you would pass on to a young person looking to follow in your steps.
The fertile truth is create your own art and luck, stick to your game plan, take on the best in a bull horn formation, don’t chase money, make mistakes, prove them wrong, follow your passion, guard it jealously and crush whoever comes in between. It’s fundamentally important to note that life is similar to a boxing game where defeat is not declared when you fall down, it’s declared when you refuse to get up. Unfortunately, most of the young people today want to succeed and be like successful people they’ve read somewhere or seen on social media but are not ready to appreciate their journey, their hardships, their rejection and their failures. Lastly, once you start your business, let your customer be the boss, and make it happen with instantaneous immediacy. Exceeding client expectations and providing leading solutions come with extremely extraordinary people, drive, culture, purpose, brand and success. Period!
What is the future for your type of business?
It would be very unfortunate if Kenyans and non-Kenyans alike from all walks of life don’t seize this opportunity and take advantage of our extraordinarily professional, excellent and high quality services we are offering. Mountains, towns, cities, lakes, oceans, deserts and escarpments have probably never seen something good like what were are made of. Besides the current offices and capacity, we have a plan which includes rolling out massive expansion across the country to make sure we take services closer to the people by opening additional offices and recruiting the very best personnel who don’t escalate problems or challenges but solutions – by the year 2023 in all the 47 counties in Kenya and later on move to other Eastern Africa countries.
We want to make all companies under Razaki Holdings the best and unrivaled in both service delivery and to work for even as we push the human race forward. We must be second to none because we have no respect for status quo and negative energy. It’s all about actions and not just mere words.
This is what we call working the Razaki way in Razakiland.
Phone: 0722 283 120 or 0733 894 357.
Email: [email protected]
Find us on all social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Head office: Uchumi House, Aga Khan Walk, Nairobi. Property Management Business in Kenya.