Facebook For Business

Facebook has become an indispensable tool for business. Why? Because there are a billion people interacting there. Also because your friends, relatives, and most importantly, your competition, are interacting, creating great relationships and building trust, in this global community. Did you know that Facebook is primarily a consumer-driven community? And most of them are savvy enough to smell (and block) a disingenuous marketer a mile away. We asked author and speaker Brian Basilico for his top five Facebook “dont’s” for your business. What are your pet peeves? Go ahead, add to our list!

1. Don’t Post and Run

People talk. A lot. Either you are part of the conversation, or you’re going to be the topic of conversation (that’s not always a good thing!). You can’t get away with simply posting information that is only about you. Be part of the conversation by liking and commenting on everyone’s responses to your posts, and to other relevant posts. If others’ comments are negative, try having a direct-message chat to smooth out any questions or problems that people may have with you and your business.

2. Don’t Only Be a Business

If you own a small business, people expect you to communicate in person. They want to know that you are real and have a life, with passions and struggles, just like they do. Having a personal profile is key to being successful on Facebook. If you have only a business page, people will feel like you are just there to make noise. Worse yet, treating a personal profile as a business profile is not only against Facebook user agreements, but also the fastest way to get hidden or un-friended!  Be real on your page and personal profile. Make occasional mention of your pets, hobbies, and other things that create human connections. When it’s all about business, it just gets boring!

3. Don’t Post About Politics or Religion

If you want to alienate about 50 percent of your audience, then creating posts about your political and religious views is the fastest way to do it. In business, you need to stay neutral – at least fairly neutral. Nobody is telling you not to have beliefs, values, or opinions, but you run a risk when sharing them openly on social media. Whether you are conservative or liberal, pro- or anti-anything, keep that limited to personal and off-line conversations.

4. Don’t Expect Anything in Return

If you want to have an impact in social media you’ll want to find or create content that creates responses, likes, shares, and comments. You need to work hard at it and monitor your content well. Don’t be offended if your posts get little to no response, just learn from that what didn’t work for your audience. You may post a lot of duds before gaining meaningful traction.

5. Don’t Anticipate Immediate Success

Most people don’t ask their first date to marry them, but that’s how some people treat social media.  They don’t take time to focus on the relationship and think that simply posting messages should yield results.  Most relationships take time to nurture.  It’s taken years for some to see predictable and measurable results.  Be patient and continue to learn what enhances your relationship with your fans and followers. Do more of what works, less of what does not, and learn to know the difference. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues what they like and what they don’t; and don’t take their responses personally!


Fish Farming – Lake Bangweulu

The Zambia Development Agency is looking for investors into fish farming on Lake Bangweulu (above). That’s one part of Zambia I have never visited, but by all reports and from photos, it is beautiful. Maybe I’ll get the chance one of these days! Anyway here’s the ad.
Bangweulu Investments Limited is a Zambian company whose principal shareholders are chiefs from eight chiefdoms. The company intends to establish cage fish farming along Lake Bangweulu in Luapula Province. The project will be undertaken in two phases at an estimated cost of US$1.8-million for the first phase, and US$5-million for the second phase. The preferable mode of financing is through a grant. However, other types of financing are welcome. The purpose of the project is to create employment and wealth for the communities.

Project location
: The project location at Lake Bangweulu in Samfya District has easy access to domestic and export markets. Permanent water surface area of Lake Bangweulu is 3,000 square kilometres. Combined area of the lake and the wetland is 15,000 square kilometres.

Business model: The project is envisaged to have a total of 32 cages (approximately four cages in each Chiefdom). Estimated annual production at peak is 12,000MT

The current national demand of fish in Zambia stands at around 145,000MT per annum while the current national supply is estimated at about 85,000 giving a projected supply gap of about 60,000MT per annum. Demand for fish is strongly growing in Zambia in response to population growth (3.2% per year) and increasing urbanisation. It is estimated about 6,000 MT of fish is imported per year.
Demand is likely to increase as fish is the cheaper alternative source of protein for families in Zambia.
The population of fish has decreased across the country thus making cage fishing an attractive opportunity.

Interested investors are encouraged to respond to this opportunity.


Mercedes & Miryam Angon Feel ‘The Experience’

Meet Mercedes and Miryam Angon (above) sisters and co-owners of Feeling Africa Ltd, their company that owns and manages North Luangwa Lodge in the North Luangwa National Park in north east Zambia. Mercedes and Miryam live in the house next door to Chanters Lodge in Livingstone, so they were naturals to be invited to appear as Guests on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela. That’s our weekly radio show airing every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station.

Miryam and Mercedes told listeners that they had established their business in Zambia two years’ ago and that they originally hailed from Madrid, Spain. They had left well paid and exciting jobs with MTV and Universal Pictures respectively to come to Zambia. “Why?” We wondered in astonishment. “Because we’re Spanish, crazy and love wildlife!” Was the answer. The ladies explained that their lodge is only open for six months per year, so they spend six months there and six months in Livingstone. Their lodge has four bungalows and prices start from around US$250-300 per person per night all inclusive of food, drink, accommodation and game drives. They described the North Luangwa as ‘wild and exciting’.

The music on the show was up to our usual high standard. We played tracks from Rihanna and Pitbull for openers before Milli Jam moved on with Zambian releases from Dandy Crazy and B1. Songs from John Legend and Kelly Rowland followed. This week’s oldie was Rihanna’s ‘Te Amo’ – much easier than last week and we had a flurry of text messages from listeners correctly telling us the name of the artist in the hope of winning dinner for two at the lodge. Patrick won. Our pick of the week was ‘When I Was Your Man’ a lovely ballad from Bruno Mars featured on his latest album ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’. We closed with Gabrielle Aplin’s No 1 ‘John Lewis’ hit the remake of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power Of Love’.

Miryam and Mercedes told listeners that they were single ladies without children and that they both loved music. One of the aspects of their previous lives in Spain that they really missed was going to concerts and shows as they used to receive free tickets. They had seen many top acts as well as meeting many stars like footballer Christiano Ronaldo and tennis ace Rafael Nadal. We asked them about bull fighting – they hated it. We asked them about tourist activities in Livingstone – Miryam had done the bungee jump while Mercedes likes white water rafting.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years from now, these bubbly, lively, interesting ladies said they wanted still to be in Zambia, single and ‘Feeling Livingstone’ their proposed new project. We wished them the very best of luck as the rain poured down outside the studio!


Extreme Experience

Meet Tony Pilcher, entrepreneur and owner/manager of Jet Extreme, his company providing exciting jet boat adventures in the rapids below Victoria Falls for tourists to Livingstone, Zambia. Tony was our Guest on the most recent edition of The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela, our weekly Sunday night radio show airing from 20.30 to 21.30 hrs on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Tony kindly donated a jet boat ride for two people to add on to the weekly prize we give away on the show, of a dinner for two with drinks and a swim at Chanters Lodge. We give the prize to the first person to text us telling us who’s singing our ‘oldie of the week’ – this week’s track was Cher’s ‘Believe’ and the great prize was quickly snapped up by Mpezeni – to the consternation of others!

Tony told listeners that he’d started his company in 1999. For five years before that he had been an overland truck driver hosting trips from Cairo to Cape Town passing through Livingstone on many of his trips. He had seen an opportunity for jet boating on the Zambezi and had got himself organized. I pointed out that he and I had started up businesses at roughly the same time. Tony explained that it cost ZK500,000 (about US$100) pp to participate in the jet boat activity, the ride itself lasts about half an hour, the rest of the three and half hour activity is taken up with the transfer to the cable car which takes passengers 220 meters down to the boat launch. Tony’s two directional cable car is unique in Zambia and is a ‘must do’ for tourists. The activity includes a stop over at Chief Mukuni’s village for a spot of culture! The 800 hp boat cruises at speeds of up to 90 kmh, performing ‘jet spins’ leaving you facing the other way in a matter of seconds and generally soaking wet! “Has it put you off?” I asked George and Milli  who were angling for an invite “not at all, not at all, no!” They exclaimed in unison. The company has two boats one eight seater, one eleven seater and the minimum number for a trip is eight people.

Musically Tony expressed an interest in the Bellamy Brothers. We did not have them on the play list but we did have Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida and their number one UK smash hit ‘Troublemaker’, back to back with Bruno Mars ‘Moonshine’ – a great start to the show. George dropped Salma Dodia’s big African hit ‘Wonderful World’ together with Afunika’s ‘Free To Mingo’ and yes that is the right spelling (smh). Milli Jam spun ‘Hope We Meet Again’ from Pitbull featuring Chris Brown together with a Paris Hilton/ Lil Wayne combo. Our pick of the week was ‘Not Giving In’ from Rudimental featuring John Newman and Alex Clare.

Tony told listeners that he is married to Sue, who had been out of Zambia for some time following a family bereavement, they did not have children ‘but who knows what might happen when she comes back’ said Tony to some in studio laughter! Milli Jam wanted to know who were the best clients of the jet boat and Tony said that the Asian community were his best supporters but he really depended on agents for marketing and bookings. Sun International gave him lots of business. Being a New Zealander Tony said he loved rugby but no longer played.

Jet Extreme has expansion plans in the property market with Royal Mukuni Villa Estate. At the top of the gorge near the cable car start point the company has 22 plots already sited, as well as investors lined up including the Mukuni Development Trust. Tony hoped that in ten years time he would still be happily married, would have started a family and would still be driving jet boats as part of an expanded successful company in Zambia.

We wished him the best of luck.


Knotty Leads

I was delighted recently to renew contact with Mary Davies after more years than I care to mention. Her late husband Drew Frayn was a general manager with Hallway Hotels in the early 70’s when I first went overseas with that company, and was my boss for a few weeks in Seychelles. Mary and daughter Melissa with partner Joe are in the early stages of planning a trip to Zambia.

Anyway, Melissa and Mary have a company making different dog leads (pictured above) – looks like a very good idea for Christmas presents if you have friends and/or family with dogs! Here’s all about it and a link to their site!

Knotty-Leads was launched in the Spring 2012 after designing and making leads for my own two Labradors. Very soon, other dog owners noticing the distinctive  and stylish designs and colours were asking for leads not only for their own dogs but as “something different” as gifts for their dog owner friends too.

Enlisting the help of my mother, Mary, a skilled knotter and tutor, we thoroughly researched the best materials for this innovative project and decided on high strength polypropylene cords as standard.

 Since then, due to their high quality, strength and designs, the popularity of our leads has continued to grow.   As well as private individuals and retail outlets, our valued customers also include the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Regimental Museum Shops around the country.

Each lead is individually knotted by myself or my mother and we will do our utmost to meet any special requirements. We are shortly introducing slip leads and couple leads to our exclusive Knotty-Leads range and also leads to order for other pets, so please contact us if you would like further information.


Chanda Chilongoshi

Development of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector is the way forward now, and will be the way forward for Zambia in the medium term. The big businesses should be encouraged to invest in Zambia, but not at the expense of our focus on Small and Medium Enterprises. It has already been acknowledged across the world that SMES are a backbone of any economy.

And for Chanda Chilongoshi, a woman of strong convictions, doing business in a scientific way gives her great satisfaction.
Her mind is scientific; a very inspirational woman of substance and it is no big surprise that she runs a cleaning products business-BroadLine. She is married to Joseph Chilongoshi and they are both scientists who have supported each other through and through.

“My husband has allowed me to blossom. He been very supportive and understanding in and out of season,” she said.
As husband and wife, they started their very own SME which manufactures personal care products and industrial and domestic cleansing products in 1997. For a period of three years, Mr Chilongoshi was running the firm solely.

They then broke off the business and restarted in 2000 with renewed hope and strength for the future of their business, which was located at Langford House on President Avenue, Ndola. Her inspiration for the business came from her deep-rooted love for the country. Her belief was and is that Zambians have the potential to make a large number of the products locally.

She describes herself and her husband as being very ‘patriotic and nationalistic’. Adding a fair bit of humour, she mentioned that one would never find her complaining about Zambia; “Ah potholes, ah Zambia, if it is in a bad state that is our secret, do not cheapen our country.’ She has big plans for the future. The scales of Mr and Mrs Chilongoshi’s dreams are international.

Mrs Chilongoshi, however, is brave enough to understand that every business starts small. Her products are made from petro-chemical derivatives. The flagship of the business is Soft and Shiny Family Shampoo. Shampoo is not the only product in her product portfolio.

She does not feel very threatened by big brands on the market, saying her products are somewhat unique which is why lots of people were using them. “Broadline has superior products formulated and tailored to the needs of Zambian people. That’s where our confidence comes from as a business,” she said.

Mrs Chilongoshi, however, notes that many Zambians are not patient enough to see their business grow. “The reason why Zambia is lagging behind is because we are too satisfied with where we are and do not feel that there is room for improvement,” she said.



Motor Assembly Again In Zambia?

The motor assembly plant that once produced Fiats and Peugeots in Livingstone has lain idle since 1992, so I was interested too see this article in Times Of Zambia

Two local business entities have partnered to establish a motor assembly plant at a cost of US$1.3 billion that will see the creation of more than 8,000 jobs. And a representative of one of the entities has urged the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to be proactive in its regulatory role and ensure that regulation does not divorce itself from business facilitation.

Roberto Sabbadin, president of the Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ), said at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Savenda Management Services and Savenda Africa Holdings Limited yesterday that the association was worried that a number of foreign trucks in Zambia dealing in the petroleum transportation sub-sector did not meet the minimum safety standards to move dangerous goods.

Mr Sabbadin wondered what role the ERB was playing in promoting safety in the sector. Savenda Group director, Clever Mpoha said at the same ceremony that his company and its partners had planned to establish a motor assembly plant for 4,000 trucks, representing $1.3 billion investment in addition to the assembly of Savenda Roller Packs (compactors).

Mr Mpoha said out of the 4,000 trucks, 700 had been committed to PTAZ. “This partnership collectively will create well over 8,000 jobs and we are established to manage this process very well because of the economic benefits,” he said.

And Mr Sabbadin said the entities would bring 700 units of brand new petroleum tankers into Zambia which would help improve the standards in the sector and also help in the fight for increased market share. He said the investment would as a result create more than 4,000 jobs which would represent an investment of $300 million. “These tankers will help up the standards in the sector and help us in our fight for increased market share.

“This investment will create more than 4,000 jobs and will represent an investment of $300 million,” he said. Mr Sabbadin said the entry of the trucks would enhance movement of petroleum products within the country and internationally. He called on the Government to deliberately provide special incentives for the special exercise, adding that “in the second place we want as an association to call upon ERB to be more proactive in their regulatory role and to ensure that regulation does not divorce itself from business facilitation. We believe as an association that ERB needs urgent reform.”

Mr Sabbadin said the association was committed to helping Zambia’s long-term vision by the year 2030.

The article does not say where the plant will be. The picture is an image of a Peugeot 504, similar to those that used to be assembled in Livingstone – I had one as a company car when I worked at Ridgeway Hotel. They were pretty basic, but like all Peugeots of that vintage, very strong. You could choose any colour as long as it was white – as I remember!


Cowbell and Entrepreneurship

Loved this from Emmygees Uwakina on Facebook

MTN came to Nigeria at a time when nobody wanted to invest in Nigeria, at a time when Nigerians did not have phones. Even Zenith Bank refused to lend MTN cash to operate, UBA rejected MTN’s offer – but today see the difference. Millions of Nigerians, and Africans have cell phones and many use MTN!

And, we all know the story of the only civilian unelected President in Nigeria – Goodluck Jonathan. We know how people said he was not going to be President, they even made him acting President. Today the rest is history!

What about Cowbell? When they came to Nigeria, they made milk in a sachet. Peak laughed at them – they said Cowbell was milk for the poor and they were right! 3 million poor people could afford N10 a day for a sachet of milk. Do the math – 3 million people buying milk at N10.00- that was N30million every single day. In a month they grossed N900million (almost N1billion). Even Peak have had to make sachet milk in order to survive in the market.


So what have people told you? What have they said you cannot do, that you are not qualified to do, or for that matter do not have the experience to do? They told Cowbell, they told Goodluck, they told MTN, but today the story has changed.

Success is not about where you graduated from, but what graduates from you!

Keep the spirit!


Kubu Crafts, Livingstone

Thanks to Joanne Selby at Sun International about Kubu Crafts and their new shop in Livingstone at Mosi-o-Tunya right next to Shoprite:

Kubu Crafts is a small factory in Livingstone. They specialise in making hand-made furniture from indigenous hard woods – Zambezi teak and rosewood. This timber is special to our region.

In the early 1900s a company set itself up to cut teak and rosewood close to Livingstone. In those days it was the railway which was the method of transport using steam locomotives. The company, called Zambezi Sawmills, felled many of the trees close to Livingstone and then set its sights on the enormous resources to the northwest of Livingstone, near a town called Mulobezi.

They constructed a railway track to Mulobezi which was a huge task through thick sand and over rivers. They laid temporary tracks into the forest to haul the felled timber out and bring it to Livingstone. It was, in its time, one of the biggest industries in Zambia. The railway was the longest privately-owned line in the world. The timber was widely used as railway sleepers in Africa because the wood is so strong and resistant to insect attack. It was also used as parquet flooring which was sent to England and used in stately homes.

Back in the 1900s the forest resources seemed infinite; Zambia had hardly been touched by any development. Today, though, things are much different. The timber is cut from the forests but it has to be of a certain size, the smaller trees being left to grow. Each log has to be inspected and stamped. When bringing the logs from the forests to town the transporter has to have a permit. It is all strictly controlled.

When Kubu Crafts receives a log from the forest it is marked for cutting, maximizing the large pieces to make beds and tables. The medium-sized pieces are used to make side tables and chairs. The small pieces are used to make lamp stands, candlesticks and business card boxes. Very little of the wood is wasted – it is a precious resource.


Aku and Alia Djedidi

Meet Aku (left) and Alia Djedidi (above) from Finland. Those are hardly Finnish names, I can hear you thinking! Quite right too! They are brother and sister and they are Finnish but they have a Moroccan father, hence the names – they were both born in Casablanca. “So you’re African!” Exclaimed Milli Jam at the start of the latest edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela, when Aku and Alia appeared as Guests. “Yes” they replied “but now we live in Helsinki, Finland”. The Experience is the weekly radio show sponsored by Chanters Lodge, and airing between 20.30 and 21.30 hrs every Sunday night on Livingstone local radio’s Zambezi 107.7 fm. The show is popular locally as it offers a chance for listeners to win a dinner for two at the lodge with drinks – we play an ‘oldie of the week’ and ask listeners to text us the name of the artist singing the track, the first correct answer wins the prize. On this particular occasion the answer was Chris Brown singing ‘Excuse Me Miss’ and the prize was quickly won!

Aku and Alia told listeners that they’d been in Livingstone for about four days and had thoroughly enjoyed their stay at Chanters Lodge, as well as the various activities they had undertaken during their visit. They had of course got soaking wet when they went to see Victoria Falls – stunning at this time of year – and had also been on the one day safari to Chobe. They were delighted to have seen both lion and hyena during that safari, as well as scores of elephant, giraffe and hippo, common in Chobe National Park. They had, that morning, been on the rhino walk with Bwaato Adventures and had come very close to four of the rhino in the Mosi-o-Tunya National Park in Livingstone, including one of the babies. “Were you scared?” We wondered. “Just a bit” they replied. Rhino are pretty scary close up when you’re not in a vehicle!
The music on the show was hot – as usual! We featured The Wanted’s ‘Chasing The Sun’ and Faith Paloma’s ‘Picking Up The Pieces’ both high in the UK charts as we went on air. George featured one of his own tracks with Ty2 – ‘Spotlight’ – a great Zambian dance track, back to back with Mampi’s ‘Wali Lowelela’ (‘you are beyond sweetness’). Mampi, famous Zambian singing star was beyond the Big Brother Africa House on TV as we went on air – in the process of being evicted! George (her friend) shed a small tear. Milli Jam featured Zahara’s ‘Lengoma’ back to back with Craig David ft Calvin Harris ‘Good Time’. As a tribute to the late Robin Gibb we closed the show with ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.
Aku told listeners that he was an entrepreneur and had a retail shop in Helsinki selling clothes, as well artist’s materials such as brushes, paints and so forth. He had been in business for about six years. Alia is a nurse, specializing in care for the elderly and she explained that for the past 15 years she’s worked at an old peoples’ home caring for about 76 people. “Where are you going when you leave Zambia?” Milli Jam asked. “Malawi” they replied. “Why are you going there?” Asked Milli Jam. “Nature” replied Aku. I ‘snorted’ before saying “nature!” Milli Jam, “he’s going to see his girlfriend”! We laughed. Aku admitted that it was true that he and Alia were travelling to Malawi to see his girlfriend Mintu who, by coincidence, had recently appeared on our radio show herself, and who has, since then, been working in Malawi.

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time, they both said they would still like to be travelling and meeting new people. I guess they will be. It was a lovely show.

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