“No one succeeds immediately. Every successful business was once a beginner,” says founder of Afrotronic Home Design, Fredrick Ochieng. With his passion for functional architecture spanning from the age of 15 years old, his business provides pre-designed as well as bespoke residential, commercial and institutional building plans to millions in Kenya and Africa. But it wasn’t always this way…
In 2013, the pressure of starting a business without earning a steady income, paired with the criticism of family and friends meant that he was hospitalised for three months due to stress and related illnesses following surgery. But where others would throw in the towel, he saw it as a turning point. Fredrick recalls, “I believed in my product more than anything and I knew that it would help many people. I just had to get it to them. So, I ended up hawking home plans at Kimathi Street in Nairobi and in the process, people got to know me and my products.
Today his business address at Regus 14 Riverside Business Park in Nairobi is a far cry from his start on the streets below. Once his business grew, he says he needed a convenient and professional place to receive customers and host meetings. He also wanted to provide his prospective clients with better client service.
The benefits extend to his team. “The flexible workspace layout encourages social interaction and communication and the fact that we don’t have to worry about copiers and coffee machines and networks, means we are more productive and can focus on the business of helping people build homes,” he says. Using the Regus network of flexible workspaces also makes it easier to expand into other countries, with the number of Regus flexible workspaces now totalling 3 400 worldwide.
His advice to other entrepreneurs? “Don’t allow fear and people’s opinions to prevent you from investing time in your business idea.”
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