While browsing Facebook a few days ago, I came across a post by Awuradwoa Adjei, promoting her startup, Mashke Express. Before then, I had seen a few posters about the startup floating on social media but this particular Facebook post caught my attention so I decided to check it out and I didn’t leave without learning a few valuable business lessons.
Mashke Express is a startup which packages mashed kenkey (corn pudding) along with either bread or pastries and peanuts and delivers to customers. Customers can call or whatsapp to place their order for Mashke and have it delivered to them.
They haven’t been around for very long but they seem to be growing pretty fast, making waves across the country and even introducing new products.
To begin with, every Ghanaian knows that mashed kenkey is nothing special. In 5 minutes, anyone at all can whip up a nice cup of mashed kenkey for lunch.
What is remarkable about Mashke Express is how they have been able to turn a common everyday product into a fast-growing profit-making brand.
As I read through Awuradwoa’s profile I learnt the following valuable lessons.
1. Branding makes a big difference
A lot of times, the difference between businesses which are successful and business which fail is branding. Mashke took a common product, mashed kenkey, and created a name, Mashke Express, a trademark design with attractive logos and color schemes, awesome conspicuous packaging and more.
They also built a community of like minded people to promote the brand especially on social media, where a large percentage of their customers hang out.
Though mashed kenkey is a common product, through good branding, they have been able to connect with a lot of Ghanaians and the product has resonated among high ranking people in the country.
So in short, Mashke Express has proven that you can take a common every day product, and with good branding, turn it into a big profit-making product.
2. Customers Appreciate Value
Apart from Mashke Express’ brand, one other thing which differentiates them from the mashed kenkey seller in the corner of the street is the value they provide.
Whereas the mashed kenkey seller in the corner of the street gives you just regular mashed kenkey in a plain boring plastic bottle, Mashke express gives customers more value by giving them the option to choose.
Customers can order their Mashke via a phone call or WhatsApp message, choose between different flavours and different pastries and have their order delivered to them at their location.
The added value comes at an extra cost, considering the fact that the average mashed kenkey you buy in the corner somewhere is way cheaper. Yet, Mashke Express sells more and gets more orders by the day, proving that customers appreciate value and are willing to pay more for the value they get.
3. Social Media Is A Great Free Marketing Tool
Going through Awuradwoa’s profile again, I noticed that most of the posts on her personal Facebook page were related to Mashke Express. She had also created a Facebook page for Mashke Express and with both profiles she was promoting her startup. In fact, I got to know about Mashke through her Facebook profile.
A lot of young people starting business feel they have to splash a lot of money on advertisement in order to get noticed and fail to recognize that there are a lot of free marketing resources around them. Social media is a great way to get your idea across.
Getting friends and family to share your posts even helps you reach more people faster?and Awuradwoa has done just that!
In summary, I believe Mashke Express is unto something really great here and I am looking forward to seeing the brand grow and become a household name by the end of the year.
Kudos to Awuradwoa and the rest of the Mashke Express team!
Learnt any lessons from things around you? Don’t forget to share them in the comments section below.