The Real Estate industry in Kenya is riddled with numerous challenges. Many entrepreneurs tend to look at it from the sidelines, without getting involved. Some ventured in by simply buying land but have struggled making a profit out of it. A sizeable number realized different opportunities within the industry and have succeeded immensely as a result. The ISBI Alumni Association organized a round-table breakfast, where Irene Wanjiku (Founder & CEO Rexe Roofing) shared her perspective on how to thrive in this crowded & competitive industry.

In a male dominated industry, Irene has been able to curve out a market share for Rexe Roofing. Branded “the Roofing Queen”, she opted to provide roofing materials. As the Kenyan real estate industry was growing, so was Rexe Roofing Ltd. Her product was innovative and competitive from the onset. Her success: The Hub Karen shopping mall, Brookhouse Schools & Mount Kenya Wildlife Estate. Instead of “kununua ploti” Irene identified an opportunity, implemented it and bested already existing players.

Be different. In order to ward off competition, you need a solid product and a solid team. From the onset, Irene identified skill sets that she lacked and hired from her pool of networks, friends & family. The team guided the company’s strategy & direction. As the product was different from what the market offered, customers would evidently distinguish her product. Rexe Roofing maintained quality all through and did not compromise whatsoever. This improved the credibility and outlook of the company.

Rexe Roofing was diligent and excellent at what they did. Believing in your product and giving every contract your best shot is the best free form of advertising. Take a moment to think; does your work speak for itself? From Rexe’s experience, building a name means being different and creating value for your customer. As trends are constantly changing in the construction sector, the business must learn to evolve. Rexe eventually moved into manufacture of roofing shingles and has been able to reduce the cost of goods as a result.

Business is never easy; it is important to maintain strong ties with partners be it suppliers, customers, financiers and shareholders that believe in you and your product. A little support could go a long way and ISBI Institute provides a support system for every entrepreneur through training and provision of networking platforms. We pride ourselves in being part of the journey as you move your business from good to great.

You can still join the ISBI Alumni Association by registering through this link.

Mastering private enterprise. www.isbi-kenya.org.

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