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Marketing toolkit for Start-ups

Marketing toolkit for Start-ups

14 December 2016

By Rikus Grobler

I am currently on the topic of marketing for start-up businesses. In the previous delivery, I specifically looked at Guerrilla Marketing as a strategy. In this delivery I want to lay down some of the necessities for a start-up marketing “toolkit”, and share an example of a start-up that got it right with their marketing efforts.

Start-up Marketing

The first thing to take note of is that Start-up Marketing is different to traditional marketing. Why?

At a high level a start-up is different from a small business because it’s trying an unproven product, service, or business model. Start-ups are also usually running with no or very little outside investment. Start-ups don’t have the budget to go head-to-head with the big “players” and win through advertising spend. Start-ups are often run by solopreneurs or small teams of 2 or 3 and have limited time to spend on marketing.

Because of this, you have to be lean (build, measure, and learn); you have to be smarter with your money and resources; and you have to be agile with your speed and capitalisation of opportunities.

So, concerning start-up marketing essentials, here is my list of “have-to-have” resources. I am not propagating that the list is perfect or exhaustive, but in my view these are the essentials.

  1. Get a logo – and then place it everywhere possible. Logos are one of the most valuable visual assets of any business, and they can easily evolve as you grow. Invest in one early on.

  2. Get found online with an eye-catching website. A website plays an important role in helping bridge the gap between customer needs and how your product or service meets those needs. Even if you have a brick and mortar business, an online storefront is still valuable in the era of digital marketing.

  3. Build relationships with your customers using email marketing. E-mail marketing is the ideal tool for those just getting started that want to develop and grow their business. Email marketing does not equate to spamming your possible customers with hundreds and hundreds of emails. Email marketing has become a “science” in its own right, and there are ways of exploiting this resource without estranging your customers.

  4. Network, network, network. Networking plays a huge role in the success of any start-up, especially in those early months when no one knows you’re in business yet. And while getting found online is important, it doesn’t replace the need to make direct connections, especially in Namibia with her relatively small business community. Consider attending industry-specific trade shows, starting your own meet-up club, and going to other events where potential customers may roam. Share the passion you feel for your business with your customers, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty and help spread the word.

For an example of a success story of start-up marketing, a great case in point (courtesy of is Pinterest – A content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pin board.

Three months after Pinterest launched in March of 2010 they only had 3,000 users. So how has Pinterest grown to account for more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined?

They did things that don’t scale. Pinterest focused on its small group of passionate users and incentivised influencers to spread their product. They started holding meetups for these users, where they could get feedback and help get the word out. Their grass-roots marketing strategy worked as they became the fastest standalone site to hit 10 million users.

What makes this story so compelling is that it is a web-based business, but they used “traditional” methods to delight their most passionate customers to spread the word and create invaluable word of mouth that every marketer dreams of.

Next Time

This is the final delivery for 2016. If you are fortunate enough to go on holiday, enjoy the time with your loved ones and please drive safely on our roads. I conclude with a big thank you to those in service, hospitality and emergency services who are most likely working over these holidays, enabling the rest of us to take time off and relax.


Rikus has an MBA and also holds degrees in Engineering and Law. He is a certified Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) and he is currently pursuing a PhD in the field of innovation. His passion is innovation and entrepreneurship. You can e-mail him at

About The Author

Rikus Grobler

Dr Rikus Grobler is a Namibian academic, inventor, entrepreneur, public speaker, and management consultant who specialises in the development of the innovation capability of companies and individuals. He holds degrees in Engineering and Law, and has an MBA and a PhD in Business Administration. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and he has also completed studies in design thinking and patenting. He has engaged leading Namibian organisations such as The Capricorn Group, Agra, Old Mutual Namibia, The Bank of Namibia, City of Windhoek, The Government of Namibia, Afrox Namibia, and Hollard Namibia. An experienced professional with a background in manufacturing, information technology, tertiary education and financial services, Dr Grobler has been involved in innovation management for the past 10 years and currently holds the position of Manager: Innovation for the Capricorn Group in Namibia. He is particularly interested in creativity, innovation and invention, and his mission is to provide performance-enhancing innovation management services that enable organisations and individuals to fully exploit their creative potential to reach their goals.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.