Photo By:Missie Popular
Although she has been out of the limelight for a couple of years now, Fina Mango, remains one of the familiar faces and names in Tanzania. For many folks, she used to be their every morning “ritual” when, together with Masoud Kipanya; they used to run one of the most listened to morning radio shows in Tanzania (Power Breakfast on Clouds FM). Then it all ended in July 2008…as sad as it was.
As it turns out, Fina left the radio but the radio never left her, at least not to her fans. We have been asked thousands of times about her whereabouts and whether she is coming back to the airwaves anytime soon. Her listeners miss her insight and most likely her voice.
The good news, as you are about to read, is that Fina has been busy building an empire of herself in just a different way. She is now the Managing Director of one of the fastest growing and respected PR Company called 1Plus Communications.
To catch up with her and for the benefits of the fans that have never stopped asking about her, I tracked Fina for an exclusive interview whereby we talked much about how and where she has been all this time and her journey into entrepreneurship.
She also gave me an answer to one of the most speculated questions of all time; Is she coming back to the airwaves anytime soon? (You will love her answer). Here are the excerpts;
BC: Welcome to BC once again Fina. How are you?
FM: Hey BC, I have never been better. Thank you.
BC: I guess the number one question that a lot of our readers can’t wait to hear you answer it is; how have you been since you left Clouds FM and where are you now or in other words what are you doing?
FM: I have been blessed; I am running a business, had a baby and enjoying motherhood for every second of it. I couldn’t be more thankful. I have been blessed.
BC: Your fans keep telling us how much they miss you and Masoud on air. Do you miss them too and the whole radio DJ/Presenter experience?
FM: Oh you have no idea how I have missed my listeners. They were a part of my life of course I miss them and can’t wait to re-unite.
BC: The words in the streets say you guys are planning a huge comeback, in your own Radio Station. Can you set the record straight?
FM: Nah no own radio station. Masoud is on air with Times FM and I hope to do my own thing elsewhere….I am in the final preps..so sooon!
BC: Now let’s talk about your company because that is actually one of the main reasons for this interview. Your company/firm is called 1Plus Communications. Why did you give it that name and what kind of services can a client expect to get from 1Plus Communications?
FM: Well its 1Plus because we believe with us you will get more than what you’ve paid for or came for. There is always something extra because we strive to always stretch and give our best to all our clients.
BC: Most entrepreneurs are afraid of not finding that great idea to start a business. So how did your idea come up?
FM: Well with the morning show on Clouds FM, Power Breakfast graduated from being just a radio show and more of a PR organ. We worked a lot on creating strategic responses for some of the clients (promotional strategies) to their stakeholders through the show.
That gave me the idea of starting a proper corporate communications company plus the fact that there weren’t (still to-date) a lot of “PR” companies per se in Tanzania. Most PR companies focus on advertising and or media placements and monitoring. So 2007 it all started – 1Plus became a reality.
BC: How many corporate events have you organized so far? What are the main challenges of putting together a successful event?
FM: Too many to give you a figure BC but challenges vary with every event really… I can’t say there is like specific challenges that you face with every event. But in time we have learnt on how to handle most of the challenges.
OK examples, let’s see… a demanding/difficult client can be a serious challenge, sometimes they would ask for impossible outcomes especially if dealing with the media. Venues vary and come with their own challenges, low roof can limit what you can do with the venue and you can’t do anything about it because the client has already paid for the venue. A team member forgot to do an important chore like forgetting to collect certificates that are due in an hour and our printing facilities are in Kariakoo and the event is in Mbezi and the time is 3pm – Mtihani hapo. What do you do? Panic? Yell? Cry? Scream? LOL.
But somehow we always get it done lol, ah somedays Unatamani kung’ata mtu but that’s not going to help anything but cost you medical expenses. lol.
BC: Can you tell us a few words about your target customers and if you don’t mind, could you tell us the kind of clients 1Plus Communications has worked with so far?
FM: We work mostly with corporate entities – small, medium to large corporate entities however we have had privileges of working with a few public figures. You can view most of our work on our website www.1plus.co.tz
BC: I can see you have already captured some serious big clients! Congratulations! Do you remember your first big one? What feelings did you have?
FM: My very first job, when I didn’t even have an office yet lol. The job was putting together Tanganyika Law Society’s first Legal Aid Day! This was November 10th 2007. It was a big learning experience and a great success.
BC: Take us through the paces…..a client gets in touch with you and is in need of event management or PR services…what happens next? How do you price your services? How affordable are your services and what do they entail?
FM: Well it’s all about understanding your client’s needs. We would have a sit down or get a brief via email of what the client want and then we work on a proposal (which would go back and forth a lot until it is perfect for the client) and the rest is execution which is KEY!! Its all about execution, a perfect plan can be reduced to nothing by poor execution and that is why we put everything we have on delivering beyond expectation for all our clients.
I would like to think that you get value for money at 1Plus.
BC: I know from my own part time entrepreneurship experience that doing multiple jobs in the same time requires excellent focus and time management. Also from my understanding event management involves a lot of multi-tasking. How do you manage and would you say that is the key challenge of your business?
FM: No I wouldn’t put this as a “challenge” leave alone being a “key” one really. For 1, I don’t work alone; I manage a handful of people who do their parts well. I have a team of young vibrant people who have come to understand our business well and how we do things.
So I would direct and supervise but it’s really a team work. I can’t and won’t do everything. It’s just not possible. When it’s busy or it’s a big project, I would hire part-time contractors. What I have also done is to always hire the same people on short-term basis so they become familiar with how I like things done and maintain the output in terms of quality.
BC: One of the key challenges in today’s world of entrepreneurship or business is competition and marketing. While we understand that marketing is one of the key components of your firm, we would like to know; how do you do your own marketing? What about the competition? Do you need to advertise, print flyers participate in conferences or it’s mostly word of mouth?
FM: The only advertising I do is through performance and timely delivery of projects. My clients are my marketing tools. Half the time I get work based on a recommendation from a satisfied a customer. Competition is there, competition is good keeps you on your toes.
BC: What is the special thing about 1Plus Communications that sets you apart from other event management and PR outfits out there?
FM: We have impeccable relationship with all major media houses and our clients are guaranteed with media exposure on their activities. I base this on over 12 years of experience in the media industry in Tanzania.
The vast experience has provided me with excellent relations and contacts that have always been handy with my clients where media communication and stakeholder engagement activities are concerned.
BC: Tell us a few words about doing business in Tanzania. What are the goods and the bad?
FM: We have a unique environment compared to the developed world, it can be tough for a newbie but once you get a hang of how things are done here then you’ll be alright.
You need to have contacts, you need to understand how things are done, accept them and adapt fast! One would also need to have adequate cash and ability to manage your cash flow. Payments can delay to 60days if you are that unlucky, work continues and you need to have cash to continue running. However this market is still very young, a lot is needed and a lot can still be done.
BC: What advice could you give entrepreneurs that are afraid to start because they don’t have that unique, excellent business idea? In your opinion, are entrepreneurs born or made?
FM: I think Entrepreneurs are both born and made. What is needed is a combination of school/training and work experience to get you out and running.
As for those who are afraid to start, then perhaps you are not meant to be an entrepreneur and if you force it, you are bound to get frustrated. My advices continue getting employed besides we can’t all be entrepreneurs. If you don’t have a unique ide, usilazimishe.
BC: What gives you the strength to go on in life or business?
FM: My family: my son Bernard Joseph, my partner in life and father of my Ben – Hans Lemm, my mother, my sister and brothers but I must say I also like fine things in life eh so that makes me want to work my behind off to ensure I get to have what I want, when I want it.
Read more: FINA MANGO: ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP, MOTHERHOOD AND BROADCASTING(THE INTERVIEW) - BongoCelebrity