The Best ISP in Kenya

A good and reliable Internet connection is pretty much essential these days. You need it for all sorts of things, including the ability to make real money online. Unfortunately, the state of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in Kenya is very nearly pathetic. After some readers asked us to recommend good ISPs, we realised that we could not actually recommend anyone without giving a caveat. How sad, eh? So we decided to do some research and establish the truth about which company may actually be the best ISP in Kenya.

Our admittedly very limited research focused on the so called ‘big’ names:

Why did we do this?
Well, almost everyone we talked to felt that the ISP state in Kenya is just not right. Very few if any of the Kenyan ISPs do things right and the customer is at their complete mercy. It should be the other way round – they should be at our complete mercy.

This is our own little contribution towards that future. We hope to publish updates in the future as and when the situation changes. Please note that our review was limited to residential internet access and not the so called “corporate internet”. Many ISPs are totally different depending on what type of customer you are. Sigh.

The Best ISP
Unfortunately, and sadly, we did not find any one company that we could call “the bast”. Some seem very good, but all have painful problems associated with them. Sad tu sana, eh?

A. Safaricom
It may come as quite the shock but currently Safaricom seems to be the among the best overall ISPs in the country. Safaricom offers internet via mobile modems, WiMAX, and fibre. Overall, people speak very well of Safaricom.

The Good:

  1. Very fast Internet
  2. Fairly stable and rarely goes down

The Bad:

  1. When things go wrong, the customer often does not know who to cotnact for support – and the Safaricom customer care line rarely goes through. However, Safaricom seem to genuinely care about improving their customer care.
  2. Safaricom is expensive.

B. Airtel
Airtel is another company whose reputation is mainly good. They currently offer internet via mobile modems.

The good:

  1. They are affordable
  2. Their service is mostly reliable

The bad:

  1. Speed is really slow, sometimes becoming pathetic (i.e. the region of about 6Kbps or lower)

C. Access Kenya
Many people who deal with Access Kenya are quite happy. However there are some people who would highly recommend against them.

The good:

  1. Fairly stable service
  2. Fairly ok customer service

The bad:

  1. It is a bit pricey
  2. Relatively low speeds
  3. It feels like it is an ISP that is slowly fading away to the competition as far as residential customers are concerned.

These are ISPs that we would not recommend for anyone, unfortunately. Of course these companies do have happy customers so they must be good to them but you should engage with them with extreme caution.

A. Orange
Orange’s bad reputation comes fro their mistreatment of customers. Complaints range from:

  • In the past, they have changed their rates suddenly and unexpectedly and inexplicably
  • There have been reports that a customer’s bandwidth runs out faster than it should
  • Slow speeds
  • VERY poor support

KDN is famous for its extremely poor customer service. They seems to focus on serving corporate customers at the expense of residential customers. However, they are known for offering good services (for while) but when things start going wrong (they always do), they really get bad.

Personally I have been using Zuku at home for a while. In spite of this, I find it extremely hard to give a positive review of their service. Why? Because as a customer, Zuku will give you a special kind of pain: internet that is so shaky it disconnects every few minutes and extremely unhelpful, inaccessible and poor support. Dealing with Zuku sometimes feels like being scammed. Proceed with caution.

3. Other ISPs
We have no direct experience with the following, but their reputation seems to be good:

  1. Tangerine
  2. CallKey Networks

It is said that Internet services in Kenya can be one of two things, but not both:

  1. Reliable OR
  2. Affordable

The sad truth is that, at present, if you want an internet connection that is reliable, even enjoyable, you must pay premium rates.

What are your experiences with ISPs in Kenya?

How to Become an Expert in Your Customer’s Eyes

One of the founders of this website ( is a trained accountant. When we started Like Chapaa, it was very much (and still is) a for-profit venture. Along with wanting to help people, we wanted to make money with this site. Now, none of us was what you call a “computer” or “Internet”, or even “business” expert. But we believed in ourselves and we believed that we know how to do things with computers and the Internet that make business sense. The problem was how to convince people – our customers – that we really did know our stuff.

Are you faced with this problem? How do you become an expert in your customer’s eyes? How do you become the person the customer most wants to work with? How do you then increase prices 300% (which we have done) and still have customers wanting to work with you?

I mean, think about it. Would you hire a boring old accountant to do your website or even just improve it? Would you hire an accountant for anything other than accounting? That’s the kind of challenge that we faced. No one knew us as experts. Now, it didn’t matter how many times we looked in the mirror and called ourselves experts. We still were not getting any respect, let alone money in the bank. And it drove us crazy.

(For the record, I would personally not hire an accountant for anything but accounting!)

Interestingly, that is precisely why Like Chapaa was born. We thought that the easiest, fastest way to convince the world that we knew what we talked about was to start a site and write about the content of our brains. We started Like Chapaa to show the world what we knew. So yeah, we started pole pole but surely. We wrote articles. We used to get 7 visitors a day but we continued writing articles. Day after day, week after week. It was hard, extremely hard – and we had few, if any, successes right away.

Then it all changed. We suddenly started getting emails and calls. Emails and calls from people who wanted us to work on their websites, their Internet strategy, their projects, and so on. We had planned for this, but the success of our little plan shocks even us.

A lot of people struggle with marketing their business, and we did too. But we figured we could either go nuts calling people and walking the hard roads of Nairobi, or we could sit at our computers and write an article. And have a customer call. (Ooh, I did like the sound of that phone ringing). That is the power of the Internet, if you ask me.

Information is expertise – just ask any author; any consultant; any trainer. Just ask us.

The thing is, anyone can do this. You do not need any special qualifications; all you need is creativity, imagination and time. You have all three so go for it!

If you need any help you can always hire us to help you, you know?

How to Increase Your Revenues By Reducing The Number of Customers

“Would you Cut the Number of Customers you have in Half if You Could Increase Your Revenue?”

On the surface, it seems like a strange question. As a business, more clients is always better than less clients (or so you think). But you have to remember where this question is coming from. What if you could successfully create a business in which you make the most money possible with the least amount of effort (and the headaches that go with it)?

The High Maintenance Client
Don’t get me wrong – you always want a lot of clients and it’s a good problem to have. However, you ideally want the best type of client. The high maintenance client is the WORST type of client because they take up all your time with calls, e-mails, fighting over bills, etc. The time you spend working with the client costs you more money than you ever make from that client.

The problem with high-maintenance clients is that they are very hard to identify. But the fact is that the more clients you have, the more high-maintenance clients, and the more headaches you have to deal with.

Double Your Prices and Lose 40% of Your Clients – Awesome!
This is one of the keys to creating a business in which you make the most money possible with the least amount of effort. Maximize the revenues from each client and if that means losing a lot of clients, you are ahead. Take a closer look at that statement.

Let’s say that you were charging your 50 clients Kshs 1,000 per month, so you were making Kshs 50,000 per month.

Now, let’s say that you doubled your price to Kshs 2,000 per month and because of that you lost 40%, or 20, clients. You still have 30 clients, paying Kshs 2,000 per month or Kshs 60,000 per month.

You lost 20 clients, which means less operations, less support, and less administration, etc. but you gained Kshs 10,000 per month! And that’s not just Kshs 10,000 total. With the reduced overhead and operational expenses, you probably gained even more than that in profits.

Even if you lost 60% of your clients and now made just Kshs 40,000 per month, but you reduced expenses by Kshs 10,000, you’re still ahead. You have more time and resources to commit to those activities that will bring you more money.

But before you just send out a letter to all our clients saying that you are doubling their prices, there are some things you should be aware of.

How and When to Raise Prices

  • Don’t Raise Prices in a Commodity Business. This strategy does not work if you have a commodity type business. If someone can go to your neighbor and get the same product for half the price, you will lose most of your customers. This only works if you have a niche product or service that is differentiated from what other companies offer.
  • Don’t Raise Prices on Existing Clients. The way that you can implement this strategy is on new clients. You will piss off a lot of existing clients if you raise their prices all of a sudden and it’s not worth it. But when you start marketing and selling to new clients, raise the prices on them. They do not know the old price so they will not be pissed off and while your conversion rates will be lower, you will see more revenues and less headaches in the long run.
  • Get Clients First. One of the first mistakes that we ran into when we tried to implement this strategy is that we did it on a new product that we were offering. It was a type of marketing website and while it was a good niche product that wasn’t commodity based, we had no idea what the market would bear. Looking back, we should have just started selling it very cheaply and then once we got some momentum, we would have raised the price to what we think the market would bear.

Screw it, Just do it

Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to to have a very interesting conversation with a very successful Internet entrepreneur (he makes upwards of 2 million Euros a year from his websites). This fine gentleman told me something that really got to me.

While I was telling him that I have not yet launched the project I am currently working on because of X or Y, he cut me short and said:

“That’s not being entrepreneurial. You should just start! Before you begin anything you actually do not have any problems – do not think of how this or that may go wrong. The only thing that is wrong is that you have not yet started doing it (your project). And the only way to know if there are actually any problems that need fixing is to start doing something, not planning endlessly. As they say: Screw it, Just do it.

Sir Richard Branson wrote a book titled: “Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life“. Is that a coincidence? Or are both of these successful gentlemen trying to share on of the secrets to their successes? If you are thinking of starting something – a new project, a new business, whatever – then just go ahead and do it. Stop dilly-dallying and wasting time. Just do it.


Blue Ocean Strategy (Free Book Inside)

Blue Ocean Strategy is an outstanding book. It clearly outlines the steps to developing new market space and breaking out of the trap of competing head to head with competition. Red oceans are defined as bloody battlegrounds where companies compete against each other in a head to head fashion. Blue oceans are new market space conceived by forward thinking managers to de-commoditize their businesses. Examples of businesses that have implemented this strategy are such as Curves, Southwest Airlines, Cirque du Soleil, Yellowtail Wine, Bloomberg, and even the New York City Police Department.

Tools such as the “strategy canvas”, the “four actions” and the “blue ocean idea index” are provided to assist the reader in visualizing how to create a blue ocean in their industry.

The authors also provide relevant direction on how to successfully integrate a blue ocean strategy into any company by selling it into the organization correctly. Finally, the very useful appendix provides detailed examples in history of continual blue ocean creation over decades. Examples given are the automotive, computer and theater industries.

I would highly recommend this book to any business person or business student. You can purchase the book here.

You know what? We’re giving away free copies of this book to anyone who leaves a comment below. You don’t have to say anything specific, just join the conversation. Good luck!

Will your business survive if something happens to you?

While we don’t like to think of it, there are always uncertainties in life that can come without warning. When these events occur, it is often very difficult to pay any attention to your business. Either you don’t have the time or it becomes the farthest thing from your mind.

When that does occur, will your business continue to run without you or is it completely dependent on you? If your answer is more of the former than the latter, it is more likely that you have already built or are on your way to building a successful Lazy Business.
Why is it Important?

The main reason is that you never know what’s going to happen to you from day to day.

  • You could have a family emergency that needs your complete attention
  • You could become injured or sick and not be able to work for a period of time
  • There could be some sort of catastrophe where you work or live and you won’t be able to get to work or do any work for several days

All of these things are completely out of your control and more often than, completely unpredictable on when they happen. You need to be prepared so that when they do happen, your business and your livelihood aren’t affected and you can focus on what needs your immediate attention.

An ancillary affect of being so prepared is that you can also be gone for no reason at all. You can take a week off of work at a moment’s notice or just not do any work for several days. Your business will still function without you to support that lifestyle. Now it may not continue to grow without your leadership and vision but that is a balance that you need to be comfortable with.

The important goal to focus on is that your business wouldn’t fall off the edge of a cliff with clients canceling their service or bills don’t get paid, etc.

What if You Freelance or the Main Cog in the Business?
If you are a freelancer, you have other problems. Freelancing is not a real business in the first place and you need to re-engineer what you do and how you work to make sure that you manage the business and are not the sole person responsible for service/product delivery.

What Needs to Be Done?
The short answer is . . . Everything!

Every business is different in what it sells and how it operates. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t common functions of every business – accounting, service/product delivery, marketing, sales, general management, etc.

The fact is that each of these areas should be broken down and detailed in a manual with all the functions that need to be completed. And all of those activities should be delegated to someone else to do. These are tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis like setting up new clients or paying bills on a weekly basis. You should not be doing anything that you can get someone else to do – outsource it.

But there are a few things you should have procedures in place for so that they can be run without you. This is also a good checklist for those who want to automate their business:

  • Who is going to handle the accounting and handle the reconciliation of all the expenses and income?
  • Who is going to bill the clients, receive the payments, and process the payments?
  • Who is going to pay the bills on time?
  • How are the taxes going to get paid and any forms or legal documents get filed?
  • Who is going to manage the marketing campaigns – set them up, monitor them, and measure them?
  • Who will the prospects call or e-mail if they have any questions or would like to place an order?
  • Who will take the orders and get the information to deliver the product or service?
  • Who will handle product/service delivery and make sure that the client is set-up and receives what they ordered?
  • Who will handle client support? They will probably have questions or concerns and they need someone to talk to.

While they might not all be completely automated so that they can get completed without any assistance or initiation from you, you should be able to easily hand them over to someone else to complete. These are all things that you need to automate today so that you don’t have to worry about them tomorrow. And you’ll notice that once you do have them handed off, you will be able to focus more time and energy on growing a successful business. . . or you can just play some golf instead.

Want a FREE Online Shop?

The very first time that I got interested in making money online was around the time when I hit puberty. I was reading this magazine – sikumbuki jina – and there was this story of a woman with three kids who had quit her job to take care of her babies. Since she was home a lot, she started spending a lot of time on the Internet.

One day, she discovered a nice little website where she could set up an online shop for free. At the time, she had nothing to sell online but the idea stuck with her. Weeks later, she started a little duka selling hand-made jewelery (she made it herself at home). According to the magazine article, in a few months her little duka was making her twice the amount of money she used to make at her old job.

This story just spoke to me and I promised myself to one day make money online somehow. I later realized this dream through Like Chapaa and other online businesses that I am a part of.

How about you? Have you ever wanted to make money online? have you managed to do it?

Only you know the answers to that. Today, though, I am very pleased to announce our newest project! OurDuka.

What is OurDuka?
OurDuka is a site that enables you to start a simple online shop easily and for free.

Why are we doing this? because of public demand. Since we launched DukaPress, we got quite a lot of people telling us they love it but also telling us they have no idea how to get started – few people understand how to download it, upload it on a server, bla bla… A lot of you just want to “get a shop” without worrying about the technical details. Well, now you can do just that, just signup at OurDuka and you’re good to go! All 100% for free.

Do you have anything you think can sell online? Why don’t you get off your behind and try sell it? You have no excuses since we’re giving you a shop for free, ama?

The site right now is still a bit crude but as we engage with you, we hope to make it better as we go along. Hop on, make money, be happy! Don’t worry if you get little things here and there that seem out of place, we’re fixing that.

Why would you use OurDuka?

  1. You get a fully featured shop just like this one or this one or this one. Free.
  2. Our shop management software is used by over 3,473 people. Would that many people be wrong?
  3. You can very very easily accept money via PayPal, AlertPay, or even MPESA. We don’t charge any commissions.
  4. We are known for providing top-notch support so you will never ever be stranded.
  5. We will love you forever! Seriously.

How do we make money?
We feel that before we even try to make money from this project, we need to make sure that you make money from it. Therefore, right now, this thing is free. Completely. We’ll be experimenting with how to make money using this in the future (when we have 1,000 users, if we ever do :p).

So, well, the ball is in your court. If you ever wanted an online shop, now you can get one that is very powerful and easy to use, and free. Visit OurDuka and sign up ASAP.