Douglas Mamvura Speaks On Starting A Business With Shingi Munyeza

Only the Grace of God Moved me from a 2 roomed house in Mufakose to a house on a hill in Borrowdale.

Popular marketing Guru, Dr Douglas Mamvura, founder at Disruptive Technologies, spoke to Trevor Ncube on his show – In Conversation with Trevor.

Dr Mamvura was formerly Head of Marketing at Standard Chartered Bank, CBZ Bank, and Trust Bank. He also started his career at TA Holdings and Coca-Cola.

Below Are the Key Points Of their Discussion

  1.  Mamvura says he has never applied for a job in his life, he has always been head hunted.
  2. He says when he works he dosent work to please a boss, he works  for God. Employers have no choice but to invite him to work for them.
  3. His New company, Disruptive Technologies, is supplies e-learning, Hospital, pharmaceutical, farm management and core banking systems.
  4. He only works with young people.
  5. He believed that there is no individual who should pass through this world without leaving a mark.
  6. He said when he left the corporate world, he was too trusting and he found out the hard way that people can not be trusted.
  7. His early days in business taught him that nothing should be taken for granted when dealing with people in business. He lost a lot of money in one of his his Mahewu manufacturing project.
  8. His first entry into entrepreneurship was in 1997.
  9. They planned to start a can manufacturing plant with Shingi Munyeza
  10. They went to Denver , Colorado, to identify a can manufacturing plant.
  11. However, on 17 November that year, the Zim Dollar tumbled, and the timing was no longer right. The project could no longer be viably funded.
  12. After that failed venture, he also went into business with Nigel Chanakira and Strive Masiyiwa on e-transact.
  13. He  was born in and grew up in Mufakose in a two roomed house, where his mother was a maid and his father was a taxi driver.
  14. Growing up in Mufakose hardened him. It gave him committement, passion and hard work.
  15. His Christian faith has taken him where he is, coming from especially his mother. She instilled Christian values in him.
  16. At first he wanted to be a medical doctor. However, he could not study sciences.
  17. After his O Levels at St Pauls Mission. He could only get a place to study English, History and Shona at Harare High for his A Level.
  18. He was well known for soccer, and he was a goalkeeper. Gift Muparutsa was his hero.
  19. After his A Levels, which he passed very well, he studied Business Studies at the UZ.
  20. His first job was at TA Holdings. He was on a management training program for six months.
  21. At TA, his job was to relieve branch managers when they went on leave. His boss was the late Ariston Chambati.
  22. He left because he felt that he was being parked. He was just left to sit in an office with nothing to do most of the time. He used the time to study CA.
  23. From TA he moved to Coca Cola.
  24. He was the regional brands manager covering 9 countries in Southern Africa, That is where he developed his marketing muscles.
  25. Coca Cola believed in their values ( Passion and Commitment). He learnt the importance of strategy in business.
  26. He became a product of the product, this is why he is not scared of competition.
  27. He learnt the importance of strategy in business. You need to choose the battlefield in which you fight your competitors.
  28. He says most organisations take their customers for granted. Your brand is the DNA of your business. Its like the blood in your vein.
  29. He never drank Pepsi when he was at Coca Cola. He would not even mention the name Pepsi.
  30. After Coca Cola, he was head hunted by Standard Chartered Bank to set up their first marketing department.
  31. He was about 27 when he started at Standard Chartered in Harare.
  32. He  tried to come up with new ideas, like introducing a car give-away competition. The idea was rejected.
  33. Six months later, deposits were down by 40%.
  34. He went back to his manager, Livingstone Gwata, who asked him to convince Alex Jongwe.
  35. He took Alex for lunch and explained to him the cost benefit analysis of the car give-away competition.
  36. Alex agreed to the idea of a car give away competition and provided the budget.
  37. In a few months, from -40% down, deposits grew by 160%.
  38. There was also resistance when he tried to introduce other innovations such as ATMs, credit card, debit cards.
  39. Mamvura says he was firm in what he believed in and these innovations were eventually introduced at Standard Bank.
  40. After Standard Chartered. He was headhunted by Gideon Gono and joined CBZ.
  41. CBZ had been born out of BCCI ( Nicknamed Bank of Chaos and Confusion International or Bank of Crooks and Criminals International ).
  42. He says he had an incredible time at CBZ. The bank had a bad image when he arrived, even the employees did not want to be seen in the company uniforms.
  43.  He says the first thing he did after Gono introduced him was to tell everyone that there will be only two banks in Zimbabwe – CBZ and others.
  44. He was so empowered at CBZ and Gono allowed him to implement all his ideas.
  45. Within 3 years, CBZ moved from 3% to 20% market share.
  46. Leadership and brand building were at the forefront of his initiatives.
  47. One of the people he identified was Milton Kamwendo, he identified Kamwendo when he was a cost accountant at a brach and asked him to join his team. Every Friday he would coach Kamwendo after working hours.
  48. He took Kamwendo to India, spent three weeks there with him. Kamwendo is now one of the top speakers in Zimbabwe.
  49. Mamvura says managers should not compete with their subordinates, the sky is big enough for every bird to fly.
  50. He was recognized by Success Motivation International, who awarded him the World client of the year.
  51. He went to Florida and met the late Paul Jeremiah ( Other previous Zimbabwean winners include Nigel Chanakira and George Nyabadza). He was competing with executives from over 70 countries.
  52. After 3 years he was headhunted by Trust Bank Founder, William Nyemba.
  53. Trust Bank had great chemistry between leaders and the led.
  54. Most businesses are overmanaged but under-led, this was not the case at Trust Bank.
  55. Trust Bank was dynamic and innovative. Nyemba had his own way of leading. He allowed his juniors to lead.
  56. There was open communication among the leadership team. They did not speak what they believed others wanted to hear.
  57. He said Trust Bank collapsed because there was a run on deposits. Competitors started spreading rumours about the bank.
  58. Trust Bank was not selling cars or bricks. They financed cars  ordered from Japan for Willovale using a tolling structure, where Willovale would receive kits in the name of Trust bank and then give back the bank’s money on sale of the car.
  59. Jelousy played a big part in the collapse of Trust Bank.
  60. He says Zimbabweans tend to rejoice when someone is doing well. He said he was saddened because he could not defend the brand that he had built.
  61. He was deeply hurt by the collapse of Trust Bank and this is when he decided to leave the corporate world.
  62. Mamvura says he wanted to be a Priest. When he was at the UZ, he was the leader of the catholic students.
  63. He visited Brussels for an International Catholic conference.
  64. Father Paul Edwards liked him so much that he convinced him to become a Priest.
  65. Father Edwards arranged for him to go and visit the Vatican. Mamvura says when he saw the place where Paul was put in prison, the Bible became alive for him and he became eager to become a Priest. However, it did not happen (He got married).
  66. He revealed that his Parents were Methodist but he moved to Catholic when he moved attended school at St Pauls Mission.
  67. He then attended Bible School. He said he attended Bible School so that he could get an understanding of the Bible.
  68. He also revealed that he has a black belt in Taekwondo.
  69. Books that he has written include Marketing as a calling, Insurgent Strategy, the Mind of a Predator, My Grace Tidings.
  70. He says his most hurtful failure was when he did the project manufacturing Mahewu. He lost a lot of money. He gave the 2 guys 25% of the business for free. They went behind his back and transferred his 75% of the business to their own names and lied that he had resigned. They were arrested and were sentenced to 5 years in prison and they are still in jail.
  71. He says he preaches every Saturday at Grace Chapter Church ( College of Music).

Other Points

  • A leader needs to be a good shepherd.
  • A leaders as a servant, he needs to serve his team. Is someone applied for a house loan, don’t just say put it in a tray. Deal with it with urgency.
  • A leader as a steward, you have to identify talent.
  • There are a lot of false prophets in Zimbabwe taking advantage of Gullible congregants who want everything to happen overnight.