The Difference Between a Brand and a Business

Posted on July 13, 2015

Blackstone Bookshop is a family affair and we have all played a role in bringing this idea to a reality. I saw a gap in the market and made a suggestion to my family about the concept. After toying around it for a little while, our idea became a reality in 2010, and upon my return home in December of that year, I was involved in the daily operations and trying to re-integrate myself into the business landscape in Zimbabwe.

I chose to work with my family because they understand the market better than I did, and they understood me better than anyone else I knew.

Throughout the harsh economic situation, especially within the last 15 years, we saw that no matter how tough things got people would always spend on their children and especially on their education. That was probably the first building block in what has grown and become Blackstone Bookshop.

It’s always tough to think of the business initiative as being a success when you are still trying to accomplish some of your own personal goals. As a family, we have been in business for a long while, but the first months were hard as we were still establishing relationships with bankers and potential clients, and finding our place in the market. Here are some key lessons taken from the early days:

  • Be prepared for hard work and longer hours
  • Have a solid game plan and a good team
  • Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people

Working on your brand involves much more than one may expect. It’s a continuous hustle. It is easy to create a product. It is not as easy to create a brand, with a story, and an identity of its own.  I have found that the most important element of any business is the human capital. Treat your team members well and they will help you make it a successful business and or brand.

Nigel Mugamu

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief