Patrick Quarcoo Kenyan Millionaire - How he Built His Kenyan Media Empire

Patrick Quarcoo.

Ghanaian Quarcoo is the co-founder and CEO of the Radio Africa Group, which owns six Kenyan radio stations: Kiss 100, Classic 105, Radio Jambo, X FM, East FM and Relax FM. The group also began broadcasting TV station Kiss Television this year, gaining popularity countrywide by airing Premier League matches as well as local and Nigerian movies. The group also owns The Star, the third largest newspaper in Kenya and arguably the most independent, which launched in July 2007 as the Nairobi Star but changed its name after it expanded distribution across the country. Though radio had been a successful venture for the group, the launch of The Star took it to a new level. Quarcoo was previously a journalist reporting for the likes BBC World Service.

Patrick Quarcoo.

Never heard the name? Well he is the Founder and CEO of Radio Africa Group, which is the company that runs KISS 100, Classic 105, X FM, Radio Jambo, East FM, the Star newspaper and KISS TV. He is a Ghanaian-born man who came to Kenya from Reuters Uganda in the 90s to start up a media company. He spoke at a Mindspeak conference about his experiences, like the time Radio Africa tried to buy out the Standard, and the time Nation Media Group allegedly double-crossed the Star newspaper. We found out that Radio Africa makes 800 million a year, which should certainly put the valuation of the company at over a billion shillings. This is how he did it:

During the Q&A segment of the talk, Patrick was asked by a member of the audience, "I just wanted to know how you went along your course so that any one of us trying to do the same can think of how to take it on."

 Patrick Quarcoo, known as PQ by those in media, quickly replied:

 " William(a business partner) knows I am a compulsive business plan writer. Like for the Nairobi Star project, the financials were 23 pages. And that was just the basic financials, without the simulations of what would go wrong, and if it went wrong, what would we do. I think too many of us go into businesses on a wing and a prayer. I believe you can model any business. I may be wrong, but that's what I believe. Typically I start with the industry data, cut it up year by year, segment by segment, focus on the basic industry you are in. Look at what ecological and other social changes that impact that industry. Where will they take it?"

 He was really passionate about the subject. PQ continued:

"So you need to do all these forecasts. You need to do your numbers like crazy, because what I have found over the years is that bank managers are actually human beings. At the end of the day, it's still a decision of whether they believe in you. The more you understand the numbers and crystallise it, the more people come closer to sharing your understanding, and the lesser the risk it is for them. I get too many people who come to me and say, 'I've got this great idea' and you say to them, OK show me the numbers, and they got half a page of numbers. Run the numbers, know the numbers,  get friends to query the numbers and push the numbers."

On hard work, Quarcoo is of this opinion:

"But it's not just a numbers game. I think it's also the ability to deliver. Too many of us don't know what it takes to start a business. When we started KISS 100, I used to wake up at 4 am, and I'd go home, if I'd gone home really early, at midnight."

On business plans PQ's advice was:

"Learn how to put up a business plan. It will save you so much headache. You can almost see where your business is bound to fail before your bank manager sees it. Run cashflows. Discount the cashflows. Do a 5 year discounted cashflow, so you know where you stand."

On learning, this is what he said:

"I learnt all my media management on somebody else's expense while they were paying me a salary. When your working for somebody, learn. Too many people get into a business, and all they care about is getting in at 9 o'clock, taking a salary, and buggering off at 5. When they leave, they don't even think about the business."

Written by  Mr. Majani (Web Developer)

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