JUNE 2019 || A MONTH OF ROUND NUMBERS

The good: There’s something so pleasing about a nice round ‘1,000’ clean energy products sold! To add some colour to this, that’s made up of 730 cookstoves and 270 solar products, and we can also mention the 50 or so other products sold (household appliances and water filters, which do not fall under this clean energy category). We’ve also far exceeded our average sales agent income goal, a trend we’ve managed to hold on to almost the entire year. This is testament to the hard work of our agents in pursuing their sales, but also of strong guidance from the branch managers and sales coordinators, who have been providing all the necessary support to agents through promotions, new products, and clear marketing strategies to help them hit their goals.

 

The challenge: Though our sales agent income is exceptionally high, our total sales revenue is substantially off our goal for the second month in a row. This is because our total number of sales agents has not been growing as we’ve still been concentrating on having smaller micro-recruitments at the branch level, coordinated by the Branch Manager. In this way the Branch Manager is empowered to onboard and train new recruits and accompany them throughout their whole LivelyHoods journey. However, we have not seen this lead to an improvement in conversion or retention so will look to reverting to our old strategy of involving trainers in more wide-scale recruitments and training sessions.

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MAY 2019 || BACK TO NORMAL

The good: We’ve been incredibly consistent in helping our sales agents maximize their earnings, with the same sales agent income as last month. We also finally said goodbye to some of the product issues we’d been having, with one of our main suppliers finally able to supply us in plenty after some issues that held up manufacturing and supply. We’ve also launched some exciting pilots, offering certain products on credit, and even offering our customers a loyalty programme to encourage repeat purchases, all of which means more sustainable income for our sales agents!

 

The challenge: Despite our great results for individuals, our total sales compared to our goal were not quite on par, and we fell short of the target. Our total sales force has already slightly dropped, as we have been conducting fewer trainings than previous months. We will be holding a number of trainings in June, which will boost our total sale force, and also our sales revenue, as we have seen a direct correlation between number of sales agents and total revenue compared to our goal.

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MARCH 2019 || diversifying our products and our channels

The good: This was our highest sales month EVER in terms of number of products sold! This is testament to how much we’ve diversified our products, as this ranges from small solar lights retailing at $4.50, to large cookstoves for $52. This record-breaking month has also seen us exceed our sales agent income goal.

The challenge: Our sales force has slightly decreased, as a result of a decrease in training activity, with the training team instead concentrating on supporting all existing agents. We are also recruiting and training more community groups and resellers to bolster our geographic reach in areas around our branches. In some branches these B2B (business to business) sales account for up to 50% of monthly sales and create additional jobs in new communities!

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FEBRUARY 2019 || Growing in force

The good: The only way is up for 2019, as our sales grew compared to January, and our sales force took a big leap, from 86 to 124 sales agents! We also solidified partnerships with organizations in Tanzania and Uganda, laying the foundations for our expansion into these countries.

 

The challenge: This year we are not targeting expansion in Kenya through new branches, so our number of branches has stagnated. This does not, however, prevent us from growing our sales, and we did grow our sales compared to January, and even exceeded our goal. However we did not exceed our goals by as much as we did in January. With the number of new agents increasing as we continue with trainings across the country, we also fell just shy of our sales agent income goal, as agents typically hit this target income later than their first month.

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JANUARY 2019 || new year, new products…old prices!

The good: After a jubilant end to the year, with our best month of sales to date (December 2018) we were apprehensive about January, as prices were set to go up for many of our products. However, prices remained the same on our main cookstove product, which helped to maintain higher than expected sales. We also started piloting LPG (liquid petroleum gas) at highly competitive prices in a couple of branches, which we intent to expand to other branches in the coming months. We’re also ecstatic to have hit double our sales agent income goal which is testament to the hard work of each and every LivelyHoods sales agent.

 

The challenge: As with every new year, we always see a drop off in the number of agents given that many do not return after the extended holidays. We counter this by offering additional bonuses and incentives to sales agents and so we did mitigate this attrition. We also then conducted several new trainings in a handful of branches so that we could boost our sales force numbers.

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December 2018 – A month to break all records

The good: That’s right, this was a record-breaking month.We had our best sales performance ever in terms of revenue and sales agent income. Though we had a slightly smaller number of sales agents, they were all doing incredibly well, truly making the most of the holiday spending spirit and people travelling to see family members, bearing household gifts.

The challenge: As always at the end of the year, we are looking to the new year ahead and kickstarting activities again. However, we’re left with some uncertainty about product pricing from partners, and also how many sales agents we will start the year with, as many travel to their rural homes for the holidays and come back at different times, or not at all.


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NOVEMBER 2018 || GEARING UP

The good: This month has been an upwards inflection all around, with all our numbers hitting way above our goals and showing just what LivelyHoods sales agents are capable of.  A pricing promotion by one of our main product partners has helped to boost cookstove sales in November, and an ever-increasing number of solar sales has also helped boost sales agent income. As always, the end of the year is a time for growing each existing branch and not opening new ones, and this has truly been achieved through the hard work of the entire team and every single sales agent.

 The challenge: The size of our sales force has been somewhat constant for the second half of the year, though our goal was to grow the total salesforce steadily each month. This is a result of lower than projected conversion rates of trainees to sales agents, meaning we are only maintaining and not growing the number of sales agents across the branches. However, the average income has drastically shot up because of an increase in sales of clean cookstoves and we were able to achieve our sales goals even with a smaller than predicted sales force.

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October 2018 || Focus on conversion

The good: This month saw a major upturn in revenue and number of products sold, peaking right at the end of the month due to a drop in price of one of our most popular cookstoves. This brought renewed vigor to the sales teams, who have leaped on this new offer to push cookstove sales through to the end of the year. We have not opened any new branches for several months, and have instead been growing sales and sustainability in our 10 existing branches, with two in Nairobi and eight in urban towns and cities across Kenya.

 

The challenge: We have been closely monitoring conversion rate from trainee to sales agents this year, and our stable (but not growing) sales force size demonstrates that conversion has not been as high as we would have hoped. There are therefore a significant proportion of trainees who are not going on to become sales agents and addressing this is now one of our priorities for the coming months. This will ensure that we can create more jobs for youth and women and that we recover our investment in our training program through their sales.

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SEPTEMBER 2018 || A TOUGH TIME FOR COOKSTOVES

 

The good: Once again, the income level of individual agents is flying above our goals, meaning that the impact we’re having on individual young men and women is even greater than we expected. Meanwhile, our solar sales are continuing to grow as we deliberately diversify our sales to make up for the difficulty around selling clean cooktoves in recent months!

 

The challenge: As an organization, we are struggling to hit our sales and clean cookstove distribution goals given uncertain economic times in Kenya, and a growing reluctance to spend money. Compounding this is a temporary ban on charcoal, which has driven up prices of charcoal and there is no clarity on whether this will continue, or if there will be an easing off or indeed a clamp-down on the industry, all of which would have different outcomes for the energy-saving cookstove industry. We are actively developing new products for our catalog that would give our customers greater choice in these uncertain times.

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Winner of the 2018 Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education

We're so incredibly proud and happy to officially announce that we are the winners of the Teach A Man To Fish Pan-African Awards For Entrepreneurship In Education 2018! This incredible award recognises organisations with an entrepreneurial, innovative and sustainable approach to education, and it's a great honour for us all at LivelyHoods to win the top award.

From a shortlist of more than 50, the Savile Foundation and Teach a Man to Fish, a UK-based education organisation, selected LivelyHoods as the greatest example of an organisation that bridges education and entrepreneurship in a way that promotes sustainability.

Let's keep innovating, educating and growing!

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