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Lawrence Mosa: The making of Canaan Properties

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Lawrence Mosa lives by a code that if you want to do business on long term, do it legitimately.

Mosa is the founder and the Managing Director at Canaan Properties, one of the leading real estate management service providers in Nairobi. This is a business he has ran for 15 years.

It has not been rosy for him. He admits that one thing you will face as an entrepreneur is getting broke, and this is one costs of being in business. He considers it a form of school fees that one has to pay in business.

Mosa started a hardware business after campus. He attributes his entrepreneurial venture to two things: his father, who was a businessman, and joblessness. He had been involved in his father’s businesses while growing up, and this raised his interest in the same. He thus did some few businesses while in Kenyatta University using money from the then HELB. After graduating, jobs were not forthcoming. After numerous applications, he partnered with a friend to start a hardware business in Athi River.

The business was booming, at least for some time. What started as a 5k capital in business soon became a multi-million hardware. Seven years down the line, the hardware closed down, leaving him with debts to pay. This was a low moment, but also a learning moment for Mr Mosa in business. But it was from that failure that he rose to venture into Real estate management.

Having a loan to repay after the business collapsed, Mr Mosa decided to dispose off a piece of land to pay off the debts. The person he owed the money was amazed at how fast he was able to dispose off the piece of land. He asked him to help him sell a piece of land, which he objected, reminding the guy that he was only selling because he had debts to pay.

Upon his insistence, he agreed to sell and receive a commission. And that was his Eureka moment; Canaan properties was born. Today, Canaan Properties is one of the largest comprehensive real estate services providers in Kenya, with services ranging from letting, selling and managing of residential and commercial properties to development consultancy.

 Mosa says that he built Canaan Properties to be an enterprise that will outlast him, and therefore adheres to the best practices possible. He even has  advisory board that audits the business every quarter, and ensures that it is ran according to the best practices. Among their top core values is integrity, and this has helped them win over customer trust, and kept them in good books even with the authorities.

Some of the specific lessons he shares with incoming entrepreneurs are:

  1. Establish a relationship with your bank, as you will need funds as you grow.
  2. Create systems and processes that will ensure that your business can operate even in your absence. This is key to growing.
  3. If you are starting up, it would help if you have an anchor client who will guarantee you a sustained income as you expand. Without a consistent income, it is likely that you will only focus on survival instead of long term growth.
  4. The best marketing channel is through referrals. Ensure you have happy clients who refer you to others.
  5. Finds interns to hire, mentor them and grow together with them. This is beneficial to both of you, and better than finding experienced personnel who you cannot afford.
  6. God is always faithful, and rewards the work of your hands.
  7. Finally as a Christian remember that whatever you do must be done as unto the Lord so this business must be conducted in a manner be true Ambassadors of Christ in the market place.

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