Her Wedding Was Just So TACKY!

Stories of the wackiest and tackiest weddings of all time

We've all heard the stories – Angelina Jolie marries her first husband with his name written across her white silk blouse in her own blood. Photos are released of 'Posh and Becks' sitting on golden thrones and frosted in diamonds on their wedding day. The first words out of Black Eyed Pea's singer, Fergie's mouth after her vows are "I'm married b $% s"! Sarah Jessica Parker ties the knot wearing black. While we may think that tacky weddings are a practice reserved by the rich and famous, the truth is that they cross all socio-economic barriers. Here are a few of the wackiest and tackiest weddings, cakes and chapters in the twenty-first century:

Army-chic

One particular inventive couple, who chooses to remain anonymous, decided to support their men in Afghanistan by getting married in camouflage. We do not mean in a discreet yet romantic jungle location so that the press and mad Aunt Gertrude could not find them – we mean they literally got married in camouflage. The bride wore a camouflage skirt and a khaki colored veil. The groom at least had the decency to wear a white shirt; however this was coupled with a camouflage jacket. And the cake? It proudly held up two plastic army men.

Vulgar Vegas

Vegas is a bad joke to most people. They may drop the word in a light-hearted conversation if they're joking about eloping or they may know someone who has a cousin who got married in Las Vegas. But the scary truth is that weddings in Vegas are on the rise. Since 1970, weddings have increased five-fold. In fact, recent statistics peg it at 120 000 weddings a year and 50 000 renewals of vows, making up 5% of all weddings in the USA. Elvis would be proud. In fact, Elvis is proud. But this industry is worth over $ 1 billion dollars, so who's laughing now?

Cinderella cheap

Coming in at first place for the tackiest wedding cake of all time is the Cinderella castle cake – so large it needed an entire garage just to house it. Purple and white turrets made up the cake itself with Cinderella and Prince Charming carefully positioned at the front. The cake was framed by a carriage – not made out of pumpkin but out of white balloons and silver plastic wheels. You've got to hand it to this particular bride and groom though – it might be tacky but it's pretty romantic too.

Offbeat Brides.com said it best when they wrote: "Yes everything you want to do for your wedding is tacky. .. [But] when it's all tacky, none of it is really tacky ". There you have it. So now you can use as many sequins, pink bows and cans of whipped cream as you like without even a smidgen of the usual guilt.

Jet Set Radio Future – A Unique Style

This was a sequel to the Dreamcast game Jet Grind Radio. It was available in February 2002. The game transpires in Tokyo, and it was about an esoteric artifact that was pilfered. Gamers are in control of a character that wears roller skates and his struggle against the Rokkaku and Gouji.

I have to admit the plot was more borrowed that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Ninja Gaiden combined, but people should not be playing Jet Set Radio Future for the storyline. The gameplay in Jet Set Radio Future boils down to using graffiti. You can also perform various tricks while airborne that are stylish; furthermore, executing a grind on a railing was as rudimentary as shooting fish in a barrel. Getting careless will result in being chastised by the cops, so players should be aware of these things. There are a variety of graffiti sizes that can be utilized that range from infinitesimal to awful. Jet Set Radio Future had visuals that introduced something known as cel-shading.

This was a technique that is seen in video games like X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. It was done intentionally in all of those games to give a more cartoon-like appearance. Cel-shading is an acquired taste. Some people love it; some people detest it; some people do not feel one way or the other towards it. This is not always the case. There are games where cel-shading works poorly with the tone of the game. Fortunately, Jet Set Radio Future was one of those game that perfectly takes full advantage of the cel-shading method. Personally, I interpreted the cel-shaded graphics to be unique and original in Jet Set Radio Future. The little things like the birds and airplanes flying though the air made Jet Set Radio Future ahead if its time; moreover, the reactions of civilians as you approach them was realistic. Other effects gamers may notice are the sparks that appear when grinding and the blurry streak effects that signify an increase in velocity.

There is also some diversity with the pedestrians on the street. From the drunk to the somewhat scantily clad women, the game does have its fair share of characters that have personality to them. The real selling point of the game has to be the audio. Jet Set Radio Future had a soundtrack that was more than merely grandiose. There were over twenty songs that will make your head bop up and down through the duration of the game. The game had an up-tempo, rap, techno, and pop music that will please anyone. Jet Set Radio Future has a fairly limited multiplayer mode. Since the game was made during the early stages of the Xbox, it does not have any Xbox Live content. In other words, there was no downloadable content and no interacting with other players via Xbox Live. Luckily, there was a four player multiplayer that is playable on a four player split-screen.

There was a racing mode, collect the flag mode, graffiti mode, and a tag mode. You try to come in first place in the racing mode. Collecting more flags than your opponent is what you will be doing in the collecting flags mode. The graffiti mode (which was my personal favorite) is about tagging more walls, and the tag mode is about tagging your opponent before they do. There were some glitches in the game that were few and far between. Two conspicuous flaws that come to my mind with Jet Set Radio Future were the camera and frame rate. There were times when the camera was more disorienting than helpful. The frame rate does not come to a screeching halt, but it does mildly decrease. Overall, the game is a solid pick up and play type of game that will appease most gamers.

Building a Kingdom – Case Study of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited

This article presents a case study of sustained entrepreneurial growth of Kingdom Financial Holdings. It is one of the entrepreneurial banks that survived the financial crisis that started in Zimbabwe in 2003. The bank was established in 1994 by four entrepreneurial young bankers. It has grown substantively over the years. The case examines the origins, growth and expansion of the bank. It concludes by summarizing lessons or principles that can be derived from this case that maybe applicable to entrepreneurs.

Profile of an Entrepreneur: Nigel Chanakira

Nigel Chanakira was raised in the Highfield suburb of Harare in an entrepreneurial family. His father and uncle operated a public transport company Modern Express and later diversified into retail shops. Nigel's father later exited the family business. He bought out one of the shops and expanded it. During school holidays young Nigel, as the first born, would work in the shops. His parents, particularly his mother, insisted that he acquire an education first.

On completion of high school, Nigel failed to enter dental or medical school, which was his first passions. In fact his grades could only qualify him for the Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University of Zimbabwe. However, he "sweet-talked his way into a transfer" to the Bachelor in Economics degree program. Academically he worked hard, exploiting his strong competitive character that was developed during his sporting days. Nigel rigorously applied himself to his academic pursuits and passed his studies with excellent grades, which opened the door to employment as an economist with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

During his stint with the Reserve Bank, his economic mindset indicated to him that wealth creation was happening in the banking sector there before he determined to understand banking and financial markets. While employed at RBZ, he read for a Master's degree in Financial Economics and Financial Markets as preparation for his debt into banking. At the Reserve Bank under Dr Moyana, he was part of the research team that put together the policy framework for the liberalization of the financial services within the Economic Structural Adjustment Program. Being at the right place at the right time, he became aware of the opportunities which were opening up. Nigel exploited his position to identify the most profitable banking institution to work for as preparation for his future. He headed to Bard Discount House and worked for five years under Charles Gurney.

A short while later the two black executives at Bard, Nick Vingirayi and Gibson Muringai, left to form Intermarket Discount House. Their departure inspired the young Nigel. If these two could establish a banking institution of their own so could, given time. The departure also created an opportunity for him to rise to fill the vacancy. This save the aspiring banker critical managerial experience. Subsequently he became a director for Bard Investment Services where he gained critical experience in portfolio management, client relations and dealing within the dealing department. While there he met Franky Kufa, a young trader who was making waves, who would later become a key co-entrepreneur with him.

His professional business engagement his father dominated Nigel in the Barclays Bank "Start Your Own Business" Program. However what actually made an impact on the young entrepreneur was the Empretec Entrepreneur Training program (May 1994), to which he was introduced by Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa. The course demonstrated that he had the requisite entrepreneurial competences.

Nigel talked Charles Gurney into an attempted management buy-out of Bard from Anglo-American. This failed and the increasingly frustrated appellant entrepreneur considered employment opportunities with Nick Vingirai's Intermarket and Never Mhlanga's National Discount House which was on the verge of being formed – expecting to join as a shareholder since he was acquainted with the promoters. He was denied this opportunity.

Being frustrated at Bard and having been denied entry into the club by pioneers, he resigned in October 1994 with the encouragement of Mrs Masiyiwa to pursue his entrepreneurial dream.

The Dream

Inspired by the messages of his pastor, Rev. Tom Deuschle, and frustrated at his inability to participate in the church's massive building project, Nigel bought a way of generating huge financial resources. During a time of prayer he claims that he had a divine encounter where he obtained a mandate from God to start Kingdom Bank. He visited his pastor and told him of this encounter and the consequent desire to start a bank. The godly pastor was amazed at the 26 year old with "big spectacles and wearing tennis shoes" who wanted to start a bank. The pastor prayed before counsel the young man. Having been convinced of the genuineness of Nigel's dream, the pastor did something unusual. He asked him to give a testimony to the congregation of how God was leading him to start a bank. Although timid, the young man complied. That experience was a powerful vote of confidence from the godly pastor. It demonstrates the power of mentors to build a protégé.

Nigel teamed up with young Franky Kufa. Nigel Chanakira left Bard at the position of Chief Economist. They would build their own entrepreneurial venture. Their idea was to identify players who had specific competencies and would each be able to generate financial resources from his activity. Their vision was to create a one – stop financial institution offering a discount house, an asset management company and a merchant bank. Nigel used his Empretec model to develop a business plan for their venture. They headhunted Solomon Mugavazi, a stockbroker from Edwards and Company and BR Purohit, a corporate banker from Stanbic. Kufa would provide money market expertise while Nigel provided income from government bond dealings as well as overall supervision of the team.

Each of the budding partners bought in an equal portion of the Z $ 120,000 as start-up capital. Nigel talked to his wife and they sold their recently acquired Eastlea home and vehicles to raise the equivalent of US $ 17,000 as their initial capital. Nigel, his wife and three kids headed back to Highfield to live in with his parents. The partners established Garmony Investments which started trading as an unregistered financial institution. The entrepreneurs agreed not to draw a salary in their first year of operations as a bootstrapping strategy.

Mugavazi introduced and recommended Lysias Sibanda, a chartered accountant, to join the team. Nigel was initially a relationship as each person had to bring in an awareness capacity and it was not clear how an accountant would generate revenue at start up in a financial institution. Nigel initially retained a 26% share which secured him a blocking vote as well as giving him the position of controlling shareholder.

Nigel credits the Success Motivation Institute (SMI) course "The Dynamics of Successful Management" as the lethal weapon that enabled him to acquire managerial competences. Initially he identified that all his key executives undertake this training program.

Birth of the Kingdom

Kingdom Securities P / L scheduled operations in November 1994 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmony Investments (Pvt) Ltd. It traded as a broker on both money and stock markets.

On 24th February 1995 Kingdom Securities Holding was born with the following affiliates: Kingdom Securities Ltd, Kingdom Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd and Kingdom Asset Managers (Pvt) Ltd. The flag Kingdom Securities Ltd was registered as a Discount House under Banking Act Chapter 188 on 25th July 1995. Kingdom Stockbrokers was registered with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange under ZSE Chapter 195 on 1st August 1995. The pre-licensing trading had generated good revenue but they still had a 20% deficit of the required capital. Most institutional investors turned them down as they were a greenfield company promoted by people perceived to be "too young". At this stage National Merchant Bank, Intermarket and others were on the market raising equity and these were run by seasoned and mature promoters. However Rachel Kupara, then MD for Zimnat, believed in the young entrepreneurs and took up the first equity portion for Zimnat at 5%.

Norman Sachikonye, ​​then Financial Director and Investments Manager at First Mutual follow suit, taking up an equity share of 15%. These two institutional investors were inducted as shareholders of Kingdom Securities Holdings on 1st August 1995. Garmony Investments ceased operations and reversed itself Into Kingdom Securities on 31st July 1995, thereby becoming an 80% shareholder.

The first year of operations was marked by intense competition as well as discrimination against new financial institutions by public organizations. All the other operating units performed well except for the corporate finance department with Kingdom Securities, led by Purohit. This monetary loss, different spiritual and ethical values ​​led to the forced departure of Purohit as an executive director and shareholder on 31st December 1995. From then the Kingdom started to grow exponentially.

Structural Growth

Nigel and his team pursed an aggressive growth strategy with the intention of increasing market share, profitability, and geographic spread while developing a strong brand. The growth strategy was built around a business philosophy of simplifying financial services and making them easily accessible to the general public. An IT strategy that created a low cost delivery channel exploiting ATMs and POS while providing a platform that was ready for Internet and web based applications, was espoused.

On 1st April 1997, Kingdom Financial Services was licensed as an accepting house focusing on trading and distributing foreign currency, treasury activities, corporate finance, investment banking and advisory services. It was formed under the leadership of Victor Chando with the intent of becoming the merchant banking arm of the Group. In 1998, Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB) was licensed and it took over the assets and liabilities of Kingdom Securities Limited. Its main focus was debt related products, off-balance sheet finance, foreign currency and trade finance. Kingdom Research Institute was established as a support service to the other units.

The entrepreneurial banks, cognisant of their limitations, thought to achieve critical mass quickly by actively seeking capital injection from equity investors. The aim was to broad ownership while lending strategic support in areas of mutual interest. An attempt at equity uptake from Global Emerging Markets from London failed. However in 1997 the efforts of the bankers were rewarded when the following organizations took up some equity, reducing the shareholding of executive directors as shown below: ïEUR Ipcorn 0.7%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund Mauritius P / L 1.1%, ïEUR Zambezi Fund P / L 0.7%. ïEUR Kingdom Employee Share Trust 5%, ïEUR Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund – 8% redeemable preference shares amount to US $ 1.5m as the first investee company in Southern Africa from the US Fund initiated by US President Bill Clinton, ïEUR Weiland Investments, a company belonging to Mr Richard Muirimi, a long standing friend of Nigel and associate in the fund management business took up 1.7%, Garmony Investments 71.7% -executive managers. ïEUR After a rights issue Zimnat fell to 4.8% while FML went down to 14.3%.

In 1998, Kingdom launched four Unit Trusts which proved very popular with the market. Initially these products were focused at individual clients of the discount house as well as private ports of Kingdom Stockbroking. Aggressive marketing and awareness campaigns established the Kingdom Unit Trust as the most popular retail brand of the group. The Kingdom brand was that born.

Acquisition of Discount Company of Zimbabwe (DCZ)

After a spurt of organic growth, the Kingdom entrepreneurs decided to hasten the growth rate synergistically. They set out to acquire the oldest discount house in the country and the world, The Discount Company of Zimbabwe, which was a listed entity. With this acquisition Kingdom would acquire critical competences as well as realize the much coveted ZSE listing inexpensively through a reverse listing. Initial efforts at a negotiated merger with DCZ were rebuffed by its executives who could not countenance a forty year old institution being stolen up by a four year old business. The entrepreneurs were not deterred. Nigel approached his friend Greg Brackenridge at Stanbic to finance and effect the acquisition of the sixty percent shares which were in the hands of about ten shareholders, on behalf of Kingdom Financial Holdings but to be placed in the ownership of Stanbic Nominees. This strategy masked the identity of the acquirer. Claud Chonzi, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) GM and a friend to Lysias Sibanda (a Kingdom executive director), agreed to act as a front in the negotiations with the DCZ shareholders. NSSA is a well known institutional investor and hence these shareholders may have believed that they were dealing with an institutional investor. Once Kingdom controlled 60% of DCZ, it took over the company and reversed listed itself onto the Stock Exchange as Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL). Because of the negative real interest rates, Kingdom successfully used debt finance to structure the acquisition. This acquisition and the consequent listing brave the once despised young entrepreneurs confidence and credibility on the market.

Other Strategic Acquisitions

Within the same year Kingdom Merchant Bank acquired a strategic stake in CFX Bureau de Change owned by Sean Maloney as well as another stake in a greenfield microlending franchise, Pfihwa P / L. CFX was changed into KFX and used in most foreign currency trading activities. KFHL set as a strategic intention the acquisition of an additional 24.9% stake in CFX Holdings to safeguard the initial investment and ensure management control. This did not work out. Instead, Sean Maloney opted out and took over the failed Universal Merchant Bank license to form CFX Merchant Bank. Although Kingdom executives contend that the alliance failed due to the abolition of bureau de change by government, it appears that Sean Maloney refused to give up control of the extra shareholding thought by Kingdom. It therefore would be reasonable that once Kingdom could not control KFX, a fall out ensued. The liquidation of this investment in 2002 asserted in a loss of Z $ 403 million on that investment. However this was manageable in light of the strong group profitability.

Pfihwa P / L funded the informal sector as a form of corporate social responsibility. However when the hyperinflationary environment and stringent regulatory environment encroached on the liability of the project, it was wound up in early 2004. Kingdom pursued its funding of the informal sector through MicroKing, which was established with international assistance. By 2002 MicroKing had eight branches located in the mid-of, or near, micro-enterprise clusters.

In 2000, due to increased activity on the foreign currency front within the banking sector, Kingdom opened a private banking facility through the discount house to exploit revenue streams from this market. Following market trends, it engaged the insurance company AIG to enter the bancassurance market in 2003.

Meikles Strategic Alliance

In 1999 the entrepreneurial Chanakira on advice from his executives and the legendary corporate finance team from Barclays bank led by the affable Hugh Van Hoffen entered into a strategic alliance with Meikles Africa wheree it injected some Z $ 322 million into Kingdom for an equity shareholding of 25% . Interestingly, the deal nearly collapsed on pricing as Meikles only wanted to pay $ 250 million whilst KFHL valued themselves at Z $ 322 million which in real terms was the largest private sector deal made between an indigenous bank and a listed corporation. Nigel testifies that it was a walk through the incomplete Celebration Church site on the Saturday preceding the signing of the Meikles deal that led him to sign the deal which he saw as a means for him to sow a whooping seed into the church to boost the building Fund. God was faithful! Kingdom's share price shot up dramatically from $ 2,15 at the time he made the commitment to the Pastor all the way to $ 112,00 by the following October!

In return Kingdom acquired a powerful cash-rich shareholder that allowed it entrance into retail banking through an innovative in-store banking strategy. Meikles Africa opened its retail branches, namely TM Supermarkets, Clicks, Barbours, Medix Pharmaceuticals and Greatermans, as distribution channels for Kingdom commercial bank or as account holders providing deposits and requiring banking services. This was a cheaper way of entering retail banking. It proved useful during the 2003 cash crisis because Meikles with its massive cash resources within its business units assisted Kingdom Bank, thus cushioning it from a liquidity crisis. The alliance also raised the reputation and credibility of Kingdom Bank and created an opportunity for Kingdom to finance Meikles Africa's customers through the jointly owned Meikles Financial Services. Kingdom provided the funding for all lease and hire purchases from Meikles' subsidiaries, thus driving sales for Meikles while providing easy lending opportunities for Kingdom. Meikles managed the relationship with the client.

Meikles Africa as a strategic shareholder assured Kingdom of success when recapitalization was required and has enhanced Kingdom's brand image. This strategic relationship has created strong synergies for mutual benefit.

Commercial Banking

Exploiting the opportunities arising from the strategic relationship with Meikles Africa, Kingdom made its debut into retail banking in January 2001 with in-store branches at High Glen and Chitungwiza TM supermarkets. The target was primarily the mass market. This rode on the strong brand Kingdom had created through the Unit Trusts. In-store banking offered low cost delivery channels with minimal investment in brick and mortar. By the end of 2001, thirteen branches were operational across the country. This followed a deliberate strategy for aggressive roll-out of the branches with two flaganship branches ïEURïEUR one in Bulawayo and the other in Harare. There was a huge emphasis on an IT driven strategy with significant cross-selling between the commercial bank and other SBUs.

However, it was further discovered that there was a market for the upmarket clients and hence Crown banking outlets were established to diversify the target market. In 2004, after closing three in-store branches in a rationalization exercise, there were 16 in-store branches and 9 Crown banking outlets.

The entrance into commercial banking was probably held at the wrong time, considering the imminent changes in the banking industry. Commercial banking does provide cheap deposits, although at the price of huge staff costs and human resource management complications. Nigel admits that, with hindsight, this could have been delayed or done at a slower pace. However, the need for increased market share in a fiercely competitive industry necessitated this. Another reason for persisting with the commercial banking project was that of prior agreements with Meikles Africa. It is possible that Meikles Africa had been sold on the equity take-up deal on the back of promises to engage in in-store banking, which would increase revenue for its affiliates.

Innovative Products and Services

KFHL continued its aggressive pursuit of product innovation. After the failure of the KFX project, CurrencyKing was established to continue the work. However this was abolished in November 2002 by government ministerial intervention when bureau de change were prohibited in an effort to stamp out parallel market foreign currency trading.

Sadly this governmental decision was misguided for not only did it fail to banish foreign currency parallel trading but it knocked underground, made it more lucrative and subsequently the government lost all control of the management of the exchange rate.

In October 2002, KFHL established Kingdom Leasing after being granted a finance house license. Its mandate was to exploit opportunities to trade in financial leases, lease hire and short term financial products.

Regional Expansion

Around 2000 it became evident that the domestic market was highly competitive, with limited prospects of future growth. A decision was made to diversify revenue streams and reduce country risk through penetration into the regional markets. This strategy would exploit the proven competences in securities trading, asset management and corporate advisory services from a small capital base. Therefore the entrance had low risk in terms of capital injection. Considering the foreign exchange control limitations and shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe, this was a prudent strategy but not without its downside, as will be seen in the Botswana venture.

In 2001, KFHL acquired a 25.1% stake in a greenfield banking enterprise in Malawi, First Discount House Ltd. To safeguard its investment and ensure administrative control, an executive director and dealer were seconded to the Malawi venture while Nigel Chanakira headed the Board. This investment has continued to grow and yield positive returns. As of July 2006 Kingdom had finally managed to up its stake from 25.1% to 40% in this investment and may extremely control it to the point of seeking a conversion of the license to a commercial bank.

KFHL also took up a 25% equity stake in Investrust Merchant Bank Zambia. Franky Kufa was seconded to it as an executive director while Nigel took a seat on the Board.

KFHL had been promised an option to gain a controlling stake. However when the bank stabilized, the Zambian shareholders entered into some questionable transactions and were not prepared to allow KFHL to up it's stake and so KFHL decided to pull out as relationships turned frosty. The Zambian Central Bank intervened with a promise to grant KFHL its own banking license. This did not materialize as the Zambian Central Bank exploited the banking crisis in Zimbabwe to deny KHFL a license. A reasonable premium of Z $ 2.5 billion was obtained at disinvestment.

In Botswana, a subsidiary called Kingdom Bank Africa Ltd (KBAL) was established as an offshore bank in the International Finance Center. KBAL was intended to spearhead and manage regional initiatives for Kingdom. It was headed by Mrs Irene Chamney, seconded by Lysias Sibanda with the concurrence of Nigel after administrative challenges in Zimbabwe. Two other senior executives were seconded there. She successfully set up the KBAL's banking infrastructure and had good relations with the Botswana authorities.

However, the business model chosen an offshore bank ahead of a domestic Botswana merchant bank license turned out to be the Achilles heel of the bank more so when the Zimbabwe banking crisis set in between 2003 and 2005. There were fundamental differences in how Mrs Chamney and Chanakira saw the bank surviving and going forward.

Ultimately, it was deemed prudent for Mrs. Chamney to leave the bank in 2005. In 2001 KFHL acquired the mandate as the sole distributor of the American Express card in the whole of Africa except for RSA. This was handled through KBAL. Kingdom Private Bank was transferred from the discount house to become a subsidiary of KBAL due to the prevailing regulatory environment in Zimbabwe.

In 2004 KBAL was temporarily placed under curatorship due to undercapitalisation. At this stage the parent company had regulatory constitutions that preceded foreign currency capital injection.

A solution was found in the sourcing of local partners and the transfer of US $ 1 million previously realized from the proceeds of the Investrust liquidation to Botswana. Nigel Chanakira took a more active management role in KBAL because of its huge strategic significance to the future of KFHL. Currently efforts are underway to acquire a local commercial bank license in Botswana as well. Once this is acquainted there are two possible scenarios, sometimes maintaining both licenses or giving up the offshore license.

The interviewees were divided in their opinion on this. However in my view, judging from the stakeholder power involved, KFHL is likely to give up the offshore banking license and use the local Kingdom Bank Botswana (Pula Bank) license for regional and domestic expansion.

Human Resources

The staff complement grew from the initial 23 in 1995 to more than 947 by 2003. The growth was consistent with the growing institution. It exploded, especially during the launch and expansion of the commercial bank. Kingdom fromception had a strong human resourcing strategy which entailed significant training both internally and externally. Before the foreign currency crisis, employees were sent for training in such countries as RSA, Sweden, India and the USA. In the person of Faith Ntabeni Bhebhe, Kingdom had an energetic HR driver who created powerful HR systems for the emerging behemoth.

As a sign of its commitment to building the human resource capacity, in 1998 Kingdom Financial Services entered a management agreement with Holland based AMSCO for the provision of seasoned bankers. Through this strategic alliance Kingdom strengthened its skills base and increased opportunities for skills transfer to locals. This helped the entrepreneurial bankers create a solid managerial system for the bank while the seasoned bankers from Holland compensated for the youthfulness of the emerging bankers. What a foresight!

In-house self-paced interactive learning, team building exercises and mentoring were all part of the learning menu targeted at developing the human resource capacity of the group. Work and job profiling was introduced to best match employees to suitable posts. Career path and success planning were embroidered. Kingdom was the first entrepreneurial bank to have smoothforced CEO transitions. The founding CEO passed on the baton to Lysias Sibanda in 1999 as he stepped into the role of Group CEO and board deputy chair. His role was now to pursue and spearhead global and regional niche financial markets. A few years later there was another change of the guard as

Franky Kufa stepped in as Group CEO to replace Sibanda, who resigned on medical grounds. One could argue that these smooth transitions were due to the fact that the baton was passing to founding directors.

With the explosive growth in staff complement due to the commercial bank project, culture issues emerged. Consequently, KFHL engaged in an enculturation program resulting in a culture revolution dubbed "Team Kingdom". This culture had to be reinforced due to dilutions through significant mergers and acquisitions, significant staff turnover due to increased competition, emigration to gener pastures and the age profile of the staff increased the risk of high mobility and fraudulent activities in collusion with members of the public . Culture changes are difficult to effect and their effectiveness even harder to assess.

In 2004, with a high staff turnover of around 14%, a compensation strategy that ring fenced critical skills like IT and treasury was implemented. Due to the low margins and the financial stress experienced in 2004, KFHL lost more than 341 staff members due to retrenchment, natural attrition and emigration. This was acceptable as profitability fell while staff costs soared. At this stage, staff costs accounted for 58% of all expenses.

Despite the impressive growth, the financial performance when inflation adjusted was mediocre. Actually a loss position was reported in 2004. This growth was severely compromised by the hyperinflationary conditions and the restrictive regulatory environment.

Conclusion

This article shows the determination of entrepreneurs to push through to the realization of their dreams specifically significant odds. In a subsection article we will tackle the challenges faced by Nigel Chanakira in solidifying his investments.

The Ultimate Guide To Writing Great Sales Letter Headlines

If you want to write great sales letter headlines that stop your ideal prospects dead in their tracks, so they read the rest of your copy and absolutely buy from you, then this post will be one of the most important things you ever read.

Right, what's the most important part of any sales letter?

The bullets?

Testimonials?

Close?

No, no and no again. Instead, it's your sales letter headline.

Now, I know what you're thinking …

How can something as small as your headline be the single most important thing in your entire copy?

Well, look at it like this:

It does not matter how good your offer is, how enticing a story you write, how powerful your testimonials are, if no one reads your copy.

So the first "win" you have to get when writing copy, is getting your prospects to actually read it.

You do that through your headline.

With me so far?

Good. Moving on.

Now then, how do you write a great sales letter headline?

Well, here's what most people do:

They build a swipe file of all the greatest headlines through history.

Good so far.

Thing is, instead of using these headlines as inspiration for writing their own headline, they literally swipe them word-for-word.

They just add and subtract a couple of words here and there, so it applies to their own product or market. And that's that.

On the face of it, you might think it's clever.

If it's worked once, it's gonna work again, right?

Well, not so fast.

You see, there's a reason those headlines worked so well. And it comes down to this:

The copywriters who wrote them knew their markets inside-out.

Specifically, they knew two things:

1) How much the market know of their product.

(This included what the product did, the mechanisms implied, and how well it satisfied a problem or desire they had.)

2) How AWARE their market was of any problem or desire they might have been experiencing at that time.

In his book "Breakthrough Advertising", one of the great copywriters of all time, Eugene Schwartz, called this the market's "state of awareness".

And he said you have to write your headline with your market's CURRENT state of awareness in mind.

If you do not, then your sales letter headline will not hit home with your prospects …

It will flop …

And the people who otherwise would've bought from you, will not even read the rest of your copy.

Which would be a royal pain in the backside, right?

Anyway, there are 5 different states of awareness you have to be aware of. (Get it?)

These are:

Stage 1: Your prospect knows of your product and wants it, but just has not got around to buying it yet.

Stage 2: Your prospect knows of your product but does not want to buy it yet.

Stage 3: Your prospect is NOT aware of your product, but IS aware of a desire he has which your product would fulfill.

Stage 4: Your prospect is not aware of your product, though he has a NEED which has to be fulfilled.

Stage 5: Your prospect is not aware of your product AND he is not aware of any need or desire he has related to what your product does.

Look:

You MUST know which stage of awareness your prospects are in, in that moment of time.

Why?

Because you have to use a different headline "formula" for each stage.

What are these formulas? Let me tell you …

Stage 1: Your prospect knows of your product and wants it, but just has not gotten around to buying yet.

This one's easy.

All you really need to do in your headline is state the name of your product and a bargain price.

People in this stage of awareness will then buy.

For example, everyone knows what an iPhone is. And there are millions of people who want one, but have not gotten round to buying yet.

If iPhone wrote a headline which said something as simple as:

"iPhone (whatever the latest model is): Now Available At Half Price," people would flock to it.

Thing is, most products do not fall in this category. And if they do not, then this type of headline would stink worse than my balls after ten sets of squats.

On that nice thought, let's move on …

Stage 2: Your prospect knows of your product but does not want to buy it yet.

Things are now slightly more complicated …

But not much more.

Here, you just need to strengthen your headline in one of the 7 following ways:

1) Reinforce your prospect's desire for the output your product can help him achieve.

2) Sharpen the image of your product in action, in the mind of your prospect.

David Ogilvy's famous 'Rolls-Royce' ad headline is a great example of this:

"At 60mph the loudest sound in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."

You can now imagine driving a smooth-as-fuck Rolls-Royce, right?

Amazing imagery.

3) Emphasize WHEN and WHERE your prospect can make use of and benefit from your product.

For example, I never bothered with Netflix.

Until, that is, when I went traveling around Thailand and wanted to watch some movies in my downtime.

I did not think I'd be able to get Netflix on my phone.

But guess what? I saw a headline saying there was a Netflix mobile app, and I could stream movies from anywhere in the world.

Of course I then signed up, because I was no longer limited to watching movies in my bedroom back in England – I was able to watch them anywhere in the world, at any time I wanted.

4) Emphasize new documentation or proof that backs up the quality / effectiveness of your product.

5) Mention a new mechanism in your product that makes it "perform" better than before.

6) Mention a new mechanism in your product that overcomes a previous limitation it had.

Eg If there was a brand-new ingredient in a beer that prevented hangovers, that company would be stupid not to mention it in their headline!

7) Finally, you might want to change your prospect's image of your product alike, to remove it from competition and / or to enter a new market.

Lucozade did this.

It used to be a drink people had when they were ill. Then they re-positioned it as an energy drink you can have daily.

Genius.

Right, that's "Stage 2" on the Scale of Awareness done.

Let's move onto stage 3 …

Stage 3: Your prospect is NOT aware of your product, but IS aware of a desire he has which your product would fulfill.

Remember this:

If your prospect does not know of your product yet, and does not know what it can do for him, do not mention it in your headline.

Got it?

Good.

Instead, you should start with the DESIRE your prospect has.

Your body copy must then prove that desire can be accomplished.

And finally, you need to show them that your product is the best / only way they can fulfill that desire.

Next.

Stage 4: Your prospect is not aware of your product, though he has a NEED which has to be fulfilled.

This is similar to "stage 3", so we're not gonna spend too much time on this.

Here, you want to name the need and / or its solution in your headline.

Then, you want to really rub salt into the wound so to speak, by making your prospect realize how badly he needs a solution to his need.

And as before, you then present your product as the solution.

Stage 5: Your prospect is not aware of your product AND he is not aware of any need or desire he has related to what your product does.

Right, this is where a top copywriter earns his money.

If your sales letter headline can appeal to people in this category, you should get a ton more sales, and more money in your bank.

Thing is, how do you do it?

Well, as you might've guessed, you can not mention your product.

Nor can you mention a desire – they're not aware of it yet.

Price? Definitely not. At this stage, price is irrelevant too.

So what do you do?

You start with (drumroll please) …

YOUR MARKET!

Yep, when addressing a market in this fifth stage of awareness, you need to "call out" your market first, so they can identify with your ad.

If they do not even identify with it, then they will not read on. Fact.

Then, only after they've identified with your ad through your headline, you do the following in your main body copy:

First, you need to make them aware of the problem or desire.

Then, make them realize there's a solution.

And finally, same as before, make sure they see YOUR PRODUCT as the obvious solution.

Anyways, all this may overwhelm you at first. It sure did me.

It's a lot to take in.

But if you can master this one aspect of copywriting alone, your copy's gonna convert better than 90% of your competitors.

Meaning more money for you.