I first heard of Pochi la Biashara on tv in December last year where a mama mboga was saying how it has helped her keep her personal funds and that of her business separate. I was intrigued because that same year, I had started a baking business and as I got more and more orders, I had started thinking that I needed a till number or open a separate bank account so that I could have separate accounts. I had been struggling to keep the monies separate because I was also handling some Chama money every month and once someone sent to my personal account if I didn’t quickly transfer to my mshwari savings account, I would always find I had used it to buy groceries, food for our chickens, and other household expenses.
So I went online and researched what Pochi la Biashara was about and I found out that it had been launched by Safaricom some months prior. Basically, it’s a service that helps small business owners to have two accounts on their mobile phone numbers separating business payments from personal transactions. How happy I was to see that! So I went to my phonebook and dialled *334# and found some of the services that Safaricom offers via USSD. Pochi la Biashara is at the bottom of this list at number 8. Registration was quite easy as all I needed to do was say I wanted to join then accept terms and conditions then indicate the category of business I am in. They have several ranging from transport, food and beverage, clothing, cosmetics and accessories; and service providers.
So you choose the one that suits you which in my case was food and beverage and add a small description of the business eg say baked goods then you wait for confirmation via SMS. Once you get the SMS, you can go back, dial *334# and you get a different menu as below.
You also don’t have to go online to find out about the service as once you chose the Pochi la Biashara option, there’s an option to find out more about the service where you can find out if there are charges on the service, how to withdraw and how to buy and sell airtime.
So once I registered, I was able to share with my clients that they could pay to my Pochi la Biashara so that I could keep my business money in a different ‘purse’ so to speak. All they need to do is dial the USSD code then select no 6 under lipa na mpesa then select no 3 and once that is done it asks you to input the phone number of the person you are sending to then you input amount and your normal mpesa pin.
However, you know there are those people who even after giving them the instructions to pay find it easier to send money directly to your mpesa. The service also allows the user to send this money into their Pochi la Biashara by selecting withdraw funds then selecting the option of from my Mpesa to Pochi la Biashara. How easy is that! The best thing about this service is that it doesn’t charge the user any extra charges for using the service.
You can transfer the money to your personal mpesa account then pay for whatever you need eg. If you are paying for supplies for your business and the person doesn’t have a till number. You can also pay directly from your Pochi la Biashara to the till numbers as well. Have you ever gone to buy an item without cash and you want to pay via mpesa but the person refuses saying that they have fuliza’d then you have to go to their neighbour withdraw then come back to pay? Well, since this service keeps your accounts separate such that they will not have to worry about the money being taken as repayment. So next time tell the person to open a pochi la biashara to avoid such inconvenience.
If you have a small business and maybe feel you are not ready to get a till number or open a separate account and all the hassle that would be related to it, this is definitely the option for you as this service makes things quite easier for us to handle our personal and business cash. I have found it easier to handle my business and keep my money separate which is great for me.
Some of the things I like about it is that there is no paperwork involved, I am able to separate my business funds and personal funds, the client cannot refund the transaction without the approval of the business owner, and I get access to mini statements. I am also able to get more information about the service from my phone – I don’t have to go to the internet.
For customers, it is also great because there is no display of mobile numbers on M-PESA messages for payments to Pochi la Biashara for privacy and protection of customer and business owner information.
Asante Safaricom for rolling out this service.
Here are the FAQs for Pochi la Biashara but you can also check for some information from your phone – Pochi La Biashara frequently asked questions.
Speaking of keeping your business and personal life separate check out this article, 7 Ways To Keep Your Business Separate From Your Personal Life