As the country faces a tough economy and the COVID-19 pandemic, four business owners share how they’ve remained successful.
With the country’s unemployment rate at 32.6% and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on job losses, the need for entrepreneurship may be at its highest. Despite the challenges, there are success stories that continue to inspire, and the founders of Meivee, which offers curated and custom gifts for special occasions, events company KwaKuhle Wedding & Events, ECE Aluminium – which offers aluminium services to the construction sector – and creative agency Pencil Box, share how.
BUSI MOYO ON FOLLOWING HER PASSION DURING A PANDEMIC
After being bit by the events creation bug when she had to plan her own wedding, 28-year-old Busi Moyo wanted to start her own events business. “When COVID-19 hit last year, I decided to use my spare time wisely and start working on the concept of KwaKuhle,” she explains. “The fact that we were in lockdown and businesses were suffering did not discourage me, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
As her business continues to grow, Busi says she’s still learning to navigate her way around good and bad credit. While she was fortunate enough to fund her start-up through her salary, Busi says she is considering applying for credit to further grow her business. As an entrepreneur, there are a few things Busi says she has to consider, however.
“I am considering if the business will be able to pay back the credit without defaulting on payments; if the business will qualify for credit; how long the payment terms are and how it will impact the business in the long run.”
A true testament to it never being too late (or early) to go after your dreams, Busi says she believes her success lies in having started her business during the pandemic. In fact, Busi continues to work on new projects set to launch next year for her bridal clients. “To be honest, I didn’t even think that the business would survive longer than three months, but here we are!”
MAVIS AND KALINKA ON THEIR JOURNEY WITH MEIVEE
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all come to appreciate each opportunity to celebrate life’s special moments even more. “My mom Mavis and I started Meivee out of our love and passion for beautiful things. Our inspiration is thoughtful giving with simplicity and ease,” says co-founder and director, Kalinka Cuff. “We put this love into carefully curating gift boxes and authentic items for every special occasion and momentous event.”
The self-taught entrepreneurs started Meivee with limited capital and this has taught Kalinka the importance of keeping costs as low as possible, managing cash flow and avoiding unnecessary overheads and stress.
“This is a lesson that I have applied in my personal life, and I try to make sure that I don’t live beyond my means and create unnecessary financial stress,” explains Kalinka. “Quality and simplicity are core values that we strive for in the business, and I try to focus on these in my personal life, in terms of good health, wellness and maintaining quality in work-life balance.”
This has however been a long journey for the mother-daughter power-duo.
Adapting to the times, they have since expanded into wholesale, supplying national retailers and boutique stores with their locally manufactured ranges of jewellery and bath and body products. They have also recently moved their business out of their living room and into a studio and production space, with plans to increase their range of products, and they are currently developing several new ranges for leading retail groups.
“My mom and I are learning every day, but the amount of sacrifice and hard work are all worth it when I see that we were able to be profitable over the last year in a difficult economy and create much-needed local jobs.”
KEITUMETSE HLANYANE FINDS OPPORTUNITIES IN A HARD-HIT SECTOR
The construction industry was one of many sectors to be hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus, with 259 118 jobs lost at the end of Q3 2020, according to BusinessWire.
Keitumetse Hlanyane continues to provide quality aluminium products to construction partners, however, creating five jobs on average depending on the nature and size of each project. How? Quality workmanship, great service and understanding the market are the cornerstones to his success over the past four years and during this challenging period.
With milestones such as providing all the aluminium for the reception building at South African Mint before COVID-19 hit, ECE Aluminium has had to adapt to a cash-strapped market, especially for small-scale companies like it. “With such a big investment as aluminium, no one can afford to invest R200 000 for their residential homes right now and there are fewer large construction projects as nothing’s being built, leading to the bigger companies benefitting more than the smaller ones.” As a result, adapting has become necessary and ECE Aluminium is set to continue to grow thanks to Keitumetse’s ability to find opportunities such as merging his aluminium business with a contraction firm. This will give them the ability to bid for bigger business.
On what running his self-funded business has taught him about good and bad credit, he puts it simply: “Avoid any line of credit that doesn’t actually generate any revenue or you’re able to comfortably service.” An RCS Store Card holder who applied for the store card when he needed to build up a credit history, Keitumetse says he applies the same principle to managing his store card credit. “I was able to build a positive credit score and now I only use my RCS Store Card for necessities and when I know I can pay it back in full and on time,” he says. With a positive credit score, Keitumetse now has the power to apply for credit for his personal needs or his business.
LAYLA HASSIEM ON GROWING THE SKILLS AND CONFIDENCE TO RUN A BUSINESS
Layla – founder of creative agency Pencil Box – is one of the RCS Level Up initiative beneficiaries which is a co-created Enterprise and Supplier Development initiative of RCS in partnership with the TSIBA Ignition Academy. Level Up empowered Layla with the skills and confidence to manage her business’ finances, even as a creative. “Before joining the initiative, my biggest concern was managing the financial health of our business,” says Layla. “Level Up gave me access to an amazing accounting course where I could learn the basics, as well as mentors who pushed us in the right direction. Investing in professional accounting services has proven to be a huge benefit, financially as well as managing my time so I can focus on running the business.”
INSPIRED? START YOUR BUSINESS TODAY WITH AN RCS LOAN
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