With flat job numbers and few solutions to get the South African youth employment, starting your own business can be the path to help solve your financial needs.
Starting a small business and making it a success requires hard work, focus and commitment. At the same time it gives you the freedom to be your own boss and, in some cases, to work from home. It also allows you to choose your work hours and practices. LIVE magazine leads you down the road of success travelled by a few young South African entrepreneurs.
Make unemployment an opportunity and you could see your life improve. Thulani Mhambi, 25, found himself and six other people starting a business by braaing and selling meat in Gugulethu. They own their space, popularly known as Mzungu.
“It was the start of the World Cup in 2010 when we started our chicken business. We were one of the first in Gugulethu to start the venture,” said Thulani.
“Unemployment led us to start the business as a way to bring income to our lives. We started with little cash, about R1,000, but now we can manage to sell more than 50 chickens per day. We have a lot of customers, and people enjoy tasting the fresh braaied chicken with different sauces.”
However, life is full of challenges. They face competition in the area as many people are starting similar businesses but this makes them stronger, and they keep their eyes on their dream to take this business further and make it big like the franchise KFC.
“If you have a dream just push it hard and pray for it,” Thulani advises the youth. “Mzungu Only planning today enables growth tomorrow.”
GOAT Clothing Line
Peacemaker Hliso, a fashion designer and owner of GOAT CLOTHING created a range of clothing that he could not find in any retail stores. “I started selling clothes from home and then opened my own store in Shortmarket street,” said Peacemaker of his beginnings.
He started his company with very limited capital. He needed more money and it took him about six months to make a decent profit.
“When the company was established we had to use penetration pricing. This is a strategy used to enter the market and gain brand awareness fast (where you lower your prices just to get people to buy your stuff). Once this was accomplished we started pricing accordingly to our competitors, and the brand reached the growth and mature stage of the product life cycle,” he said.
Goat started off as with retro and funk designs aimed at the student market. But through re-branding, repositioning and better buying power at the high end of the fashion market, the brand now targets the upper and middle-class markets.
“Like any other business there are challenges, such as competition and marketing, but the team I work with has the energy and passion to help overcome those challenges, I believe that challenges are what makes a company succeed,” he said.
They now make enough money to keep them going while also extending the brand to higher standards and other markets.
“Make the right career choices and follow your passion,” Peacemaker advises.
House of Musicology (H.O.M)
House of Musicology (H.O.M) is a project started by Spha Mkhize and his partner Wandile Ngubane. H.O.M was a concept that was conceptualised back when they were in high school. They started their business by throwing a few parties to get their name out.
“As we grew we realised that there’s more to it than just parties. So whilst throwing parties, we invited different kinds of artists and formed a relationship with them,” said Spha.
“We would approach clubs and try to negotiate what would benefit both parties, from designing a flier or poster to pushing the event ourselves (promotion and marketing). We’ve grown from strength to strength, and feel that we would like to expand and face a new challenge. We are at a point where we are thinking of moving to Cape Town.”
Their biggest challenge is juggling between school and business, and needing to multi-task. “In business not everything goes your way, you need to learn to deal with disappointment and a lot of emotion all at once,” said Spha.
Spha advices the youth to always look to push to the next level, and always take time to do the research and analysis that help make a great deal.