Business: From Safe Salary to Entrepreneurial Freedom and Success
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Leaving the safe employ of the highly respected teaching profession after a 17 year stint, to follow her dream of starting her own food distribution business, was not easy for Moloko Manthata.
But, with the necessary finance secured through Standard Bank and with a banker to guide her business decisions, Moloko hasn’t looked back.
Three years later, Moloko is a well established supplier of food for many government departments, having successfully tendered and secured a number of contracts. Typically, each contract involves Moloko in locating and ordering the food required by her clients and ensuring timeous delivery thereof.
“When I started my own company, I only knew about teaching and had no experience in running a business, securing contracts or finance. Everything was therefore entirely new to me and it took some adjustment and lots of learning,” says Moloko.
Moloko’s ongoing consultations with her Standard Bank business banker didn’t always provide the end result she had initially hoped for. “I wanted to grow my business too quickly and take on more finance, but Sam, my banker held me back and explained what would be best for my business. This advice helped grow my business in a sustainable way. Now, I see Sam as being an important partner in my business; at times he is like a brother to me.”
Moloko’s interest in starting her own company started during her teaching years when she used every available opportunity to attend women’s forum sessions and workshops. It was here that she experienced first hand the importance of networking. Moloko’s interest deepened further when a friend introduced her to a contact who gave her some valuable insight into the opportunities and mechanisms of running a food distribution business.
With business capital in place, Moloko relied on her networking skills to identify tenders and work on securing these. The business overheads were initially relatively low, with the most expensive outlay – delivery trucks – outsourced. As the cashflow started improving, Moloko was able to upgrade her ageing Tazz to a nearly-new Nissan double-cab, and she is now able to personally deliver smaller emergency orders.
A credit card, to facilitate supplier payments and a garage card to help her manage her fuel expenses and limit the amount of cash she carries, have offered convenience, freeing up her to time to focus on the business.
Moloko is a great believer in the power of education to open doors and enable one to achieve in life. She attributes much of her success to the unwavering support given to her by her four children and her extended family.
As a single parent, with her eldest about to graduate from medical school, another working and studying part-time and two younger children at school, she believes that being a single mother has never stopped her from being able to provide for her children and succeed at business.
Moloko has the following advice for those who want to start a business: “Know what you want and never give up.”
Business News Sector Tags: Business|