I am the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yourself Management, an award winning through-the-line marketing agency, specialising in the African Market. I formed the agency in 2004 with a R350.00 tip I earned as a waiter. Today, Yourself Management has grown into a team of over 300 employees operating throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region with a Head Office in Johannesburg and regional offices in Cape Town, Durban, Namibia and Zambia.
What is it that you do, or what is your business?
The business is Yourself Management, a main market or African focused through-the-line marketing agency. The business offers an integrated approach, where it uses below-the-line, above-the-line and digital marketing methods to reach a wide customer base and acquire market share within the African market. The business started in 2004, is a 100% black owned and has a Level 1 B-BBEE score rate.
What inspired you to do what you do?
When I started my company at the age of 19, I only wanted to survive - pay my rent, send some money to my poor home and buy clothes. Little did I know that the same company I started with a tip I got while working as a waiter would change my life and the lives of over 300 families, and become the key player in the marketing industry.
There is a Somalian proverb that says “Wisdom does not come over night” and I definitely agree with it. With 14 years of history in the business Yourself Management has grown from being an underdog to become one of the competitors within the main or African market
What were some of the challenges you faced?
The fact that I am black and young, the business systems of our country, especially in private sector, are not supportive. The banks are not willing to partner with one on their journey, clients (private sector) do not have confidence in you regardless of your track record, government is not supportive, and one has to be politically affiliated to get their attention. The biggest challenge is sustaining the business under such factors.
How did you overcome these challenges, and how did Telkom aid in this?
One has to be determined and persistent with the vision of the company. We set out a 5 years strategic plan for the business, which we review every 6 months. This has helped us identify where there are opportunities, and where we need to adjust the plan to sustain the business. Telkom, with its tailor-made facilities for my kind of business, has come in handy to position us accordingly in this competitive market. We use Telkom unlimited business, and the facility has been very handy, especially in our type of business which is dependent on high-speed internet and voice calls.
Why is important to have solutions to the above problems?
Business is about image and Telkom’s solutions allow small business’s to create a good image.
How has having Telkom handle your ITC helped you focus on your business?
Telkom’s ITC facility is great, especially with video conferencing, which makes it easy for us to communicate with our global client.
Why should other business people and entrepreneurs consider Telkom?
Telkom offers SMME’s an all-in-one solution, and the fact that there are dedicated personnel from their site to deal with any matters, is handy for any business. Personalised service.
What advice do you have for other business people and entrepreneurs?
Success is not an instant thing, we should be patient enough to build generational wealth and offer solutions to our economy.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
I’m currently focusing on expanding the agency presence in Africa, which is the main reason behind the opening of the Namibian and Zambian offices, with Nigeria to follow.
I see a great opportunity to leverage on the expansion of African operations. We have invested resources and time into understanding the market trends in African countries. We do this to be able to position our partners (clients) accordingly within this emerging market that is full of opportunities, especially for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), information and communication technology and banking firms.