with Busi Ntuli
Moneybiz is growing and so is African Business awareness. I received a lot of emails from Moneybiz readers after I shared my driveway robbery story in my last diary. So a big thank you to everyone who sent me emails of hope and solidarity. Oh and please, Victor and Nickey, I think we need to talk about me getting a salary!
The positive responses I received reminded me once again why I love this country and why it is important for me and my family to move on. I must share, that as soon as my last diary entry was sent, I felt a sense of relief. I had been gone so long that I had forgotten how therapeutic writing this diary can be. Putting my story on paper was truly therapeutic. A lot has been happening in my entrepreneurship world but I first had to tell you why I had been quiet.
I am almost ready to launch Busi Ntuli Communications. I’ve enjoyed the excitement of starting a new business properly. As some of you will know my recruitment agency was a vuka sihambe. I’ll try and translate for the benefit of the non Zulu speakers. Basically, I woke up one day in April 1994 and started a business under duress. There was no business plan, no capital, no trust fund, no clients, no staff, and no experience – just gootspa!
Back then, my then partner and I could do that. We were young, pretty well spoken and with nothing to lose. In hind sight had we known what I know now, we would have been a real force to reckon with much sooner. But I say ol’ chap it aint over till the fat lady sings! Incidentally Zanele and I are entertaining the thought of setting up an investment company. Yes there I go again. I warned you, entrepreneurship is addictive.
I decided a while back to separate my print media buying service from my company’s service offerings and turn it into a stand alone print media buying company. My first step was to put together a business plan. I worked for weeks, did all I could with the plan and then hit a blank especially when it came to the financial planning part of the plan. I then decided to work with a business consulting firm to do finishing touches. I also involved my staff in the planning because after all they would have to see the plan through. That I must add, was welcomed by staff and it created a feeling of ownership for them. I learned a lot. A well thought out and written business plan is so important. I cannot stress it enough. A business plan is a company’s bible. It should cover the target market, operations, marketing, sales, finance, competitors, processes, infrastructure and every area key to the successful running of the business. Please give me a second whilst I pinch myself. 10 years ago these components of a business plan I have just listed were words I knew but did not truly understand. Ouch! Ok, I’m not dreaming.
The next step was deciding on a name and getting the legalities of registering a company out of the way with organizations such as Cipro, SARS etc. Every name I fancied was turned back by Cipro and then I decided to take a big risk and call it Busi Ntuli Communications. What is the risk in that? Well, I have put my name on this company and therefore the stakes are higher. Putting your name on a product or service is an endorsement. Its failure is yours personally however the opposite is also true. I am going to have to work hard at ensuring that my name is associated with class, integrity and professionalism. Scary but hey, I can always lose the double barrel and strictly use my marital surname. It is times like these that it is good to be a woman!
Once all the legalities were taken care of, I had a Design Company design our marketing material as well as our logo. That was another long exercise. After days of seeing logos that looked like flowers and tins, seeing fancy fonts and colors of the rainbow, I still did not see a sexy logo that jumped at me. I then had our design team work on the logo and after a couple of misses they got it right. Our domain name is booked and we are now working on our website – Lord, have mercy!
Come September 01 2007 Flexi Ads, a division of Flexi Personnel shall be a stand alone company known as Busi Ntuli Communications and hopefully kicking some serious you know what. Oh, the joys of entrepreneurship – always the eternal optimists! I can tell you now. This will call for a party! We will call it marketing, plus it will be a perfect day for new beginnings- just like spring. The month of August will be a finishing touches month. We will organize an out of office business plan workshop/ team building with the whole Busi Ntuli Communications team. This I hope will be a build up to the birth and buy in of the team that will turn Busi Ntuli communications into a print media buying company to be reckoned with.
My office move has yet to happen. I had found fairly spacious offices in Riviera apparently not too far from our country’s president’s residence - this was according to our prospective landlord, Mr. Greenburg. Mr. Greenburg – a quiet but shroud old man who turned out to be a potential landlord from hell. He and I fought about standard lease requirements between Lessor and Lessee. The old man wanted us to sign a three year lease but I first had to pull my teeth out for him to agree to set aside a budget out his own pocket to fix broken windows, replace some carpets and fix air conditioners. The next fight was the upkeep of the exterior of the building he did not think it was his responsibility. What broke the camel’s back was when he told us that his tenants would not be out by the date we agreed on but he still wanted us to give him a 3 months deposit fee two months before we would move in. I’m actually glad the lease deal fell through. I still dream of owning my own building. Moving offices would have meant change of address, paying movers, informing clients of our new numbers and address, paying the deposit, all the above adding to a hefty cost. The new credit act coming into effect is worrisome. I am not sure whether owning a building is an imminently attainable dream.
On the up side, we are still at the same offices surrounded by pressed ceilings, wooden floors, hand carved fire places and majestic staircases. The rent is steep but the beauty makes numb the pain a little. The next step should be fun – I am talking about the launch party. The last and ongoing step will be the implementation of the dream in the form of a business plan. Wish me luck! Till next week.
Previous Diaries of Busi Ntuli
Busi Ntuli is
a founder and Managing Director of Flexi Personnel
(Pty) Ltd, a recruitment and HR company specialising
in recruitment advertising, skills assessment and executive
placements. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.flexipersonnel.com