Failure helps devise strategy for success
JOHANNESBURG - She offers businesses services and models that focus on products and ways to sell them.
In addition, Marekimane ad- vises them on how best to deliver to customers. “I produce process manuals that business people can use to train their staff. Its aim is to structure the business from end to end and develop their growth strategies,” she says. For Marekimane, her failures and experiences are invaluable to help the community.
Before she established her company, Business Process Mechanics, she ventured into a tailoring business with friends but it failed. She attributes their downfall to their demanding corporate jobs and a lack of vision.
At the time, Marekimane was an IT project manager in one of the country’s top insurance companies. She says the job, though prestigious, unsettled her and it took a trip to China to figure out what she really wanted to do with her skills.
The 37-year-old says although she knew that she needed to explore the world of entrepreneurship, her financial situation forced her into the corporate world to buy time. “When I came back from China, I was flat broke. I went to the corporate sector again for three years.
"Within that period I did a lot of research and I figured out that start-up businesses were failing and I could use my expertise and experience as a solution,” Marekimane says. “That is how I established Business Process Mechanics.” She admits that at first she was scared that people would not understand her idea but her determination spurred her on.
“I was scared that people would not understand the service offering and initially they did not. "Moreover, I also did not know how to explain it but I knew it was a need and there was a gap in the market,” she adds.
“I did a lot of public speaking so I could raise awareness of what services the business was offering.” She says for the first few years she went through a learning curve of how to communicate effectively with her audience.
“Workshops and public speaking helped me to gain a lot of traction and get positive feedback from people telling me that they now see the importance of my business. “I also got a lot of suggestions that I needed to soften my language to make it easier for people to understand, and I did that. Now I hold workshops for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Marekimane says start-up owners do not know about process and project management which is why they operate their businesses for years without any growth strategies and they remain small. She adds that the ultimate reason to start a business is to make money but also to be solution-orientated.
She says when her business was not getting sales and volumes that she wished for, stubbornness kept her going. “At some point I had to ask my husband for money in order to do basic things like buying petrol. "I did not quit because I believed I had the solution to the failure of small businesses.
“On my worst days, I would get a message from someone saying that they liked what I do and they had applied what I suggested and could see a change. "That encouraged and validated that what I was doing worked for people and that I did not need to give up.”
She believes the government can help small businesses by facilitating policies that affect how they are treated by big corporates. “They should be making sure that big corporates facilitate access to the market for the small company,” she says. "If they sort out the policies and make it easier for the small businesses to operate, then I will sort out the rest.”
- BUSINESS REPORT