34-year-old entrepreneur wins SABC1's "Making Moves" business show.
Making Moves was launched by SABC1 to give aspiring and established entrepreneurs access to experienced mentors, marketing and business strategies, and the opportunity to win R500 000 in cash and prizes.
This entrepreneurial show was recently won by Hlogi Makau (34) of Tembisa. Makau owns two entertainment venues under the brand name Caprivi. Started by his father nearly 10 years ago, Makau took over the business in 2005. At the time he was a BCom Accounting graduate and worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an accountant. After taking over the reins from his late father, Makau grew the business into a well-recognised and profitable self-sustaining enterprise.
DESTINY MAN spoke to Makau about his win, business, ideals and furture plans.
What lead you to enter Making Moves?
I operate in an environment where there are few role models. I wanted to show people that they don’t have to look up to criminals; they can become a success by believing in themselves and starting a business.
What did you bring to the show?
I brought an element of determination, because many businesses in the township are struggling to survive because there is a lot of competition. I believe that instead of moaning one should focus on developing business and move away from negativity.
What was the strategy that Making Moves introduced to strengthen your business?
A mentor was invited to screen the business. He identified the strengths and weaknesses. More importantly he showed us what we needed to work on, which was communicating with our market, improving infrastructure and training the market to adapt to certain ideals.
Did you successfully implement what was suggested and how long did it take?
Yes, I worked from the inside out and I had three weeks to improve the business. The challenges I faced was that there was not enough finance and there was a leadership challenge. I had to learn to grow out of my operating space and try to take the business to the next level. In three weeks I managed to accomplish tasks and impress the mentors.
What have you learned from the other entrepreneurs who took part in this experience?
I learned from Kabelo that a history of failure can be overcome. One should never hold on to failure but move forward. I was inspired by Lerato’s passion. She was trained in her mother’s kitchen to bake and has grown her business. I also learned that you should walk tall in your own space and never play small.
What do you believe will be the long-term benefits for the Caprivi brand?
I hope the brand will be revived and assume a new personality and become sustainable. I want to create a new vision for the brand and empower my employees who play a major role in the organisation. In terms of leadership I’d like to improve so that Caprivi becomes a force to be reckoned with. It should become a value-added experience to consumers and meet their needs. For me it's not all about self-enrichment, but it is about growth and having a shared vision and creating an opportunity to break boundaries and create new borders.
What did you win?
I won R500 000 in cash and prizes. Of that amount, R150 000 was in cash and the prizes were a laptop, interview on Mzansi Insider, a profile with Y-Age magazine and marketing development.
What did winning the show mean to you?
I dedicated the win to my late father. I know he passed away proud of me. I struggled with the business and lost hope sometimes. This win emphasised my belief in myself and the business. It came at a time when I needed it the most, it will serve to inspire my team and build my own self-confidence.
How important are your employees to you?
They are the face, personality and machinery within the brand. Without good employees, the brand becomes weak, unstable and open to weaknesses. As much as I am a leader, I still need backing and support from my staff.
What is your power principle?
Patience before profit.
What inspires you and keeps you going?
If it were not for the passion that I have, I would not be here. Passion is like a fire that sizzles and burns forever while many things may be high today and low tomorrow. I also believe that if you have nothing to die for then you might as well not be alive, as Martin Luther said.
Nothing beats reading books from the best business leaders. Their experiences give you hope. The power of networking and associating with the best inspires me. It's good to be around people who are good at something, it leads you to imitate and improve your ways. Your network is your networth.
Do you provide mentorship opportunities?
It’s important to align yourself with mentors. I give motivational talks at schools and have adopted 20 students whom I mentor every Thursday from 3pm to 4pm. I teach them to believe in themselves and to realise that you can work for yourself despite the economic challenges. I tell them that it's not about looking for jobs but about looking for business opportunities to build corporates.
What are your future plans for Caprivi?
I want Caprivi to grow and later become a franchise. It should be the brand of choice especially in developing markets because a business with no vision will be choked by competitors. Caprivi should take advantage of the market, progress and expand its brand influence.