LEARNING CURVE | Helping township businesses reap digital marketing profits
Growing up in a township and seeing businesses not performing well because of a lack of digital marketing and media services in those areas, Port Elizabeth’s Joshua Gxekwa decided to make a difference.
The tech-savvy 28-year-old Gxekwa started Mzantsi Marketing to assist township businesses increase their revenue through the use of digital marketing.
Please share some background on yourself and how your business was started?
I was born in Port Elizabeth.
I am an entrepreneur and visual artist, I use my influence to impact people’s lives, particularly those who live in Port Elizabeth’s townships.
Mzantsi Marketing was established when I realised that township entrepreneurs had the skills to run their businesses but were not doing well in digital marketing, which affected their sales.
My company enables businesses to get more clients through digital marketing.
What is your core service?
My core services are digital marketing and media services.
What makes your business unique?
When we work with our clients, we always start by understanding their goals and vision before we provide any solutions.
We ensure the client is always happy with the results of our services.
If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?
- Start with business training;
- Register a company and be compliant;
- Do market research, understand the market and customers;
- Have a business mentor;
- Apply for funding only if you will need it;
- As an entrepreneur, you need to be a problem-solver and provide solutions to clients.
What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?
I did not have funding to buy the necessary equipment for my business, and I did not have office space to work from.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?
Empower yourself with the necessary skills, do short courses in business skills and computer skills.
I highly recommend having a business mentor as a budding entrepreneur and new business owner.
What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?
Poor network coverage and unstable internet connection are the biggest challenges that we face daily, depending on where my clients are situated.
What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?
“Action changes things” — DJ Sbu.
How do you measure or define success in your business?
I measure success by growth in my client base and having more business assets that bring an income into the business.
What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?
Having the skills required to operate a business, and being professional, dedicated and respectful.
What kind of advertising do you do?
What is your company’s vision?
Our vision is to grow and be a national agency that has different branches across SA, focusing on providing marketing solutions to township businesses.
What is your target market?
What have some of your highlights been in running your business?
We worked with a company where we assisted them with marketing and media services and the results were incredible.
With our involvement they managed to get many clients, they managed to grow their social media pages and they secured funding for their business.
How important is social media and an online presence for your business?
It is very important because that is where we do business and meet new clients across SA and the rest of the world.
I encourage every entrepreneur to take social media very seriously.
How many people do you employ?
My company has two employees currently.
Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this?
Our plans are to expand the business and offer more services like web design and branding because we have seen there is a need to offer those services to our existing clients.
How did you acquire funding for the business?
I applied for funding through various avenues — which was approved — from NYDA in 2016; ECPEC in 2017; NMB Arts & Culture in 2018; Seda in 2019; and Business Arts SA in 2020.
I must highlight that most of the funders prefer purchasing equipment on your behalf to assist you in the business operations — they do not necessarily give you funds.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?
If you take care of your business, it will take care of you.
Dedicate time and invest in your business, it is worth it.
What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?
Customers not willing to pay the full price for a service, customers always negotiating the price, and crime.
Learning opportunities from private and public institutions, independence and job security.
What do you believe are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?
Creativity, vision and persuasiveness.
What do you feel are the key traits of a successful employer?
Respecting, rewarding, motivating and empowering your employees with skills and knowledge.
What do you wish people knew about your industry?
I wish people knew the power of media and social media, how it can assist with marketing and raising awareness about your business, product and you as an entrepreneur.
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