29-year-old Dimakatso Moloantoa started her marketing agency, Amari Marketing, in 2016. She shares her entrepreneurial journey and her tips for success
Have you always been entrepreneurial? If not, what sparked it?
I have always been entrepreneurial. I come from an entrepreneurial family, so business was always an attractive option.
What did you do before starting your company?
I worked for the largest FMCG in the world as a Key Accounts Executive and then as the Marketing Manager for Kitchen Appliances for a global Health and Wellness Electronics company.
What is the story behind the name Amari Marketing and Communications?
When I left Corporate, my desire was to start something that I know I was destined for and that will make me happy. “Amari” has two meanings- Promised by God and Eternal. Both are very precious to me because I believe that if is is part of God’s will it is destined to go on forever.
What, exactly does your business entail?
AMARI Marketing and Communications was formed with a focus on Small, Medium and Micro enterprises in their pursuit of entrepreneurial success. Our main priority is ensuring that our clients have the most competitive advantage and exposure in the array of industries that they specialize in to ensure the greatest return on investment while building lasting impressions and relations with their consumers. We aim to be the backbone that encourages the great efforts that are made to create innovative products and services.
Journey us to how it all began to where you are now?
It all started with me trying to figure out what the need was in the Marketing space and what my specific skills set can be most impactful. I have seen many people start businesses but they could not afford effective marketing in order to leverage their businesses. The focus on SMME’s is deliberate in that the strategies in the start phase are very meticulous and may steer the business in a direction that would most likely be a legacy burden or a source of continuous growth. This is the space we place we play in. It started with one laptop and a dream… I then joined an incubator that taught me a lot theoretically and practically about starting a business. I started getting really small clients, but word got around and the client base grew by volume and value. Right now we employ three people in Graphic Design, Events and Social Media Management and we are growing by the day.
Who do you credit the success of your business to?
For the most part, it is my clients that have had the passion for driving their own dreams that make them that much easier to market.
What are some of the challenges that you faced and what has kept you going?
- Cash flow in SMME’s is a great challenge. Because these are the clients that we cater to, this may affect whether they pay on time or not.
- Another challenge has been choosing the right people to employ and when the business is ready to employ.
- Time Management has been something that I have had to master so that I am not just busy, but also effective.
Who do you look up to in the entrepreneurial field and why?
I look up to my father (Sello Moloantoa) as the first entrepreneur that I knew personally. He has been my biggest supporter and inspiration for the way that he runs his own businesses and how he treats his staff.
What are your biggest highlights thus far?
Designing and building two exhibition stands for an amazing client and hosting a woman’s event.
What are your short-term and long-term goals for your company?
Expanding to Durban and Cape Town (Long Term) and having our own offices that employ more than 50 people (Short Term).
From your experience how can young people keep their businesses profitable and successful?
By focusing and taking care of their niche business and client base. It also helps to network and learn from people that have gone before you so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes that they have made.
What are your top 5 tips for young business startups?
- Choose something you are passionate about.
- Have a clear business plan
- Plan your finances very carefully
- Plan your time and use it effectively
- Clients always come first
Do you have a mentor and how has the relationship been?
I have a coach. The relationship has been beneficial in helping me make sense of some of the obstacles I have faced and managing them in a professional and effective way. Many business ideas have also come out of the sessions that we have had.
How is your leadership style?
I allow people to express themselves and take the lead in all the projects that they are accountable for. I focus a lot on training and equipping people to handle the kind of work they do as well as the workload that they manage.
Are there ways startups can avoid failing their businesses? From your experience what are they?
Better planning upfront would relieve a lot of the stress that startups face. Many times I have seen people start businesses from a place of pressure and end up committing to too much in the beginning and not meet the deadlines they had set for themselves and their clients- this creates a lot of tension and the reputation of the business is then tainted. So planning and focus are extremely important.
Connect with Dimakatso at:
Facebook: Amari Marketing