Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Thursday, 18 November 2021 17:56

Just a small-town girl, now rocking the big-time world.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Starting a business and becoming your own boss is one of the most daring moves a person could make in their life. Now imagine quitting your very stable job, spending ever last cent of your savings and taking a leap of faith to become an entrepreneur – daunting right? Now imagine doing all of this during a global pandemic!

32-year-old Fourways resident, originally from Limpopo, Rarang Ralefatane, has always aspired to become more than just the stereotypical city girl. Growing up in Hillbrow, Rara always dreamed of achieving more. With a passion for people, she worked her way up the corporate ladder and prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she was a floor manager at an insurance company and oversaw a team of 44 salespeople.

Ralefatane knew that her destiny held a position of leadership where she could help and develop other young black women in their respective careers, but that she would also be in a position to grow and create her own legacy along the way.

Always having the plans and ideologies of becoming a business owner but never seeming to find the ’right time’, Ralefatane decided that the time was never going to be right, especially once the world was in lockdown with a pandemic. Playing all her cards at one, Ralefatane took the risk and invested all her savings into purchasing a franchise business.

"When I decided what type of business I wanted to start, I researched day in and day out for months on end.  I ultimately I came to the conclusion that the best option for me would be to buy a business that was already established and that had an existing clientele. My thought process behind this was that there was slightly less room for error, and I would have at least one happy client to start with which would help build my confidence as a business owner!" Ralefatane chuckles. "I decided to invest my money in Tammy Taylor Dainfern. Mixing business and beauty seemed like a fun and interesting way for me to learn the ropes, and to work my way up to become a successful business owner."

This is just Ralefatane’s first step into the entrepreneurial world. She recently graduated from Henley Business School with a higher certificate in Management Practice and is now also doing her Advanced Certificate in Management Practice.

"I am not limiting myself to the beauty industry, I have bigger ambitions. Once I’ve mastered this sector, I will venture out and expand my horizons. I want to be a globally respected businesswoman!" she adds with conviction.

Starting a business is no easy feat as South Africa has one of the highest failure rates for small businesses. Statistics show that 70% of new businesses fail within the first year. While the figures are frightening to hear, it doesn’t need to be your reality. Ralefatane says that there are many ways to achieve entrepreneurial success, and by following the few basics outlined below have helped her make her dreams become a reality.

Here are Ralefatane’s 5 tips for business success:

  • When deciding to quit your job to become your own boss, ensure that you have enough money put aside to help sustain your current lifestyle for at least six months, if all else fails.
  • Research, research and research! Just because your friend succeeded in beauty doesn’t mean that you will! Who knows, logistics might be more down your alley so choose an industry that you at least have some knowledge in or have been passionately following for years.
  • If you are buying an existing business, be sure to get all the information you need from the previous owners! You need to know everything, including how and where every cent goes, who to communicate with and when, what to do and when to do it, and importantly why they are selling. Walk away knowing that you literally know it all because once the deal is done, information is not freely attainable.
  • If you need help, don’t ask. SHOUT! Only fools don’t ask questions, if there is something you do not know or are even a little unsure of, rather ask. Not sure who to ask? Find someone who is their own boss and that you know is boss’ing it big and get them in your corner. Mentors are super important.
  • You need to live and breathe your new venture. Every single day. If you want to be part of the 30% of businesses who thrive in South Africa then ensure that all you do for your first year of entrepreneurship, is entrepreneurship! Skip golf and netball and ladies weekends, work to make your dream work!

"These pointers are not fool proof and do not mean that it will be an easy journey, and yes, you will face more hardships that you could ever imagine, but these challenges are what will keep you humble when you start dominating in your sector," concludes Ralefatane.