We spent a week at the Southern Cape, visiting scenic places such as Cape Agulhas, Struisbaai, Bredasdorp, Infanta, Malgas, Witsands (Breede River), Heidelberg and George.
Stunning natural beauty, abundant birdlife, acres of well-kept farming crops such as wheat and canola and seascapes that breath new life into your soul.
What stood out for me was the ingenuity of the local people who have chosen to make the Southern Cape their home and life.
Ever curious about entrepreneurship, I came across business people who are enjoying themselves and making a lifestyle rather than a living.
One thing that struck me was a woman who started a candle making business in Bredasdorp and employs over 200 local people.
Pause and think about this statistic for a moment.
Who else but an entrepreneur can create 200 jobs in a tiny town?
If anyone stupid enough to think it could be a government or a corporate monolith, you’ll find me on the floor rolling in laughter.
It’s a fact that only entrepreneurs can create jobs under these challenging circumstances.
On a smaller scale, I came across an interesting business model that one tourist entrepreneur uses. She runs a trading store and eatery. Most of her stock, except for the craft items she makes herself, are supplied by other entrepreneurs from all over the country and across border.
The beauty about this stock keeping approach is that she has minimal cash outlay. Her suppliers pay for their stock while it is on their shelves. When a product is sold, she receives her commission karma keeps a record of the sale and deposits the remaining amount in the banking account of the supplier.
Something else that stood out for me was the friendliness of all the people we met providing various services. People went out of their way to assist us. They welcomed us into their shops and handled all our queries in a polite and friendly manner.
You would think that customer service is the number one bar ready for business people. But this isn’t always the case, especially in big cities where the personal touch is often absent. It’s probably because of the high number of customers they have to handle or something else but it isn’t really an excuse for unfriendly customer service. One coastal store owner, for example, went out of her way to assist us to find the product we were looking for and specially packaged it so that it wouldn’t break or be damaged during our travels.
Probably getting away can be fruitful for any business person — seeing how others are running their businesses, what types of businesses they are opening and being inspired by other entrepreneurs. Fresh insights may well lead to ideas that you can profitably implement.