Building capacity in the SMME sector

Business Skills for South Africa

Improving capacity to meet clients' needs

A BSSA course on effective financial management has enabled a Tshwane sewing business owner to increase her staff capacity, focus more on her customers and grow her fledgling business.

Shalati Mokgotho (55) of Winterveldt owns Mitiro Sewing Centre, which produces primary and high school uniforms, matric dance outfits, uniforms for churches and burial societies, traditional clothing, curtains and linen, and hair pieces.

Shalati started her venture in 2010 after relocating from Johannesburg, but says the first few years were mainly preparatory in nature. Working from home, she offered sewing skills training to local women, but struggled to attract customers to her products in an area where most people are lower income earners.

The budding entrepreneur persevered, however, and was soon able to rent premises from a local general dealer. The increased visibility for her business assisted her in drawing more customers. A major breakthrough came earlier this year when she clinched a contract to make school uniforms for three schools in the area. Since then, demand for her products has risen markedly and she has employed two of her former trainees as well as a part-time employee.

Shalati attended the three-day BSSA course on effective financial management in April 2013. The training formed part of a series of workshops for SMMEs run by the Institute of Business Advisers (IBA) and sponsored by the Tshwane Metro.

“I learnt about the importance of improving the capacity of my business in order to meet my customers’ needs,” she says.

Shalati realised she was doing almost everything herself — from production and purchasing to marketing. She has now delegated the production to others, enabling her to take on a supervisory role.

“This has meant I can focus more on the needs of my existing customers as well as on attracting new clients,” she says. She markets new products and communicates occasional sales via SMS to her customers.

Eager to learn more to improve her business, Shalati is setting up bookkeeping systems and has requested BSSA for assistance in this regard.

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