There is a powerful woman of some kind lurking in all of us! And this month, I feel like a superwoman – a woman who can vault the wall with cat-like agility.
But it’s almost month-end and fear is crippling; we are to abdicate our thrones and, for some, a husband is yet to be angry and quick with his hand.
We are to remain slaves of our past, slaves to being underlings because there is just one problem: When it comes down to it, it has not yet dawned on us, women, that we are more than how we think of ourselves. We refuse to challenge the conventional wisdom.
If there is anything women’s month has taught me it is that we are powerful beyond measure!
I know many strong and proud women who never move from their ground-level stall as the sun burns their children and the flies torture their eyes when they haven’t managed to make a sale. Pity the same women know everything about their flaws; nothing about their strengths.
It is time we focus on self-improvement and overcoming challenges rather than seeing our mistakes as the product of insurmountable personal flaws. With that new attitude we can be the best there is, even in business.
Hear this out: according to the Marketing to Women Conference, eighty-five percent of buying decisions are made by women. This is a massive market segment that you can’t ignore.
Why? You are a woman and you can easily identify women’s needs and make them feel special. Doesn’t that make you think about starting your own business?
Yes, it’s a known fact that starting a truly sustainable business – one that generates an income to live on, or adds an existing in a way that improves a lifestyle – is hard work. So, be prepared to fail in all sorts of ways.
For many moms, failure is a scary thought – the cost of a childcare is a major factor in career decisions making pay-cuts a luxury of the relatively young and unattached. I know women who long to have autonomy in their work, or be more creative with new projects but are scared to leave their day to day job.
If you are one of them worry not: Big companies are cottoning on the fact that if they allow their employees more freedom to create their perfect career, be intrapreneus, they can hang on to them, and then benefit from these new skills or ideas. And, if the idea works, it could mean a bonus or promotion. So, an intrapreneur is an “in-house” entrepreneur.
I just love it. No more spending hours helping your boss prepare for an important meeting, which he aces but fails to acknowledge your contribution. Forget about managing-up (making your boss look good in an effort to enhance your career) – well, I don’t think it always works – do your thing, intrapreneurship is the solution.
But, intrapreneur or entrepreneur, you still have to work hard. And it would be wise to remember that history is littered with examples of entrepreneurs and outstanding ideas that required several drop stitches on their grand tapestry.
If your company does not offer that opportunity and are willing to take all the risks involved in starting a business but minimize them, well there is something you can do to minimize the costs of starting a business. Ever heard of a work hub? If not, you may ask, What is a work hub? Collaborative work spaces.
They are open-plan spaces where entrepreneurs and sole traders can rent work space, network and collaborate with other like-minded workers. Great news is, renting a desk is much cheaper than renting office space.
As if that is not enough, users say it can boost your business by five to 50% because of new business opportunities, new skills learnt, and mentoring from other workers.
It will do you good to remember: it doesn’t have to cost the earth to start a business. Some of the biggest businesses have started from home – think about Bill Gates – in the founder’s own time, with start-up funds of a few thousand rands, dollars, whatever currency it is. So, you can start from home, with a few thousand maloti and in a few years run an empire.
I wish you all the luck in the world. You will succeed and these three tips will guarantee you that: believe that hard work can and will lead to improvement; have confidence that you are at the right place that is you are where you belong; and belief that what you are doing is valuable and relevant to your goal.”
Times are tough, everybody knows that, but this does not mean it’s the end of the world. Regard these challenges as an opportunity to find new exciting solutions of doing business. And don’t abdicate your throne, get into the month of September with a plan!
Why invest for the future
AN investment plan forms a critical pillar of a financial plan, says Tokiso Nthebe, a local author and financial services adviser.
Nthebe, the founder of TKO Financial Wellness and Advisory, says when people invest, they can use their money to buy assets that will increase in value over the long term.
He says these assets can help them build wealth.
“When you invest, your money starts to work for you by providing returns that will beat inflation,’’ Nthebe says.
Nthebe says there is a huge difference between saving and investing.
He says investing requires that you take some level of risk in exchange for an expected return or growth.
Nthebe says Basotho should consider many factors before they decide to start investing.
“It is important to have a clear strategy that guides your investment decisions and to work with qualified professionals,” he says.
Nthebe says one should consider their growth mind-set, investment goals, and their risk tolerance.
In addition, one should consider what kind of growth or return they expect.
He says one should find out whether the institution they invest in is licensed or regulated and how long one should invest.
Nthebe says one should further consider what risks are associated with the investment option and whether there are any associated costs.
He says it is also important to remember that investments take time.
“There are no short cuts to building wealth. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes,” he says.
Moreover, Nthebe says the investment landscape comprises commercial banks, asset management companies, and insurance companies.
He says each provides different financial products and services.
Nthebe says the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) also offers investment solutions such as treasury bills and treasury bonds that Basotho can consider.
Depending on your investment goals, he says financial service providers have a wide range of investment solutions to choose from that cater for short, medium, and long-term goals.
“I encourage Basotho to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making financial decisions,” he says.
Vince Shorb, the United States National Financial Educators Council CEO, writes that “many of the financial problems people face today started when they were young and making their first financial decisions”.
Shorb further says taking on too much debt, not investing early, and failing to plan can take one decades to recover from such.
However, it takes financial literacy to make good decisions, he says.
Financial literacy has been perceived as a tool that gives you the opportunity to be confident and empowered to live the quality of life you have worked hard for.
Shorb says one of the wisest decisions one can make to prepare for the future is to invest.
Investment has been defined as the commitment of funds with a view to minimising risk and safeguarding capital while earning a return.
When Covid-19 hit and the government shut down all gatherings in April 2020, there seemed no way out for ICONICS (Pty) Ltd, a budding events management company based in Leribe district.
They had two options: shut down or innovate to keep the business going.
They chose the latter.
Three years down the line, ICONICS (Pty) Ltd has completely transformed itself from an events management and public relations company into a manufacturing company that is now the envy of Lesotho.
“The closing of events translated into the closing of our business,” Rapitso Mosebetsi, one of the co-founders of ICONICS (Pty) Ltd told thepost this week.
Mosebetsi established ICONICS in partnership with Tumo Mahapa.
Faced with collapse, Mosebetsi say they began buying Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as surgical gowns, disposal coveralls and safety apparel for resale.
Eventually they decided to manufacture the PPEs and safety clothing. That was the turning point.
But since the company was already down, Mosebetsi says diversification was a hard nut to crack.
“It became quite a long journey (for us),” he says. “We had to come up with something new for the industry.”
He says they had to overcome stiff competition from giant companies and come up with something unique that would set them apart.
“That was how thermal heating apparel was born,” he says.
“We are the first company to produce thermal heating apparel,” he says.
The company manufactures thermal clothing, which is electric clothing, using power banks of five voltages.
“The voltage is so low to electrocute a person,” he says.
The clothing also has a power button to turn it on and off.
Mosebetsi says the thermal heating apparel is on corporate clothing as well as high-visibility clothing.
Mosebetsi says they started the journey with the support of several organisations, such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), to build their capacity.
Mosebetsi says they also got mentorship support from organisations such as the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
The results of years of hard work are now all out for everyone to see.
In 2022, ICONICS won the M100 000 Business Plan Competition hosted by BEDCO.
This grant enabled them to acquire land and buy five more industrial machines.
This did not only enable the company to increase their production to 100 worksuits a week, but it further created permanent jobs for five people as well as three temporary workers.
Last year, the company took part in the Exporter of the Year event hosted by the LNDC in partnership with the Lesotho Post Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Mosebetsi says they won the award for Lesotho’s most innovative and versatile exporter.
He says this did not only put them in the spotlight, but it further encouraged them to do more.
ICONICS was announced as the best exporter of the year at an event hosted by the LNDC earlier this month.
Mosebetsi says this made them proud, as the award is aligned with their vision.
The award further gives the company an opportunity to participate in the regional competition.
He says this opportunity will further give the company a competitive edge in terms of production locally and globally.
“It will be an honour if we can win the regional competition,” he says.
In terms of markets, Mosebetsi says the company has had the opportunity to list their products in the African Trade Market since 2020 with the support of USAID.
This is an e-commerce platform that opens up the market for African countries to list their products.
Mosebetsi says the company did not only get publicity, but the client database also increased.
He says they moved from supplying individuals only to big companies, different organisations, and different government departments such as those involved in mining and health.
Considering the decline of the Lesotho textile industry, Mosebetsi says their secret to success has been their being innovative.
“Our sustainability is matched with innovation,” he says.
Mosebetsi says it also requires patience coupled with lots of investment in terms of time.
“Rome was not built in one day,” he says.
He says working as a team also plays a critical role.
Despite their achievements, Mosebetsi says the market for innovative industries is one of the hardest nuts to crack.
He says the company is in the process of not only making their products known but also educating people about their safety.
Mosebetsi says the other challenge is the decline of the South African Rand as compared to the US Dollar.
He says some of their materials are sourced from China.
Therefore, it is more expensive to buy such materials.
ICONICS is not only seeking to make their brand well known globally, but Mosebetsi says they are also seeking to create more jobs for our youths.
LetsGo and Win!
LETSHEGO Financial Service has launched the LetsGo and Win loan consolidation campaign where customers win weekly and monthly cash prizes of up to M150 000.
The campaign, which was launched yesterday, will end on November 8.
The LetsGo and Win campaign rewards customers for consolidating their loans.
It is aligned with Letshego Lesotho’s version to offer competitive products that cater for the evolving needs of its customers.
The financial services company operates in Lesotho, Botswana, ESwatini, and Zambia.
The Marketing Manager and Business Partner, Tšotetsi Seema, said Letshego Lesotho is committed to delivering increasing value and options to customers.
Seema said this programme is a testament to that commitment.
“The campaign invites customers to consolidate their loans into one low and easy repayment with reduced rates and they stand to win weekly and monthly prizes,” Seema said.
“The weekly cash prizes will be won by lucky customers randomly selected and notified through Letshego Radio shows,” he said.
Additionally, he said two lucky customers will be randomly selected each month and given a chance to spin the wheel of fortune with a chance to receive a maximum of M20 000 each.
“The loans consolidation campaign makes it easier for customers to choose Letshego Lesotho as their preferred financial services partner.”
He said this innovative campaign aims to help individuals streamline their debt payment while benefiting from reduced interest rates.
“Debt consolidation can help customers get a lower monthly payment, pay off their debt sooner, increase their credit score and simplify their life.”
Letshego Lesotho’s Head of Sales, Distribution and Marketing, Motebang Moeketsi, said managing multiple loans can often be overwhelming with varying interest loans due dates and terms.
“The campaign addresses this challenge by combining multiple loans into a single, easy to manage repayment plan,” Moeketsi said.
He added that this simplification not only eases the financial burden on borrowers but also potentially leads to significant savings over time.
Moreover the new consolidation campaign invites customers to take advantage of their best-in-class financial services provided through Letshego Lesotho branch network and digital platforms.
“Letshego Lesotho is committed to increasing financial inclusion through its efforts to serve underbanked communities, promoting financial literacy and delivering positive social impacts for its customers and communities.”
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