Mzobe, founder and lead consultant at Matoyana Business Solutions, launched the handbook with the support of P&G South Africa’s Leadership College, aiming to guide small businesses through the process of starting a small business and help them drive sustainable growth.
“While I have over eight years’ experience working with major corporates such as Procter & Gamble, nothing prepared me for what I learnt during the past four years as a small business owner,” she said at the launch of the book in Hyde Park last week. “Owning a small business is a lonely journey, and there were many times when I wished there was a place I could go to for all the information I needed to know.”
Her own experiences as a business owner, along with insights from her students at the GIBS Enterprise Development Academy, prompted her to research and author the book to give across-the-board guidance and practical advice to South African entrepreneurs. “Many of the business guides available on the market are written in the U.S. and Europe. We needed inclusive, South Africa-specific content for South African small businesses,” she explains.
“I found in the classes I taught at GIBS that there was a lack of knowledge among small business owners about fairly basic business concepts, such as properly segmenting the market for the business, carrying out thorough market research, proper cash flow management and budgeting practices, and considering the brand messaging of the company name.”
These issues are addressed by the handbook, which covers 17 critical areas including branding, finance, legal, Human Resources, leadership and customer service.
Speaking at the launch, the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications & Postal Services, HlengiweMkhize, hailed the initiative to empower small business owners, saying this was in line with the government’s goals of building a thriving small business sector. The Deputy Minister noted: “In our journey of economic inclusion, this is clearly becoming a priority, with procurement reforms opening new opportunities for small business and new budget allocations to the Small Business Ministry signs that the government is committed to this goal.”
“We need people who can help small business play the game and succeed. Nokwazi Mzobe and this book are doing so; taking businesses by the hand and helping them progress,” she said.
KhululiweMabaso, CSI Associate Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at P&G, says that Mzobe, a former P&G employee, has long shown a passion for enterprise development, which P&G shared. When P&G launched its Leadership College business skills academy and incubator for selected entrepreneurs, some of whom were in the P&G supply chain, Mzobe took on the role of lecturer in the academy, demonstrating an ability to offer practical insights and teach at the level of the learner.
P&G decided to support the publication of the handbook as a means to broaden the empowerment impact for South African small businesses, and for women business owners in particular. “As a company producing a number of brands aimed at women, women’s empowerment is close to our hearts. With this book, we can help women to sustainably grow their businesses,” Mabaso said.
The Small Business Handbook is now available in English and is soon to be translated into isiZulu. It will later be translated into other South African languages, including Afrikaans and isiXhosa.