(Article courtesy of Female Entrepreneur Association)
Wendy Mpendulo started out selling sandwiches to customers in their offices in order to support herself and her child. Today she has an events company called WZ Events & Projects Management.
How it all started
In my teenage years, just after I had my baby and finished high school, my mother had lost her job as a packer at Spar Supermarket. I did not have the money to continue with my tertiary education and I had a child to support. I had studied business management and decided to start selling sandwiches to offices. I brought healthy sandwiches in a blue basket to my customers in their offices. I woke up every morning to prepare sandwiches and deliver them to government offices in Umtata. The orders grew and I also brought lunch as per demand of the customers. From there, I got a space to operate from at the taxi rank and got catering orders from different departments and individuals. Poverty and lack of access to resources made me identify gaps in the market.
Her Business Now
My business is now an events and projects management business. The business evolved from being a catering business to being an events company. Catering is now part of the services offered in the business. We host conferences, seminars, workshops, birthday parties, golf days, family days, etc. Basically, we offer corporate, individual, and community events as needed. Our events are aimed at giving value to all our customers. We offer packages that surpass clients’ expectations and we help clients enjoy their money in class and in style.
I started with offering my services for free to family members, friends, and neighbours. After I received positive feedback from them, I started printing pamphlets that outlined my price list and the type of products and services I offer. I started to look for partnerships with already existing businesses. I increased my network by attending different activities that brought people together.
Biggest Challenge So Far
Operating capital. If you do not have the operating capital, the partnership you manage to get will not mean much as you have to pay from your pocket. Advertising takes a lot of money before commencing events and to get more people. I always need to have my advertising overhead high up and that requires a lot of money. Transport costs are a serious challenge as well. Before deciding on the event. I always need to view the places in person and put myself in my customers’ shoes .
How she Overcomes Challenges
I established partnerships and affiliated with significant organisations that will increase my access to people. I talk to people, sell tickets in advance, and get sponsorships to cover part of the costs.
Advice to other Entrepreneurs
Owning a business is a journey and not an event. Things do not always go according to expectations – they sometimes go wrong, but that does not mean you have to stop making your business dream a reality. Every business owner must always have measurable goals each day and this will take them to the ultimate goal of a successful business. Meet with other business owners for inspiration, be open to new ideas, and be flexible about applying new tricks that work into your business.
Having a spiritual life is key to keep one focused on their dreams and business goals. Always remember that you are special and unique. The energy that is there is for a purpose, use it. Don’t get discouraged by little things and by people who have not travelled the journey. Live your life and be the best you can be through your business!