You can’t build a disruptive business model or change the world if you don’t understand your vision and know what you want to achieve. This is the advice that Portio Dlamini has for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Founder and Managing Director of Emakheni Cleaning and Industrial Solutions, Portio has been on a steep learning curve since she was announced as the winner of the 2018 DCC Business Accelerator Programme. Not only has the Programme helped her to grow her business, Portio is in the process of launching a strategic plan to unlock the nationwide growth she has always envisioned.
“Winning the Business Accelerator Programme has completely changed my perspective on business. I always believed that if I had access to additional funding, my business would expand but working intensely with a mentor for 12 months transformed my understanding of success,” Portio explains.
Born and raised in Impendle, Portio is a qualified process engineer and after 10 years in the corporate world, she started her own business in 2013. “Five years later, I had 12 people working for me but I was stuck. I had the passion and ideas, but I couldn’t get the business to the next level. I entered the Business Accelerator Programme hoping for a breakthrough, but I did not realise how much I needed to learn,” Portio says.
Based on her experience over the past two years, here are Portio’s top tips for entrepreneurs:
Your Vision is your foundation
Your vision should be BIG and extend many years into the future. It is the foundation of your business and it will keep you going no matter the circumstances. Be proud of it and tell the world what you are going to accomplish. If your vision is real and you know what you want to achieve, it provides the direction you need and a strong foundation for growth.
Work with a Business Mentor
Every small business owner has a particular skillset but running a company requires additional expertise in operations, finance, marketing and human resources. Working with a mentor really helps as you can leverage their knowledge and experience to build a roadmap for success.
This allows you to be more strategic by identifying your immediate priorities with a holistic, long-term approach. As a winner of the Business Accelerator Programme, I had 12-months of intensive mentoring which helped me with all aspects of my business. This unlocked a preferential loan from the Programme and I was able to use it effectively as I had a plan and knew exactly what was needed to drive my business forward.
One of my biggest challenges in building my business proved to be market access. This is where the Business Accelerator Programme made a massive difference as it helped me understand the opportunities in the marketplace and provided a platform to build relationships with key players in the Durban Chemical Cluster.
As a result, I now have business strategies that are aligned with customer needs. And by integrating into the corporate procurement processes, I have had the opportunity to penetrate the industry at multiple levels.
Take your Employees on the Journey
Your business may begin with you, but you need a company of people to help you fulfill your vision. Share your vision with them and celebrate the small wins. They are at the coalface and responsible for customer service. If they understand the end goal and the importance of their roles in the business, they will deliver for you and stay with you.
Portio concludes: “The DCC Business Accelerator Programme has changed my business and my life. I would highly recommend it to any entrepreneur. It’s not about the prize money, it’s about getting the support that you need to shape your vision so that you can build the right infrastructure to enable business growth.”