SHORTMAN (PTY) LTD - MAUN

Saone Magola is a small business owner financed to expand her nursery through the Mabogo–Dinku loan facility. After being told about Mabogo-Dinku by a friend, Saone decided to pursue her dream of expanding her nursery which had always been a dream of hers. She approached CEDA offices to enquire and as they say the rest was history.


Where did it all start?
After completing my BGCSE I had always yearned to be my own boss. I always liked the idea of starting something on my own whilst also fulfilling my dreams and aspirations. I have always had a passion for growing plants, particularly flowers and plot plants. Because I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age where I used to sell sweets and snacks to my primary school mates I wanted to try my hand in this business of being a nursery owner.


What was your motivation behind starting this business?
I was very fortunate as my mother had already established this business since 2005 and I also had my own passion for  plants. I saw this as an opportunity to empower myself and also provide plants that could enhance the beauty of peoples homes.


How did you come to know about CEDA and the Mabogo-Dinku product?
I always told my friends and family that I wanted to expand my small business and see it grow . A friend of mine advised me of CEDA’s latest product offering called Mabogo-Dinku and how it could help me as a small business owner. The Mabogo-Dinku product helps small micro-entrepreneurs such as myself to expand or start up business. On my part I wanted to expand. After being approved for the loan, I bought a variety of flowers to add to my stock and also bought a pot plant mould to make pot plants of different sizes.


How was the application process for Mabogo-Dinku?
The application process was lengthy but relatively easy. The biggest challenge was that there were a lot of small business owners that similarly wanted funding from CEDA through the Mabogo-Dinku product. This caused a great deal of delays. As it was new there was also the challenge of group training, constitution and a lot of documentation that the group had to fill out.


What is your current status with CEDA; business advisory and training, assistance and understanding from Portfolio Executives?
With Mabogo-Dinku being a new product for CEDA we have been through training for a period of two weeks. The Officer assigned to my project has always been helpful as he continuously checked and gave us advise on how to become successful upon being financed. He has been very patient with us throughout the entire application process.


What challenges do you face on a daily basis?
Since my business is new in my area, people are not aware that flowers are things that can be bought. A lot of people come to the nursery and ask for plants for free. There is a misconception that plants are free in as much they can enhance the beauty of your homes.


Do you consider yourself a market leader and what challenges do you face from the competition in the market? 
I believe I am a market leader in this industry and I have the potential to grow this business into something really big given the time. I am younger than my competitors and I set myself apart from them by providing clay and cement pots and vases for your plants. I have realised that by diversifying my plants I will get more out of this business.


What key factors have lead to your business success, specific to your industry?
I am very fortunate to have the support of my parents who are experienced and blessed with green fingers. They have a strong passion for flowers and plants. I also have the support of my community who are my customers. What is critical for business success is patience and sacrifice. As a business owner you have to be on site every day ensuring you check what goes in and out of your business.


What aspirations do you have for your business?
I would like to see my business expand into a large scale nursery with more variety of plants and pots. With this expansion I would also like to move my premises closer to the City Centre where people have easier access to my business.


How many employees did you initially start off with and how many do you have now?
My business only has two employees being my mother and I. Due to its size my mother and I are managing the business.

How do you maintain your relationships with customers?
I ensure I give them quality service matched with quality pots and plants. I also deliver on time and ensure I keep in touch with my customers. For my regular and repeat customers I offer discounts to keep them coming back.


Besides your business what are your other passions?
I have always liked fashion design and home décor. I like designing outfits for people and coming up with home décor ideas.


What advice can you give aspiring entrepreneurs that want to get into your industry?
Entrepreneurs have to understand that any business has to be driven by passion, commitment, loyalty, sacrifice and resilience. If you do not possess these qualities you stand a good chance of being frustrated and ultimately failing.