Several people toyed with the idea of starting a business pre-Covid19 but for whatever reason, those plans never came to fruition. The ubiquity of job losses in the last two years shook people’s job security and made them realise the importance of having other streams of income.
“Honestly for me, it was the covid-19 pandemic,” says Tumelo Motsomane, who is the co-owner of the recently launched Ko Khoneng Guest House in Bela-Bela, Limpopo. She owns the business with her father Hosea Dlamini.
“For one it made me realise that any company one works for in times of a crisis will work on preserving itself in order to function long term and further impact the community by staying alive long enough to create jobs and change at any cost, however for the employees at hand it leaves an unsettling anxiety as to where their next meal is going to come from ,where they will get money to settle their bills, how they will afford proper medical care during the pandemic and so all of this caused minor depression for me during that time,” Motsomane shares with Spot-On.
After the birth of her younger sister in 2017, Motsomane saw the need for building generational wealth. “The idea of the guesthouse was birthed in 2017. It was a concept that my dad and I played around with as he’s always been a business minded person however never really got to have the proper financial background to carry the ideas through as we did not have a concrete plan in mind until 2020. I have always flirted with the idea of having a string of businesses with my dad and my little sister Sibahle Dlamini after she was born in 2017. Her birth sparked a desire for a family dynasty”
Motsomane is a third-year student in Hospitality Management, under an established resort’s learnership. While her father is a military veteran who currently is a Disaster Management Officer at the Bela Bela Municipality. It was Mr Dlamini who urged his daughter during the country’s hard lockdowns, that they start the business, no matter how small. “I invested most of my time during those hectic five months of quarantine on site as the levels dropped and supervised the building of the guesthouse.”
“The pandemic gave me time to think, to strategize my next moves and to really put into plan what I wanted the goals for the business to be and one of those goals is to ensure that this becomes a strong of family businesses so that all my siblings have something to fall back on and train my nephews and nieces in future on running a business and the importance of hard work and learning profitable skills,” says Motsomane.
The family built the guesthouse by themselves, which is located at a corner of the street. The name of the establishment means ‘at the corner” when translated.
“We came across so many challenges, most of it being financially related as we had no funding for the businesses. A lot of it came directly from our pockets and savings and some was financial assistance through banks. A big part of it is the marketing of the business. However, through perseverance and a lot of research we are trying to tackle each issue to also ensure that the business is in compliance in all angles. We have other challenges throughout but we’ve managed to tackle them one at a time.”
Their guesthouse has five standard rooms, and currently employs three workers.
“My co-owner/ dad is a workaholic, his work ethics are out of this universe, so he has truly evoked a desire in me to want to take the business to new heights,” says Motsomane.
“We want to see the guest house expanding to a more executive standard in the future and possibly more branches and other properties for other businesses. As stated, the intention is to run multiple family businesses and to promote self-employment and early retirement to focus on generational wealth. With a lot of hard work, perseverance, butting heads, drafting plan and executing them, I believe we will achieve our goals. So that’s the plan, to grow.”