Not only are SMMEs abandoning their traditional ways of marketing and embracing digital platforms, but they are also branching out into side projects to ensure that they stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic. And this is exactly what Lesedi Mbayela, who is the founder of Prestigious H which initially helped township SMMEs with marketing, did when the pandemic struck.
His company now also does window and door frosting. Mbayela, who is from Soweto, told Vutivi News that he branded his company as a digital solutions business so that it could be more flexible. Since opening in 2014, Prestigious H has offered a range of services including graphic design, branding and frosting. “We are moving into an era where the traditional forms of marketing, such as using flyers and posters, have become redundant,” he said.
“I discovered especially that many SMMEs are not properly branded or packaged because they don’t understand what branding does for them, and we are here to change that. “Businesses normally just have a Facebook page and some pictures, but do not understand the analytics aspect of marketing,” Mbayela pointed out. He said that before he went full speed into his business, he decided to go to school and studied business management, majoring in financial accounting.
“It’s very important as a business owner to know the financial side of business,” he told Vutivi News.
He has been branding, packaging and imaging township-based businesses since the company’s conception. “We assist businesses with basic services like coming up with a business plan and a business profile, which is the CV of businesses,” he said. “We also assist them with a unique logo, knowing how important it is for companies to have their own unique image.”
Mbayela has also worked as a subcontractor for government contracts and helped the various small businesses outsource their services. However, when Covid-19 hit South Africa’s shores and companies cut their marketing budget, he needed to look for other sources of revenue. “I realised that in townships there is an age-old tradition of always preparing your house to look beautiful for the festive season,” he said.
“So, I decided to do the frosting and provide these services for doors, sliding doors and windows, and this worked very well as we now have an extra service to provide,” Mbayela said that entrepreneurship was about resilience, calculated risks and good relationships. “Business schools don’t teach the importance of keeping client relationships, and this is something you learn on your own,” he said.