BBL PARTICIPANT: Minaeza Baloyi, Majakaneng, Marikana, North West
In a Nutshell
Through his participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Minaeza Baloyi from Majakaneng has acquired agricultural skills, poultry skills and business training. He has applied this knowledge and created a food garden and chicken business. He also owns and operates a hairdressing salon. He is conscientiously saving in order to pay off his debts and finance new hairdressing equipment. He has a plan for future business growth and is actively teaching his daughters about money management.
I was born in Bushbuckridge but I have lived almost all of my life in Majakaneng. My parents came here because there was money to be made. Times have changed but there is still good money to be made in this community. You just need to know what you are doing.
For a long time, I didn’t know what I was doing. I opened my hair salon in 2006 and I built my current shop in 2010. For most of that time I thought that I was okay – I cut and relaxed hair and I had plenty of customers - but after attending the MyFuture programme with SocioTech I realized how much more I could have achieved. There is no point in crying about what is in the past. What is important is to see the mistakes and learn from them and do things differently going forward.
There are so many mistakes to put right. I realise now that I have spent almost 15 years running this business and not seen much growth. In the past I didn’t budget at all. I just ran the business getting money in and spending it. I would see things and buy them. If I didn’t have money I would use my accounts. And then lockdown came and that was the wake up! Even lockdown eased, my hair dryer broke and I didn’t have any savings to replace it. 2020 was very hard but it was also a time to learn lessons and I did. It opened my mind and gave me a better vision of where I was, who I am and how I want to run my businesses.
"Customers needs to know when you will be open."
I don’t only do hair. I also have two other businesses. I have my food garden (with a tunnel from SocioTech) and I do poultry. Mostly with the food garden the people who buy from me are my hair salon customers. The tunnel where I grow the vegetables is right next to the salon so they see the lettuces and ask to buy. The chickens are around the back and that takes more work.
Thanks to Mr Charles I have learnt about time management and customer service. I used to just open when I opened. Now I know that it is not respectful to the people who want your service if they come and they can’t find you. Customers need to know when you will be open. If they come and you are not there it doesn’t create a good impression. They will take that business somewhere else. Even if they don’t give their money to another salon, they will spend it on something. People are like that. When they have money, you need to be there waiting for their business. So, that’s it. I have a sign on the wall of the salon explaining that 2 hours on Sunday are God’s time and the rest of the time I am here.
"I have two big goals for this year."
I have two big goals for this year. The first is to grow the business offering. I see now that I should have been building my business and adding to the services that I offer. I have been here all this time but the service – cutting and relaxing – has stayed the same. I am determined that this year I will bring braiding and dreadlocks into my offering. Maybe nails too. Ladies want manicures so that is something I want to bring into the business. I don’t yet know how to do those things but I must grow my skills if I want to increase business.
My second goal for the year is to pay off those accounts and then close them. I am 100% sure that by the end of this year my budget will be under control. By 2023 I am going to be paid off from all of those accounts and then I will close them. I will buy with cash or do without. No more accounts.
That’s not all. I have another goal for the next two years. By 2025 I want to have built onto my shop – I want to be the only two-story hair salon in Majakaneng. Since talking to Charles, I realise that it is important to have that special something that sets you apart as a business. I can see it now – the salon in the sky, two-stories high with dreads and manicure services.
"That is good money but that only happens if you keep track of everything."
Chickens are delicate creatures and you have to know what you are doing but there is good money to be made with them. In Majakaneng the butchery is far away and expensive. People here want meat and so there is a big opportunity for selling if you can get the price right. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the business side of chickens is more complicated than vegetables or hair. You really have to keep on top of the numbers you need to calculate the amount of feed and the time from chicks to sale and keep a close eye on the amount of food or you will never make a profit.
Before I met Mr Charles, I just gave them the food and sold them and didn’t understand why I never had any money. I didn’t measure feed. Now I notice that 100 chicks need 10 bags of 50kg so when I buy 100 chicks (and lose maybe 5) I know that after 6 weeks I will make a profit of 1.9 or even 2000 Rand. That is good money but that only happens if you keep track of everything.
You need to know inputs. You also need to take your time. There are people here who use chemicals to speed up the growth of their birds. They sell after 4 weeks but those chickens don’t taste good.
Customers will notice and they won’t come back. A chicken that is without pills will take 6 weeks to grow but the flavours are better. My chickens are all natural so they are 6 week birds. The only thing I do is give them a little brown sugar in their water when they are very young to give the chicks energy.
It is complicated when you have three businesses. You need to make sure that you have different budgets for the different businesses or it is easy to get confused and not really understand where you are making money and losing money. It is complicated but it is also the way to support a family in these difficult times.
I have to focus and get it right. I have 3 daughters. They are 10, 7 and 2 years old. They look up to me. My two older girls are always in the salon. They come to see what is happening. They are very focused and always asking questions.
When they ask about the business, I always try to make time to explain. I am teaching them about saving and budgets. Every day I show them the way with my actions.