“I remembered a story once told to me
about the Chinese Bamboo: Even if it is watered daily it does not appear to grow. But below the surface the tree first grows a solid root foundation.”
Formally employed as a Security Guard at a Golf Club in Johannesburg, and, not being content with where I was, I decided to leave the security industry to become a golf caddy. This ultimately landed me a job at the Golf Club Pro Shop as a Sales Assistant. After a couple of years at the Pro Shop, I then moved into a career in the shipping industry where I worked as an admin clerk for two different companies, for 5 years and 8 months respectively.I then left the shipping industry and had a couple of months with no income. One day I received a letter from the Sheriff of the Court stating that I had outstanding payments which I had to settle – this made me realise that I needed to get my act into gear. This was the final factor that motivated me into owning my own business today.
A Dream Is Born
Fortunately at the time I still owned a car. I had the option of selling it and paying off my debt but I was not willing to do so. During the time I had worked at the Golf Club I recalled hearing the conversations of the members about how unreliable transport services were. I then thought of starting my own reliable transfers business. So in October 2006, I finally decided that I would be my own boss.
I printed and distributed some business cards to the members at the Golf Club hoping to get some quick business, but much to my dismay, it took weeks for me to get my first transfer. The first enquiry I had was whether I had Vehicle and Passenger Liability Insurance. Not something I had considered! I realised I had a lot to learn. I worked closely with some travel agencies which enabled me to improve and gather more knowledge with regards to all requirements and other facets surrounding the Taxi / Transfers / Shuttle business. The more time I invested in research and networking, the more I realised how much work I actually had to do in order to get my business off the ground.
Sleepless nights and long days followed. My phone did not ring. I decided to send messages to some members of the Golf Club, whose numbers I had in an old diary that I owned when I was working there. It took a while but I eventually received a call from one of the members, and that marked the start of a difficult, but rewarding and successful career.
Persistence Paves The Way
Even though I had a little business, it was nowhere near where I wanted it to be, so I took drastic action. Armed with my pride and a pocket full of business cards I set off in search of new business. I knocked on the doors of some companies in my area and handed out my business cards. Slowly things started to fall into place as it seemed my perseverance started to pay off. I was a little discouraged, but it was at that time I remembered a story once told to me about the Chinese Bamboo: Even if it is watered daily it does not appear to grow. But below the surface the tree first grows a solid root foundation. It takes five years for the tree to eventually grow its leaves above the ground. My lesson? You first have to build your foundation by marketing yourself and creating your network. It is on this you can eventually build a successful business. Patience, persistence and hard work will pay off in the end.
I owe a lot of my success to word-of-mouth and have realised that it is an incredibly powerful tool, but it can only achieve success on this basis that you run a reputable business; one that people are willing to recommend to their friends, family and business colleagues.
It has been an incredible journey for me. I have received much advice and inspiration from friends and business associates along the way. I believe my honesty, ethics, responsibility and intelligence have brought me to where I am today. I strive to ensure that my business is run with the upmost integrity. I am motivated to ensure that I am always reliable and punctual, and I ensure that my customers’ needs are taken care of efficiently.
I am proud to say that I run a successful transfers business today. I have two vehicles, one van and one sedan, which can comfortably seat 8 and 6 passengers respectively. I work around the clock, and I am just a phone call away.
I am still not at a level of business that I am satisfied with. I have some exciting plans for the future, and I am ready to take my business to the next level. I have set my sights on creating strong corporate customer relationships, by providing a one-stop-shop for all their travel needs. I have provided transport for many foreign clients, and would hope to expand that customer base significantly. My transfers business is built on the premise that I provide safe and comfortable services, anytime, every time. This sets me aside from the normal, everyday taxi services that are on offer today. For me, it’s my business and I take it very seriously, but I will ensure that the personal needs of my customers are always prioritised, and they receive the highest quality of service that I can provide.