Herman Mashaba: 15 things you can learn from South African billionaire business mogul

On the latest episode of Forbes Africa’s My Worst Day with Peace Hyde, South African hair care billionaire and founder of Black Like Me and Mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba drops knowledge.

Here are 15 things you can learn from the South African business mogul:

  1. It is important to have a strong woman as a role model – Mashaba grew up in a single parent household after he lost his father at a tender age and his mother had to raise him and his three sisters all by herself. At that early age, she showed him the value of hard work – something that has stayed with him throughout his life.

  2. You’re not a victim of your circumstances – Mashaba grew up during apartheid and because the law of the time made it illegal for black people to own businesses, it made him vow to become a business owner.

  3. If at first you don’t succeed, try a different route – Mashaba had always believed that education was the way out of poverty until he could no longer pay his tuition and had to drop out of school. He had to use going into business as a means of liberating himself from poverty.

  4. When you have nothing to lose, your options go up – Since the law of the 1980s in South Africa made it illegal for black people to own businesses, Mashaba figured he had nothing to lose and ventured into the business world anyway.

  5. Never wait for large capital injection to start a business – Mashaba started his business from the boot of his car as a sales rep until he got his big break after securing a contract from a big hair manufacturer which in turn led to him starting his own hair business.

  6. No man is an island – Mashaba recruited a group of like-minded South Africans including hiring a white man to front his business since it was illegal to own a business in South Africa as a black man.

  7. Start small, dream big – From 200 sq. feet, Mashaba’s factory has now expanded to over 6,000 sq. feet in just five years.

  8. It is only over if you say it is – one of Mashaba’s factory was once torched to the ground but he never gave up. He promised his workers that no one would lose their job and eventually rebuilt the factory.

  9. Always save for the future – Mashaba says he learnt one very important lesson during his journey and that his to always save for a rainy day – tragedy or problems could arise at any time.

  10. Never underestimate the power of negotiation – During the early days, Mashaba had no negotiate his way out of jail a lot and this helped him hone his skills as a master negotiator which in turn helped him broker some of his biggest deals.

  11. It takes time to rebuild – Mashaba said it took almost two years to rebuild his burnt factory. Patience is key when you are rebuilding.

  12. The consumer never waits – “When your products in not on the shelf, consumers will not wait for you,” says Mashaba. You must make sure you keep up your supply so your audience does not go to the competition and you remain competitive.

  13. Never give up – Mashaba says the only time he will stopping pushing is when he stops living.

  14. Problem will always come – According to Mashaba, your ability to survive is dependent on having the skill to navigate problems when they arise.

  15. Always believe in yourself – Mashaba says all you need to succeed in business is self-reliance.

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