‘Persistence key to business success’
ALICIA Motšoane’s has been a remarkable journey of growth from the young girl that looked up to her businessman father, the young woman who sold clothes she imported from Johannesburg, South Africa to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Prestige Furniture and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services.
Ms Motšoane (56) teamed up with business partners to start Prestige Furniture in 1998 and Sentebale Gap Funeral Services 1999.
“I consider him my role model,” Ms Motšoane said of her father who owned a butchery in Mafeteng and also sold other things.
“I have always liked selling and ever since I was a young girl I always wanted to be a business woman.
“My late father was my role model who taught me the basics of business which have always been a part of me. It is what I’m very passion about.
“I started selling clothes from a very young age I would always be in Johannesburg, South Africa where I eventually met up with my business partner.”
She said Prestige was a very small company that used to sell used furniture in Mafeteng.
“As for Sentebale it grew out of my desire for new challenges in my professional career and it has been a very fruitful partnership thus far.”
She suffered a setback when the first Prestige stores in Maseru burnt down in 2011 but emerged stronger through the support and prayers of the community.
She also credits the counseling she received for getting her through that difficult period.
“I’m a person that prays a lot and I’m also fortunate to have the support of the community and pastors from various churches who came to pray for me. It is very important to have a support system. I had a lot of personal counselling and support during that challenging period.”
She said that being a CEO was about being hands on and doing most of the ground work, giving her time and dedication to day to day running of the businesses.
“I do a lot of the merchandising, even clean the store and go as far as meeting with bereaved families at Sentebale. I even attend some funerals to give support to the families. I often interact with my clients and regularly greet them when they come to collect their loved ones for burial.
“The role I play is not an easy one because I dread making decisions that affect people’s lives and wellbeing. As a CEO I carry the livelihood of several families on my shoulders; that is why the worst part of my job is having to discipline or dismiss people. I wish there was another way around it.”
She said the business world required persistence and faith in one’s vision to shape the future.
“Most people make the mistake of relying on government yet the government is only there to facilitate business.
“You need to take charge of your business and play your part in providing services, products and creating employment in the country.
She emphasised that for a company to be successful there was a need to continuously train staff.
“The most important thing a businessperson can do is to enhance the skills of their staff through training. I believe in training; I go for training and it has helped in the day to day running of my companies. I encourage other entrepreneurs to invest in it; I believe that it is never too late to learn something new or enhance one’s skills.”
Her vision for the future is to expand her businesses and own a lot of property and land in Lesotho.
“My goal is to have a mall and own a lot of property. I first have to acquire a lot of land to do that; which I will hopefully do within the next five years.”