Believing in myself is what counts

Seshme Holloway | JRS Solutions

After I had my third child, I wanted to be a bit more flexible (I had a demanding job back then) so I started my business in October 2008 selling stationery and IT consumables to government hospitals and other public enterprises. My husband was also running a business at that time and we decided to combine our strengths – my administrative and his technical expertise – and work together under my company. We wanted to provide business solutions and tailor-made services to our clients.

Security solutions, including access control and CCTV, is a very specialised, male-dominated industry and there are a lot of big competitors. In the beginning, I had no clue about ICT technology and, when I attended tender briefings, it was very difficult to understand what the client wanted so I wrote everything down, took lots of pictures and relied on other competitors to give me input before going back and giving my husband the information. Getting a foot in the door was extremely difficult and cash flow was a major problem (banks wouldn’t finance us even if we had a purchase order). Most of the time, our creditors financed our projects.

In 2015, I attended a Business Women’s Association breakfast where Raizcorp did a presentation. I was attracted to the beating Blue Heart (what entrepreneurs need to succeed) and decided to apply for the programme. I was looking to provide services in the petroleum industry and when I found out the programme was sponsored by Engen, I jumped at it.

The programme helped me to grow in leaps and bounds on a personal level. Most of my fellow entrepreneurs were professional people who studied and worked in their respective fields, while I did not have a degree and was not an expert in the service my business was offering. This made me feel insecure and inhibited me, especially when I was presenting the business … I did not own it in my heart. Raizcorp helped me to take ownership and be bold and confident in what I was selling. They taught me that I do not have to be an expert; as long as I have a good product and services, the sky is the limit for me. Believing in myself is what counts.

When I started on the programme in 2015, we had a staff of eight and we now employ 13 people. Our fleet has grown from three to seven vehicles, and our turnover has grown by more than four times. We have recently installed specialised automation equipment for an international client at South African ports, and are hoping to install and maintain similar equipment in ports across Africa. We have also received growth funding from Engen through Edge Growth and are hoping to become one of their suppliers. We have found a niche in the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) market; we are the KZN-preferred agents and recommended installers for Boomgate Systems based in Gauteng, and we are focusing on getting other OEMs on board to grow our maintenance contracts.

If an aspiring entrepreneur asked for my advice, I would tell them never give up and never stop learning. The journey is not easy; there are mountain-top experiences and valley experiences. You will always be faced with challenges, but the experience gives you an opportunity to learn and grow. Never think you have arrived because there is always more to achieve and, whatever you do, think of how it will impact the generations to come. Don’t live just for yourself and your family.

I will be forever indebted to the Raizcorp team for their unconditional love and support, and for the impact they have made in my life.

I would like to thank Engen for sponsoring me on their programme over a  period of three years. Thank you for investing into our future and unlocking the great potential within JRS Solutions.