There are many ways to become an entrepreneur, one of which is by working for someone else first.
This was Msizi Mazibuko’s route. She made the leap after years in the corporate world to establish her own business, The Media Tactician, a media and marketing firm in January this year.
The company specialises in media strategy, planning, and buying. They also assist media owners with revenue generation and marketing strategy optimisation.
Igniting the spark
Four years ago Mazibuko joined MSG Afrika Investment Holdings (MSG), a media and communications group which is perhaps best known for its radio station, Power FM.
She worked alongside entrepreneurs Given Mkhari, MSG CEO and co-owner and CIO Andile Khumalo, and was the managing director of the company’s sales division. Seeing them in action encouraged her to pursue her entrepreneurial aspirations.
“Helping them realise their dreams ignited an entrepreneurial spark in me,” she says.
Becoming a mother for the first time only reinforced her desire to work for herself.
An experienced marketing pro
Mazibuko’s has over 15 years in the media industry, with a focus on media sales and marketing. With her agency she says she is hoping to put her vast experience to work by offering a more personalised service than what is widely available.
“I run a boutique agency which prides itself on understanding our clients and their business intimately. We offer services beyond what they have briefed us on.”
Key to their business model is having an thorough knowledge of their clients’ work.
“We have a very intimate relationship with our clients and we immerse ourselves in their brands, products, and services, ensuring a client-centric approach that delivers on their business objectives.
“We never pitch for business which we do not understand how their revenue is generated and what their business key performance barometer is beyond the marketing objectives. Our function as a media and marketing firm is to assist clients achieve their business objectives through marketing,” says Mazibuko.
Since the official launch Mazibuko says they have been able to secure both private and government clients. Her newest client is international Fox television network. She has also done work for smaller local companies such as Leratadima, a below the line agency.
Experience a major driver
While taking the leap from the comfort of a secure job has not been without its challenges, her corporate experience has proved to be beneficial in establishing the business, particularly in navigating the first few, often shaky, months.
Mazibuko isn’t alone. Experience has shown to be a major driver of success for entrepreneurs who start new businesses in SA.
A Seed Academy 2016 startup survey shows that most of the businesses that survive for at least two-and-a-half years after they start are run by people with more than 10 years of experience.
“It is through the corporate world that my current clients and potential customers got exposed to me as an individual, my work ethic and my [being able to deliver] in record time. The corporate world also gave me a sense of routine and being accountable, which I carried with me in my business,” says Mazibuko.
The differences between being an employee and an employer has also been a wake up call.
She has had to forgo her 9 to 5 workday mindset and become more organised and, perhaps most importantly, become more financially savvy. But the rewards have been worth it, she says.
“My business time costs more and yields more results for myself and my clients than when I was employed. Having time to think strategically and having a small supportive team to implement has helped me work smarter and yield more results financially,” says Mazibuko.
She has also come to recognise the importance of team work to her startup’s success.
“Clear weekly business targets are important to ensure continued motivation for the team and for myself as a business owner, it helps to show what we are working towards,” says Mazibuko.
Women entrepreneurs are needed
Now that she is on the other side of the corporate entrepreneurship divide, Mazibuko is keen to encourage other women in the corporate world to take a similar leap.
“I do believe though that the country’s growth trajectory relies on more female entrepreneurs to join the market. Women are resilient, can multitask and bring formidable work ethic, productivity and structure to business,” says Mazibuko.