‘Create Value For Your Clients and Build Partnerships’ – Unathi Mkiva #ShareYourYear

Updated on 10 December 2019

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What can be achieved in a year? To find out, we asked our thought leaders to share their 2019 highs and lows. This year was spent zeroing into what their clients really want, writes Unathi Mkiva, co-founder of MKIVA Registered Auditors and UrbanSense and a registered auditor. 

What a year it has been

2019 has been a challenging, yet interesting year for business, industry, the government and international markets. It would be redundant to reflect on the year without a macro consideration of the environment we operate in and factors that affect the environment. In every market, the conditions result in gains or losses at any point in time.

The wins

Every step I take leads me in the right direction, every idea remains an idea until I turn it into a product or solution, every dream remains a dream if I do not execute.  I launched an on-demand services mobile application called UrbanSense. The App is an online marketplace for local service providers to sell their professional skills and for customers to find reliable service providers in their locality. The UrbanSense App aims to connect more than 100,000 small businesses or individual professional service providers in the next 24 months. Through the launch of the UrbanSense App, I created employment opportunities for interns to assist with marketing, IT and administration.

Small businesses have a high chance of failing within the first three to five years. This year marks five years in business and I managed to sustain my businesses for yet another year without retrenchments.

Accolades are a confirmation of positive and impactful deeds, I got recognition from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) as a ‘Top 35 under 35 CA’ finalist.

The challenges and losses

Entrepreneurs face similar challenges which are funding, access to market, economic down turn, high costs, etc., these challenges were no different for me, but access to market is what made this year more challenging. This resulted [in us] changing our customer value proposition for our products or services.

I converted some of the other business challenges into lessons.

The local economy was challenging for most businesses (the economy growing at 0.7% in some quarters), as a result, several of our clients were liquidated (voluntarily or non-voluntarily); therefore, some of our debtors were written off because of the liquidation process.

Let us make the world a better place one idea at a time

The lessons

Value proposition matters to clients more than the product or solution offered; one must have a distinct product or solutions that can add value to customers at a low to no cost in order to be competitive. Value proposition helps with customer retention. I managed to create collaboration and partnerships which helped boost our business leads and to deal with issues of access to market for our business.

As an entrepreneur, I managed to learn more, unlearned and re-learn, because of business environment changes and numerous challenges. It is for this reason I learned that people are the engine of every business and matter the most, therefore employ the right people that can support the success of your venture.

The current state of entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a lonely space in South Africa. Due to high unemployment we see, we are yet to see more people venturing into self-employment (selling of professional skills) or entrepreneurship in general. We therefore need more support from the government and financial institutions for funding, where necessary.

The way forward for entrepreneurs heading into 2020

For your business to succeed, get a business mentor or coach who will give you a bird’s eye view of your business, give guidance and affirm some of your crazy ideas. The coming year promises to be a great year for entrepreneurs, whether you operate a startup, a growing company or an established entity. Wishing all entrepreneurs well for the coming year. Let us make the world a better place one idea at a time.

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