Tania Moonsammy owns The Business Concierge
Name: Tania Moonsammy
Company: The Business Concierge
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
My dad has been the root of my drive and inspiration to become an entrepreneur. As a young girl I grew up watching him work hard, running his own business. He sold fruit door-to-door in our community. He started with one vehicle and scaled up his business to 5 vehicles, serving different suburbs in Cape Town. He was an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember and my role model. He instilled the entrepreneurial spirit in me, so starting my own business came so naturally to me.
How did you come up with the idea of starting the business concierge?
When I worked as a flight attendant for South African Airways, I used to buy products from all over the world and sell them at home to family, friends and associates. I brought home shampoos from the USA, t-shirts from Bangkok and handbags from Germany. It was just a small informal business, yet it encouraged me to look for bigger opportunities. After doing some market research, I found out that corporates have to deal with so many suppliers for their office requirements. What if I offer those multiple services all at once and start a one-stop-shop for all their office requirements? I saw a gap in the market and I took advantage of it. That’s how the Business Concierge was born in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.
What makes your business unique?
We supply all office requirements that corporates need, from stationery and cartridges to branded gifts and face masks, whilst offering great delivery and personalised service. Now the world of work has changed, and so many people work from home, we also offer a one-stop-shop for all home requirements. Especially, women who work a lot and don’t have much time, are interested in having a personal shopper who does the grocery for them at all the different shops. Our personal shoppers are in direct communication with the client to make sure we deliver exactly the products they’ve asked for within 24 hours. The concept of the Business Concierge is offering a solution for our clients. In this case we solve their problem: a lack of time.
What kind of support do you need most as entrepreneur?
If I have to choose one thing, I would say access to new markets through referrals. Acquiring new business is very time-consuming and especially challenging during this pandemic, where there is a lack of personal contact. I believe referrals are key to ensuring long-term success. Prospects who are referred to you are less hesitant to work with you since they trust the referral source. Of course, you hope that existing clients spread the good words about your company, but it would also help – for example – if an organisation like AWIEF could refer and connect their AWIEF Alumni to their network of corporates. Maybe that would be a business opportunity that AWIEF can offer on this new AWIEF Community in the future.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is that I can serve as a role model for the future generation of women entrepreneurs. I hope my success serves as motivation and inspiration for other females to also start their own business and follow their dreams. Entrepreneurship has also no age barrier. If you are passionate, you can start a business at any age. A while ago I spoke to an elderly woman who told me, after a presentation I gave, that my story gave her the courage to start her own home baking business. It’s so fulfilling to be able to inspire other women and show them that if I can do it, they can do it!
Entrepreneurship enables you to dream big?
For sure you can dream as big as you want. Apart from a door-to-door delivery service I also want to build an online one-stop grocery shop. It basically means we will become an intermediary between the grocery shops and our clients. My dream is to hire a lot of women, so I can offer my clients a team of personal shoppers in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I’m thinking of recruiting flight attendants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, but also vulnerable women who are looking for a change to turn their life around. I’m going to build a company, black-owned and managed, with only females. My ultimate dream is to empower lots of women and impact their lives in a positive way.
If you have once piece of advice to give to other female entrepreneurs it would be?
Stop selling yourself short! We women hold ourselves back. We think we aren’t experienced or skilled enough when in fact we are. We have our own skills and strengths and we should not try to act like men and fit their model. Women excel in other skills that are also beneficial to run a successful business. Let’s stop selling ourselves short and dare to make a difference. Success requires that you believe in yourself and you know how to pitch your business idea. If you don’t believe in your own business or products, who will?