Mama’s Spices & Herbs: 10 Smart Start-Up Strategiesadmin
In 2011, Mikie Monoketsi had lost everything – her call centre business and marriage. Having read Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, she made a life altering decision.
I decided to stop worrying about the future and how to turn things around, and just start with something in the now.
For her, that started with getting out of bed and hitting the gym. It didn’t just get her back in shape and feeling good about herself, it was a networking place that launched her entrepreneurial career.
Start-up tactic #1
Find an accessible market
I know that the township market is huge and very lucrative if you have the right offering. As a lover of health, fitness and lifestyle I was surprised at how many people in the townships are misinformed about spices and seasoning and their health benefits.
From this, I realised a need to educate the township market. Through my research I discovered that the spices customers used by townships are cheap and of poor quality, with high levels of salt, MSG, preservatives, additives and bulking agents – which all negatively impact health and contribute to high levels of hypertension and diabetes.
Start-up tactic #2
Get on the ground and get talking
I come from a PR background and I find it very easy to talk to and build relationships with people. I started with informal research in Diepsloot, Randfontein, Cosmo City and Lion Park where I’d park the car, talk with people and visit their kitchens – some of which really shocked me, but you’ve got to humble yourself to people from all walks of life. Through this research I learnt what they were cooking – skop, mogodu, maotwana, kota (cows head, intestines, chicken feet, bunny chow), potato chips, fish, braai, stews and curries and fried chicken.
This gave me the idea to create my own unique blend of healthier spices that would complement these foods that are already consumed, but offer better quality, with health benefits, and at an affordable price. I’d also use their feedback to adjust recipes to their liking.
Start-up tactic #3
Approach existing businesses to get started
I didn’t want to be like so many other would-be entrepreneurs who procrastinate because they don’t have the resources to start big.
I approached an existing spice manufacturer with the relevant certification including Kosher, Halaal and ISO ratings, and they began blending my unique spice recipes. Now we’re producing approximately 1,2 tonnes of spices monthly for Mama’s Spices & Herbs