#WIB – Q&A With Nomthandazo Vena Kalani Owner Of Engen Cape Road

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. I run a franchise company, in the fuel industry, which is Engen located in Port Elizabeth Gqeberha, Cape Road.

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

A. After a messy divorce and finding myself as a victim of a car accident that left me with 3 screws in my spine and looking at what a mess my life was, I realized I had to do something. First thing I had to claim money at the road accident fund. However, I realized the money would not be able to look after my children and myself. I then had an idea to search for something I could find that would provide us with a steady income.

Running a fuel station became a viable opportunity because it was an industry, I had been in for such a long time, and I knew it well enough for it to provide me with a steady income and the opportunity to look after myself and my children. After multiple attempts at a business plan and eventually applying I was offered an interview, and regardless of how sideways I thought my interview went Engen Petroleum offered me the fuel station.

3. What is your role in your business?

A. Because of the nature of what I do, I prefer to do a lot of things that I can possibly do myself. I am the owner as well as the manager and back-office lady. I also do it because there is not much to outsource because of the size as well.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. I dropped out of school at 17 because of various matters including poverty that I mention in my book precious stones within our flaws and because of that I never obtained my matric certificate until much later which I am truly proud of. Sometimes things don’t happen the first time but when life gives you another opportunity you take it. As a result, at about 42 I enrolled myself into Khanyisela College and I received my equivalent to a matric known as a Generic Management. I also got an opportunity through Engen to get more education and I attended a short course at Stellenbosch University.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. As I aforementioned through the money, I obtained from the road accident fund I managed to finance my business.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. My average day starts early in the morning I wake up at half past 5 each day and prepare myself by working out which is taking a walk with my husband. I come back prepare myself and my home and leave home for work at about half 8 even 9 depending on what home chores I need to take care of. I normally get to work and do my routine, check my sales, and fuel volumes, and check if they balance. Then go on to deal with the finances of the previous day and check them to ensure they are balanced. I also capture the financial findings of that day which will all end up going to the accountant at the end of the month.

This is very routine but because I do a lot of things myself each day can change as well depending on if I have meetings or if there is a crisis. But if everything goes well, I manage to knock off work at half 5 but based on the industry I am in just because I am home, doesn’t mean that my work ends, sometimes I must wake up in the middle of the night to deal with a crisis.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. Based on the routine I created for myself which I mentioned above if all goes smoothly excluding odd days where there happens to be a crisis. I can balance my home and work life quite well because of the routine. A routine and schedule is so important in order to create that balance.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. Honestly, nothing drives me more than my background being born in immense poverty, like me suffering from kwashiorkor as a baby due to malnutrition issues it drives me to steer further and further away from that life, and because of that, it drives me to want more for myself. What inspires me is my children they inspire me to be a better person each day they inspire me to want more for myself and fulfill my dreams.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. Conversations with my family but especially my son since obtaining his MBA, he sees the world in a different light and because of that, he influences us as a family and especially me in various ways. Because of the influence, he plays in various conversations I tend to find that my best ideas come out of those conversations we have.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. Because I run a franchise such as Engen a lot of our marketing is already done for us, however, my biggest responsibility is to ensure that I provide the service that is up to Engen’s expectations.

11. What is next for your business?

A. As I mentioned I do a lot of the business running’s myself, but since writing and publishing my book, my goal is creating a business that is less in need of me so I can follow other aspirations that I have which is truly pushing the sales and marketing of my book. And eventually, go back to school and educate myself a little bit more.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

A. To any woman wanting to step into business I would say to them, be ready to have sleepless nights when you start your business and be ready to devote yourself to your business because it truly is like a newborn baby. Another piece of advice I would provide is don’t be afraid to know your business like the back of your hand because in that way you ensure you can catch it early if it’s going downhill and you will know how to fix any problem that may occur.

Brief Bio

Nomthandazo Vena Kalani is a self-taught fuel retail businesswoman. She has honed her skills in “the school of life” and has garnered the respect of her peers for her resilience and strength in the face of adversity. She is happily married to Xolani Amos Kalani and has three children, two girls, and a son.

Her philosophy is that you only have today, and you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. In essence, live today as if it were your last, because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Nomthandazo motivates herself when she is stressed or under pressure by constantly reminding herself that she has had better days. Nomthandoza looks forward to Fridays because it means she can spend time with her family, worship God, and go on Sunday beach drives.

Nomthandazo’s biggest accomplishment or source of pride is her journey. Recognizing herself for overcoming her fears. Her greatest achievement is writing her first book Precious stones within our flaws because she now realise writing her story has given her the necessary healing to reclaim her freedom.

Social Media Links

Instagram https://instagram.com/precious.stones.within?utm_medium=copy_link
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/precioustoneswithinourflaws/

Website https://preciousstone.co.za/

Whatsapp 073 269 0983