The NSBC approached some of their Premier Members to learn more about how they approached entrepreneurship and becoming a successful small business. Today we will feature 55 Tulbagh.
Sera Von Gericke has always dreamed of turning her parent’s beautiful Cape Dutch home in Guateng into a function venue. She started working towards this dream by doing cooking classes on the side while work full-time at her husband’s engineering company. In 2016, she completed her chef’s diploma. This is when she decided to go full-time into her business. She had her opening event in February 2017 and has been growing from strength to strength. In just a few months, she has her own events venue and five employees.
Here is what she had to say about success and overcoming tough times in business.
When did you consider yourself a success?
I never earned a huge salary, but when my husband fired me I realized I made it. In reality, it meant I could stand on my own two feet now and even though it’s scary, it is also great. Furthermore, when I look back on the last 12 months and realize what I have done and how far I have come in such a short time, and how much I managed to do and am able to pay myself.
To what do you attribute your success?
My faith carried me through the hard times of night school and industry training, the great support from my husband, kids and family, sheer determination, constant hard work and a lot of self-talk. Precilla, my right hand, has always encouraged me, and pushed me to open the coffee shop, she knows me better then myself. She has been with me for eleven years and is an absolute amazing human being.
What failure taught you the most about your business and what was the lesson?
I sometimes listen to others, (like leave the fillet ten minutes longer when I know I shouldn’t) I have the diploma to show for it. Trust your own gut and don’t doubt your abilities to do something and don’t listen to others if you know in your heart what is the right answer. Just do it. Don’t wait for things to happen. Make it happen. Just go for it.
What was your best moment in business to date?
My best moment was when I went to Capsicum Chef School and spoke to the new students and encouraged them. I told them my story and what to expect. When I arrived at the chef school that day and my superiors that had trained me introduced and addressed me as “Chef”. I cannot explain that feeling. It’s just amazing getting their respect. It really made me feel so proud of what I had achieved.
What drives you to keep going when it gets tough?
It does get tough, when you have to pay salaries (and you yourself have to sometimes go without) and keep everybody motivated when you are sometimes also worried and stressed. But then I try and focus on how far we have come and how much we have done in such a short time, and I just say to myself “this too shall pass”. I shift my thoughts immediately and focus on the positive. If we did this in 18 months what will we do in another 18? The sky is the limit. I have done so many different events and functions.
Lastly, what are your success habits?
Here are five success habits I follow:
- I always try to get back to my customers on the same day, even if I have to type up a quote at one am. It is not always possible but I try.
- I have micro meetings with my staff all the time (to determine where everybody is at) and are they okay and happy.
- I review our goals all the time (what is next?).
- I keep up to date with current trends and we have to keep evolving and updating ourselves all the time.
- I remember that the customer is king and to treat everybody with respect.
Well done, Sera Von Gericke from 55 Tulbagh. We hope you will grow from strength to strength.