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The right bank can be the catalyst you need for business success

Raghmah Solomon is a seasoned interior designer who has been in the business for over 16 years. Specialising in the commercial sector, she founded Vortex Design Solutions in 2015 and after 7 years, is flourishing in her industry. But her journey to get there hasn’t been easy. Everything was going well until the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns struck, replacing Vortex’s busy schedule with an empty business calendar, literally overnight.

Like many new business owners, Raghmah had always avoided debt wherever possible. However, the sudden downturn left her with no option but to look for funding. She initially turned to her long- standing bank but found the process to be surprisingly tedious and the terms of the overdraft that she eventually obtained unaffordable.

Dissatisfied with her experience, Raghmah began looking for another banking partner. That search led her to a Nedbank branch in Woodstock, Cape Town. She says that she was instantly struck by how the environment in Nedbank was completely different from what she had experienced before; it was more welcoming, less rigid and infinitely more helpful. More importantly, the Nedbank relationship banker immediately made her feel valued, understood the importance of her business, and showed that Nedbank was fully invested in helping her business succeed.

But what truly made her Nedbank experience extraordinary was the unexpected cherry on top: the relationship banker gave her his personal cellphone number, reassuring her that help was just a call away, day or night. ‘Such genuine client service and attention in banking is rare’, she says, ‘and I immediately knew that I had found the banking partner I needed to help me through the challenging period and support the growth of my business into the future.’

Raghmah’s experience taught her many valuable business lessons that she loves sharing with other
business owners.

Choose a bank that’s also a business partner

Raghmah says her experience with her previous bank was heart-breaking. ‘They went from being a bank to being a debt collection agency’, she says, ‘and it made me realise how important it is for any business owner to find a bank that understands their business and its challenges, and is ready to partner with them to solve those challenges. I’m very fortunate to have found that in Nedbank.’

Never underestimate the value of good service

‘With my previous bank, I could never have hoped for the level of service I now get from Nedbank. They have repeatedly proven themselves to be a real business partner with a genuine concern for my business success. Knowing I have that trusted support from my bank has allowed me to act confidently on opportunities and grow my business exponentially.’

Look for comprehensive business mentorship

When she was facing challenges with her business, a colleague referred Raghmah to Raizcorp. She applied online for what she thought was R500 000 in financial support. But when her application was successful, she realised that she wasn’t going to receive any money, but rather business incubation and mentorship services to the value of R500 000. Despite her initial reservations, she decided to go ahead with the programme, and today she rates this as one of the best business decisions she’s ever made. ‘I was initially sceptical because I thought the Raizcorp programme was just another basic business skills learning platform; but they gave me so much practical guidance on how to put the ideas I have into practice, find ways to monetise them, and build the confidence to move forward and grow my business,’ she explains.

Make sure your bank is innovative, understands business and listens to you

‘I’m always astounded that Nedbank, which has so many business clients that are so much bigger than Vortex, takes the time to find out what I need, listens to me, and comes up with innovative solutions to my challenges,’ Raghmah explains. She points out that this level of engagement and willingness and ability to respond appropriately have been a lifeline for her business and a catalyst for its growth in the past 3 years.

Raghmah advises business owners that their business bank should be the rocket fuel that propels them upwards on a growth trajectory. ‘Once we had been through the Raizcorp incubation programme and we were ready to launch Vortex to new heights,’ she explains, ‘we could confidently go ahead knowing implicitly that Nedbank would always be there helping to drive us forward.’

She says that reliable banking support from Nedbank has been instrumental in her ability to grow Vortex from a small business that started with around R1 000 in seed capital in 2015, to a corporate business generating millions in revenue today.

‘My advice to aspiring business owners is always to make sure that you never fall into the trap of limiting yourself,’ Raghmah says, ‘and one of the best ways of avoiding limitations on your business potential is to have a bank that sees it not for what it is now, but what it could become in the future. For me, Nedbank is that bank.’

To partner with a bank that takes your small business seriously, call us on 0800 116 400 or send an email to smallbusinessservices@nedbank.co.za.

Nedbank is a proud National Partner of the NSBC

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