After graduating in 2015, Motla started several agricultural businesses, none of which thrived to the extent that he would have hoped. Last year, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, he ventured into a completely different field, selling branded clothes.
Though his fashion business is growing, Motla says agriculture remains his first love. His aim is to use the fashion business because it generates profit faster so that he can fund the farm and get more livestock.
“Agriculture still remains my number one priority. Running another business is just one way of creating an additional source of income. Livestock farming needs patience; it will be a while still before the farm becomes sustainable. For now, I will run both businesses,” he says.
The clothing business seems to be working well and is giving him the time and funds needed to run the farm. “I joined forces with someone who used to work at a clothing warehouse and we formed a partnership. We buy branded clothes from big factories and sell them directly to the public,” he adds.
“Our business approach is simple: it’s a standard buy and sell business model. We stock clothes at a certain price, do a markup, and resell. When we do that, we consider how much we bought an item for and also include other indirect costs so that we can make a reasonable profit.”
The Pretoria-born entrepreneur has learnt a thing or two from his two failed businesses. He is rising up again and has managed to secure land, which was donated to him by the Ndebele King so that he can farm and employ locals.
“I have a few goats and sheep that I managed to buy from the profit I made. I hope to increase the number by the end of the year. I go to auctions to interact with established farmers and also to check how the livestock market is doing. I’m also a member of the Walmanthal Farmers Forum, a group of local farmers who assist each other when one needs help. We also share opportunities and help each other to prevent livestock theft.”
Motla’s advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to never stop learning and to be aware of business trends - especially the changes that technology brings. “It is important to do research so you can always have access to new opportunities every day. Never stop knocking on doors - they do open eventually as long as you are persistent. Be ready for that change all the time and be willing to change, what worked for you yesterday might not work for you today,” he adds.
“Find yourself a mentor who has a business in the same field as you. This will help you to learn faster with less mistakes because you will have received first-hand advice.”
Motla was recently elected as an additional member of the UMP Gauteng Alumni Chapter Committee.
“I've tasked myself with recruitment and promoting the UMP brand. There are actually quite a number of former students who are originally from other provinces, but now live in Gauteng. I’m hoping to track them all down and get them to join the Chapter. This would be one way of increasing the UMP brand and presence in Gauteng. Together we will become stronger to create more opportunities for our alumni all over South Africa.”
@ Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.