Black Like Me founder Herman Mashaba’s advice for entrepreneurs

4. Surround yourself with good people

“For me, from day one in my business career I have always believed in partnership so I have always believed that I am a human being, I am fallible, I have made lots of mistakes, and I’m not complete,” he emphasises. “So to complement myself I always believe that I must surround myself with other people [who can assist in business]… and I look after good people.”

5. Establish at home before expanding into Africa

Mashaba advises entrepreneurs to first establish their products or services in their home market before exporting or expanding into other African countries.

“First establish at home because, going into exporting, you really need to be someone with a strong balance sheet because the dynamics are not the same,” he says. “You have to decide when you can export but my advice is by the time you start thinking about going into exporting, make sure that you have a strong balance sheet.”

6. Work hard, work hard, work hard

“If you decide to go into business and the entrepreneurial space then you need a hard work mentality… There is no way of doing away with it. You need to be someone who is really prepared to work, and work exceptionally hard.”

Mashaba says that when he first started Black Like Me he thought about work even when he was sleeping and has never believed in the 8am-5pm work day.

“As I say, it’s something that is very obvious but it’s important for people to really bear this in mind, and if you are going into business you must understand the consequences.”