Ms Zama Phakathi is the vibrant CEO and 100% owner of one of the leading Media Management, Publicity and PR Companies in Durban, Splendid Marketing & Communications.
Tell us about yourself
I am a young,vibrant and bubbly woman from KZN. Born and bred in Hammersdale. I have spent most of my career working in Marketing, my last job being the Marketing & Communications Manager of the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry. I am a go-getter and a very driven person. I do believe everyone has a purpose to fulfill and we shouldn’t limit ourselves. You can always do better than where you currently are and achieve more.
How did Splendid Marketing start?
I was inspired by various business people I interacted with while I was with Durban Chamber of Commerce. I used to interact with a lot of entrepreneurs and many of them would encourage me to go into my own business because of the professionalism and commitment I had for my job. As more and more people continued saying the same thing, i gave it a try. I started the business on a very small scale doing consulting and I realized it’s something that can be done. I decided to go into it full time, started working with the few clients I had and later grew, to have my own office and staff.
Do what you like to do because your business is your daily life, it is important that you enjoy it
Tell us briefly about Splendid Marketing?
Splendid Marketing and Communications is a well-recognized and preferred service provider of vibrant Marketing, Media Management, Publicity, Communications, Event Management and Project Management solutions, and we continue to strive for distinctive quality services. Splendid Marketing is a 100% Black female owned Marketing and Communications agency.
What are some of your most challenging projects?
One of the challenges you come across as a business person and entrepreneur is that you have to be a jack of all trade. You are the finance manager, hr manager caring for the staff and people you work with; you also have to deal with business development and the execution of projects. So it’s quite challenging.
How have you overcome this challenge as an entrepreneur?
I work long hours. I told myself failure is not an option. Its all about prioritizing and telling yourself that long hours are imperative to get things done. I have always had the drive to get things done.
What are some of your strengths as a company?
All PR and marketing companies have their own strengths and unique selling points. One of our strengths as a business is we deliver. We do not take projects we cannot execute effective, efficiently and to the client’s taste. We at Splendid try to maintain a good rapport with our clients and customers. I’m also very fussy about professionalism. From how you portray yourself in a meeting, to your corporate identity and branding and how you execute your projects, everything must be done in a professional manner.
Can you comment on problems facing women in business in SA?
Historically, women have always been secondary in getting opportunities in the business environment but times are changing and the historical challenge is transforming nicely. People are getting to appreciate now that women can be in control and in leadership positions. I think its how you conduct and present yourself that matters. It is no longer about gender; it’s more about how you portray yourself as a business person. If you go in as a strong, assertive woman who inspires confidence in other people, they will take you seriously.
Plans for Splendid for the future?
We are expanding gradually. We are setting up an office in Johannesburg and look forward to going into other provinces. We recently started Splendid IT in KZN, where we provide ICT solutions to clients. In the next five years, we are looking at diversifying into other interests and also doing more business in other African countries.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be thought of as someone who inspired people and changed how women think. There is a mentality of women being lazy and dependent on men. I would love to be seen someone who proved the myth wrong; that you can be independent as a woman and still be happy and fulfilled.
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration is my parents. I come from an entrepreneurial family with my parents being in business all their lives. My dad is from humble beginnings, he worked like everyone for a company where he labored without getting much pay, but he decided to start his business on a small scale selling things. He grew from there to own grocery stores, butcheries, salons and was able to provide his family with the good things of life. I say to myself, if my dad could do it at that time, when doing business as a black person was difficult, it will be a crime for me if I can’t do the same for my family and others. When my parents are happy, I’m happy.
Your message to women looking to start their own businesses?
Know your passion and understand where your talents are in life. Do what you like to do because your business is your daily life, it is important that you enjoy it. It is also important to ask people who are in front of you. You cannot buy experience; you should consult and try to learn from other people. Always surround yourself with intelligent people. Growing a business is challenging, nothing comes easy but it can be done.