Sanelisiwe Zwane is a 27-year-old young social entrepreneur who hails from Newcastle in Kwa Zulu Natal. She holds a B tech in Internal Auditing and yet runs a growing business in the property and hospitality sector. She is the founder and director of Sinesan Trading which consist of an Advisory and Consulting firm, a Guesthouse and various rental properties. She sat down with Blazon Magazine to discuss her expanding business activities and doing business in the covid-19 era.
From Auditing student to an Entrepreneur, how did the journey in business begin?
The business journey to Sinesan Trading is quite a funny story actually, I was a trainee Internal Auditor for a period of two years, during those years I was eager to absorb all knowledge and experience which I possibly could, little did I know that the same knowledge and experience will help me today to turn Sinesan Trading to the roaring success that is it
I woke up one day and felt as if I no longer served my purpose in life and I knew I had a higher calling. The same morning, I walked into my boss’s office and told her that I am resigning. Her question to me was, did you find a better employer? I answered yes, myself. That for me was taking a step of faith because I was leaving a safety net to step into the unknown. A voice in my head asked, do you think a 24-year-old girl from KZN can build the empire you have in your head in Gauteng overnight? I had my doubts but through it all I trusted God.
To my surprise as I was serving my one month employment notice, I get a phone call from Mr.John Chiume who is also my mentor today and he asked if I was interested in assisting SMEs contracted under the small enterprise development agency (SEDA) with their financial management systems. From there, Sinesan Consulting and Advisory service was established.
My main motto in life is, black children let us learn to create generational wealth that will stand even after we are no more.
On that note, I purchased land and built my first house in my home town Newcastle, at the age of 25. That is where my passion for property development started. At the Age of 26 I opened up my own guesthouse and built a residential rental facility. I am currently working on my fourth property which will focus on long term rental facilities and holiday homes.
How important is mentor ship in business? Especially for young black entrepreneurs
I believe mentorship as a black entrepreneur is critical, as black entrepreneurs most of us did not grow up in a business environment. No one taught us what to do when it comes to business. The system taught us to go to school, get an education and then look for a job in order to make ends meet in life. So mentorship serves as a guiding light. It helps founders avoid costly pitfalls and amateur mistakes by learning from other peoples’ mistakes. I was mentored by my mother Ms Thembi Jiyane.
Who are your Top 5 black entrepreneurs who motivate you?
Tell us about your guesthouse
Sinesan Guesthouse was established in 2019 and is situated in the heart of the upmarket suburb of Three Rivers Vereeniging, Gauteng. Sinesan Guesthouse offers the perfect balance of tranquillity. We offer 7 luxurious rooms which feature queen beds, ensuite bathrooms, fridge, microwave, tea station, flat screen TV, DSTV, CCTV, complimentary free Wi Fi, an outdoor swimming pool, dining hall dart games, garden, and entertainment area.
Name one special thing about your guesthouse that differentiates it from others?
My guesthouse offers a fresh dynamic approach to the hospitality industry. It offers the perfect location, great facilities and friendly well trained staff, It has won three awards to date namely:
- Travellers choice award 2020 from Booking.com.
- Voted the best value establishment in the Vereeniging area 2020 from Afri Stay.
- Received the travellers choice award from Hotels.com with a 8.6/10 review score.
The Property and Hospitality business usually requires substantial capital in the beginning. How did you scale that barrier as a young black lady?
I had to compromise my personal lifestyle and scale down. I remember after landing my first job which paid quite well, I bought the cheapest car in the market just to take me from point A to B. My peers at that time were driving the latest sport cars while I applied for my first home loan in order to penetrate the property market. It was a difficult and stressful situation but at the end of the day it paid off. Sometimes in life we have to make temporary sacrifices in order to reach our dreams and unleash the potential from within.
Any tips for someone who wants to start in the property business?
Property is by far the best investment one can make, it is rather expensive to acquire but it is worth every cent if utilized properly. My advice would be start small by acquiring a vacant land if need be then work your way to the top. Look at the various financing options which are available, but be careful not to over in-debt yourself. Property is an asset that you can pass onto the next generation.
How do you deal with competition in your industry?
First and foremost, I always pray for my business, I always ask God to intervene at all times. Secondly keeping up with the latest international trends and using them as a benchmark to always remain relevant. Guest reviews are your greatest feedback as they give you a reflection of your client’s perspective on your business and always remembering that the customer is always right; client satisfaction is a must. That way you are always a step ahead of your competitors.
What’s the average day of a young business lady like?
An average day is quite hectic! Being a business owner means you have to work twice as hard as anyone else in order to ensure that all goes well. I also enjoy to assist the community on understanding financial literacy and share financial insights on Top Radio (which is streamed in over 54 countries) and Hope FM to better educate and assist people with financial education. I also mentor young and upcoming women in business.
What can you say about tourism in the Vereeniging area?
It has a lot to offer but there is still room for improvement, quite a number of tourists visiting Vereeniging on an annual basis because of the tourism attractions it has to offer. More development and support for small businesses is still required from government.
What places will you advice people to visit around the area?
I would advise people to firstly visit my guesthouse for an exquisite stay! Activities to do around such as: Sharpeville memorial centre, skydiving, Vaal river boat cruises, hot air ballooning, Dell cheetah centre, Vaal de grace nature, hiking just to name a few.