Inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and business coach extraordinaire – Ronnie Masilela is not only driven by his desire to contribute to the local economy, but also his passion for people and community development. His journey starts, as related to the story of many, in humble beginnings. He was raised by a single mother as one of eight children, struggling to get by. When consulted about this experience, he expressed, “I know what it means to go without, to have unripe fruit as food and to go to school without shoes…” Despite the cards he was dealt as a child, he persevered to become the exemplary figure he is now.
Today he is affectionately known as “RonMas” and notes his extensive interest in various aspects of business. “I have a serious interest in money and whichever form it comes in – as long as it is legitimate!” he exclaims. He started doing business in 2006 and when acquiring his MBA, he placed a particular focus on examining what causes small businesses to fail within 24 months of inception. As an entrepreneur in this light, he makes the following commentary: “Be consistent”, “Enquire from those who have gone before you, whether they succeeded or failed”, “Learn from others’ and your failures”, “Financial management is a key factor” and lastly “Be patient, a name is built over time”.
RonMas Media is a company of his own inception within which he provides business and life coaching, motivational speaking and product endorsement services. In 2018, he hosted the first ‘Annual Mpumalanga Business and Investment Seminar’ which aims to help entrepreneurs conceive and execute practical ideas, grow existing businesses, improve profitability, provide knowledge on accessing financial help in government and private sectors and to provide a valuable networking opportunity. The type of network that one has will significantly impact any business either negatively, or positively. It is therefore fundamental to “keep your business relevant and make sure that key voices are talking about it”, he states, “view your competitors as people who will complement your business rather than threaten it.”
For years Mr Masilela worked for various sectors of government as a spokesperson and head of communications, it is imperative to hear his views on the relationship between the Government and (especially aspiring) entrepreneurs. This is what he had to say,
“There is never enough information going down to the people, many are in need of services or resources that are actually already made available to them by the government. Seemingly there is either misinformation or a lack of information altogether on how to access assistance from the portals that exist. There is a widespread and false assumption that you need ‘connections’ to actually do business or receive assistance from government, which has steered deserving entrepreneurs away. The truth is that business, like any other career, comes with rejection and requires one to persist and keep knocking on every door possible until one surely opens. Government provides both financial and non-financial support, so I encourage entrepreneurs to be on the lookout and take advantage of these. Several agencies of the state, such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), are also there to assist as far as they can.”
The involvement of businesses in community development and charity has been at the forefront of bringing change to underdeveloped areas and Mr Masilela subscribes to the importance of giving back. He notes that “I am a product of the assistance of many people including pastors, teachers, community leaders … etc.; and I would like to prevent others from experiencing the hardships that I did as much as possible.” Along with former schoolmates, he started the ‘Mthombo Alumni Association’ which has connected over 600 young learners to universities to-date. It also provides career guidance to senior secondary students, to ensure that they are able to build a clear career path for themselves. Furthermore, he is the co-founder of a Zwelisha-based community organisation for youth development, which targets out of school youth and provides them with soft skills including interview and computer skills. Since being founded, the daily running of the organisation has been handed to the young people of the community and continues to link their peers to employment and self-employment opportunities.
As noted earlier, the esteemed Business and Life Coach also dedicates his time to sharing his inspirational words and general philosophy with the public. RonMas is regularly granted an audience with Voice of Hope FM, BCR FM and K radio. He also speaks at events hosted by the Government and Private Sectors, as well as church organisations. Through these platforms he imparts wisdom and much needed knowledge on his fields of expertise.
As a role model and coach to the youth and aspiring business people, he offered some nuggets as his parting wisdom:
- “Action It” – A building plan does not build a house, he who acts upon the plan builds it.
- “Mind your words” – Words create, and when you open your mouth, nature opens its ears. So speak positively about yourself and your business.
- “Avoid Procrastination” – Execute your ideas at the exact time that you were meant to. Procrastinating could eat away at your dreams.
- “Learn to Delegate”– You can’t do everything. Allow capable individuals to take some responsibility off your shoulders.
- “Manage your time wisely”
- “Make strategic associations” – For the benefit of yourself, and your business.
Mr. Ronnie Masilela is undoubtedly a noteworthy figure in the local business and community building realm. He has worked at building his brand and positively making his mark in the province. He invests in the formal and informal education of the next generation and goes to prove that where your journey begins does not determine where it ends.