In the third episode of the TBE Podcast, we were joined by Nomndeni Mdakhi, a South African entrepreneur who started her business journey by launching a deejaying school for girls called FUSE ACADEMY in 2009.
In 2011, she launched her second business, Edits Communications, an agency that helps brands like Unilever, Brand South Africa, Castle Lager, Jameson, Ogilvy and Oros to connect with celebrities and influencers.
In 2017 she launched a conversation platform called Edits Talks which later evolved into Agenda Women. Agenda Women is an online platform curated for a tribe of modern working women looking for a community to help them navigate the evolving dynamics of being a woman.
What Inspired Nomndeni to Succeed?
For Nomndeni, it was never about the label “entrepreneur”, but rather about trying to find solutions to problems she encountered and wanting to bring along as many women as possible. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, she wasn’t initially conscious of this since her main focus at the time was going to school. However, looking back now, Nomndeni realises that the entrepreneurial connections were always around her in her community.
Once she started working, she realised that being an “employee” was not for her. She had always been intrigued by the broader business vision of what is needed to propel a company forward, how big a company could grow, what drives overarching decisions etc. She recalls a programme at the company she worked at before becoming an entrepreneur, where the executive team was experiencing ground-level issues and wanted to meet with key employees on the ground to discuss the challenges at work.
About 3000 people were working at the company, but only 18 were to be chosen for the programme. Nomndeni was motivated to participate but recalled her Manager at the time, doubting her abilities, saying that there were better people to put forward. Nomndeni submitted her resignation the following day, as she realised the space she found herself in was not working for her. Soon after that, she founded her deejaying school and enjoyed the satisfaction of her own business.
She loves creating processes, solving problems, seeing things grow and ultimately, the challenge of entrepreneurship. She says that this is what energises and drives her.
Marketing Channels and Strategies for Entrepreneurs
When it comes to marketing, Nomndeni believes that one needs to start with the basics. In other words, first identify the objectives, the audience, how many people need to be reached or converted to sell a product or service.
She says that it is vital to understand one’s customer – their location, interests, problems they want solving, daily routine, how often they will engage with one’s brand, etc. Agenda Women’s primary channel is Instagram. This is the platform that receives the strongest engagement. So instead of marketing on channels for the sake of keeping up with the latest trends, Nomndeni believes in focusing time and energy on the platform/s that actually work best for one’s brand and audience.
The podcast host, Cameron Bruce, then weighed in with some valuable insights saying, “Companies feel like they have to be on platforms like social media because most people are. However, if they aren’t putting in the right amounts of money and energy, and if their consumer/market isn’t on these platforms, it can be demoralising for a company when they don’t receive the desired activity. It can also break consumer trust when potential consumers view the company website and see such little activity.” Cameron continued along this line, saying that using just one online marketing channel properly is probably more effective than utilising a variety that consumers do not use. Nomndeni agrees with this.
Entrepreneurship is a Journey of Highs and Lows
Nomndeni says that the highs and lows of an entrepreneurial journey are essential for entrepreneurs to experience. She compares starting a business to a relationship where there are always mistakes initially as people get to know one another.
Being an entrepreneur for 11 years, Nomndeni is comfortable facing failures as these are what gives her backbone and the opportunity to grow.
Advice for Female Entrepreneurs
Nomndeni is confident that there are many opportunities for female entrepreneurs at the moment, which provide women with the freedom to create a life for themselves and their family.
She advises that entrepreneurs remain authentic and keep in mind what problem needs to be solved. They should also always strive to retain their passion for what they do.
Shared Office Space in Sandton
As with so many entrepreneurs, Nomndeni started out working from home but found that she missed being around other entrepreneurs and the creativity and excitement of talking to new people, which gave her inspiration. As a result, she recently moved into one of The Business Exchange’s prestigious office locations. She expressed how impressed she is with the beautiful and aesthetically pleasing office, meeting and events space, which resonates with her and the Agenda Women brand.
Nomndeni shared that she needs to be in beautiful spaces for her to be inspired, which was the initial factor that drove her to be in the TBE environment. She added that the professionalism and care of TBE’s staff also made her feel right at home. In addition, the constant updates that she receives from them makes her feel like part of a community – and community is at the forefront of Agenda Women’s mission.
For more information, you can visit www.agendawomen.com or visit Agenda Women on their Instagram page.