To meet Tania Reid, founder of ithemba Office Solutions, is to meet a woman entrepreneur who is passionate about finding solutions for her clients’ day-to-day business operations, taking a personalised, tailor-made approach to the services she offers. Her goal is to be a trusted first port-of-call to source essential products and services on behalf of the companies she lists as her clients.
LoA met with Tania this month to find out what makes her company different and how she is building a trusted brand in the marketplace for the services she offers.
What does your company do?
Do you really have the time to find 6 or 7 different suppliers just to keep your office going? Stationery and cartridges, laptops and printers, as well as corporate gifts and clothing, isn't your core business, it's mine. Ithemba Office Solutions has positioned itself to be the Business Concierge of choice to corporates within Johannesburg in South Africa.
"I'm old-school in the sense that I appreciate personalised service and having a great client experience instead of dealing with a call centre agent and I assumed that there were more people like me."
What inspired you to start your company?
I'm old-school in the sense that I appreciate personalised service and having a great client experience instead of dealing with a call centre agent and I assumed that there were more people like me. I started my business to offer my clients the convenience of doing what they wanted to do whilst we took care of what they needed to do, enjoying a personalised service offering.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We provide the convenience of dealing with one service provider for all your office requirements. We tailor-make solutions to solve our clients problems, strive to create a great client experience and personalised service every time they deal with us. Why wouldn't you trust a company that has been growing through referrals since 2010?
"I started my business to offer my clients the convenience of doing what they wanted to do whilst we took care of what they needed to do, enjoying a personalised service offering."
Tell us a little about your team
My team is made up of Ithemba Rockstars. Morris is my reliable ambassador who will drop off your order in the most efficient and friendly manner. Grace is our supporter in keeping our office clean, answering calls and taking messages. Kendal is my admin specialist to assist with all the admin I cannot get to. We also have 2 sales agents, 007 and 008 in promotions and sales, and the head honcho, myself, creating brand awareness, building relationships and growing our client base.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My father was an entrepreneur before the word existed and my mom’s superpower was the ability to stretch money beyond human comprehension. Their legacy was one of possibility - If you worked hard and didn't allow your circumstances to dictate your future, you could do and be anything you wanted. I was in sales for over 17 years and when a disagreement with my boss resulted in her telling me that I would amount to nothing and that I sucked at sales, I decided to believe her because she was also my sister and role-model. I had never failed at anything before, so after a journey of self-discovery for about 10 years, entrepreneurship found me in 2010 and we have never been apart since.
"My father was an entrepreneur before the word existed and my mom’s superpower was the ability to stretch money beyond human comprehension. Their legacy was one of possibility."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To empower and create more concierge positions for women by growing my business. Opening a branch in Cape Town which is also my home town, and in a sense I would also be giving back to my community. Having 2-3 new branded delivery vehicles on the road and hiring more delivery ambassadors. Going digital with our service offering and becoming the first company clients think of when they want personalised service and a great client experience. Leveraging off the fact that I offer corporates a 100% black-women owned, BEE rating Level 1 contributor and a track record of service delivery.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being able to leave a legacy of possibility to my children. Being the master of my own destiny through hard work, focus and perseverance. Being to able to impart my experience and knowledge with entrepreneurs just starting out. Knowing that my clients were satisfied with the products and service provided, that we solved their problem and that we were of service to them.
We provide the convenience of dealing with one service provider for all your office requirements.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Verify all assumptions that you have made about your business before actually starting. Start a rainy day fund, because there are going to be storms that sometimes last for months. Speak to other women in your industry, speak to industry experts, and find mentors who have knowledge on all aspects of business. Ask your family to be honest about your business idea and not worry too much about hurting your feelings. Be coachable. Know how to pitch your business in 1 minute and stop making excuses about your 'small' business, all empires started off small. Women should be helping each other, collaborating with each other, referring each other, supporting each other and mentoring each other, instead of being threatened by each others' success.
Contact or follow ithemba Office Solutions
Why LoA loves it….
Finding a niche in which to build a successful business is often the key to success, and Tania Reid is one entrepreneur that has not only found her niche, but is making it her own. Her highly personalised approach to providing the highest quality of service and products to her clients is setting her apart from the rest in the marketplace and helping her to realise her vision of building a trusted and highly differentiated brand. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa