Many small businesses struggle with administration, and often feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks that need to be done. In South Africa, one company is providing an efficient answer for its clients. Amara Consulting Solutions, founded by Bame Mabuse, is providing a range of Virtual Administrative Support to take away the stress and the hassle of routine admin.
LoA learned more about this specialist support service from founder Bame Mabuse.
What does your company do?
We provided Virtual Administrative support as well as Concierge Services to small and medium sized companies, and also for corporates and executives on the move.
Our broad-based experience covers a full spectrum of administrative duties such as:
• Assistance with Preparation of proposal documents
• Training and Workshop Administration
• Event Management Coordination
• Data base Management i.e entering data into the database to maintain accurate records
• Project Management
• Travel Services
Administration is the backbone of many companies, the small important part that maintains all the other wheels that keep the company turning and offering a structure through which other functions can operate. Working with a Virtual Assistant diminishes a company’s stress levels, reduces administrative strain and cost of having to find a permanent employee.
“Administration is the backbone of many companies, the small important part that maintains all the other wheels that keep the company turning and offering a structure through which other functions can operate.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I’ve always wanted to run my own business, to be able to leave a legacy for my children, create a platform that allows them to be want they want to be and not what society has conformed us to be, i.e., go to school, get a job, retire, etc. I want to teach them to dream big. I wanted to start something that allows me to engage with people from all over the world, one that even allows me to travel, not be confined to one place. I like structure, making sure things happen within timelines and that processes are in place and helping people get organized. When I registered the business in 2011 all I knew was I wanted to make people’s lives easier. I found through working on several projects that I was so good with administration and did a lot of work setting up project plans, communication decks, and delegating and organizing teams, as we were not all stationed in the same country. Some team members were based in Australia, some in the UK, and it was great to see how technology just created the space for us to work well, exchange information and feel like were all together even though we were not. That's when I started researching how I can use my skills set and I came across the Virtual Administration world and loved the concept.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We do not offer a secretarial service, we are skilled administrative consultants with a niche, a specialty, and offer a partnering between client and consultant so that we keep their businesses organized and moving forward. Through this approach our clients are able to reduce their overheads, without the need for continuous training of administration staff. We support the growth of our clients’ businesses by taking away those tasks that take time from their busy workdays and thus improving efficiency within their businesses.
Tell us a little about your team
I run the business on my own but because of how the business model has been structured, it allows me to bring in other resources when I take on different projects. This is great as I am able to provide work for other freelancers and Virtual Assistants when I need them. So I to have adopted the VA methodology of not having to employ full time staff members but rather share work with others in my space. This allows me to engage with businesses from several vantage points and learn from them as well. This way I am also in control of my business operation which is very key for me as I'll always have a relationship with my clients.
“Working with a Virtual Assistant diminishes a company’s stress levels, reduces administrative strain and cost of having to find a permanent employee.”
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I am very new to my entrepreneurial journey. My dad was very entrepreneurial, he ran farming businesses back home in Botswana; one of my uncles ran a Petrol station that I worked at over school holidays; and one of my sisters runs her own company in manufacturing, as well as a clothing boutique. So, the older and wiser I got, I found this entrepreneurship streak came out.
I registered the company in 2011 after resigning to peruse being an entrepreneur. I started doing small events at a small boutique hotel that had also just opened under new management, so it was a great opportunity to grow with it and learn about the events world. Unfortunately, it wasn't doing so well and I subsequently got pregnant with my 2nd child and making ends meet was becoming difficult. I then decided to go back to the corporate world. I worked for a software company during the day, but was working on my company on the side after hours. However, I found that I couldn't focus on my clients the way they needed me to. Some needed me to be on site for meetings and it was difficult to get away from work to be there. Also, when I was working on the business in the evenings, I was taking time away from my kids, and although people always advise you to start a business on the side, I was just not finding the right balance. I then decided to park the business and focus on my 9-5. The job soon became redundant for me, there was no clear growth path, I was not fulfilled and always found myself gravitating back to my business.
I saw a life coach and started putting together a plan around where I wanted to take my life, what I wanted to do and the big thing that stood out was that I wanted to empower other women. I wanted to build an empire for my kids, to be a role model and have the freedom to create the life I wanted. I'm not afraid to take risks and I'm a firm believer in going after the things you want - if it doesn't work out, well at least I tried, but I don't want to go through life wondering "what if" the time is now. I left the corporate world in January 2018 and what a journey it has been since. I have been challenged in all areas of my life; financially, spiritually, emotionally, and I've learned to count on myself more than anything. As you become your own cheerleader on those bad days when business isn't coming in, you learn to wake up and show up for yourself.
I had to get into a new routine and find new structures. I have been fortunate to have friends and family who have stepped in and continuously kept me motivated when I felt discouraged. They have helped me get the word out about my company, even the clients I have, and they have also referred leads to me. I've learned that you have to believe in what you are doing so you don't get despondent when things don't work out the way you planned, because they won't. Be grateful for the little you have and thankful for even the smallest clients. Every person you come across is teaching you something, so listen but also learn to shut out the negative voices because there are those who will bring you down. Read a lot about your field, connect with other like-minded people and always put God first, he is ultimately your source. Don't be discouraged by how long you've been at it...keep going.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I want to expand my services, especially the Concierge side of the Business, and I want to branch into the market back home in Botswana and offer my services there and also around the world. I want to empower other women to follow their dreams, talk into their lives and businesses. I don't want to just run a business, I want to be a Brand. I want to also go into wine curating, this is something i'm also working on at the moment so watch this space.
“We support the growth of our clients’ businesses by taking away those tasks that take time from their busy workdays and thus improving efficiency within their businesses.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
When I told my daughters I was going to run my own business they said to me, we want to be just like you. In that moment I was their role model. I knew right there and then that I need to do this and I need to make it a success, because now I am raising future entrepreneurs and I have empowered them already. I'm also just grateful that even through the hardships, I'm reminded me that I am doing ok and it can only get better. I've learnt to celebrate the little wins and not take them for granted.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Don't be discouraged by the naysayers, You have been given the vision, not anybody else, so don't look to people to validate you, only you know your worth. Make sure you have a clear vision about what you want to do and where you want to go, but also expect the road to change along the way and be open to that. Failure is ok, just remember to learn from it and most importantly don't be hard on yourself because you are all you've got.
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Why LoA loves it….
In life as an entrepreneur, you have to learn to follow your instincts and persist in turning your business idea and aspirations into reality. That is what Bame Mabuse is now doing with her new Virtual Assistant and business concierge business, harnessing her specialist skills and those of her team members, to assist other companies to get their administration needs met. She has a big vision for her business and the energy and determination to make it a success. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa