Every successful company knows that it’s essential to have great customer insights backed up by solid research data in order to stay ahead of the market. And in Lesotho, that’s where 360 Communications (Pty) Ltd comes in, headed by Rethabile Phoofolo, an entrepreneur on a mission to turn great data into valuable market information for her customers.
LoA got to know more about this interesting company and its vision for the future from its founder, Rethabile Phoofolo, during a recent visit to Lesotho for the Lioness Lean In Breakfast event in the country.
What does your company do?
We are a research company, focused on research in corporate communications. We use data to help our customers make intelligent decisions. Our main focus is on creating research that has an impact on developing our society. This can be in analyzing feedback from consumers, through to audience measurement or brand audits. We are passionate about how data turned into information can create lasting change for decision makers.
“Our main focus is on creating research that has an impact on developing our society.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I was inspired by how people become confident when they have knowledge. People speak differently when they have insight and trust themselves better when they have tangible proof for their vision, in business and in corporate. Once someone believes in the information they relay, they persevere through challenges because of knowledge. So our inspiration is about supporting people with knowledge and testing that knowledge. Secondly, I am inspired by the possibility of evidence based policy decisions in Africa.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
360Communications works on a 360 basis to collect data and make it useful information for progress. Anyone who wants to get through the data clutter and get real feed back with insights should be using our services. We range from customer feedback, to brand feedback.
“We are passionate about how data turned into information can create lasting change for decision makers.”
Tell us a little about your team
Our team is made up of myself, and another director who has a lot of experience in the banking sector. From there we have 2 interns who work on data collection. We outsource analysis depending on the nature of the work and speciality required. An example can be seen with a consumer behaviour study we are currently doing, we have outsourced an economist who specializes in this area to assist us. We believe the key part of our work is in collecting quality data.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My family is a working class family, so to start a business at 26 years of age was a bit unnatural for my culture. But I worked on it, knowing I might not get an ovation from it at first and possibly some criticism. However, my mom is my biggest supporter. I have noticed that lately my family has started to support the business. Professionally I choose to work with people who have a lot more experience than me. I also seek opportunities for self development and fine tuning my business model. I attended the Young African Leadership Initiative in Johannesburg and have been under business incubation at Vodacom Innovation Hub in Maseru. Our business is now out of incubation and we are learning to grow.
“Anyone who wants to get through the data clutter and get real feed back with insights should be using our services.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I look forward to having an online platform where data is stored, and where entrepreneurs, government and investors can just log in to get the information they need about Africa's market. So we are building by collecting data first.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to be creative. The ability to represent my authentic self, for me it is a form of self expression. I get satisfaction from the light bulb moments when knowledge lights up a client and they suddenly see insight from the data we provide. This is great when it happens to the people I work with, when they suddenly see their role and importance of integrity with data.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Love your self and know that the ideas you have are valid for you. Do not hold onto those ideas too tightly, but let God work on them and you. For most part, being an entrepreneur means I make plans, but God makes the way. So in a nutshell, love what you do and let it contribute to your society. This is your gift to the world.
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Why LoA loves it….
Building a successful business anywhere in Africa means finding a niche and making it your own. In Lesotho, entrepreneur Rethabile Phoofolo is doing just that. In the world of data research and customer insights, she is building a great reputation with her company for the provision of insightful data and evidence based knowledge that can make a real difference. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa