Nolukhanyo Makuni | CN Outsourced Finance
I co-founded CN Outsourced Finance in 2013 with my business partner, Chwayita, whom I’ve known for 18 years. At the time, we were both still employed full time and we came from an accounting background (I am a CA and Chwayita has an MBA). Our dream was to service small and medium-sized businesses that wouldn’t normally be able to afford the kind of strategic financial advice offered by large corporate accounting firms.
Our biggest challenge in the beginning was finding clients. It’s always hard to find the first one. We did work for family and friends, and finally started signing up clients through word of mouth. Cash flow was also a problem. We had to do without an income for the first couple of months. Fortunately, because we’re in a service industry, our overheads weren’t as high as they might have been.
We heard about Raizcorp during a small business networking session and decided to apply for one of their programmes. We were accepted and we haven’t looked back!
The Raizcorp guides don’t only look at your business, but also look at you as an individual. They look at where you can improve yourself, and how that will improve your business. My personal guide has tapped into areas of my life that I really didn’t think were an issue anymore but which, it turns out, were having a negative impact on the business. This has really helped us grow. Our guides are so invested in our business and rejoice with us in our successes. It makes us feel like we are not alone; we know they will support us through all the challenges that come along.
When we started on the KTH Business-Development Programme, it was just the two of us and two interns. We now have six full-time employees and are in the process of hiring more interns. Over the next two months, we also have plans to employ more senior staff. In addition, our turnover has more than doubled.
We’re in the process of working with a few companies to form partnerships. The biggest part of our business that sustains us is our retainer income. A deal we recently signed will significantly increase this income. We’re also signing deals with a few of the bigger companies in the industry that will benefit us all, and we continue to look for partnerships that advance our strategic focus.
If an entrepreneur had to ask for my advice, I would say that the journey of entrepreneurship is not an easy one and it’s not a quick way of making money. You need to keep believing in yourself and stay focused on your main objective. There will be days when you don’t receive an income and when you just feel like quitting but, as long as you stay focused on your goal, you will get through it.
We are very grateful to KTH for this opportunity and for their partnership with Raizcorp. This journey has not just been about financial support; it has been about mentorship and about walking this journey with us. We have only been on the programme for 12 months but it feels like we’ve had a relationship for years. We have seen substantial growth in both ourselves and in our business, and so have the other entrepreneurs on the programme. We’ve been able to meet other entrepreneurs who have the same challenges as us so we feel like we are not walking this journey alone. It has been an exciting process, and we’re looking forward to the next couple of months and seeing the impact of the changes we’ve made.