Stand-up comedian turned entrepreneur Tshepo David Sethosa, produces Mageu (motoho) wamabele, Gummy candy, and babalaz remedy beverages. When asked about the brand he says the name “Last Number” was crafted because of a competitive brand called Number 1. “I hope you see what I did there,” he jokes.
Despite his candid approach, the 2020 lockdown presented a business opportunity, that saw him selling sorghum soft breakfast porridge to essential workers. An instant hit – he was sold out within 30 minutes each morning. “I then had a light bulb moment of packaging the porridge in PET bottles. That’s when the next phase of the business began and saw the product being sold in Tuck shops, mainstream supermarkets, and filling stations,” he adds.
Regardless of the circumstances, Sethosa says he has always been an entrepreneur ever since he can remember. “My first business was an oil recycling business at 19 years old.” he reminisces. He adds, “First, create an exceptional product better than your competitors, then be in your customer’s faces by marketing in store on every shelf you are listed at.”
However, to get a foot in the door of mainstream supermarkets, Sethosa needed to be compliant as well as be audited and have a food safety certificate. To stay relevant be aware of skepticism from the customers because customers always go for the products they know and understand.
What has this entrepreneur learnt? He says “No one cares until you win. The more consumers see that other people are consuming your product the more they join in. Another one is that one has to lead himself first before he can lead anyone.”
He says aspiring entrepreneurs need to plan before executing, however, the most important thing is to start and work on the plan and adjust or change it as you go but start. “I have seen a wave of young black entrepreneurs taking the Agro-processing space by storm,” he explains.
One way he markets his business is on social media but this is supported by in-store marketing initiatives even though social media helps a lot with awareness, in-store marketing brings in the sales due to face-to-face customer interactions.
It’s hard to believe, but Sethosa’s greatest fear is dying without having fulfilled what he was called to do on earth. When asked about how he defines success, he says success is being able to reach all the goals you have planned.
So other than the ups and downs what does he love most about being an entrepreneur? His answer is simple, being able to control his time is important. However, the first time he saw his brand on the shelf- that was a defining moment and nothing beats that especially because it was seeing a thought turning into an actual thing.
So is there a secret formula to success? “Yes of course, if you look at most entrepreneurs who have succeeded or built something worthwhile, they all have discipline. Discipline is the mother of all success, ” he concludes.