Join us for an interview with Phumelele Ndumo – the founder of ThuthukaSA
Whoever said entrepreneurship is not for sissies, is very, very correct!
1. If you were to sum up in one or two sentences what your company does, what would you say?
We offer financial wisdom, guidance and advice to our customers that will ensure that they make the most of their money.
2. When was the company established/who are the founders?
It was founded by Phumelele Ndumo in 2007.
3. Can you tell me more about your background, for example where you studied and worked before starting the company?
- Academic background
- Higher Diploma in Computer Auditing and
- A Masters in Business Leadership degree
I have extensive banking experience, having held senior positions at NBS Boland Bank, FNB and Nedcor. I have also served on a number of boards as a non-executive director.
4. May you please list all the services you offer or what you specialise in?
As an author, I sell my books and also conduct talks and workshops in companies across SA on issues of personal finance. There is also a big interest on debt management without following the NCA prescribed debt counselling route. I am working on focussing more on entrepreneurs because I believe there is room for sharing my 10 – year journey as an entrepreneur and helping other entrepreneurs to avoid the mistakes I made and hopefully reach the success line sooner. This is a journey of hardship, loneliness, despair, fear, near bankrupcy and joy, excitement all at once.
- Life cover
- Retirement annuity
- Tax-free investments
- Pension and provident fund preservation
- Group Risk Cover
- Pension and Provident funds
- Group Tax-free investments
- Group Retirement annuities
- Group funeral schemes
Recently, we have added NEW car sales to our business. We sell 18 different car brands and we also help organise finance and trade-in of an existing car
The benefits of buying your car through us is that;
- You will get a discount of up to 12% on the NEW car you buy.
- Car finance will be arranged for you and you will get preferential interest rate subject to the actual car you are buying and your credit profile
- You will get assistance with trading-in your existing car
You can buy the following cars thorough dealerships across South Africa:
*Chevrolet *Commercial *Datsun *Ford *Honda *Isuzu *Jaguar *Land Rover *Lexus *Volvo *Mazda *Mitsubishi *Nissan *Opel *Renault *Suzuki * Subaru *Toyota
5. Who is your target market? Or what type of people do you cater to?
As a professional myself, my customers are generally:
- Young graduates – because I do talks at universities
But we do not discriminate against anyone. My belief is that the less you earn, the more financial guidance you need to make the most of your money. It’s a real pity that we are not taught about personal finances in our universities because I find that a lot of professionals are needlessly struggling financially because they just don’t know what they are doing. A good example of this is when people buy cars on balloon and roll forward the outstanding debt and balloon to a new car, taking expensive credit assurance, not utilising a mortgage originator to ensure they get the cheapest rate when they buy property and use of expensive personal loans due to lack of understanding of refinance, re-advance and further loans, etc…
6. Why did you take the entrepreneurial route?
I was disappointed that our schools and universities do not teach us about money hence I see a lot of highly educated people with no financial wisdom. I believe that lack of personal finance education in our schooling system is one of the main reasons why we have over 10,4 million South Africans with an impaired credit record. Further to this, banks and the financial services sector are not geared to giving people objective financial advice. I was disappointed that my financial advisors were just selling me policies without any financial guidance / coaching. I wanted to do something different and unique and be able to offer financial coaching, appropriate guidance and advice to my customers. I am satisfied and confident that I can give objective advice to my customers without fear or favour.
I have also partnered with others to be able to offer a “1-stop shop for personal finance related matters”.
7. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how have you overcome them?
- Expensive office rent – thank goodness I am now at renting at an SMME hub and paying less
- There are a lot of booby traps with established businesses sometimes taking advantage of entrepreneurs – for this, I have decided to enlist the services of a Legal firm so I can have my contracts checked before I sign them but I must deal with the past where I am losing a lot of money monthly due to big established businesses having taken advantage of me. I would rather not mention any names at this stage – after all they know who they are and I have given them notice that I will be taking our contracts for legal review. I will have legal review and pursuit of these matters as soon as I have raised enough cash
- Generally, I feel that there should be an Ombudsman to help enterpreneurs when they deal with big business otherwise entrepreneurship is not about to thrive in our country. Late payment of invoices by both government and big corporates is just one small challenge that SMEs are confronted with. There is a lot of bully tactics where big business gets away with murder and sadly, some SMEs have folded as a result. If a study were to be done to determine why 80% of SMEs fail within the first 10 years, you would be surprised at the results of such a study
- I have also learned that there is no “gentlemen’s” agreement in business. As an example, I now cease to do any marketing of new services until I have a legally binding contract in place
- I unknowingly got into a 5-year contract for printing and internet services. The matter has not yet been resolved but at least they have taken their equipment from the old building where I was renting
- Signing a lease agreement for office space and there was no clause to allow for early termination of the lease. I moved my furniture out and gave them notice. When they tried to hold me accountable for a further 6 months, I told them I will write about them on social media and they backed off
8. Is there a story behind your company name?
Yes, Thuthuka in Zulu means prosper. ThuthukaSA therefore means let us prosper together as South Africans. I believe knowledge is power and financial knowledge is prosperity. If our customers prosper as a result of the services we offer them, we in turn prosper as well. Our customers’ prosperity is our prosperity
9. What sets your company apart? What makes you unique?
I have penned 2 published books and From Debt to Riches is an SA Best Seller as we have sold over 22 000 copies to date and it continues to sell fast. I would like to believe that I walk my talk
And still we trudge on …
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