Entrepreneurs all have different journeys and driving forces that impact on their decision to start a business.
I spoke to Ronel Prinsloo, owner of the Nuttery, about the influences she experienced.
Her family are clearly entrepreneurial with her mother running Two Oceans Community Funeral Fund for over 20 years and her father involved in ministry at Maranatha Family church in Masiphumelele.
She grew up in a home with a great social responsibility and always an open door to the hurting and broken.
Her father started trading in snacks five years ago to help support the ministry and to create employment for some of the youth in Masiphumelele.
She later joined the business by buying products from him and selling it at The Range Market in Tokai.
Her parents taught her to never shy away from hard work and that nothing of value comes without sacrifice.
I asked her what opportunity did she see and take on her journey as a growth entrepreneur?
She was sick as a child growing up and late into her adult life. She suffered from a debilitating stomach illness now known as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). That means she couldn’t eat gluten and dairy.
This caused her a lot of anxiety because her parents didn’t know how to treat her and changing her diet in a low-income household was not an option.
She constantly struggled with cramps and migraine headaches until she had her second child and was eventually bedridden because of the disease and had to take her health and healing into her own hands after several specialist visits.
During her time at home, she studied nutrition and what the best foods were that were anti-inflammatory and easily absorbed by the body.
Plant-based eating was the result and she was well on her way to healing and created her own nut milks, breads, nut butter spreads and desserts.
Her new lifestyle led to the birth of the Nuttery where she is now able to help people with similar ailments afford nut milks and butter and snacks.
They process all their milk in-store and give away healthy recipes to help people do something good for their bodies and to live a healthier lifestyle.
The shop was a dream realised and she is so grateful to be able to make healthy eating accessible to the public with very competitive pricing.
About hustling, she and her family pooled their resources, and all the labour and shopfitting were done by her father and her husband who worked into the early hours of the morning to create a beautiful and inviting space.
It was not an easy build with all the compliance requirements and build standards that were expected.
I asked Ronel about some key lessons learnt and she shared these five nuggets:
● Experience counts: Everything from product knowledge to supplier information, her father was her hero in more ways than one in this area.
● Start small: She started out at The Range Market in 2020 and traded there to gain experience with her clientele and their needs and expected spend level.
● Pace yourself: It’s okay to step away from one’s projects and give oneself breathing room. Big projects can seem overwhelming.
● Ask for help: You can’t do this on your own.
● Listen: She smiled and said, “I mean really listen… active listening is putting into practice what you’ve learnt, it’s like a muscle, you need to use it or lose it.”
Support is often a key and valuable resource. She noted that this support has helped make her believe she could do it. There was always a voice edging her on. Her immediate family, mother, father, husband and mother-in-law, have been her greatest champions.
They have gone above and beyond in their support of Ronel, financially, spiritually, and emotionally. “How blessed can one girl get!”
She also acknowledged the value of support from the staff of the False Bay College Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator who have assisted over the past two to three years in highly significant ways.
She ended with gratefulness that she didn’t have to do this in her own strength and the great creator of the heavens, and the earth has made such a large deposit into her life.
I asked her what she thought the entrepreneurial mindset meant?
She replied: “Where passion meets purpose, a powerful combination that if directed and nurtured like a plant in good soil can explode with growth. It needs the right conditions, time, attention and more time for the fruits to show.”
I also see that she has a heart to assist others and she advised that aspiring entrepreneurs should learn about their industry, their customer needs and spending habits.
“Start small, think big. Surround yourself with people who know more than you about finance, marketing and sales. You can’t do it all, so leverage your resources, find students who are willing to work on your social media and marketing, assist with packing and ad hoc work.”
As a parting shot, Ronel said: “Our identity is not only found in what we do, but in the lives that we’ve touched through using our gifts, possessions and talents to serve one another. If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. This much is true.”
● Steve Reid is the manager of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at False Bay College. Contact him on Steve.Reid@falsebay.org.za