Currently the CEO at Socially Acceptable – KZN’s most genuine digital media and communications company – Nazareen pushes for digital excellence in the province of KZN. She is the resident social media commentator and analyst at Lotus FM and host of the business show: How to Make it in South Africa on Radio Al-Ansaar. Nazareen’s broadcast portfolio has just grown with the incredibly exciting new opportunity to host South Africa’s newest business show – BizToday – on Deen TV – channel 152 Openview HD, and Ch 365 on Starsat.
She is also co-founder of Social by the Sea – a digital education joint venture.
1. Why did you decide to start your business?
I always had a desire to one day run a business. I couldn’t understand the reasoning or rationale but knew that this was intuitive and necessary. When I did eventually start a business, it was unexpected and I bootstrapped the operation. I left my job at the time with no backup plan, operated on trade exchanges and built from there.
2. What impact has running a business had on you and the community in which you operate?
I think that my business has more of a social responsibility impact. I deal mainly with young aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to kickstart their own businesses. Either they serve an internship with Socially Acceptable to gain more exposure to dealing with clients and the world of digital, or I mentor aspirant young entrepreneurs, and provide knowledge and guidance on what I’ve learned so far. I’ve also connected with my local library to set up a business corner to give back to the community. We are in the process of developing the concept further.
3. Would you say that your business is a success?
The fact that we are still trading is a success. That each day we do something small to advance to our larger long term goals is success in itself. The business is not anywhere near where it should be. But it has created its place, added a voice to the market and provided small businesses with the confidence to play in the digital space.
4. What do you think are the top 5 most important qualities every entrepreneur should have?
Every entrepreneur should be resilient, realistic, humble, teachable and street smart.
There are many other qualities to list here. And all as important as the other. But I’ve selected these five based on past experience and what I have studied from other successful entrepreneurs. Resilience is crucial. Many entrepreneurs suffer with depression or other negative emotions when the business pummels them on a daily basis. It takes deep core inner strength and vision to get back up and show up for another day. This is the real struggle while building that dream and I think many people don’t acknowledge that enough. There is so much going on in the media about multi-million dollar company valuations, tech ideas being funded overnight and taking over the world, and people becoming instant successes. In most instances, there are many years of hard work that goes in to these stories. But the media positioning is that it happened in a short space. I think that Gary Player’s words are critical here: “The harder I practise, the luckier I get.”
5. Who is your role model?
In a spiritual and personal space, The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) is my role model. I always think of his teachings on how to treat people, personal conduct, and being a good human being. With people who have become incredible successes, I would say I admire James Caan, Sheikha Mohza, Malala Yousafzai, Phumzile Mambo Ngcuka and a local business woman Mariam Seedat.
6. Do you think it is important for entrepreneurs to have a mentor?
It is absolutely vital to have a mentor. Entrepreneurs benefit from the experience of a mentor and their shared vision in helping you and the business to become a success. Aspirant or startup entrepreneurs always face the battleground of pushing the business to the next level. The mentor helps provide corrective action on how best to handle these tough challenges and is an erudite sounding board. I am grateful to my esteemed mentor Nazeem Ebrahim for his guidance in building my business. His role is to challenge my thinking and identify how to keep pushing the business to the next level. With building my broadcast portfolio, CEO at Deen TV Faizal Sayed provides great insight and coaching into navigating the broadcast world.