Operating taxis enables an entrepreneur to follow additional opportunities
When Martin Nkomo started his minibus taxi business, which now has five vehicles covering Ivory Park, Sandton, Centurion, Midrand, and Alexandra and, occasionally, long distance trips to Giyani and Venda, he did it because he wanted not only to earn a living but also ensure his community had better access to transport.
He had no inkling, then, that the business would equip him to take a stake in a construction company building 29 RDP houses as well as a Coca Cola vending franchise.
Mr Nkomo is a member of SA Taxi’s Shayela Rewards Programme, which is designed to help taxi operators run their businesses better.
Shayela members are able to earn cash back on their monthly credit instalments by ensuring that their instalments are up to date, they have taxi insurance, their drivers have attended the Go-Shayela professional driving course (or they have a budget for their business), they have a working CarTrack Fleet unit, and, that they are keeping their Shayela promises, as displayed in their taxis.
Additional Shayela benefits, designed to help taxi operators with the management of their businesses, include a toolkit for their taxis, 5% cash back on purchases at Autozone, and the ability to earn up to R1 900 on adverts placed inside the taxis.
Mr Nkomo has attended the free Shayela business skills course and one of his drivers has attended the driving course.
“SA Taxi and its Shayela rewards programme pushed me to expand my business horizons by showing me that, as a taxi operator, I am an entrepreneur. So, unlike an employee, I have no limits as to what I can do to earn an income. That realisation encouraged me to venture into other business areas.
”Shayela also enabled me to realise that I enjoy learning. Perhaps that’s what makes someone an entrepreneur: the willingness to be open to new things. Every business venture I go into teaches me something about myself, about business, and about life in general.”
With his focus on learning, Mr Nkomo has been particularly pleased with the media element of the Shayela programme. By running the media station in his taxis, he enables advertisers to reach his customers.
“Obviously, I can earn extra revenue from the advertising. But, what’s just as important to me is that the content of the station outside of the advertising is information about issues such as HIV and life skills.
“This means that my business doesn’t just enable me to make money. It improves the lives of my passengers, both by transporting them safely and reliably to where they want to go and by educating them.
“So, my taxi operation makes a positive contribution to my community on many levels. That makes me very proud. My name is on the taxi – and it stands for something good. ”
As a Shayela member, Mr Nkomo earns R8 000 a month cash back on his monthly vehicle installments.
“Shayela has taught me many things. So, although, at 40, I’m younger and been in the business for less time than most of the other operators, I have been able to earn the respect of my colleagues, my drivers, and my customers.
“The most important thing I’ve learned from Shayela, however, is that getting things done in business is much easier if you motivate yourself. Take advantage of the help, like Shayela, that is available. But make the decisions and do the work yourself.”