Mosa Mkhize, founder of Origins Publishers, explains how she’s keeping her business going during the lockdown.
As the country continues battling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are thinking about ways to stay afloat. Mosa Mkhize’s publishing business is one of the many online ventures that have taken a hit since deliveries, excluding essential goods, can no longer be made.
“These are certainly challenging times for everyone, particularly entrepreneurs and small businesses. For Origins, we’ve had to unleash creativity in ways we’ve never done before. We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know what our clients are currently experiencing and what their needs are during this time,” she explains.
Some people go into business for the money; others are driven more by passion and a need to serve. Origins was born out of a personal need.
“It all started when I was pregnant with our first child, Nizenande, back in 2015. Having had first-hand experience of many of the developmental benefits of multilingualism, I wanted to have books in all our home languages which would equip us, as parents, to teach our kids with ease,” says Mkhize.
After searching high and low for books that fulfilled her need, Mkhize decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I began the journey of creating this resource for my family. Little did I know that families across the lengths and breadths of SA were looking for the same. Over time, I’ve learnt that schools, educators and around across the world are eager for access to the same. So Origins Publishers was established,” she says.
The company produces books in a unique bilingual format which makes learning languages accessible to everyone, whether or not these are home-language users. Origins’ current offering is a series titled Farm Animals, available in all 11 of SA’s official languages.
Entrepreneurship hasn’t been an easy journey for Mkhize, though, who says she had to learn many lessons before even considering venturing into it.
“To use a running metaphor, I’ve learnt that entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. The journey has its twists and turns and a fair number of steep mountains, which can be challenging. But it also has many flat stretches, water stations and cheerful spectators who encourage you along the way,” she explains.
Her boundless optimism and positive outlook have helped her overcome the present difficulties facing Origins. “Ultimately, our goal has always been to offer solutions and bring value to our clients, even in times that present real challenges to our business, such as complete restrictions on the delivery of books via courier services. So, in short, we’ve had to pivot.”
Mkhize’s devised a creative solution. “We’re our digital platforms more than ever before to offer regular virtual readings and develop educational activities that our community can download. Parents are constantly looking for ways to keep their kids busy and stimulated, so that their development isn’t impeded during the lockdown,” she says.
It might not be the best time to be an entrepreneur, but it will eventually pass – and Mkhize offers sage advice to those hoping to launch their own businesses.
“Just start! This is the advice I share most. Things might not be perfect, you might not have all the starting capital you think you need, or a website, or 10 products – but just start. There are many free resources out there that you should explore using, such as leveraging social media platforms to launch your business, free websites, free webinars covering topics like how to build a community and doing market research using free survey platforms,” she says.
For more information visit: www.originspublishers.co.za