Maria Msosa, 32
Maria has always enjoyed baking cakes for her family and friends and turned her hobby into Thabo’s Cakes, a business she runs from her home kitchen, in March 2013. Friends had been encouraging Maria to start a cake business for quite some time prior to this, and although she is a confident baker, Maria was hesitant as she was worried about her lack of previous business experience. So when a supportive friend boldly sent her first customer along, Maria was shocked as she wasn’t sure how much to charge, or how much the cake the customer wanted would cost her to make.
Graeme Bell, 35
Graeme is based in Lancashire, England, and has 14 years of experience in the motor industry in various roles such as Sales Manager and Business Manger, and recently qualified with a Professional Certificate in Management from the Open University. He came across Grow Movement when searching for ways to put his new skills into practice, and signed up as a volunteer consultant.
Business challenges and objectives of the project
Maria found the process of starting her own business hard, and the learning curve steep. At first she was relying on word of mouth and occasionally baking cakes for people free of charge. She didn’t know how to manage the books properly to keep track of her income and profit, or market her business effectively to draw in new customers. These were two areas in which she was keen to work with Graeme in order to improve her skills and knowledge.
Graeme and Maria worked together over Skype and email, and the impact of their collaboration on Thabo’s Cakes has been very positive. Maria has seen a 40% increase in profit and has hired three part time bakers to help meet the demand. Graeme encouraged Maria to set up a Facebook page for the business, and this kick started a successful marketing campaign. She can now share pictures of her cakes and attract new customers – all at no cost. Maria and Graeme also worked on financial planning and book keeping, which has given her the skills and confidence to take these tasks on as her business grows.
The Impact on Maria
“My training with Graeme taught me a lot of things that are really helping me. I hope the business continues to grow and that one day I can move to a bigger kitchen with office space.”
The Impact on Graeme
“It was nice to see how much Maria’s business came on over the months. It was very rewarding – I’ll certainly be looking to do another project with Grow Movement.”