If you're in it for a quick buck, then South Africa is not the place for you. Africa is a tricky place to do business in. It's a continent that almost never rewards haste. Our people have, over hundreds of years and with great intent, cultivated the indescribable connection that Africa shares with the Earth. Almost nothing happens overnight, and if you've ever tasted the fruits of our countrymen's labours, you'll know that it is of a quality that only time and care can produce.
It's frustrating to be a business owner in South Africa. We all know the challenges, and it's even tougher when we look over to the Western world and see people seemingly making money out of thin air. Every day, there is some new get-rich-quick scheme. I've seen many people try to replicate such schemes in South Africa, and it just never works. Some argue that our population is just too small to hit it big with some niche idea, and that may be true. But the fact that most of us would rather enjoy a well-tended potjie over a quick meal in a generic restaurant says something about us as a people. We enjoy the journey, and we respect things that take care and time to produce. Get-rich-quick businesses have no authenticity, and we can smell it coming a mile away.
When starting an SME lending business, most would take the approach of lending as much money as possible to as many businesses as possible and then sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Preference Capital has been in this game for a decade now, and our management experience spans hundreds of years. We know that to be successful in South Africa, you need to help the person next to you also be successful. Ubuntu - I am because you are. It may take longer, and you might not make as much money as you would have hoped, but you would have created something sustainable, and on top of that, helped people and businesses along the way.
Granting credit to businesses comes with a great responsibility to make sure that the business you're lending to is better off after the loan has been repaid. If you aim to have a sustainable lending business, you can't afford to give out money willy-nilly, blind to the consequences, "as long as I make a quick buck." What happens when those businesses you've lent to without care or advice start struggling? Well, eventually they'll go under, and eventually, there won't be any businesses left for you to recklessly lend to. You need a partner that introduces you to the right products at the right time, that understands the nuances of your business, and that's in it for the long haul.
I've seen many clients opt for the fast-food approach to lending. "Take the money, ask no questions, and let me know when you want more." To us at Preference Capital, that is simply not acceptable. How will we ever cultivate and promote private businesses if we don't take the time and care to ensure that the products we're providing are the correct fit and are implemented in a way where the business is better for it at the end of the day?
Preference Capital has this philosophy of longevity and care engrained in its core. We offer real advice that builds long-lasting relationships with our clients. We are passionate about business in Africa, and we're here to stay and help. We are because you are.