Owning a petrol station is like living a dream, says Khumbu Shelembe, after becoming the owner of the petrol station where she worked as a cashier. Her journey, like many entrepreneurs, was from rags to riches. “When I think of the way I grew up, I never thought that one day I would be blessed like this,” she tells News 24.
Shelembe comes from South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Provence. Her career took a remarkable trajectory after she completed a National Diploma in Marketing Management from Mangosuthu University in 2004 and landed a job as a cashier at Mobeni service station.
Within six months, Shelembe earned a promotion to join the book-keeping and supply chain department. With a new responsibility, Shelembe decided to take up the Caltex Retailer Courses.
Shortly after she completed her course, the previous owners of Mobeni service station offered to sell to her 30 percent share of the business and Shelembe proudly grabbed the opportunity without hesitation.
Few months down the line, there was an opportunity to completely own Mobeni service station and Shelembe applied for special funding from Astron Energy, the company that owns the Caltex license, to gain complete control of the business.
Shelembe has since made a fortune from the business despite facing some challenges like safety and customer satisfaction and maintaining good relations in the industry.
“It can be very stressful worrying about things like safety and customer satisfaction. You have to be balanced across all the factors that you need to consider. It helps to have relationships with people who have been in the industry for a long time,” says Shelembe.
Her petrol station produces close to 10 000 liters of petrol and diesel a day. She also has 13 staff under her watch who are self-motivated to deliver top-notch services.
“We motivate each other and share ideas. I also offer incentives for top-performing customer service attendants, based on their sales and customer service.”
She tells News24 that she did not achieve success on a silver platter as it required commitment and dedication. “It can be very stressful worrying about things like safety and customer satisfaction. You have to be balanced across all the factors that you need to consider. It helps to have relationships with people who have been in the industry for a long time,” says Shelembe.
Keeping her eye on the ball, Shelembe hopes to cement her position as one of the best in the fuel industry and also help others like her to grow.