Samantha Skyring: If you believe in your business you can do anything

Samantha Skyring is the founder and CEO of Oryx Desert Salt which suppliesan ethically harvested, sustainable and renewable desert salt that is healthy and unique. Before this, Samantha started a beach bar restaurant in Malawi with friends. Having spend time giving back to her community, Samantha makes sure that for every bag of salt sold, a percentage is donated to the Khomani San and Mier communities who own !Xaus Lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Kalahari Desert. She shares lessons she's learned along the way in her entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us a bit about your business and what motivated you to start?

I have always had an aptitude for business and being the master of my destiny and in control of my own time.

How did you raise your start up money? 

I was fortunate to have bought a house several years previously, which I sold as capital for my business.

Did you write a business plan? Was it an effective tool for you?

Yes I did write a business plan, but that was a year later when I was looking for investors as I could no longer sustain my growth and fund myself.

Who did you hire to help you with your business - bookkeeper, an accountant, lawyer …? Would you suggest others do the same?

I hired a bookkeeper, who unfortunately let me down ( disappeared the first time I took 3 days off). I then hired a temp on a whim, without checking out her credentials which was a big mistake, she cost me heavily later on to fix up and sort her mistakes. However the following person who is still with me has given me the time to focus on what I do best - sales! 

Have you outsourced any portion of your business? And has that worked for your business?

Yes I have outsourced all the packing of my products and absolutely the best thing ever. I am so glad my time is not taken up by managing people. I have let the packing company do what they do best, and this has given me the freedom to grow my business.

What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?

Put in a lot of after hours work. I am also vigilant about returning emails immediately. I love fast and efficient service from suppliers, I know my customers appreciate it too!

How do you effectively manage the finances of your company?

This part I have had to grow into. I have had awesome mentorship from my current business partners. In the beginning I used to give stock on consignment, now we require payment before delivery, this definitely helps with cash flow. The capital injection my business partners put in obviously supported the growth of the company and gave us the working capital through the 2 years when we weren't cash flow efficient.  

Do you have rainy-day savings for your business?

No, actually I don't. My partners are that, should the company require further investment.

What's a financial mistake you made as a business owner in the beginning? And how did you bounce from it?

I allowed stock out on consignment. Had to write off quite a substantial amount to bad debt eventually. My partners arrived at a very crucial time to save the cash flow crisis.

With the current economy slump, what cost saving tips would you share with new entrepreneurs?

Always request three quotes from different suppliers before placing an order.

Do you have business mentors, and if so, how have they helped you develop as an entrepreneur?

My two business partners are my mentors, they have taught me alot. 

How do you stay motivated during difficult times? 

The desire to travel with my son is my biggest motivation. I am soo looking forward to a time when I feel secure enough to leave my business for a few weeks because I have earned the money to travel overseas. The potential growth of my business is my constant motivation.

What have you learned from starting your company that might be useful to would-be entrepreneurs?

Passion, absolute dedication and commitment are absolutely essential! If you believe in your business you can do anything!

You can follow Samantha on Twitter and Facebook.