Starting and managing a small business is challenging, but Gloria Neluonde has made a success of it, having run her own accounting and payroll business for 12 years. This Women’s Month, we celebrate her success as she talks about her journey to owning her own business and what it takes to succeed.
Neluonde began her career as a bookkeeper and business accountant registered with SAIBA. She then accepted an opportunity to work with QuickBooks as a support consultant in 2005. She was named Consultant of the Month consistently, and then Consultant of the Year in 2007.
She decided to start her own business in 2009, offering bookkeeping services to various companies. She also signed on as a QuickBooks Business Partner, selling and providing support on the software, and in 2018, was named one of the top five QuickBooks Business Partners.
Marketing your business
Neluonde built her business from the ground up and firmly believes in using word of mouth to promote her services. “When you make a client happy, that client brings other potential clients to you based on the service you’ve given. It’s the best way to market your business.”
The customer is king
When it comes to customer relationships, Neluonde’s approach is straightforward: there’s no such thing as a difficult client – they are just people who need to have a problem resolved. “I understand customers’ frustration when they need help, so I listen to them carefully and resolve their problems in an effective and peaceful manner. I have lots of patience, and to me, the customer is always king. By the time I leave their offices, I know that they’re happy.”
Use the right technology
“Using technology is essential in the running of a business,” says Neluonde. I have migrated many companies from Excel to QuickBooks and Payroll software. These include Mulisa Foods in Limpopo, which manages 15 KFC outlets, as well as 13 branches of Jeppe Colleges around South Africa. I have also trained 88 graduates and many finance companies.”
She also advises businesses to manage their finances with QuickBooks Online Accounting and their HR with Quick Payroll. She prefers QuickBooks to other accounting software because she says it’s easy to understand and use, and it has an excellent support centre. “I always advise my clients to call the support centre when they can’t reach me, and they always tell me that they received professional service timeously.”
A look to the future
Neluonde intends to expand her business, opening branches all over South Africa, and training clients to use QuickBooks Online. She also wants to train young graduates to use the software, as she believes it will help equip them for a career in accounting.
Advice for business-owners
When advising other businesses who want to follow in her footsteps, she says that making clients your number one priority is key. “Provide the best service and they’ll keep coming back to you and suggesting others do the same,” she adds.
Neluonde echoes the words of many business-owners when it comes to managing a successful business: provide excellent service, solve your customers’ problems, and make them a number one priority, and use technology to enhance your business processes. These are the key elements in maintaining and growing a profitable business.