Our next interviewee is Gerhard, a man whose life changed after he found his calling and decided to try and help change people’s lives. This is his story…
After receiving his calling, Gerhard became a missionary and proceeded to create a seed production farming company. This is his way of trying to give back and make a difference in people’s lives
Can you tell me about your business and what you do for your clients?
I am a missionary and a farmer. From the farming side, we do seed production for companies, and as a missionary, we run a bookkeeping service for our donors. Basically, it includes giving them proper updates and financial reports on our spending for the donations that we receive. From the farming side, we invoice our clients on the seeds being produced. There are a lot of invoices that go out in a month. Included in the reports are the expenses that we accumulate over the month, which all get sent to the client.
How long has your company been operational?
I have been a missionary since 1995 and our seed production company has been running since 2017.
What made you decide to start your own company?
27 years ago, my life was a disaster, then I discovered my calling.
With the South African economy being what it is, what were some of the challenges you faced when starting up your company?
It is hard to remember the challenges we faced so many years ago. Some of the challenges we are currently facing are that we are based on the Namibian border and work with very poor communities, and we basically try to help them become self-sustainable. Because of the current economy, it is encouraging people to live off social grants, etc., which, as a result, had a devastating effect on the people when it came to being self-sustainable. It’s a big challenge to change and get people to be more self-sustainable.
How did QuickBooks help you overcome some of those challenges?
Many years ago, when we were in the Western Cape, I used QuickBooks to run the financial side and it worked really well for us. When I started up my new business, we used Excel and as the business grew, the bookkeeping became a nightmare, so then I realised I had to get a bookkeeping program again. Seeing as though I was familiar with QuickBooks, I signed up for QuickBooks Online, installed it on my phone and tablet, and it works 100% for me. I bought the SimpleStart package and it was perfect for what I needed at the time because you can enter expenses for invoicing on the go. Most of the bookkeeping I do from my phone and have my phone on me all the time. It is so easy and convenient.
How has QuickBooks added value to your business?
One of the big aspects of missionary work is that people are worried about accountability. You have to be accountable for what you do, and sending someone an invoice on an Excel spreadsheet, where you type in a few figures doesn’t really go down as well as having a proper bookkeeping system. QuickBooks just helps carry more “weight” for your donors and clients.
What are some tips you can give to new business owners?
For anyone who starts up, one of your many nightmares are going to be your bookkeeping. Normally people want to always give that to bookkeepers to handle because we don’t want to do it ourselves and that becomes a huge expense. EasyBiz and QuickBooks make the process so easy to use and are cost-effective.
This is just another story of how hard work, dedication, and the right software systems can make all the difference for you and your company. Keep your eyes peeled for our final installment of the business startups Interview Article Series.