I’ve never met anyone who said they don’t want to support a small business or buy local goods. And yet, few people actually do. Why is this? Often it’s because it’s not as easy to find a small business, their marketing budgets are minute in comparison to the big players, so people often don’t know where they are, what they do or that they exist at all. At Yoco we are obsessed with entrepreneurial growth and supporting small businesses. So, we gave ourselves a little challenge. When we started working on our new office in Johannesburg, we knew we would need a lot of new suppliers, and help. We decided to try and do everything (or as much as possible) using only small businesses.
Now that we’ve finished the work on our second home, we’re excited to share some of the companies we’ve worked with and what we learnt setting up and running an office using local start-ups.
Assembling an office: Where to source painters, electricians and more
When you get into a new office, there is a lot of work to be done to get it to a state that allows your employees to perform their best. This starts with small fixes like changing light bulbs to big projects like painting walls etc. We found a great partner in Kandua, a Johannesburg based start-up that offers an online platform to connect vetted, trusted and rated Handymen with customers. We sourced a handyman and an electrician through the platform and were instantly connected to professionals who came to our office in a matter of hours to do incredible work.
Furnishing the office: Quality local furniture
We wanted to furnish our office with a distinct Yoco feel, which is why we have worked with Cape Town based Pedersen & Lenard to craft beautiful and useful tables sporting our iconic Yoco blue. The guys were fantastic to work with, and they truly care about the furniture they build.
Hiring a team: Recruitment with a difference
For a new project we are announcing in spring, we needed to access a pool of experienced candidates in select industries quickly. With the help of Giraffe, a two-year-old company we found the right candidates in no time. Giraffe has built an online platform that automates recruiting for low and middle skill jobs across South Africa and currently has over 300.000 job seekers on the platform that can be connected to employers seeking staff in a matter of minutes.
Feeding the team when you have no time to shop
We wanted to ensure that our new office had an environment that encouraged people to do great work. This means that we stock our office with healthy snacks, drinks and other things that will give people energy and avoid sugar crashes. We source our healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit from Roast Republic. Everything else gets ordered from a local grocery delivery service called Zulzi.
Logistics: streamline deliveries
We use Wumdrop to deliver our readers within cities. Wumdrop allows us to schedule pickups and drop-offs for our customers in clearly defined time frames and ensures that our merchants get their readers as quickly and as reliably as possible. We also use them for fetching and couriering any other small office supplies we need
Invite the neighbours but make sure you cater
Once the office was set up and running, it was time to invite a few neighbours around to let them know we’re in the area. To help make our networking meetups extra special, we worked with Black Sam Smoque, a delicious meat smoker business that prepares mouth watering smoked chicken and beef sandwiches. We were connected to Black Sam Smoque via our friends at BrownSense. BrownSense is a community focused on finding and connecting black owned businesses to opportunities.
What I learnt
We believe that small businesses are the future of South Africa. They are the ones who are driving employment and innovation. Being conscious of where we spend money and who we work with is just one of the ways we hope to contribute to the growth and development of startups, SMEs and small businesses in South Africa and across Africa. I would encourage everyone and anyone to make an effort to find small businesses to work with. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience, and the quality of service you receive is almost always guaranteed to be top notch.