Sibonginkosi Mlalazi is the Founder of Ingenious HD, which is a branding company based in Cape Town, South Africa, and the author of an eBook titled – Branding Yourself for Success: A Personal Branding Guide. Equipped with over thirteen years of working experience Sibo is an expert in public relations, communications, marketing, advertising, and she holds an Honours Degree in English and Communication plus a Post Graduate Diploma in Intercultural Communication.
What inspired you to start Ingenious HD?
My passion lies in influencing brand perceptions. I am inspired by the amazing talent that we have on the African continent, and therefore aspire to help this talent craft themselves into formidable and recognizable brands that can compete on the international stage. I believe that everyone has the power to unlock their greatness if they are equipped with the right skills and guidance.
Every journey has its share of challenges; what were yours?
When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I did not do enough research on how to run a business and what I needed to succeed. As such this knowledge gap resulted me in loosing a lot of money and had to go back to the drawing board. The second time around I prioritised equipping myself with adequate knowledge so that I would not make the same mistake twice.
Another challenge that I faced was building trust with my initial clients. Since I was still building a portfolio to showcase my experience some clients wanted to under pay me for my services. However, I learnt quickly that I had to stand my ground and work with those that were willing to put the right value on my work. Eventually the quality of my work spoke for itself and opened more doors for me.
Like everyone else I also felt the bite from the pandemic as it ushered in a new normal for doing business. To stay afloat my team and I had to re-invent our way of doing business and ensure that we stayed competitive. In addition, sharing experiences and knowledge with peers, was also another key strategy that helped me cope as it enabled me to draw strength from their stories and apply the lessons shared to my own business.
Any milestones/achievements you would like to share?
In 2012 I was named a Hard Hitter below 35 by Destiny Magazine and have been featured in several media including African Eye Report, Women on Top and Bizcommunity. I have also had the privilege of working with some of the greatest business minds in this country, and that is something that I am grateful for as these networks have opened many doors of opportunity for me.
What is the big picture i.e., where to from here?
My goal in the next five to ten years is to be at the top of my game in my industry, and to increase my client base beyond South Africa.
A word of advice to others reading your story
There is no limit to whom you can become. If you can dream it, then you can do it. Also, market research is your number one friend in business. Know your product, know your audience/customers, and know your competitors.
One or two interesting facts about you
I am an extroverted-introvert and am quite shy. However, to get over this, I always throw myself into the deep-end and keep pushing myself harder every time. This way I get to learn and build relevant skills from each situation.
My dream job when I was growing up was to be a dentist, but I guess God and the Universe had a different path for me.