Simphiwe Mhlongo founded her real estate agency Simpre Properties in May 2021. From a young age, Mhlongo realised that she wanted to be an entrepreneur, that she would own a business one day and that it would be something she would build from scratch.
In 2018, following her resignation from a company at which she had worked for eight years specialising in customer service in the airline industry, she began working as a real estate agent and soon realised the challenges that people encountered when accessing the housing market.
“It’s not easy to buy a house in South Africa. The aim with Simpre Properties is to assist people, especially the previously disadvantaged, to access the market and own houses against all odds,” she says.
Mhlongo believes that a good leader should possess the qualities of integrity, accountability, empathy, enthusiasm and humility.
“Leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they were capable of doing. It’s about motivating people to become the best version of themselves,” she says.
Mhlongo feels that employers need to provide support to their women employees by implementing policies that protect women, providing channels of support and investing in the empowerment of women employees.
Two of her proudest moments are graduating twice after she got married and had her two daughters, and then opening her real estate firm — learning important lessons and skills from entrepreneurship as well as motherhood.
When asked how she has managed to maintain a work-life balance, she says: “Outside of work, I am a wife, a mother, a sister and a daughter. This simply means I cannot work 24/7. Therefore, it is crucial that I plan my day, plan my week, plan my month, so that I can make time for my family and loved ones. When I feel overwhelmed, I take time off. I am not afraid to unplug when I need to.”
Mhlongo says that the key to running a successful business is having the right people on your team.
“[Firstly], you need people who understand your vision and want to help you achieve the goals of the organisation. Secondly, you need to have a plan. Thirdly, you need to understand that, without your clients, there is no business. You need to treat your clients like they are the last people on Earth. People have a choice to go elsewhere if they do not get what they are looking for.”
She also feels that people in business should never take continuous learning for granted.
“The business world is evolving at a rapid pace, so you need to remain up to date with the latest advancements. This helps you to prepare for the future. With the outbreak of Covid-19, every business was forced to learn new ways to keep their businesses going, and a lot of them had to adjust by embracing technology and communicating with customers online.”
In the future, she hopes to expand her business to all provinces in South Africa, and to inspire women to get into the industry.
“I see Simpre Properties as a global brand with excellent service. One that always puts clients first,” she concludes.