Founder and Director of Charisma Funerals in Limpopo, Elliot Makhubele has shared the highs and lows of being a young funeral parlour entrepreneur. His passion for the funeral industry started when he was 28 years old and was working in a funeral parlour. He gained in-depth insight into the industry and saw a gap in the market to start a business.
WHAT MOTIVATED THE YOUNG LIMPOPO ENTREPRENEUR
“When I was working at a funeral parlour, I developed a passion to serve people by starting a business where I can use my Christian values to help my community,” he explains.
The business ensures locals have access to tailor-made and affordable funeral products, tombstones, repatriation services and funeral policies. As a Limpopo local businessman, Makhubele understands his communities’ financial challenges and he has plans in place to address them.
DESIGNING INNOVATIVE FUNERAL PARLOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Today’s tough economic times have made it difficult for consumers to invest in funeral products. A Mail & Guardian article recently stated, “General estimates nationwide show funerals can cost R25 000 or more,”. With funerals being so expensive, it’s imperative to have options for affordable funeral services.
Understanding the needs of his community has helped Makhubele grow his business and diversify his product offerings.
“Some of my premiums start from as little as R100 and I want to add more services to help people pay and plan for funerals seamlessly,” he said.
He has plans to introduce a prepaid funeral plan that is designed for individuals who want to ensure that their wishes are respected and that their loved ones don’t have to make difficult decisions whilst grieving.
For proactive clients, the business is also working on introducing a service to pay for funeral products in instalments. Makhubele is introducing new products and services that make planning a funeral easier.
LOAD SHEDDING IS STIFLING GROWTH
Even though the business is on a growth trajectory and has amazing products underway, load shedding is hindering growth. The business operates at its best with a constant electricity supply to ensure that the parlour stays at the optimum temperature. “I use a backup generator during load shedding and the cost of diesel needed for the generator is expensive,” added Makhubele.
SMMEs contribute about 40% to the economy of the country, and their performances and successes are directly linked with the country’s economic success. Yet they are most at threat because load shedding is a challenge that comes on top of other entrepreneurial challenges.
Despite the challenges caused by load shedding, Makhubele is determined not to give up because he believes helping his community prepare a dignified funeral is a calling that he is passionate about.
“I have a heartfelt desire to help people by offering convenient and affordable funeral products and burial services,” he said.
WORDS OF WISDOM
This is not a business for the faint-hearted. Makhubele is a resilient entrepreneur that is using his business to assist people plan dignified funerals.