S1 E 15 Imafin – a strategic partner holding its own with Financial giants

Imafin process
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Imafin – simplifying payments

Thabo Mongoma started Imafin because he knew he couldn’t be an employee forever. He knew that there was a gap in the payments space that he and his partner could bridge. What he never expected was that it would have such a positive impact on his personal life, growing him spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.

Imafin team

Show Notes:

Thabo tells us more about himself. [0:50]
Thabo talks about the impact that entrepreneurship has on your social life [05:10]
Thabo then tells us how they came about the name Imafin, and gives some insight into choosing a name for your company. [06:15]
Imafin helps banks to streamline their payments, offers advisory and does some pretty interesting stuff in the mobile and card space for banks. [08:00]
Thabo explains how collaborating with established, big name brands helps to give your business credibility. [12:06]
Thabo explains how he knew it was time to quit his day job and go full time into entrepreneurship. [14:06]
He planned it, despite knowing that he couldn’t wait until he had sufficient reserves saved up, such as offering advisory services to fund the business. [14:48]
Thabo further confirms that relationships are key to the success of your business, but not on its own. [17:05]
Sometimes giving advice for free to big brands, can work in your advantage as you will get their name on your portfolio. [18:52]
Know your skill set and outsource the rest. [22:20]
Positioning yourself as a strategic partner and not an enterprise development, goes a long way for perceptions about your skills. [24:00]
Thabo talks about some of the lessons he learnt working in the SADC region. [25:33]
When being an entrepreneur, travel is seen as an expense rather than as a perk [27:06]
They have mixed team of a permanent sales team and contracted consultants. [28:13]
Long sale cycles require a certain mettle. [30:53]
Thabo goes through how they identify the right personality for their sales team. [32:20]
Thabo explains what entrepreneurship gave him versus being an employee. [35:43]
Through this journey, it has brought Thabo closer to his religion. [37:30]
Thabo has also learnt what some of his weaknesses are, now that they are not hidden through team structures in corporate. [38:47]
Thabo has gotten used to challenges, so now they are business as usual. [42:12]

Significant quotes:

“My mind was very clear, I can’t serve two masters.” 14:04
“Advisory services don’t need startup capital, because its IP.” 15:09
“We had to sweat those relationships quite a lot.” 17:51
“Once you have a blue-chip firm like Shell on your books, then it works to your advantage.” 18:10
“They see us as a key element within their value chain.” 23:30
“You’ll find a crack in the wall, or you’ll find a gem.” 32:40
“You’ll find that resilient people have amazing stories to share.” 33:07
“By running this firm, I learnt more about myself.” 35:44
“But being by yourself, I guess you have a very, very long rope with which to hang yourself. And with that you get to test and learn more about what makes you you.” 36:06

Websites Mentioned:

Imafin website

Companies mentioned

Diner’s Club International
Steward Bank
Standard Bank
Finmark Trust

About the author, Charlotte

Charlotte, or Charlie as she likes her friends to call her, is what you would call a multipotentialite or a jack of all trades if you must. She been an auditor, an English teacher, a consultant, an executive assistant and product manager. She loves to read, watch shows, learn, tries to exercise, eats a lot, travels and tries out new things.

Entrepreneurship excites her not only because of its capability to bring joy (read freedom) to entrepreneurs, but also because it can vastly improve a country or continent for the better.

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