This November, we celebrate 6 years of being smartMI.
This journey of believing, enduring and growing, started on 28 November 2012 with no easy promise of future success, but rather endless belief in our ability, strength and sincerity.
Today we are proud to have more than 74 Team Members and 8 successful smartMI branches, situated in 3 different provinces (Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Free-State), and a Head Quarters that operates from Bellville in Cape Town.
We have embraced a culture of learning, listening, supporting and creating opportunities. This has led to several young people who have joined the Company over the years. Some came to learn, experience, mature and move on to work at big Corporates, and others came to learn, experience and grow with smartMI.
We are proud of the quality of learning these young people have received from smartMI. We see this as our small, but positive, contribution to the economy.
smartMI has also become known as a Company that creates opportunities for women and encourages them to be SMART and strong and achieve. Approximately 90% of smartMI Team Members, are women from different age groups, backgrounds and cultures.
smartMI Team Members embrace one another's similarites and we celebrate our differences. We believe that our strength lies in being different, but believing the same.
Above all, we know that we only exist, because of our clients.
smartMI Team Members live amongst our clients, interact with our clients and therefore very easily love our clients. Compassion and empathy, is key to our approach in dealing with a client.
At the start of our Birthday month where we celebrate 6 years of being smartMI, I would therefore like to thank each and every client who is COVERED by smartMI, for their commitment and loyalty. I would also like to thank each and every Team Member who is ensuring that our clients are COVERED the #SMARTWay.
It is never easy to start a business, but it is even more difficult and challenging, to grow a small business into a large business. We are, however, passionate, dedicated, committed and focused on doing it the #SMARTWay!
Thank you for being #smartMI
Photos are part of the smartMI way.
In my daily routine, I view and process the photos that were taken in our branches and the communities we service. Thousands of colourful, fun and beautiful photos have crossed my computer screen over the years.
Today this photo crossed my screen and made me stop and pray.
A photo only shows you a split second of a moment and you can add your own story, explanation or understanding to any photo, and make it as real as you wish.
This photo, to me, only has one story.
The smartMI story.
At smartMI, everything starts with our clients and it makes me extremely proud and thankful when I see how a Team Member expresses love and care towards a client.
To many people this grocery hamper may not represent much, and many people would most likely just view it as a little bit of good luck that came their way.
This moment shared by our Team Member, Teboho Mahase, and Ntate moholo Mavundla, expresses so much joy, relief, gratitude, compassion, care, empathy and love.
It is a moment in time that I wish we could capture and share with others when they feel forgotten, unworthy, unnoticed, desperate and unloved.
I would like to wrap this moment with a bow and gift it to the people of South Africa, the forgotten children, the abused women, the neglected elders, the unemployed, the youth without hope, the ones living in fear, the hungry and the homeless.
May you be blessed today, along with Ntate moholo Mavundla.
#BlessSouthAfrica the #SMARTWay
Today my Gran would have been 100 years old!
Whenever I read about someone who would've been a 100 today …. it’s usually about someone who passed away many years ago …. without you being able to have any real conception or idea of the kind of person they would have been at 100.
My Gran passed away at just over 99 years of age …. so I have a very real idea of the person she would have been at age 100.
Today, on her 100th birthday, I have hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing memories of her.
My Gran ensured that she truly LIVED all 99 of her years on this earth.
I recently read a book called “The 100 year old man who climbed through the window and disappeared”, in which the philosophy of the old man is that “life is what it is”.
My Gran knew that “life is what it is” … never complaining about the loss of her eye sight. Never complaining about the loss of a loved one, even when it broke her heart.
She knew how to carry on, how to continue living, how to continue laughing, how to continue loving and how to continue believing.
I love that until the end she could tell a joke or tease us and laugh with her entire body.
I love that until the end she wanted things to be done the right way.
I love that until the end she prayed for me and our entire family.
I love that until the end, her God was her true anchor in life and that she held on tight.
I love that she has shown me that even if you were a woman born in 1917, you could be formidable, strong and independent.
She never had a career. She raised two beautiful daughters with her husband. BUT she was the anchor, the drive and the inspiration for all three generations who followed her.
Granny …. I can just imagine the party you are having with Oupa today. I’m sure he is so happy that you finally joined him after making him wait for 26 years! (You always knew how to keep him waiting)
Happy Birthday to my Super Duper Granny!
Thank you for inspiring me. I will always love and miss you.
We are busy with General Evaluations at smartMI and it is an interesting journey to see +-60 people tell you what they think or feel about the Company, their office, their work environment, what their dreams are, what they like and what they dislike.
It is always easy to read the good things, but when you read the not so great comments, you have to change your approach or mindset. I've taught myself that criticism is healthy and plays a vital part in how we learn to improve and grow.
To be honest, you never arrive at perfection. For a perfectionist in many aspects of life, this is hard.
But a few years on in life, I understand that it is the journey and not the destination that matters. And in any event, life is too exciting and fulll of possibilities to reach a destination and end there!
At smartMI we are on a journey towards achieving something that hasn't been achieved before.
Reading the evaluations, I am reminded that we all have dreams and aspirations. We all want to be better and improve. We all want to achieve. We all want to be the Boss.
It is interesting to see that some Team Members have a more realistic approach towards growth, and others just want it to happen to them very quickly.
I prefer the slow approach .... this way you get to enjoy and appreciate the journey towards achieving greatness. You value the privilege. When you "achieve" too quickly ... you have no real understanding of what it means, and you easily let it slip.
We all only achieve because of opportunities we were given, or people who believed in us. We never achieve on our own. It is therefore always a privilege to be able to grow, to be able to achieve. Yes, you need to do your part, but if you do not get those small "chances" in life, you cannot achieve.
At smartMI we have a few Team Members who have patiently, with dedication, been growing over the years. It is a privilege to be able to think back to when I first met them, how they interacted and what their capabilities were.
Today they are strong leaders and mentors in the Company and I'm so proud to be working with them. They were afforded opportunities, they grabbed it with both arms and they made it happen.
We have an interesting mix of personalities at smartMI. Each person appreciated and celebrated for who they are. We are a variety of cultures and age groups, with even a few men mixed in between all the women. Because of this, there are some beautiful reasons why people love working at smartMI.
I can tell you all about how they love learning, love serving, love their clients, love challenges, but absolutely nothing sums up working at smartMI like this comment:
"Because it makes me famous"!
What is so beautiful and honest about this comment, is that it doesn't come from the person who holds the "highest" position in the Company. It comes from a person who has embraced working at smartMI, and being smartMI, with her entire heart and soul. Because of this, she is loved and admired by her colleagues, family, friends and her community! She is famous indeed.
And I agree with her ..... being famous is so much cooler than being the boss!
When we started smartMI, we committed to a variety of things, but two non-negotiables exist and will always be an inherent part of how we do business.
Understanding the privilege of doing business in South Africa, is all about understanding the privilege of having your community's support. Without accepting and supportive communities, we will struggle to do business, and most definitely, not grow our business.
Each of the smartMI shops are situated in communities that operate in their own unique manner, have their own set of challenges, have their own cultural habits and speak their own languages.
During February, we celebrate love and find different ways of "showing it". What makes this a lovely project, is the direct involvement the Team members have, demonstrating their own passion and empathy.
This year we are visiting 2 schools for the Disabled in George and Beaufort West, we are cleaning up an area in Port Elizabeth, we are visiting 2 underprivileged Grade R schools in Dunoon and Thabong and gardening in Kroonstad! Not forgetting our Cancer Walk!
All these projects are initiated, created and put into effect by Team Members!
Over the years we have spent time with the elderly, washed the feet of the underprivileged, encouraged clients to donate blood, played games with underprivileged children and volunteered on behalf of the kitchen staff in many schools.
Each time we initiate such a project, we ask businesses in our areas to participate / donate to the benefit of the institution we are visiting. Sadly, the answers are overwhelmingly "No", "Not allowed", "Manager not here", "Not our thing", "Maybe another time".
All of these answers are valid and fair comment, as we are all the masters of our own business destinies .... but does it make sense?
Should businesses still exist in communities, without being part of those communities?
It is not about donating hundreds and thousands, but by acknowledging the people with whom you share a space .... almost like getting to know your neighbour just enough, so that you can support him/her during times of difficulty. You remember the old habit of taking some food when there is death in the family?
If we don't get to know our communities, how can we continue servicing them in a relevant manner? Isn't business always about the service you render?
Working in the LSM 1-7 market for more than 20 years, getting to know our clients, our communities and their challenges, has taught me alot about people and their appreciation for sincere gestures.
smartMI does not have a big corporate budget for CSI projects and can never compete with that. But ....
We have heart. We have passion. We have a SMART Team.
So, to each and every SMART Team member who passionately embraces every opportunity we create to make a positive impact in their community, thank you! I am proud to be part of this SMART Team.