by Dudu Saki
Durban-born businesswoman and newly-appointed dealer principal of Kelston Isuzu in Makhanda, Yoshika Naidoo, is proud to say that her acumen is owed to the fact that she rose from the ranks.
She and her sister moved to Makhanda in 2003 to study at Rhodes University, where she enrolled for a Bachelor of Social Science degree, majoring in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Sociology.
Naidoo finished her Honours degree and took up a job as a receptionist in 2007 at the General Motors dealership on African Street, which is now Kelston VW/Renault.
When I asked her about the business’ success recipe, she smiled and replied that consistency and building trust-based relationships are essential.
“We are a small community and all our interactions are more ‘personal’ than you would find in the bigger cities. When we go through difficulties, it is important for us to go the extra mile and try to offer assistance. As a company, we need to adapt, refocus and offer our customers the best deals we can” said Naidoo.
She also believes that we should all give 100% to anything we are tasked with, as our work is a reflection of our characters. It helps when you have a phenomenal team, she adds.
The business, which has 15 members reporting to her, has made it their mandate to employ locals. The other employees all have long service at the dealership. Naidoo says the dealership has implemented many initiatives to train and employ locals. Even during the Covid-19 lockdown, the dealership was fortunate enough to be still running and servicing essential services vehicles.
“We have a strong IT team that assisted us in working remotely. Our head office swiftly implemented Covid protocol and educated staff to ensure our dealership continued as smoothly as possible” Naidoo says.
She believes that the Kelston Motor Group’s strong head office supports the dealerships to make and implement decisions swiftly.
Each division head is an expert in their field, and is well prepared for any economic changes that may affect the sector. She also explained that the foundation of the business is the local community. Its customer base comprises the agricultural sector – farmers and game reserve owners, students and locals from the town.
“I feel like my degree did not go to waste, because I deal with people most of the time. Many aspects of humanities are about reading and thinking. My words of encouragement to those aspiring to climb the corporate ladder would be to put your head down, give of your best and absorb knowledge like a sponge” said Naidoo.
“Take every opportunity and let your work speak for itself. Never let anyone make you believe that you cannot do it” she concluded.