Meet the woman who now owns the petrol station where she was a cashier: 36-year-old shares her journey to success
Hailing from Mtwalume on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Khumbu Shelembe’s career trajectory is a remarkable story.
Khumbu completed a National Diploma in Marketing Management from Mangosuthu University in 2004. Three years later she started working as a cashier at Mobeni service station.
At the station she earned her first promotion after only six months and joined the book-keeping and supply chain department.
In 2011 she completed the Caltex Retailer Courses and the previous owner of the Mobeni service station unveiled an opportunity for her to buy a 30% share in the business and she grabbed it with both hands.
Later that year, another opportunity arose for her to own the station outright. This is when she applied for- and received special funding from Astron Energy, the company that owns the Caltex license, to gain complete control of the business.
The proud filling station owner is passionate about the fuel industry and has put a lot of hard work into her journey.
“A fuel station is like any other business in that it requires hard work and a positive attitude. You have to consider others and not only think about your own pocket. It’s not about money, all that counts is the love for the business, being focused, and facing what you need to accomplish,” she says.
She admits that she’s faced multiple challenges leading up to her current role but she's learnt to keep calm, even during difficult times.
“It can be very stressful worrying about things like safety and customer satisfaction. You have to be balanced across all the factors that you need to consider. It helps to have relationships with people who have been in the industry for a long time,” says Khumbu.
She oversees the petrol station that produces close to 10 000 litres of petrol and diesel a day that caters for trucks and small cars alike, with a staff of 13 working under her leadership – as she focuses on growth, support and incentivising excellent customer service.
“We motivate each other and share ideas. I also offer incentives for top performing customer service attendants, based on their sales and customer service."
Khumbu says owning the license to this petrol station is like living a dream. “When I think of the way I grew up, I never thought that one day I would be blessed like this."
She says hard work and being confident and loving what she does contributed to her success. “I love the fuel industry and that motivates me,” she says.
As she continues to grow in her career, Khumbu says, “I want to be the best that I can be in the fuel industry and I would like to help others to grow and see that there are opportunities beyond what they may recognise for themselves.”
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