Disruption’s her stock in trade
East London property sales tycoon Xoliswa Tini, founder of Xoliswa Tini Property Services, is no stranger to the business phenomenon which is known as “disruption”.
“I’ve lived with disruption since I was a child in Burgersdorp. My grandmother regularly disrupted my afternoon by getting us out of the house and into the township, selling the goods she had baked.
“It was not a hobby for us. It kept us going. Survival, winning, coping; they are all the real backbones of disruption. It was a great lesson for me, and one that has kept me going in tough times.”
Tini said these early experiences had given her the foresight to look behind the curtain of uncertainty for the good often concealed by the bad.
Tini matriculated at Burgersdorp High, then left the town to study at the University of Cape Town, where she obtained a diploma and became a teacher. “Diplomas are great but it was short of what I wanted to achieve, so I saved and returned to UCT a few years later and graduated.”
Her entrepreneur ventures started when she owned a supermarket in Burgersdorp. Staying ahead of customer needs further sharpened her ability to spot disruption opportunities, “although we did not call it disruption back then, but that is what it was, definitely not business as usual”.
Tini says she stumbled into real estate in 2001.
“I was looking for a property in East London and noticed that there were no black real estate practitioners, which was a massive gap in the market.
“I applied to join one of the local firms, having been turned down by many.
“I did well, loved the industry and within two years set up my own company.”
Since opening the business doors 16 years ago, Tini’s growth led to the employment of nearly 100 people, with branches in East London, King William’s Town, Midrand and Pretoria. “Property is a brilliant career. The opportunities never stop. All one has to do is recognise them, then go for it.”
Tini’s recent ventures stay within the property theme. She has opened a bond facilitation company and will link a strong broad-based financial services company to it.
“I have also invested a lot of money in commercial property. The obvious opportunity was setting up a facilities management group, which will look after the Tini buildings but will also be available to canvas for other jobs.”
With the expansion of the business, Tini has become one of the first black 100%-owned female franchisees in South Africa. “It is still exciting to talk in terms of building a powerful brand.
“Fortunately I have many key roleplayers – investors and developers – who are also excited about the development and see opportunity for a strong black African brand with a nationwide presence.”
Tini said where disruption has had an insignificant role was the shortage of registered black estate agents. She said the property sector transformation charter goal was 35% black agents, but it was nowhere close. She said transformation still favoured historically-advantaged white male businesses, and developers and banks still tried to sideline black-owned agencies.
“My immediate short-term goal is to grow our Gauteng footprint beyond Midrand and Pretoria, and to include Johannesburg. People may be surprised at the number of Eastern Cape diaspora who have made massive waves in Gauteng. It will be a pleasure to let XTPS look after their business and private accommodation needs.
“I don’t want to downplay the state of the market at the moment; without question it is really tough.
“However, it is this climate that forces people to look outside the obvious solutions. Disruption? Definitely.”