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Margaret Hirsch is the executive director of Hirsch’s Homestores, the largest independently-owned appliance and electronics retailer in Southern Africa. She’s also a multi-award winning businesswoman on the global front, with a passion for women and youth empowerment projects.

Margaret’s motto: Through hard work and a love for what you do, your business will thrive. “You can work for a boss and make a living – or you can work for yourself and earn a fortune, but you have to be passionate about what you do.”

She lets Go Hustle in on her secrets to success…

Margaret swears by these “success” habits

Get up early and have a structured day. “[Plus] being able to do every job in the business is equally important. I would also never ask my staff to do something I wouldn’t do,” she says. Margaret’s aim is happy customers who return often. Integrity and loyalty are non-negotiables.

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The biggest factors in her success?

“Continuous hard work, dedication, focus, perseverance, resilience… Just keep going in the direction of your dreams!” says Margaret.

One change a person should make right now to help them get closer to success?

Work longer hours, work harder, work smarter. Also, ensure that you have the right team members on the bus – and get the wrong team members off the bus. “It’s all about building relationships – with your suppliers, your staff and your customers. A good reputation takes years to build and one second to lose. It’s important to maintain a good reputation,” she says.

If she could start again, what would she do differently?

“I wouldn’t do anything differently as I believe life is a journey, not a destination. Everything that happens to you along the way is there to help you grow. You have to make the right decision to carry on; if you make the wrong decision, you go back and try again – just like a game of snakes and ladders. You’ll eventually get it right!” she says.

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The hardest business decision Margaret’s had to make?

“We built our Umlazi store as a franchise and it didn’t work out, so we had to sell the store. Selling our Pietermaritzburg store was also very hard for us, but we made the decision to grow our Gauteng offering at the time and this has worked well for us,” says Margaret.

Making the most of lockdown…

During lockdown, Margaret has been the co-anchor, on a weekly basis, of an Entrepreneurs Workshop Webinar that’s grown in popularity, thanks largely to the well-chosen panellists and Margaret’s sound, sage, no-nonsense advice to help keep businesses on track in these uncertain times.

Margaret personally visits schools around the country, motivating, encouraging and inspiring the youth. For several years she’s been the main supporter of the Girls with Dignity project, which distributes reusable panty packs to schoolgirls in disadvantaged areas.

She recently established a safe house for girls’ projects in Gauteng and plans to roll out the concept in KZN and the Western Cape.

And she hasn’t stopped there… Margaret runs networking clubs at all her branches for Women In Business, encouraging mentorship programmes. Her door is always open to women who want advice on how to make their businesses grow.

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