A self-motivated powerhouse in the business world in South Africa, and a sought after speaker at business meetings and schools, Margaret Hirsch is the Chief Operations Officer of Hirsch’s Homestores, the largest independently owned Appliance and Electronics retailer in Southern Africa. She is a multi-award winning business woman on the global front. Awards include: the World CSR Congress-50 Most Impactful Social Innovators, Business Leader of the Year Award, CEO Magazine Most Influential Woman in Business and Lifetime Achievement Award, SA’S Most Influential Woman in Business.
As the Co-founder of Hirsch’s, Margaret helped convert a tiny retail store into a multi-million dollar Appliance and Electronics company. A company close to her heart was co-founded with her husband Allan Hirsch who is the CEO of Hirsch’s Homestores.
The Hirsch’s: Illuminating the Service Front
Being the biggest independent appliance company in South Africa, with 18 branches and concept stores in the country, Hirsch’s prid themselves for their service. They stock the best brands have supplier demonstrators and ambassadors in all their stores to make sure that the customers know exactly how a product works before purchase. They also have a spares and service department in each store, making them totally unique in the appliance and electronics industry in South Africa.
Allan and Margaret started their company with their severance pay of R900. They used the majority of this money to pay wages and rent. Margaret still remembers the time when she had nothing special to eat, but bread and jam for supper. The Hirsch’s inner strength and their indomitable spirits paid off and that is why they are leaders in the industry today.
Margaret Stands by her True Mantra for Living Life to the Fullest
Out of 24 hour in a day, Margaret devotes 18 hours to her company and her personal life. She considers dedicating equal time to both the sides of her life, blending the two together effortlessly.
Hirschifying Staff Members
Honesty, integrity and loyalty are components that the Hirsch’s value and make them stand apart from their competitors. It is not just the words, but a culture that Margaret focuses on teaching her new staff members.
Being a family owned business, Hirsch’s sticks by a very stringent ethos. With the entire family working in the business, they take care of every single job without keeping anything for the next day; they go by the famous mantra of “Don’t leave anything for tomorrow that can be done today”.
Margaret, being the devoted worker that she is, goes through approx. 3000 invoices containing customers view points on a daily basis. She also handles the Hirsch’s Phone Hotline throughout the day, going through customers queries and issues with products. Her main goal is to keep the customers happy by providing them with good quality service and products and she strives to leave no stone unturned.
Tackling team issues has never been easy, but for someone like Margaret, it has always been an adventurous journey. As the COO of the company, she works with all 1200 team members and remembers the time when the company only had ten people, which was pretty easy to handle.
The Hirsch’s have eight members in their core group, and consider them to be the most dedicated team at the helm of the company. They have Action Teams in the three provinces in which they operate, with three sets of ten people, fragmented under an organogram where the people know who they are working for. “Being a matriarch I usually go in and sort out any issues. We usually find that people either fit into our culture or they leave within the first month or two”, she explains. “There are members of staff who have been with us for many years, and they are very happy in their work and very happy to come to work,” she says.
The Future of Hirsch’s Homestores
A lifetime Achiever in Entrepreneurship and having been inducted into the Hall of Fame by several women’s organisation, Margaret Hirsch is still determined to welcome her son in as the next CEO of the company. For Margaret, her son signifies the new injection of young blood into the organization, bringing great advantages.
Throughout her entrepreneurial journey, Margaret has given a spark of light to the company. Over the coming years, she visualizes the future of her venture as a business that will grow from strength to strength.