Director CMM Group of Companies
Meshika David is a director at the CMM Group of Companies which operates a network of
Meshika’s initial background was in the corporate environment, but she decided to join her husband in the CMM Group. After developing a passion for the industry, she helped facilitate the growth of their company from one franchise to a network of 12 franchises, these being primarily Debonairs, Steers and Fishaways brands with Famous Brands.
Over the span of a decade, Meshika has faced an array of challenges and celebrated numerous triumphs. Reflecting on her journey, she says that many aspects have contributed to their success. However, Meshika says, “I think the most important thing for me was to learn to embrace failure as
much as I embrace success.” She commented that we should not be afraid of failure, as if we allow ourselves to become apprehensive about future growth due to past setbacks, we can never move forward. “When I started acknowledging the fact that you have to be able to embrace those failures in order to grow, it led to greater success and expansion of the business.”
Meshika’s greatest cheerleader in her entrepreneurial journey is her husband, “Sometimes I think he thinks I can walk on water, which I can’t,” she jokes. Meshika recounts that she has never felt hemmed in by a glass ceiling, growing up in a supportive household, with a father who always believed in her ability to achieve anything.
That both of the prominent male figures in Meshika’s life have held an unwavering belief in her capabilities has played an instrumental role in her accomplishments. “Their belief in me is what propelled me to actually believe in things that I didn’t think I could have achieved initially.”
Navigating challenging times
The past few years have presented a series of challenges for the CMM Group of Companies. The global Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 necessitated the temporary closure of their fast-food franchises and a whole set of challenges to be faced.
Meshika commented, “It brought a whole set of new rules, a whole set of new trading conditions. We had to learn very fast. You had to be agile, you had to learn how to adapt very fast and you had to learn how to respond to the market.” While they managed to successfully meet these demands
and changing consumer habits, their challenges were not over. In 2021 the civil unrest, resulted in the loss of seven stores. Overcoming this setback was a daunting task that tested her on multiple levels – emotionally, physically, and financially.
“We watched the destruction on camera. And you spent over 10 years building these businesses and in a couple of hours you watch them being torn apart, which was very devastating for us, to be completely honest,” said Meshika. “I think navigating through that was the greatest challenge I personally have faced in business. I think the psychological scars will always be there.”
Rebuild their livelihood
The province’s recovery process was long and arduous, but Meshika and her husband realised they needed to forge on if they wanted to rebuild their livelihood. Meshika explained, “If there’s one thing that I can say is that momentum is everything. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, just get up and start doing something, because if you’re going to keep yourself in that space of devastation, you’re not going to move forward.”
In addition, Meshika commented that their ability to forgive and their sense of patriotism played a huge part in their ability to move forward again. Demonstrating resilience and determination the team re-established two businesses within one month of the devastation and just two months later all seven businesses were up and running.
Despite the numerous challenges they have encountered, the CMM Group of Companies has won numerous awards over the years. This year they have won the prestigious KZN Top Business Franchising Sector Award, along with the national Sorbet Franchise Partner of the Year Award.
Their unwavering commitment to excellence remained evident where, despite the devastation faced during the 2021 looting, their Debonairs’ franchise received the Franchise of the Year regional award, and their Sorbet franchise received the KZN Salon of the Year award. This recognition said Meshika is, “Testament to putting your hand to the wheel and getting back, because you don’t have to compromise on excellence, even in the rebuilding.”
Forging a brighter tomorrow
Meshika’s future goals are to continue to expand their network of franchises. They recently opened a new store which was their first township development. They have another seven developments in the pipeline.
Meshika is highly passionate about economic development and thinks that we need to now change the narrative. The goal is to actively contribute to economic development and inspire the private sector to play a more significant role in uplifting the economy.
In advising young women, Meshika emphasizes the importance of authenticity. She explains, “The first thing that you should do every single day is strive to be the highest authentic version of yourself. You don’t have to be anybody else and that’s something that I strive to do every single day.”
Meshika finds her work-life balance by making time for nature, reading, and nurturing family relationships. You’re not going to win at business, or anything else for that matter, if you’re not winning at life,” she says. She lives by a motto from her late father, “Knowledge is power, silence is golden, and wisdom endures. Learn the necessary skills to succeed, don’t speak unless it is to improve the silence and the wisdom that comes with experience allows you to excel.”
Meshika’s involvement in KZN Top Business Women is a source of immense pride and honour. She envisions using this platform to champion community economic development and encourage the private sector to actively participate in elevating the economy. Her goal is to inspire change and shift the narrative toward a more prosperous and vibrant South Africa.