Muhammad “M.K.” Khan
Owner, Tribal Meetings
What is your professional background?
I have been working for myself and have been an entrepreneur for the last 40 years. I have a Diploma in Business Management and Accreditation from the Academy of Advanced Training.
What is it like owning your own business?
The most important thing about being my own boss is that I have always owned my own time. Owning my own business gives me the freedom to explore opportunities and take advantage of situations when they present themselves without concerning myself with the problem of someone else owning my time.
What inspired you to go into tourism?
When I returned to the country after Apartheid, I recognized Tourism to be the most buoyant industry at the time. South Africa was ready to welcome the world after being a pariah state.
How did you get started?
My point of entry was qualifying as a Tourist guide first before I did anything else. This gave me the knowledge of the environment into which I would operate my business.
How many employees work at Tribal Meetings?
We currently have four full time employees and this swells to 20 or 30 when we do a conference or a tour.
What do you like most about your business?
When everything comes together and people are thrilled with our service and go home knowing that their life will never be the same again!
What challenges do you face?
We are always faced with the problem of exchange rates and international factors that we have no control over. Unfortunately, people view Africa as one country and if something negative happens in one part of the continent we are affected.
Where in South Africa do you go?
We go to all Southern African countries
What is your favorite destination to visit?
The Kalahari desert in winter.
In 2016, Rutgers University Camden and Tribal Meetings celebrated twenty years of friendship. How did two decades of partnership come to be?
It started with baby steps, first Tribal only did some of the logistics, then the hotels, then the meetings and within a few years we were doing a turnkey service. We have maintained and improved our service levels year on year and have a philosophy of delivering consistent good service to existing clients before expanding our client base.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Identify what you want to do, then do a due diligence, be frugal in the beginning, grow organically, and never expect instant gratification.
I studied abroad in South Africa with Rutgers-Camden. MK and his family were simply wonderful! From the top of Table Mountain, to Cape of Good Hope and into the African Savanah, I had such a magnificent, life changing experience.