SMME focus: Flashing Lites

Flashing Lites is a Randburg-based, boutique visual content production studio whose core service offerings are corporate films, live streaming, animation and photography that has a continental footprint and outlook.

Tell us about the early days of your business?

The early days of the business was characterised by a hectic schedule of juggling a mechanical engineering job and a one man photography studio operation and whole lot of bootstrapping and borrowing of monies from friends and family to support all the demands of the business.

What were the challenges you experienced in starting your business?

I had a lot of challenges with growing our sales at the beginning, I then made a decision to build a sales and business development team. I knew that the product we had was great and that the only challenge was to find clients willing to pay fair price for it. It took over three years to find the right team and to find means to afford the team. As we grew our sales we then started running into other problems such as high rental fees and poor cashflow. This is where Exxaro came to our aid through their ESD programme.

What was your inspiration for starting your business?

I started the business informally in 2001 while in grade 9. I had a friend who had a point and shoot Kodak film camera but he was underutilising it. I then used it and people were willing to pay for the photos. Fast forward to 2015 when I started the business formally, companies were now willing to pay even more for my pictures and this inspired me to go into the business full time.

What has been the key to the success of your business?

Converting our clients into our partners. Building a reliable team to work efficiently and turn around projects in time.

What’s the best business advice you’ve received or heard?

I once heard Johan Rupert say the first rule in business is to delegate stress. I believe him.

What have been the big trends you have noticed in your industry?

Social Media has been a game changer. Live streaming is a big part of that. Instant sharing of images from professional cameras. No one wants to wait anymore. Video is consumed more than ever before. We now offer these services as the market has driven us that way. We are now well equipped because of the Exxaro ESD support, as a result we have started creating our own content such as documentaries which we sell to various buyers.

Why is it important for clients to pay a fair price?

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Very often clients make Mercedes Benz Viano demands while they have Toyota Venture budgets.

What motto inspires you in your life and your work?

That would have to be Nike’s great slogan – “Just Do It”.

What are your goals for the future?

The goal for the short term is financial sustainability by way of getting three contracts at the very least, we have been running the business on ad hoc work since the beginning. The goal now is to grow the business through contracts and retainers. This will take the business to new heights and make planning and dreaming a whole lot easier.

(Interview courtesy SMME Handbook)