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SMME focus: Rekatrade

Rekatrade operates in a niche market and is the only 100% black-owned company that manufactures their own products.

Tell us about the early days of your business?

The early days of my business where a bit challenging. The transition from being an employee to a business owner required a huge paradigm shift. I had to worry about issues that were never my problem before. I quickly had to learn how to run a business, plan and implement strategies and financial planning in a short period of time.

What were the challenges you experienced in starting your business?

The finances were the biggest challenges. I struggled to service the orders that came in, I also struggled with cash flow to maintain overheads. Secondly, in our industry the machinery to do the actual job is very expensive, purchasing the machinery was the biggest hurdle however in the end we managed.

What was your inspiration for starting your business?

I always wanted to do more and to do things better, but I was limited in an employee environment. The only way for me to express what I wanted to do was for me to step out, start my business and deliver the value- added service that I thought was missing in the industry at the time.

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

My keys to success have been:
• Consistency
• Integrity
• Quality
• Staff retention
• Customer communication
• Financial planning and management

What are your company’s competitive advantages?

• 20 year industry experience
• Good quality
• Price
• Excellent after-market maintenance and support

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

Growth and comfort do not co-exist.

What have been the keys to creating a sustainable business?

Focus on constant reinvention, embrace change… and adapt to the changing market trends in the industry.

How have you managed each new step of your company’s growth?

• Policy development and implementation
• Change management
• Employee training
• Continuous client liaison

How much of your client base is repeat business?

Around 80% of the work we do is repeat business.

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

We price our products and services so that we can cover the cost of delivering the product and service. The costs include but are not limited to:
• Human resources
• Machinery
• Delivery
• Raw materials
If our clients do not pay a fair price, we will not be able to cover the cost of delivering the product/service and we will only make a little bit of profit for our efforts.

What motto inspires you in your life and your work?

“The worst you can hear is no!” This statement gives me courage to go knock on doors and sell my products and services. It allows me to approach potential clients with no fear because, in reality, the worst answer I can hear is a no.

What are the challenges facing the future expansion of your business?

There are a lot of Chinese products which are being imported by South African companies, and if this continues it will naturally destroy the local manufacturing industry.

What are your goals for the future?

• Increase our assets, such as machinery and TMM
• Invest in research in development
• Grow our clientele in the SADEC region

www.rekatrade.co.za

(Interview courtesy SMME Handbook)