I have started to work on the business and not just in the business

Leon Nicodemus | LMTK Electrical Warehouse

After working for a large electrical wholesaler for 14 years in procurement, sales and management, I saw a need in the market for real customer service. I saw that customers were demanding personal service with solutions. I realised that every customer has an emotional need and, if I can meet that need, a profit will be made. I made the decision to open my own company so that I would be the one who was fully responsible for delivering the expected service and, in 2008, LMTK Electrical Warehouse was born.

My biggest challenge was navigating my way through a tough economy. In the beginning, the business was profitable as our expenses were low and we kept very little inventory. In order to be more effective, we decided to move to bigger premises and so more staff was needed and our stock levels increased. In recent years, we have seen a decline in customer spending which has impacted our budgeted bottom-line profit.

In 2016 I was invited by Murray & Roberts – who I was already supplying – to attend a B-BBEE presentation. It was there that I was introduced to Raizcorp, who is Murray & Roberts’ partner in their business-growth programme, and I immediately applied to join. I went through the selection process and started on the programme in 2017.

Raizcorp has changed my thinking completely! Since joining the programme, I am back in entrepreneur mode. I have started to work on the business and not just in the business. In fact, I now constantly view the growth of LMTK Electrical Warehouse with my personal exit plan in mind. I want it to be a business that can operate independently of me. Having five entrepreneurial guides has been amazing and has really stretched me. My personal development guide has made sure I make time for myself and my family, and even the odd game of golf!

Initially, we saw an increase in turnover followed by a decline – purely because of the poor economy. However, we are now seeing an increase again, more especially in our profits. We have also employed more staff but, more importantly, we have employed value-adding staff.

The biggest impact of the Murray & Roberts programme has been the documenting of all our processes. This has most definitely improved our efficiency and prepared us to make the business replicable. With better systems in place, I am free to market the company more. We have secured work from Eskom and are now busy with Joburg City Power requests for quotations (RFQs). We are also delivering to eMalahleni and are quoting the City of Cape Town on their electrical products.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to make time to work on the business. Document all processes so that your business can run without you, freeing you to go out and find bigger and more profitable clients.

Thank you to Murray & Roberts for this opportunity. I regard it as a blessing sent from God. You have taken a small company and given it great ideas and so much hope. Raizcorp has been a good choice as it has added huge value to myself and my company. They don’t just guide; they care.