Mandy Keil | UPP Group (Pty) Ltd
Programme sponsor: Barloworld
“I don’t have the words to describe the value that this opportunity has brought into our business”
In 2008, Mandy Keil left her corporate job to join her husband in their family-owned plumbing company called Under Pressure Plumbing. Her biggest challenge was learning all the different aspects of business that an entrepreneur needs to know. “When you’re in corporate, your role is your role. Joining my husband’s company was a huge learning curve for me. I had to learn marketing, human resources, finance, sales and strategy – but I loved it!” Mandy says.
In 2019, UPP Group was selected for a business-development programme sponsored by Barloworld and powered by Raizcorp. Mandy found great value in what she learned during her learning and guiding (mentoring) sessions. “When I first came into the business, everything I learned was self-taught. It was all trial and error,” she laughs. “I knew I had huge gaps in my knowledge and my guides helped me plug those gaps. My numbers weren’t just numbers to me anymore; they started telling me a story.” While on the programme, Raizcorp helped Under Pressure Plumbing become UPP Group (Pty) Ltd. “We had to do a rebranding exercise because we were being put in the box of ‘just plumbing,’ and we are so much more than that,” she says.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, her guides helped her refocus in a time of panic. “We were worried about our staff and making ends meet. Our guides directed us to see the opportunity in the situation and to move out of our comfort zone. The result was that we spent our time in lockdown expanding our services, communicating these additional services to clients and sending out quotes. These came to fruition when things started opening again – we ended up making a profit. This was more than I was hoping for, and we didn’t let a single staff member go,” she says.
To aspiring entrepreneurs she says, “Sometimes you can’t change the environment and you can’t be in control of everything. When this happens, look for opportunities.”
In a thank-you message to her sponsor, she says “Thank you so much to Barloworld and my guides. I have grown so much personally. I don’t have the words to describe the value that this opportunity has brought into our business.”