Hunger to learn brings success | Advice | Small Business Connect

Vuyo Luxanda says that a strategic map guides you to success.

Nothing creates business succ-ess better than capable entre-preneurs with viable business models, willing to learn about how to improve their strategy and align their operations to achieve their objectives.

The first time I met Vuyo Luxande in 2012, it was clear that she was an extremely capable person.

As a mother and business owner, she was balancing normal household challenges with building a business at an enormous pace.

What was also evident was that she was willing to grow the business organically rather than create debt and start with all the luxuries.

Mthombo Development Ser-vices, at that stage, was reaching the end of a social services contract, hoping to renew and grow its market penetration based on its services delivery record.

While Luxande had to develop the market penetration with projects requiring extensive expertise, she also had to build the organisation and resources to achieve its bold vision.

In order to show the value of the business to potential clients, we focused on defining the vision, values and objectives of the business. This helped us make sure that all initiatives and resources were aligned.

Mthombo expressed a need to set clear objectives, achievable goals and realistic timeframes. Using strategy mapping, rather than a typical business plan approach, offered a clear, easily updatable and flexible guide to achieve their growth path.

Strategy mapping sessions with the core team, including service providers and collaborators were held on weekends over a period of a few months.

We at Entrevise use a three-stage strategy mapping process:

“I believe that having a strategy map is very important for any business as it serves as a reference point on how to run your business.”

‘As is’ (the current reality): This includes the evaluation of the organisation’s current competitive reality based on the industry and company value chain, a contextual SWOT analysis based on the environmental impact analysis on industry and business, competitor analysis and client key decision indicator (KDI) evaluation against key competitors in each target market category.

‘To be’ (the ideal future): Here we cover strategy pyramid reviewing vision, values, mission, core business, IP, differentiating value proposition and strategic objectives.

‘Bridge the gap’ (the strategy map): To move from the current status to ideal future, the Balanced Scorecard methodology is applied. This ensures that all resources and initiatives are aligned to achieve the strategic objectives.

The detailed implementation plan ensures easy performance management, while the one-page strategy map is easy to adapt (like GPS mapping), should circumstances require.

Mthombo largely accepted own responsibility to implement the strategy map.

According to their own report, they implemented about 50% of the first year initiatives due to changing goals and retaining a competitive edge.

Because they were using the Balanced Scorecard, they were able to adapt easily to competitive realities and opportunities.

The strategy mapping process worked very well for the entrepreneurs at a crucial stage of their life.

It assisted them in re-engineering their own thinking and understanding in which direction to steer the organisation.

Mthombo were able to use the strategy mapping experience to evaluate new business opportunities and add additional services to the company. They were able to add new divisions like media, logistics and construction, and grow the business exponentially to a very healthy, profitable and diverse group.

More about Mthombo
The company: Mthombo Development Services is a 100% black-owned and 80% women-owned company created to increase the participation in the South African economy by black professionals through four divisions: management consulting, infrastructure development, logistics and ICT.
The entrepreneurs: Songezo Nabela, Monwabisi Luxande and Vuyo Luxande.
The industry: Business support services.
Innovation: The biggest innovation by Mthombo is in the publishing of a CSI magazine that will capture and showcase companies that have contributed in communities through their corporate social investments initiatives.
Learning: Learning about the industry through academic programmes and their previous work experience.
Experience: They have always been interested in business and have been involved in different business opportunities.
Established: 2003
Most success: 2013/4.
Premises: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Mthatha.
Staff: Two in 2011 to eight in 2013.
Clients: CSIR, IDT, Department of Social Development, Kopano Business Services, HEPF, YIZANI SAKHE, SAB Miller and the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA).
Annual sales: R20 million.
Profit: 12%.
Startup finance: Own capital (no loans).

Meet the business adviser…

Carel Venter

Carel Venter grew up in a small business household, with his family owning a clothing store in Windhoek. He is a Certified Business Adviser with Entrevise. He also serves on the executive of the Institute of Business Advisers (IBA) and is strategic adviser to the SA Small and Medium Enterprise Federation (Sasmef).

His involvement in supporting small business spans more than 25 years, starting with the Small Business Advisory Bureau in Potchefstroom. In 1993, Carel became the marketing manager of the National Book Printing Group (Naspers) and later General Manager, during which time he also completed an MBA. In 2002, he left Naspers and started business consulting full time again. In 2005, he completed the Institute of Independent Business (IIB) business school in London.

He has also participated in various SME development institutive and is an accredited service provider to PGWC, IDC, National Treasury, PALAMA and Seda.
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