EC busi­ness­man off to Ve­gas to show­case model that brought him suc­cess

Daily Dispatch - - Business - By MBALI TANANA

EASTERN Cape busi­ness­man Max Mab­huti, MD of Flat-Foot En­gi­neer­ing, will be fly­ing the African flag high in Las Ve­gas at the end of this month.

Mab­huti, 43, a na­tional busi­ness am­bas­sador for the Small En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Agency (Seda), which is spon­sor­ing his trip, will be among 13 guest speak­ers from around the world at a two-day busi­ness coach­ing seminar in Ne­vada.

Mab­huti, a for­mer pro­fes­sional boxer, has been asked to share his ex­pe­ri­ences, es­pe­cially of the im­pact that a busi­ness coach­ing tool called the Value Builder Sys­tem has had on his firm.

Mab­huti’s me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing com­pany, which is ISO 9001 cer­ti­fied, was first es­tab­lished in 2006 in Mthatha and has ex­panded to Port El­iz­a­beth and East Lon­don. It ser­vices the EC govern­ment’s med­i­cal space as well as other pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors.

In es­tab­lish­ing Flat-Foot, Mabuti wanted a busi­ness that could thrive with­out him hav­ing to be hands-on.

“We made sure that our busi­ness is not cen­tred around one in­di­vid­ual, by put­ting in place a very clear suc­ces­sion plan in each func­tional area of the busi­ness.

“We saw the risk in be­ing highly de­pen­dent on one client and in one sec­tor. We went on a vig­or­ous drive to di­ver­sify our or­der book and pri­va­tise it to en­sure that the busi­ness did not only rely on one or few clients in the pub­lic sec­tor for rev­enue,” he said.

Mab­huti said they fo­cused on en­sur­ing they se­cured more re­cur­ring busi­ness to cush­ion the busi­ness in times of down­turn, tar­get­ing a 30% re­cur­ring rev­enue ra­tio of the to­tal sales.

“Flat-Foot con­tin­ues to strive and we al­ready see this in our 30% tar­geted an­nual growth which we are con­fi­dent we are on track to achieve this cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, as we look to turn over R25-mil­lion,” he said.

Mab­huti said the Builder Value Sys­tem helped him make his busi­ness in­de­pen­dent and self-sus­tain­able.

“It also gives us great pride to say that be­tween 25 and 30% of our turnover is busi­ness we pass on to small upand-com­ing black-owned sub-con­trac­tors, some fe­male-owned, as part of our En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme aimed at giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

“We are also the on­go­ing spon­sors of Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Africa, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that en­cour­ages young high school pupils to take up maths and science in or­der to help ad­vance South Africa’s sci­en­tific ob­jec­tives.

“The busi­ness re­cently scooped the Rocci and FNB Busi­ness of the year awards in the en­gi­neer­ing cat­e­gory, among a se­ries of ac­co­lades dur­ing its 12 years so far.

“We were also among the top 40 Na­tional Gazelles, a na­tional SME growth ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme funded by Seda and the Depart­ment of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment.

“Cur­rently in a three-year pi­lot, the pro­gramme aims to iden­tify and sup­port SMEs with growth po­ten­tial across 10 pri­or­ity in­dus­try sec­tors aligned with the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan and Seda’s SME strat­egy,” he said.

Mab­huti said the pro­gramme as­sists busi­nesses to op­er­ate as closely as pos­si­ble to their max­i­mum po­ten­tial, with growth ac­cel­er­a­tion sup­port guided by a de­tailed busi­ness di­ag­nos­tic and growth strat­egy, and in­cludes a R1mil­lion growth grant for equip­ment and ca­pac­ity-build­ing.

“Flat-Foot was in the first Top 40 Na­tional Gazelles, the only one rep­re­sent­ing East Lon­don, and we re­ceived ac­cess to fi­nance, pro­duc­tiv­ity, busi­ness ad­vice and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment skills, which have al­lowed us to grow.”

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