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