Catch­ing the com­pe­ti­tion

When a new shop­ping cen­tre was built in Richard Chauke’s home­town of Soshanguve, the de­vel­op­ers in­cluded the com­mu­nity in its fu­ture op­er­a­tions. Yet, at that time, Chauke’s business couldn’t have a sus­tain­able re­la­tion­ship with the mall

Destiny Man - - BUSINESS CLINIC -

Some­one sug­gested that Chauke in­stead ten­der to pro­vide waste re­moval ser­vices. “I didn’t get the ten­der, but the owner of the com­pany that did al­lowed us to work with him. I learnt the ins and outs of the business and started Value Waste. We sort waste from re­cy­cling and pro­vide re­cy­cling au­dits. We then sell the re­cy­cling and re­duce pres­sure on land­fills,” he says.


Chauke’s also proud of the buy-back cen­tre he started. “We buy re­cy­clable prod­ucts from com­mu­nity mem­bers and help them gen­er­ate in­comes.”


Com­pa­nies with track records of more than 20 years pose chal­lenges for Chauke. “When we make bids to of­fice and shop­ping com­plexes, these com­pa­nies of­ten un­der-quote. It’s not fi­nan­cially vi­able for us to do the same.

“Govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions as­sist us by not im­me­di­ately over­look­ing us based on price. Com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions, how­ever, don’t care – they just want the best price. Qual­ity and ser­vice are sel­dom fac­tors in their de­ci­sions. How can I com­pete against these busi­nesses?” asks Chauke.


Mo­hamed Ma­japa from Bora Growth Part­ners says that be­fore he can com­pete vi­ably, Chauke must de­ter­mine where his business fits in. “He’s up against com­peti­tors, so he needs to carry out mar­ket re­search to en­sure that that spe­cific sec­tor is ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing him. He may find that he’s too small to fight. In that case, there’s no point in try­ing to beat sub­stan­tially larger and bet­ter-es­tab­lished com­pa­nies and he should rather en­ter the mar­ket by a dif­fer­ent route, such as eco-mar­ket­ing. Many com­pa­nies are re­quired to track green scores and Chauke can help them gain higher rat­ings while de­liv­er­ing a re­li­able ser­vice,” says Ma­japa.

Chauke should also iden­tify the best mar­ket­ing meth­ods. “His buy-back cen­tre pro­vides ex­cel­lent mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. He needs to ed­u­cate com­mu­nity mem­bers on the im­por­tance of re­cy­cling, be­sides its in­come-gen­er­at­ing po­ten­tial. The brand can grow from that per­spec­tive, rather than from his cur­rent fo­cus,” ex­plains Ma­japa.

“Chauke should then use that re­la­tion­ship with the com­mu­nity to ob­tain work at the lo­cal malls, demon­strat­ing his ef­forts to re­cy­cle waste in or­der to drive peo­ple there. In that way, he’ll play a more mean­ing­ful role within the com­mu­nity.”

Ul­ti­mately, sto­ries at­tract cus­tomers. “It’s es­sen­tial to demon­strate the im­por­tance of re­cy­cling and show that ev­ery­one plays a role in it. If Chauke cares pas­sion­ately about the business’s pur­pose, it will fil­ter through­out the ven­ture’s op­er­a­tions. He should de­fine him­self by show­ing that it’s not just about money, but about the en­vi­ron­ment too,” ad­vises Ma­japa.


Jeremy Bar­ton from PE Coach says many peo­ple are get­ting in­volved in the waste sec­tor as aware­ness of its im­por­tance grows. He agrees that the first step is to un­der­stand the mar­ket. “By do­ing that, Chauke can iden­tify his com­peti­tors and how best to tar­get his re­sources.”

Fol­low­ing this, it’s es­sen­tial to take small steps to be­come a big player. “He should start by do­ing what he’s al­ready done and work with larger play­ers. I agree that there’s no way he can com­pete with com­pa­nies that have been op­er­at­ing for 20 years. In­stead, he should choose an ef­fec­tive route to mar­ket by form­ing re­la­tion­ships with big­ger com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially those buy­ing re­cy­clables. This must be a ma­jor fo­cus un­til he’s ready to com­pete with them.”

Bar­ton says Chauke needs to de­ter­mine what kind of business he wants, where he wants it to be and the steps he should fol­low to get there. Com­pet­ing with larger com­pa­nies might be pre­ma­ture at this stage.

“It’s cru­cial that he have a plan, whether this is writ­ten down or in his head, so that he can chart the mea­sures he must take to achieve his goal,” says Bar­ton.

Mo­hamed Ma­japa, Man­ag­ing Part­ner: Bora Growth Part­ners. Tel: 021 418 2812. Web­site: bor­a­

Jeremy Bar­ton, Ex­ec­u­tive Coach: PE Coach. Web­site:

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