Being young and black in the oil business with close to no experience in this type of field, one would think they really set themselves for failure and yet they’ve continued to grow and thrive. I know a lot of young people who have business ideas, including myself, who just need that 1 big break or that 1 rare opportunity to get the wheels turning and I wanted these 3 gents to share about their business and their experiences so far. I’m hoping that this will inspire so many of us to see opportunity in our everyday lives and also inspire us to start if we haven’t, begin again if we had given up and revive the spirit in us to reach for what we what we want even when it feels like we’re not the candidates because we’re too0 young o0r not qualified enough.
In this piece, I’ll be sharing all that Khumbula Ngcobo () had to share with me, I think it’s time we all admit I am the ultimate plug! Let’s get it popping:
- A lot of young people have great business ideas and fail to execute them, why and how did you get into business? Simply because entrepreneurship is in my blood, my dad is a successful business entrepreneur and growing up, he has always my hero so following him around and being like him was something I’ve always wanted to do. The ‘how’ part is a long, dark and difficult story but like any business man/woman you just wake up one day and you use your passion to start.
- What is your background? (Education, Work Experience) I’m the last born of my 9 siblings and home is in Richmond, KZN but I was born and bred in Johannesburg (Sandton). I’m a 3rd year law student but I had taken a break from my studies to pursue my business ideas but I plan on going back in 2019. I have worked for my dads business from a young age, I then went out on my own in 2015 and started a logistics company which totally failed and now I’m the Chief Operations Officer of N’Fuzed Energy which is an oil distribution company based in Centurion.
- Can you provide me with a description of your business and your day to day? Our business is a BP Castrol oil distributor and we distribute oil lubricants in and around Gauteng. Being the Chief Operations Officer I’m at the heart of the business because I manage our stock levels as well as plan out all our delivery routes. I am also in charge of the health and safety of our premises and staff. On a daily basis, I coordinate the dispatch of orders which involves checking that the stock that is ready for dispatch is the correct order going to the correct customer and thereafter I make sure our orders are out. Because o0ur business is new, I also help with deliveries before getting back to the warehouse to prepare for the deliveries for the following day.
- What type of business form do you have, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation? (please mention partners if legible and what role each one of you plays in the business) A Partnership. Essentially there are 3 of us, namely – Albert, who is our general manager. Nhlakanipho, who is our sales manager and I am the Operations manager.
- What are the advantages of this form of business ownership? We are able to divide the labour and help each other with work as well as the fact that the risk is shared amongst all of us.
- How did you get started in this business? I would call it a coincidence but because I believe in God, I know it was him. My mo0m bought a newspaper fro0m a street vendor that she normally passes every morning on her way and bought a newspaper. I have no idea what made us read through that newspaper and see that post because it wasn’t something we did because of how convenient it has become to do it on our phones., however, we did and because we had been wanting something to call our own we took that rare opportunity and applied for the post, thereafter we presented our business to BP and the rest is history.
- How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business? We all came from different business backgrounds but we were able to pool our skills together to be able run our business.
- How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business? Everything is governed by law and being in the oil business there are a lot of laws that we have to abide by in terms of health and safety so we have to spend a lot of money to ensure that we comply not only BP rules and regulations but also the laws that govern the type of products that we deal with.
- Is your business one that needs to be advertised? If so, how do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? We do need to advertise our business and we do so but in the correct and relevant space so we advertise in automotive magazines cause a large part of our customers are in that sector as well as doing pop ups in industrial areas for our clients in that sector
- Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? Our business is in its inception stage so we project a lot of growth where we will make our mark in the market and be able to move a lot volume.
- Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not? Yes we plan to grow into maritime lubrication industry where we will be able to grow our business globally.
- How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business? Our business is highly technological as BP we pride ourselves in being the industry leaders in innovation so we use technology to better the way we do business as well as improve our products.
- Whom do you seek advice from for your business? For me my biggest business advisor is my father, having seen run successful businesses I know he has the best advice for. It also helps that I am exposed and also surround myself with other successful business people and I try to learn as much as I can.
- What do you do with your profits? Our profits go back into our growing business so we reinvest into our business. We make money to invest it be able to sustain our business.
- Are there any ethical concerns that your type of business must deal with? Yes the effect that our products have on the environment if there is s spillage, however, we do have a set crisis management procedure that we follow
- What are the biggest issues for running this business? The biggest issue we have is the cash flow being a new business, but we have weathered the storm fairly well and are learning how to better handle our cash flow.
- To what do you attribute your success? We run a faith based business so we attribute all of our success to God. He is our provider. We all individually open our business days with prayer and end with it too.
- If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be? Know why you are starting your business. And be ready to sacrifice it all for the success of your business. Put God 1st
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Another piece showing how capable each of us are when we take fate into0 o0ur own hands and let opportunity meet grace and then let hard work and determination propel your success.
Open your eyes and see the world as a playground to achieve your dreams. And remember, God doesn’t always call the qualified – He qualifies the called.