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KZN Oils: Rajendran Reddy

Building a dream into a multi-million rand business

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Rajen Reddy of KZN Oils

Hunger for success and self improvement isthe key motivation which drives Rajen Reddy, CEO of KZN Oils. A mere five yearsago, Reddy was involved in a stationery-selling business, but hankered to getback into the mechanical industry. When opportunity presented itself, hegrabbed it with both hands and today is in charge of his own multi-million Randturnover business, supplying fuels and lubricants to Portnet and relatedindustries.Matriculating in 1980, Reddy initiallyentered a family construction business, moving on to establish a servicestation. “Around 1996, an individual in government asked me why I was notlooking at the bigger picture in terms of the oil industry,” says Reddy. “Thatplanted the seed for KZN Oils, although it would be a long time before it cameto fruition.”

The trouble was, he says, that the oilindustry was a closed one. “It’s something of an old boys club; very hard tobreak into and very exclusive. The established players are reluctant to allowentrepreneurs in and can make life a misery.”Reddy is unashamed to say that his dreamscame crashing down. “I’d spent too much time trying to put deals togetherwithout success. I was in a position where I had to pick up the pieces – and soI started a stationery business. That was in 1996; in the first month I soldabout R1 000 worth, and made a profit of about R100,” he relates. These slim pickings didn’t deter adetermined Reddy. “When you’re desperate and hungry, you do what you can to winand retain customers…by 1998, turnover in this business was up to R250 000 amonth,” he explains.Despite initial setbacks, the oil industryheld a persistentfascination for Reddy. “This was a dream Iwas not prepared to give up on,” he declares. “Things were changing for thebetter though; with the introduction of BEE legislation, the industry wascompelled to open up to new entrants; Portnet’s BEE programme was a significantstep forward which gave me the opportunity I was looking for to re-enter theoil industry.”

And so, in 1998, KZN Oils was born. “Weestablished the confidence of customers, primarily Portnet, in our ability toadd value and ensure security of fuel and oil supply,” says Reddy.Funding came from his own resources,supported by the confidence of clients and suppliers. “Banks, I believe, limita lot of entrepreneurship as they are unwilling to assist. I looked to my ownresources and the support of suppliers and clients; this also depended uponcareful and diligent management of cash flow.” Success, for Reddy, is a matter ofconstantly measuring himself and getting as much right as possible. Deadlinesare critical, as is a systematic approach which ensures tasks are completedaccurately and on time. “It’s important to be very clear when expectingsomething; I don’t like generalisation as it leaves room for error,” he says. Motivation and persistence are essential:“I ask myself, ‘what have you achieved today’? I try never to make the samemistakes twice. While I am often disappointed when I feel I could have donebetter, I always remember that it’s a 15-round fight. I may be klapped for oneday, but I’ll be back for more in the next round.”

Without persistence, Reddy says he wouldstill be selling a mere R1 000 worth of products a month. “I don’t know themeaning of ‘no’. In business, if I see an opportunity, I will want to know ‘whynot’, and find the answer to how that opportunity can be realised,” heexplains.His advice to aspirant business owners isnever to underestimate the task which lies ahead. “Understand exactly what isneeded to trade in your company before growth. Focus on yourself as anindividual so you can lead and manage your people effectively; network in theright forums, and above all, eat, sleep and live your business,” he says.Apart from the standard determinants ofsuccess – hard work, determination, commitment – Reddy believes it is largely amatter of the depth of an individual’s hunger. “For me, it comes down to howmuch you really want success. This will determine the extent of your sacrificeand taking the necessary steps to ensure improvement.” Contact: +27 31 570 0550; www.kznoils.co.za

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.

CEOwise

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Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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