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LumaCon Air Conditioning: Derrick Tshivhase

Air conditioning business owner sets his sights on a breezy future by securing multi-million rand contracts.

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Derrick Tshivhase grew up in Soweto in the turbulentapartheid years. He describes himself as someone who came from the “generationof stone throwers”. But fortune was on his side and his entrepreneurial talentswere recognised by Barlow Rand’s Small Business Advisory Service. With itssupport, Tshivhase built his business, a one-man show, into a sustainable andhealthy enterprise that is eager to compete with leading industry players. WhenTshivhase started LumaCon Air Conditioning he wanted one outcome – to be a topplayer in the provision of heating and air conditioning solutions. “I started LumaCon in 1986 and itstabilised four years later,” he says. “Up until 1994 it was almost impossibleto get government contracts, but I didn’t give up.” His focus at that time wasdirected at black professionals including lawyers and doctors, as well as blackretailers, while he waited for the political tide to turn in his direction. “Iattribute my success during those difficult times and up until today, to selfreliance, being totally self driven and refusing to give up no matter howdifficult things become.”

Bewarecomplacency

LumaCon has secured contracts includinga R13 million project for Modderbee Prison and one for Polokwane InternationalAirport worth R5 million. The company employs 30 full-time employees excludingspecialist sub-contractors. Like any start-up, it’s had its ups anddowns and Tshivhase had to face many obstacles along the way. But a strong mindand an even stronger will to succeed put him on the road to success. The most difficult hurdle he overcamein the business arena was his own complacency. “When things are going well youassume that they will always go well,” he says. “I was looking for a propertyin Limpopo when an estate agent showed me afarm which I fell in love with.” He took two years off, put his staff incontrol of LumaCon and tried his hand at farming. The company suffered withouthim at the helm and it took him two and a half years to get it back on trackagain.

Freethinker

Tshivhase describes himself as anindependent thinker and says he wants to keep it that way. True to form, heisn’t afraid to express his disappointment about the small business sectoreither. “South Africa has in the last 15years failed dismally to develop and sustain a vibrant small business sector,”he says. “In the 90s the buzz was all about bringing the small business sector,particularly black business, into the mainstream of the economy. “In my opinion, the country has failedto do this. In my time as a farmer, this view was reaffirmed as I had to facethe fact that it was impossible to produce poultry – broiler chickens in mycase – profitably with the constraints inherent in the supply value chain.” Monopolies are seriously hampering andsabotaging the development of a competitive economy which canaccommodate more players, Tshivhase believes. “More participants in the economy willimmediately result in employment, poverty reduction, economic growth, pricedecreases and the lowering of inflation,” he adds.

FutureGrowth

Tshivhase says that LumaCon plans togrow its market share and become a competitive industry player. “Five yearsfrom now I see myself achieving my dream, which is to be among the top airconditioning companies in southern Africa. Iknow that to get there, I’ll have to change my business model. “One of the biggest challenges is toget every staff member putting their shoulder to the wheel. The changes I planto make to my current business model will include employing project managersand farming out labour to sub-contractors.”And if you are wondering how thecurrent downturn has affected LumaCon, don’t. “It’s not a problem for usbecause we are not participating in the recession,” he says with a wide smileand a twinkle in his eye.

  • Company: LumaConAir Conditioning
  • Player:Derrick Tshivhase
  • Est.1986
  • Contact:+27 11 656 4422, www.lumacon.co.za

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How Nic Haralambous Launched His 6 Year In The Making, Overnight Success

Nic Haralambous launched 8 failing businesses. He used the lessons learnt from that failure to ensure the success of his new business Nic Harry.

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Nic Haralambous, the founder and CEO of Nic Harry who started off selling bamboo socks online and now has brick and mortar stores with a larger product range around the country. Nic has also written a book titled Do. Fail. Learn. Repeat. which is a brutally honest look at entrepreneurship and follows Nic’s entrepreneurial journey. Learn from his failures and how he used them as the foundation of his success.

Related: (Podcast) Speak More Honestly

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Vuyo Tofile Of EntBanc Group Talks About Finding Solutions And Partnering To Offer The Most Value

Vuyo Tofile offers his advice on how to know if you’re ready to scale and how to get it right the first time.

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Vuyo Tofile, CEO of EntBanc Group (Pty) Ltd, which is a privately held enterprise and financial technology group. They empower small businesses with the right tools including products such as mySMEtools, which is used by over 46 000 small businesses. Learn about partnering for success, develop tools and resources that your customer base needs, and how can you scale?

Related: Do You Have That 1 In 100 Business That Can Scale And Land An Investor?

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Eben Uys Shares His Concept Behind Mad Giant Brewery And How You Can Make Your Business Stand Out In A Crowd

“You just need to start” says Eben Uys, don’t make up excuses why you aren’t ready. Just start.

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Eben Uys, Co-founder and CEO of Mad Giant, a Brewery in the heart of Johannesburg, South Africa. Eben brings new life to craft beer and has made his brewery and restaurant Urbanologi, a destination hub. His advice: “You can do things that give you short-term gains, but it might not benefit you in the long term. Try a lot of things over a long period of time and build a reputation and a network.”

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

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