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Phadima Group Holdings: Rali Mampeule

Rali Mampeule is blazing a new trail for BEE in the real estate sector

Juliet Pitman



Rali Mapeule of Phadima Group Holdings

When asked what he believes led to hisaward as the Nedbank Property Professional of the Year for 2006/2007, RaliMampeule, CEO of Phadima Group Holdings, mentions four things: “I have alwaystried to include leadership, professionalism, service ethics and a commitmentto BEE in the work that I do.” Phadima, a black-owned and managed investmentholding company with interests in financial services, property and consultingin the real estate, infrastructure, industrial and construction sectors of themarket, is the first black-owned company to own a Chas Everitt Internationalfranchise and Mampeule has plans for it to become the pre-eminent black-ownedplayer in the real estate industry.

To achieve that goal, Mampeule has focusedhis efforts on building a strong, skilled team. “In our industry, I think thedifference between a good salesperson and a great one is training. The fact isthat you can’t sell property without training but so often you find thishappening. You have to understand your product before you can sell it becauseonly then can you advise your customers properly; this understanding can onlycome through training,” he says. His passion for training has coincided withhis desire to open up the real estate industry to previously disadvantagedindividuals. To this end, he has created a learnership to help grow the skillsbase.“Franchising within the property marketwould be a good avenue for BEE. With the high success rate of this form ofbusiness already proven in our country, and the fact that franchised businessesdefinitely create around 10 to 15 new jobs per franchise, all stakeholders needto push for the right conditions to be put in place to promote franchise modelsin the emerging market,” says Mampeule. Phadima’s success in the real estatefranchise market provides an example of how it can be done. It’s success thatrelies heavily on having the right people.

On this point, Mampeule handpicks themembers of his team, relying on a tried-and-tested recruitment and selectionprocess. “We want people who come into the organisation to be with us for along time,” he explains, “so we go through a very lengthy process before hiringsomeone. We first conduct a telephonic interview to ascertain the person’stelephone skills, something that’s very important in this business. Then, welet team members meet the candidate and we get recommendations from them,especially from our senior sales team members. Following that, the candidatesundergo a formal interview and are sent to an independent company who puttogether a personal profile on them.” This profile is then compared with onecompiled from the individual profiles of Phadima’s top-performing agents.What Mampeule is looking for in potentialteam members is a combination of entrepreneurial skills, technical know-how andindustry fit. “I choose people who think like entrepreneurs because I believethat this industry is all about entrepreneurship. I also ask myself if I wouldtrust the person to sell my own house,” he adds. In addition to skills andaptitude, Mampeule is also aware of the important role motivation andincentives play in any successful sales team. “At Phadima we try to have apersonal relationship with our sales team. Motivating them starts withunderstanding who they are and what is important to them as individuals –because people are not necessarily driven by the same things,” he explains,adding, “We have incentives and quarterly and annual awards that ensure werecognise when people are doing well.”

To lead the sales team, Mampeule looks forsales managers who embody a combination of good administrative, people andselling skills. True to the company’s focus on training, Mampeule points out,“All our staff and managers have gone through estate agency training and agentshave to have been actively selling for at least six months before they can beconsidered for sales managerial positions. Apart from someone whounderstandings turnover and targets, I am looking for people who can go outthere and do what they are asking their team of agents to do.”The formula – proper training, motivatedagents and skilled sales managers – is completed with a strong emphasis onsystems. “A company that doesn’t have a proper system won’t perform,” saysMampeule. “All the elements of a successful business relate back to followingthe processes of a good system. I believe it’s what sets a great agency apartfrom a good one.”

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Watch List: 50 Top SA Small Businesses To Watch

Keep your finger on the pulse of the start-up space by using our comprehensive list of SA small business to watch.

Nicole Crampton



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Entrepreneurship in South Africa is at an all-time high. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), total early-stage entrepreneurial activity has increased by 4.1% to 11% in 2017/2018. This means numerous new, exciting and promising small businesses are launching and growing.

To ensure you know who the innovative trailblazers are in the start-up and small business space, here are 50 of South Africa’s top establishing companies to watch, in no particular order:

  1. Livestock Wealth
  2. The Lazy Makoti
  3. Aerobuddies
  4. Mimi Women
  5. i-Pay
  6. AfriTorch Digital
  7. Akili Labs
  8. Native Décor
  9. Aerobotics
  10. Quality Solutions
  11. EM Guidance
  12. Kahvé Road
  13. HSE Matters
  14. VA Virtual Assistant
  15. Famram Solutions and Famram Foundation
  16. BioTech Africa
  17. Brand LAIKI
  18. Plus Fab
  19. LifeQ
  20. Organico
  21. 10dot
  22. Lenoma Legal
  23. Nkukhu-Box
  24. Benji + Moon
  25. Beonics
  26. Brett Naicker Wines
  27. Khalala
  28. Legal Legends
  29. The Power Woman Project
  30. Aviro Health
  31. AnaStellar Brands
  32. Data Innovator
  33. Fo-Sho
  34. Oolala Collection Club
  35. Recomed
  36. VoiceMap
  37. ClockWork
  38. Empty Trips
  39. Vula Mobile
  40. SwiitchBeauty
  41. Pineapple
  42. The Katy Valentine Collection
  43. OfferZen
  44. KHULA
  45. Incitech
  46. Pimp my Book
  47. ART Technologies and ART Call Management
  48. Prosperiprop
  49. WAXIT
  50. The Sun Exchange
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How 28-Year Old Entrepreneur Adam Fine Is Leveraging The Global Phenomenon Of Five-A-Side Football

Adam Fine of Fives Futbol discusses how he leverage a global phenomenon and the value of strategic partnerships in business.

Monique Verduyn




Vital Stats

Nothing about Adam Fine is by-the-book. The 28-year-old entrepreneur describes himself as a slightly big child. He’s the CEO of one of the most exciting start-ups in South Africa, having leveraged the global phenomenon of five-a-side football to start a business that has grown almost as fast as the game itself. Not bad for a venture that was launched with the princely sum of R85 000 — Fine’s life savings at the time.

He started it in 2011, with a strong focus on corporate social investment and making a positive social impact. It was by forming strategic partnerships that Adam really managed to grow Fives Futbol. He’s opened pitches in prime locations that serve both the school and corporate markets, while still being accessible for social impact interventions in local communities.

Related: 3 Local Entrepreneurs Share Their Business Challenges And How They Overcame Them

Pivoting at the right time is key to growth

The challenge:

In the last 18 months, Fives Futbol has trebled in size, and achieved some amazing milestones — it now employs 50 full-time staff, and 80 part-timers. It’s one of the factors that drives Adam, as many of his employees support up to eight family members. It’s now also represented in four provinces and 15 locations around the country. By September, there will be 18.

Quick growth means you have to be able to pivot quickly when things do not go according to plan, and mostly they don’t, Adam says. “If things are not working you should be able to ‘pivot’, to shift your focus. And do it fast. It’s not a sign that things have gone wrong by any means, on the contrary, it means you have the insight to recognise that there is a problem with the assumptions on which you have built your business model. The decision to pivot is a big one, and not something to be taken lightly. It requires you to take a hard look at your reallocation of resources, and to do it with an open mind.”

The solution:

In Adam’s case, construction delays, councils taking their time to approve, or having to put money into rolling out sites as opposed to marketing, means the promotion of a new site will slow down, for example, because the business does not yet have a large marketing budget.

“When we run behind on the construction of a new site, R40 000 can suddenly become R100 000 — but here’s the thing: If a deal comes along that will probably harm your business in the short-term but enable significant long-term growth, sometimes you have to juggle what you have so you can make it work.”

The Lesson: Choose your investors carefully

Fine says he’s lucky to have a solid group of investors that he has cultivated over six years. “Their input is invaluable. They’ll say, ‘slow down’ or ‘have you thought of this?’, ‘have you factored in that?’ The ability to develop a good relationship with our investors has had a significant impact on the success of the company. Over and above money, they provide wisdom, guidance and connections.”

His relationship with his investors is key. While many entrepreneurs make it just about the money, Adam understood something else — he has a pretty cool brand with a great cause behind it. So, while investors are asked for money all the time, he was able to offer something more than just a business idea — alignment. He generated enthusiasm for the ‘why,’ behind the business. Like most of us, it makes investors happy to know that they are helping to make a positive difference.

And while it’s easy to bandy about the word ‘partnership’, Adam has worked hard to make that a reality. He set out to find like-minded people who are passionate about the business and the cause, which is why they are able to serve as great resources for advice and insight.

Related: Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business

“The best way to ensure that you and your investors have a valuable and lengthy partnership is to make sure that everyone is aligned on the vision.”

This includes Adam’s team. The internal culture of an organisation is vital to its strength and growth. “Without our team we don’t have a business for investors to support — our people are critical to our success. They’re the executors of the vision at the end of the day.”

The Lesson:  The value of strategic partnerships

Much of the growth of Fives Futbol has been fuelled by finding the right sponsorship partners in key industries. To overcome the challenge of a limited marketing budget, Adam has secured sponsorships with big brands like Adidas, Total Sports, Debonairs, and Klipdrift, allowing Fives Futbol to use their access to communities as a marketing platform to derive income as well as scale. And it works both ways.

“Because we have a national footprint and a team of people, we run activations for our partners, which also provides us with an ancillary revenue stream,” he says. “Knowing how to join forces with other businesses has been a key factor in making the business successful. Our strategic partners have enabled the business to leverage their brand to give us more exposure. When it works well, a strategic partnership can be just what you need to speed up the growth of your business.”

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Watch List: 15 SA eCommerce Entrepreneurs Who Have Built Successful Online Businesses

The advent and advancement of the online marketplace has led these entrepreneurs to successfully build and grow their ecommerce empires.

Diana Albertyn



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South Africa’s ecommerce market is worth R10 billion per year. By 2021, the number of online shoppers is expected to have reached 24.79 million.

“Our recent research on SA shows people are browsing three hours or more on their mobile phones and 25% shop online. They trust local brands,” says Geraldine Mitchley, Visa senior director for digital solutions in sub-Sahara Africa.

These entrepreneurs have cashed in on ecommerce and launched successful online stores that have either established their dominance in the market, or are taking the e-tailing world by storm.

Here’s how these 15 ecommerce capitalists are making money using the Internet:

  1. Aisha Pandor
  2. Andrew Higgins
  3. Kerryn Tremearne
  4. David Davies
  5. Andrew Smith, Paul Galatsis and Shane Dryden
  6. Trevor Gosling
  7. Nicholas Haralambous
  8. Justin Drennan
  9. Neo Lekgabo
  10. Ryan Bacher
  11. Tracy Kruger
  12. Luke Jedeikin
  13. Tarryn Abrahams
  14. Sascha Breuss
  15. Antonio Bruni
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