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Turnaround Management Association: Munyukwi Kahari

Ailing businesses are the focus of a company that has tapped into a new market

Juliet Pitman

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Munyukwi Kahari of Turnaround Management Association

Munyukwi Kahari has been around the block when it comes to watching the success and failure of businesses. He has evaluated and developed strategies for entrepreneurs and distressed companies across many diverse industries.

While with the International Finance Corporation (the private sector arm of the World Bank), he helped entrepreneurs in structuring their projects, advising on business strategy, raising finance and ensuring that they built the capacity and systems to run their companies successfully.

Kahari also played a supervisory role in the re-establishment of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the creation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry South Africa.

It’s an illustrious career, but two years ago, Kahari chose to leave it all and form his own business. As a new business owner trying to establish not only a niche, but also an industry, he faces the same challenges all entrepreneurs face.

Turnaround Partners, the business of which Kahari is a founder and director, was formed in 2004. Other directors are John Chitsa, Matsobane Khwinana (also a founder) and Mike Wakatama. As its name suggests, the company’s core focus is helping turn businesses in distress around and put them back on the road to success.

When asked how their company differs from a management consultancy, Kahari explains: ”Management consultants focus on improving on what a business is doing well, but turnaround specifically focuses on businesses experiencing problems.” So what exactly is a business in distress? Kahari uses a very apt medical metaphor. Businesses facing liquidation are those he calls “in hospital on life support”.

“But a business may be ailing long before it reaches that stage. It is a business that is struggling. It could be making profit but is consistently not performing up to industry standards.” For these businesses, Turnaround Partners does a diagnostic of every aspect to asses the real cause of the problem and then agrees with stakeholders on an action plan.

It’s interesting to note the way Kahari uses the word ‘turnaround’. One of the challenges of setting up the company has been educating people about the turnaround industry and what it can do for their business. Kahari relates the story of the company’s inception:

“It was a prime time to launch the business because the DTI was reviewing the legislation that pertains to struggling businesses in order to try and make it more balanced. It’s now called the Business Rescue Legislation. We wanted to be first in the market, to get front-row seats, as it were.”

Getting in first had its ups and downs. Establishing what turnaround is was a more protracted process than the founding members anticipated. “We had to work hard to get people to know about it and come to an understanding about what it is. The market is currently small, but this hasn’t stopped us from being active,” he adds.

He believes that the market is very underdeveloped in Africa, lagging behind more developed nations. “It’s an interesting area and there is a lot to be done,” he says. However, Kahari knows better than anyone that a business needs to adapt and evolve in order to survive.

“When you’re developing a new market, you still need to be making money,” he quips. For this reason, the company expanded into other areas and is currently involved in a project with the IFC to help banks across Africa do better business with small businesses.

It has also signed up with US-based Omega Performance, a company involved in bank training with two-thirds of the largest banks in the world. The focus is to build capacity of credit officers in South African banks. In addition, Turnaround is involved in business advisory services for people wanting to start, buy or expand a small to medium business.

Despite these other areas of focus, Kahari and his team have never taken their eye off the turnaround ball, working hard to build awareness and develop the industry. They founded the Turnaround Management Association of SA, which is affiliated to the US mother body, TMA US.

They work closely with investors to attract clients and the message is spreading.“We experience the same problems that all start-up businesses experience,” says Kahari. “Initially, you have no relationships with suppliers and people are sceptical of what you are selling because they are not familiar with it.

These challenges never go away until you create a dominant position in the marketplace.” But about this he is upbeat and philosophical: “I believe this will be successful. There is no room for failure in business because the consequences are serious!”

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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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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