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How Ronem Maintenance Solutions Thrives On Finding Solutions To Your Problems

Fhumulani Nemukula from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, founder and MD of Ronem Maintenance Solutions, was inspired into entrepreneurship many years ago when he encountered an elderly woman selling vetkoek on the side of the road.

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Fhumulani Nemukula

Vital stats

  • Year business registered: 2016
  • Enrolled in Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs: January 2017
  • Number of employees: 3 (and 21 casual)
  • Business classification: Exempt Micro Enterprise (EME)
  • BBBEE ownership: 100% black owned
  • Nature of business: Building, Contractor, Maintenance
  • Website: www.ronem.co.za
  • Twitter: @fhumu81 #tsogoentrepreneurs
  • Facebook: facebook.com/ronemmaintenance

Ronem, all about service and solutions

Fhumulani Nemukula from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, founder and MD of Ronem Maintenance Solutions, was inspired into entrepreneurship many years ago when he encountered an elderly woman selling vetkoek on the side of the road. He learned that, through her small enterprise, she had managed to employ two people and pay for her two sons to go to university. At the time Nemukula was completing his internship training at a technical training centre.

“She was creating her own opportunities, even without any training or skills development. This made me realise that I too could achieve anything if I put my mind to it.”

Related: Sumting Fresh, Food With A Future

Years later in 2015, when his passion for building maintenance and construction took root in his life, Nemukula remembered that resolute woman. Determined to combine his passion, the skills he had gained over the years, and the motivation she had inspired in him, he launched his own business.

Ronem Maintenance Solutions is a one-stop-shop for reliable and quality building maintenance services in construction, repair and maintenance.

“What makes us different is that we offer solutions, we don’t just repair and maintain. This is an industry where customer service often needs fine tuning so we have developed a system that allows us to use our technical skills and our understanding of our customers’ needs to deliver what we call Ronem Solutions.”

Nemukula has a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering and certificates in Health and Safety, Installation Rules (SANS 10142), Facilities Management, and Leadership. Electrical engineering was a natural path for him, he says, as his father worked for City Power in Johannesburg for over 40 years. “It suited me well. I love solving technical problems – and my work suits my personality. I thrive on finding solutions to challenges.”

ronnie-fhumulani-nemukula

Over the past 13 years Nemukula has been involved in building maintenance in the hospitality and commercial sectors in South Africa and Mozambique. He is still employed by Broll Property Group in Nelspruit on a half-day basis, leaving him free to run his business as well. He has three full-time permanent employees, who include his brother as project manager and his wife, who has a BCom Accounting degree and manages the admin and books, and 21 casual employees – most of whom are employed from local townships where the rate of unemployment is high, and five of whom are women. He is also committed to bringing women into the industry.

“We work hard to develop young men and women from the local community and we do a lot of on-site training for our unskilled workers.”

Taking it further, Ronem has also encouraged casual workers to become sub-contractors to his company, thus developing their own businesses and creating further employment.

Related: Nhlanhla Dlamini Not Only Has Guts, But Grit – In Spades

Ronem is environmentally responsible and has developed its own policy that ensures that only energy saving lights and equipment is installed in new developments and recommended in refurbishments. The team is committed to complying with all dumping regulations.

Nemukula joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs through a Supplier Showcase event held at Tsogo Sun’s Emnotweni Casino in Nelspruit. That was a positive experience in itself, he says, and led to new contracts. However, being invited to apply to join the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur programme (at the end of 2016) has been wonderful and humbling.

“It has given me the opportunity to learn from amazing entrepreneurs and it has inspired me to live my dreams.”

He says that since joining the programme, his company has become more constructive and focused. He has gained great value from the expert advice in different areas of running a business, from interaction with other entrepreneurs, and from the coaching sessions.

“The coaching helped me to think out of the box. I have realigned the way I look at myself and my business. In simple terms, the coaching sessions have increased our bottom line.”

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Entrepreneur Today

Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

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The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”

This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”

Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.

“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”

But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.

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Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This

Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?

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For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.

zando-sascha-breussAccording to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.

To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:

1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?

Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.

Related: The Evolution Of Retail: From Corner Store To Artificial Intelligence

2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?

The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.

We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.

3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?

Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.

4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?

We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.

Related: How SA’s Online Retailers Can Cash In On Black Friday Fever

5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?

This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.

6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?

The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.

7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?

In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.

8. What was your sales strategy?

For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.

Related: 5 Last-Minute Tips For Small Retailers To Boost Black Friday Sales

9. What were your biggest learnings?

We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.

10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?

Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.

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Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires

If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.

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If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.

The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.

Research also found that:

Related: Why You Should (Seriously) Stop Hiring People

Win-win

Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.

When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.

Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:

Make them feel welcome

Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.

Focus on the benefits

Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.

Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them

This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.

Assess performance

Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.

Show genuine interest

Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.

Empower them

Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.

Related: Hiring The Right Person Is Critical When Growing A Business

Encourage collaboration

People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.

Be transparent

Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.

Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth

The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.

Openly communicate any changes in the business

Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Be upbeat

Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work

But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.

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