11 months ago

Opportunity Issue 104

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


BUSINESS RESILIENCE _________________ “We had to turn to them in a time of need and they were all there for us!” ________________ (and this cannot be a mere tick-box exercise). It is imperative that you understand all the processes in your business so that when you need to rebuild from the ground up, you are aware of all the challenges that need to be overcome. “With EO, members don’t merely give advice, they provide experiences shared, which is a hugely beneficial way to share information and guidance. It’s great to have members to bounce questions off,” Saskia recalls. For Saskia, the quote which is most apt at this time is, “I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” From Covid contraction to African expansion Matthew Fitzsimons: founder BigEye Branding Africa In 2021, Matthew Fitzsimons and his twin brother and partner realised that, even if their top income projections materialised, they would not get through the prolonged Covid-19 crisis. His now Ireland-based partner had lost his usual optimism and positivity in the wake of a complete fall-off in orders and the shrinkage of the marketing sector across the continent. “Most events in Africa had been cancelled. We have supplied equipment to mainly big breweries Matthew Fitzsimons and soft drinks companies in 47 countries in Africa, and suddenly none of them was having events. The orders had dried up,” he recalls. Perhaps the most positive thing to emerge from lockdown, which forced staff to work from home, was that the whole business began operating off the cloud. “We realised that there’s no-one that couldn’t operate from home other than a few warehouse guys. We got rid of our servers and moved all our systems into the cloud. We challenged every single system that we had.” They also cut costs to the bone. “We looked at every single cost. Is it critical? If not, it must go. It was an opportunity to cut everything to the minimum. Our staff all agreed to cut their salaries. The one thing we didn’t stop investing in was our staff BigEye Branding Africa can create branding for just about anything. culture. We still ate together once a week. In fact, a great way to get staff back to the office was to create an environment that they wanted to come back to. This experience made our company culture stronger than it has ever been in 18 years. Tough times brought out the best in us,” he says. Another thing that emerged from this crisis was an appreciation for strong relationships with suppliers who are the cornerstone of a business. Matthew recalls: “We had to turn to them in a time of need and they were all there for us!” A turning point came with a decision to merge the business with another operator in the market, a move that added a third partner with valuable financial and analytical skills that the company did not have at that point. As a combined pan- African marketing company, they intend to lead the game in their industry going forward. “When we found ourselves in dire straits, EO came to the party and helped us out in a time of need which we will never forget. In the toughest times is when you need EO the most. We have now turned the corner and see an extremely positive future in Africa for our business.” About Entrepreneurs’ Organization The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of more than 17 500 influential business owners with 213 chapters in 60+ countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond. Website: 52 |

UNIVERSAL LINK GROUP Where service is paramount Universal Link Group, established in 1999, is a market leader in the logistics and distribution services sector. We are fast becoming one of South Africa’s leading e-commerce warehousing, order fulfillment solutions driven companies with a BBBEE Level 1 accreditation. We offer access to a comprehensive logistical supply chain service. Our extensive knowledge assures our clients of a smooth process flow and desired outcome. MISSION We provide strategic solutions for all your procurement, courier, e-commerce fulfillment and warehousing, import and export distribution systems designed to meet your requirements. We are an accomplished procurement office, taking the pressure out of your business of finding the best solutions, equipment and assistance to obtaining, locating and implementing your requirements, giving you a competitive advantage and leading edge. PLEDGE We are a team dedicated to service excellence through the process of simplicity and transparency, making your experience seamless and stress free. We are committed to explore and adapt innovative ideas, that achieve maximum supply chain efficiencies. SERVICES • Distribution and Warehousing • Domestic and International Courier • e-Commerce Order-Fulfillment • Inventory Management System • Pick and Pack Services • Storage (long-term and short-term) • Mailing and Distribution Services • Packaging Solutions • Pharmaceutical Distribution • Wine Storage and Distribution WAREHOUSES • Cape Town: 1 170m² • Johannesburg: 350m² • Flexible storage options, including heavy-duty racking, a high-value goods area and freeflow areas. • Storage methodology eliminates errors by not shelving like products together, making picking easier. Contact details Unit 22, 31 Junction Road, Tygerberg Junction, Parow Industria 7493 Tel: 021 951 4200 | Cell: 063 575 3447 | Email: | Website:

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