The road of entrepreneurship doesn’t end, as Bongani Khoza can confirm. Having survived the worst of the economic crisis, BR Khoza Carriers is looking forward to brightening prospects with an important advantage – he has learnt some critical lessons on running a business.
Learning from experience is the best taskmaster
Bongani Khoza is thoroughly deserving of the success he has achieved since establishing his own transporation company.
Founded with one bakkie in 2002, BR Khoza Carriers has grown into a business that now runs two LDVs and nine trucks.
“It’s been a tough road with many bumps, but I can truly say that I have learnt some very important lessons in running a company,” he said.
A key lesson is that unchecked growth can threaten the financial viability of a company, especially if hefty payments are required.
“I bought most of my horse-and-trailer rigs on the strength of transportation contracts that worked fine when the economy was doing well,” he said.
“But the economy turned and things were really bad in 2009,” he said.
Fortunately, Khoza had a support system in Hulamin and Reginald Nyandeni and was able to call on their experience and guidance.
“Reginald helped me a lot and though his mentorship, I was able to keep going,” he said.
Counting in Khoza’s favour were low overhead costs that he contained by operating his business from a home office. With wife Pearl taking care of the administrative side, and son Simphiwe helping out wherever he is needed, BR Khoza Carriers does not carry any fat.
But Khoza has never skimped on his drivers and four assistants in terms of wages and time off. But these human dynamics are not always easy, and Khoza swears by is dictum of firmness and fairness.
“I pay them well and they know that I’m serious about taking rests, and not risk a load because of fatigue,” he said.
Having survived the worst of the recession, Khoza is again cautiously eyeing growth, with an important rider – “money is not everything”.
He is also keen to diversify his business and lessen his dependency on Hulamin.
“I have about seven other customers, and I think a tanker trailer will help a lot,” he said.
He is acutely aware of the cost of finance and prefers to pay his costs is cash.
“II won’t make the mistake of growing too big too quick,” he said,