Management: Passion, Perseverance and Financial Backing Key to Growing
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In an environment that holds both opportunities and major challenges for small businesses, what makes entrepreneurs successful. Warren and Jenny Grant of Tint-A-Tin cc, appear have the recipe, but believe that they would not be where they are today if they had not been able to finance their growth.
Capitalising on their individual strengths, this duo have steadily grown their small business over the past 20 years, overcoming many hurdles along the way and now have a stable business with a monthly turnover of between R300 000 and R400 000 per month and which employs five people.
Warren is the entrepreneur with a passion for sales, a skill for identifying gaps in the market and a penchant for seizing opportunities. Jenny brings to the table a love for accounts and administration. She is also more cautious by nature.
Warren lives by the adage that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity and this is very true of the success of the business. With experience in the painting industry, he identified a gap in the paint market in 1988 and opened his paint supply business.
“In my previous business I found that you would phone a supplier and they had set days on which they delivered. Often you could not wait that long and ended up fetching the order. What we do is place orders with our suppliers, collect and deliver. We don’t carry stock.
Situated in Albertson, Tint-A-Tin - which mainly targets the industrial paint market (heavy duty high tech coatings) - is conveniently located near to many of the paint manufacturers and primarily services the East Rand.
Working in their favour in the early days was Warren’s sales and networking skills, backed by Jenny keeping the books in order. However, where they hit their first snag was with financing. “Money was a constant struggle because as a small business you have no credit record which impacts on your cash flow and ability to grow. I knew I could get more business, but I could not finance it. As suppliers gained faith in us and we established a track record, it did become easier,” he says
To address cash flow and growth, Warren, who had always banked with Standard Bank in his personal capacity, applied for an overdraft facility in 1997.
“I have never liked to rely on financial institutions, but in order to grow one has to and to be honest without Standard Bank’s support we would not be where we are today.”
He says Standard Bank has understood the challenges and issues he faces as a small business and has shown commitment to helping them grow their business: “Over the years we have dealt with super people, who are always available and to whom we can talk openly about any challenges we face.”
From delivering paint in his Toyota Corolla 1400, the company now has four company vehicles which are financed through Standard Bank’s Vehicle and Asset Finance.
For day-to-day banking, Warren says Jenny is resistant to change so prefers going into their local branch, Braken City where she knows the staff. However, she has slowly been persuaded on the advantages of internet banking and is planning to take the leap into cyber space soon.
Looking back on how they have reached the point at where/which they are today, Warren believes his people skills and perseverance are among the main assets he brought into the business, coupled with his knowledge of the industry. “I believe you must never give up and you will only fail when you stop trying.”
He, however, believes that the business would not be as successful as it is today were it not for Jenny’s commitment and skills. In recent years, Warren has become less involved in the business, leaving most of the day-to-day running to Jenny. “A business is only as strong as its paperwork,” he says.
While most couples find they can live but not work together, it was the opposite for Jenny and Warren, who are divorced but still enjoy a strong partnership and friendship.
What gives the business the edge is its dedication to service and technical knowledge of product. The business is situated in the family home and operates 24/7. “Life and family revolve around the business.”
The partners are also confident that with the solid foundation they have built and the healthy financial position the company enjoys, they can survive the current economic climate. “Furthermore while oil hikes have impacted on the price of paint (which is oil based), the industry is allied to the construction and steel industry which is enjoying a boom,” says Warren.
Apart from the paint industry, Warren’s other passion in life is Cobra sports cars and he is currently developing one for export to America. “It is my dream, but at the moment it is just eating money.” Jenny unwinds by reading or working in the garden.
“There are people out there who have the knowledge, skills, talent and ideas - but you must have a market,” is Warren’s advice to other entrepreneurs considering going down the same road.
Coupled with good financial backing from a financial institution that supports the growth of small businesses and has the knowledge, expertise and specialist solutions to back this up, Warren believes nothing should stand in your way of achieving your dreams.
Business News Sector Tags: Management|