Dexes had been running a business trading in wooden curios for a few years before coming across Grow. Dexes sources the small carved objects from villages in Malawi and buys the unfinished product. He and his team then finish, polish and wrap the objects to the customers specification and sell them in South Africa. Dexes found out about Grow through a contact within the National Association of Business Women.
Richard is a Finance Director who operates on a part-time basis for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. He then dedicates his remaining time to volunteering for various organisations. He first found out about Grow through an internet search and the links with Africa, as well as the ability to give his time and knowledge instead of money, attracted him as he had previous experience in this region.
Although Dexes had been running his business, Chambakata Enterprise, for some years, he hadn’t really got to grips with underlying business principles. His business was making money but he wasn’t planning his buying and selling trips or taking account of the costs associated with this travel. As he was keen to find funding to purchase a new truck, some planning and accounting was essential.
Initially, Richard helped Dexes put together a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) Analysis for his business. They discussed how he sourced, finished and sold the products in great detail. Richard was very interested to see how a partnership conducted over Skype and email would work. He soon discovered that cultural differences have to be taken in to consideration. Time keeping and meeting commitments are essential if a working relationship is to succeed.
Richard and Dexes produced a detailed profit and loss account and Richard felt satisfied at having such a personal, direct involvement in Dexes’ business. However, he would have liked to help more with a business plan to identify funding for the new truck. As a direct result of Richard and Dexes working together there was an average increase of 15% in profits and one new job was created.
“Grow’s support was extremely useful as it was so specific to my business. It is good to make money and have more success but it is the knowledge I valued most. I’ve passed this on to some friends who can also take advantage of the lessons I learned.”
“I learned that the relationship building part of the project, when you initially talk to people and find out about them and their business, is really crucial. At the end of the day, these projects work best when both parties are absolutely committed. Not every project will have an instant impact and sometimes patience and persistence are needed to see things through. It has improved my coaching and communications skills and also made me realise that sharing experience isn’t always straightforward in a culturally different situation.”