Favorite quote: “Have a DREAM. Craft an action plan. Take action”
What is your story (tell us about yourself)?
A dynamic and versatile professional with vast experience in a wide range of industries. A passionate investor and fearless entrepreneur who has thrown himself in the deep end of various industries, all in a quest for his true business passion.
Lindokuhle Mnisi was one of less than 100 South Africans who attended the World Economic Forum 2020 (#WEF2020) in Switzerland, Davos, where world leaders gathered to discuss viable ways to take the world forward. He took the lessons back to South Africa with hopes to do work that matter for people.
He is the Group CEO of After12 Group (Pty) Ltd, a growing conglomerate with interests in Real Estate, Logistics, Retail, Media and Communications. The company owns companies such as After12 Properties, After12 Logistics, After12 Communications, After12 Magazine and ANDURA Hardware.
– ANDURA Hardware is a retailer of hardware items, DIY tools and building essentials, selling directly to cash-paying customers at a physical store in Kaalfontein, Midrand, and through the e-commerce website www.andura.co.za.
– After12 Properties is a real estate company that focuses on providing affordable rental accommodation for low income earners in the townships. The company focuses on a niche space within the Real Estate sector – “backroom industry” and has a footprint (rental units) in Kaalfontein, Ebony Park and Allandale, Midrand.
– After12 Communications is a Creative hub that offers Branding, Digital Marketing, Communications, Publishing and Media Buying services. The company has a subsidiary media platform called After12 Magazine (www.after12mag.co.za)
– After12 Magazine is a buzzing consumer online magazine that focuses on strictly South African content.
– After12 Logistics is a logistics company that focuses on transportation of goods and products for individuals and companies.
Lindo is a Journalist by profession, a published author, skilled writer and a Public Relations and Communications professional who has worked for reputable companies such as eNCA, SABC, ANN7, Tshwane University of Technology and DNA BRAND ARCHITECTS.
Lindokuhle is a 29 year old dream that was born and bred in Mpumalanga, in a village called Dundonald, and only traveled to Gauteng in 2010 in a search for opportunities.
When did you start your first business and what inspired you to start?
Most of my businesses started as a result of a problem I and others were facing at the time. My first business was a clothing manufacturing factory in Kaalfontein, Midrand. We were manufacturing graduations attires to sell or rent out. At its peak, the factory had about 10 employees who were manufacturing the products.
I started off as a sales agent for a manufacturer of graduations attires. I sold so many products for the manufacturer and then decided to use the commission earnings to buy sewing machines, rent a working space and opening my own factory; starting off with 2 employees in 2015.
What is the Key Objective(s) and Vision of your business? (Has it changed overtime or is this what it was since you first started?)
The key objective of our current business, ANDURA Hardware, is to bring hardware items, DIY tools and building essentials closer to the people where they need them the most. It is our vision to see our hardware stores mushroom in different corners of the townships, serving locals with much needed quality products at competitive prices, while also creating jobs
What challenges did you face in your journey? What’s the biggest obstacle you had to overcome (are still overcoming)?
The idea of ANDURA Hardware came about when I was (through my other company After12 Properties) building rental units for low income earners in Kaalfontein and Ebony Park. The challenge I was facing was that I had to travel long distances to get a hardware store. This was costing me so much money to transport the building materials. So, I decided to start a business that will focus on rolling our hardware stores in different corners of the townships. And ANDURA Hardware was born.
The obstacles I had to face while starting ANDURA Hardware was firstly to get a place to rent. I eventually got the place, and I only had capital to build the shelves and the counter but did not have money to stock products to sell. So, we decided to start very small with few items. And we used profits to buy more products and repeated the process until our store got fully packed; thanks to customers who kept on coming in.
How did you manage to navigate your company(ies) through this period of Covid-19 pandemic? (What business strategies/operational adjustments have you made over this period and how has it impacted your business model?)
Construction of 5 of our rental units began just 3 months before the hard lockdown began. When we heard that the president would declare the epidemic and impose hard lockdown, our construction team worked from morning till up to 21h00 a day to push the work. And we were able to put tenants in on time.
Mid-year, we realised that the initial vision we had of providing rental rooms that didn’t have toilets and showers was going to be part of the problem in spreading coronavirus amongst other possible diseases. So, we decided to go back to some of our rental units to break walls and install ensuite showers, etc.
The business model had to slightly change from just providing rooms to cottages and apartments for low income earners.
ANDURA Hardware was therefore born in October 2020, to answer to the problem of building essentials being far from people, and the vision and business model have stayed the same.
How do you approach networking and building partnerships in your industry?
Most of what we do is 100% owned by us and not necessarily in some form of partnerships. We haven’t done any form of networking in the correct context of what networking is about. We are sort of doing our own thing. The best partnership we have is that of our staff members at ANDURA Hardware and the one we have with local manufacturers and suppliers of building materials.
Do you have (or ever had) a mentor in your journey, and do you believe it helped (if yes, in what way)?
I have amazing entrepreneurs that I look up to and constantly pick their brain. I stand on very broad shoulders of people, with my same skin colour; people who have made amazing progress in entrepreneurship. This is very helpful because I’m able to get the right kind of advises from the most experienced entrepreneurs.
What is your perspective on the South African entrepreneurial landscape before and after Covid-19 pandemic? (Would you say the “new normal” context drives more or less opportunities for entrepreneurs?)
Great entrepreneurs are molded during difficult times. These difficult times are brewing the best kind of entrepreneurs with so much tenacity, resilience and hustle spirit. On the other side of this, the world in general will be blessed with a lot of good entrepreneurs.
The new normal is making entrepreneurs more creative in their approach, and they are winning.
In your opinion, what are the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, filling missing gaps, doing work that matter and creating a future that’s inspiring.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Behind every problem, lies an entrepreneurial opportunity.
In a world where a lot of people jump to complaining when there is a problem, always challenge yourself to think of possible solutions and pursue them. No problem gets solved by complaining and not offering solutions.