While working as an engineer at Eskom, Freddy Sibuyi had an epiphany. He wanted to provide for his family in a bigger and more meaningful way. This, he realised, was something that his job couldn’t do no matter how excellent he was at it.
“I realised that I have the calling to work for myself,” he explains. The question of what to do was answered by the years he worked at Eskom, and the knowledge he gained on the job.
“For me, starting my business wasn’t about identifying an opportunity in the market, it was about my family, which is why I called it Freddy and Sons.” He continues, “I saw this vision clearly and the success that I can have and realised that I could do what some of the contractors we worked with were doing.”
He registered Freddy and Sons Maintenance Engineering in 2015, but first, he researched his field from the perspective of an entrepreneur, including finding his niche by offering consultation services and electrical contracting. The company offers services that include electrical installations, repairs and upgrades, pole transformer installation, house wiring, and fault finding, electrical infrastructure as well as installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioning.
“I’ve set big goals for the business. We want to be a world leading service provider in engineering services,” he says, before reflecting on his words. “It’s not an individual goal, it is one that encompasses the world.”
With a list of clients that include Khutala Mine, Eskom, Nedbank and General Electric, Freddy and Sons are on the right track. He says being on the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme has crystallised his goals. “The programme helped me to integrate my business. It helped me understand what it takes to run a business successfully, and that I should be a growth-driven entrepreneur.”
For example, he started thinking about putting systems in place to steer him towards his ultimate goal. “I now have a marketing strategy and well as systems for our operations, finances, sales, human resources, and overall business management.”
Ntando Maseko, Freddy’s Tholoana mentor talks about how Freddy drives his marketing. “He has grown his business more than five times over and is on track to go 10 times the turnover he started with when he got into the Tholoana programme in 2017. When l get asked how he did this, the answer is simple: ‘systematic marketing’ and ‘strategic networking’. That’s his secret sauce and Freddy is perfecting it each passing month.”
Freddy says the biggest benefit from the programme is that he no longer thinks about the business as a one-man show. “Often, managers and owners are the only ones who know about business operations. I introduced on-the-job training and provided my staff of 13 with the opportunity for us to build the company together. Success doesn’t lie with an individual, it lies in the ability for a business to work with or without the owner or manager.”
He now considers his employees as an asset. “I surround myself with people who know better than I do; it’s not about me. It’s about the business.
For more information about Freddy and Sons Maintenance Engineering, contact Freddy Sibuyi or call him on 013 004 0903.
For more information about the Tholoana Enterprise programme visit the SAB Foundation website.