Las Vegas trip well worth effort

RIVETING NEW CHAPTER: Being one of the panel of speakers at the Value Builder Summit in Las Vegas was an eye-opening experience for Eastern Cape businessman Max Mabhuti Picture: SUPPLIED
RIVETING NEW CHAPTER: Being one of the panel of speakers at the Value Builder Summit in Las Vegas was an eye-opening experience for Eastern Cape businessman Max Mabhuti Picture: SUPPLIED
It was an eye-opening experience for Eastern Cape businessman Max Mabhuti, who returned from Las Vegas last week where he was among the panel of speakers at a two-day business coaching seminar.

Mthatha-born Mabhuti and owner of Flat Floot, a mechanical engineering company based in his hometown, East London, as well as Port Elizabeth, was invited to share his business story with others who have adopted the business coaching tool called the Value Builder System.

“It was an eye-opener  for me to see how Americans are doing business. It was particularly interesting to see that the American business space is acquisition-driven, hence it appeared to me that start-up entrepreneurs are mostly value-driven, as many build their businesses with the view of selling them at a later stage.”

Mabhuti said many South Africans held onto their businesses and were still running family businesses passed on from one generation to the next. Meanwhile Americans did things differently. “Many of the businesses are less family-orientated, as the founders tend to work towards divorcing themselves from their business rather more easily than we do here at home. History will show as well that they focus more on innovation than turnover growth. Case in point, South African-born tech-entrepreneur, Elon Musk.

“Musk founded X.com which later became Paypal after his family migrated to America. Yet, just after perfecting one of his first start-ups, PayPal, it was sold to e-Bay and Musk moved on to start more successful companies such as Tesla Motors, Space-X and Solar City,” he said.

This reaffirmed his decision to eventually sell his business too.

“It was a great honour to meet John Warrilow, founder of the Value Builder System.  He founded a terminal that can be used by businesses to assist owners build value in  their  business. He  supplemented this innovation by writing a book that is called “Built to sell”.

“Right now it’s all about building the value of a company, and the long-term objective would be to sell it and possibly venture into another to also resell, it’s the building of a business’ value that is the challenging task,” he said.

Mabhuti said he was overwhelmed with the standing ovation he received from other business owners at the summit after he delivered his address. “It was good to see the confidence the rest of the world still has in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.

“The biggest highlight for me during the trip was the standing ovation I received from an almost teary-eyed crowd after my presentation. The feedback I received was also heartwarming and I also got an invite to present the Flat Foot story in Mexico.”

Mabhuti said he was also offered a mentor to help him write a book about his story and the  journey he has travelled as a business owner. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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