SA: New Cape based company means business

Image: Wikimedia

By: Thandisizwe Mgudlwa – AfricanBrains

RESOURCE NOW is one of the fastest growing companies in Africa and it looks set to be an example for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

The organisation’s main objectives are to create a level playing field, make 1st world technology available to all who need it, make vital business equipment affordable and realistically priced,  change old fashioned and bureaucratic buying procedures and create a sustainable, trusted and reliable “first port of call” brand for everything business.Jason Maydew, Southern Africa Business Development Officer explains the history of this company: “It all started in 2010 when I moved back to South Africa from the UK. I had gained a lot of experience over the years in web development and witnessed a total shift in buying habits of both businesses and consumers.He says in Europe the Internet dominated most industries and people accepted it.

Maydew continues: “Although the timing was not right to set up a web store in South Africa, I knew that it was just a matter of time before the Internet whirlwind would start here.  I set out to create a web store that would cater for businesses wanting to purchase a ready made web store that was simple to use and manage. They could upload their products in a couple of easy clicks and sell online within minutes.”I spent months trying to sell this concept to businesses all over South Africa and it just wouldn’t get off the ground. Nearly every company I pitched my services to said the same thing, we will never publish our prices on the internet because it’s just not how we do business. I got used to the same rejection over and over again and just couldn’t understand why there was such a closed door attitude to something different.”One night on my way home from yet another rejection appointment it hit me. I will create a store myself that sells everything. It was a big idea and the only other company that I knew of to date that had pulled it off was Amazon, but Amazon appeared to be concentrating on the consumer market and focusing geographically on the USA and Europe. This presented a gap in the market.

He says: “My time was then split between negotiating with manufactures/distributors and building the actual store itself. Without a massive budget I had to build the whole thing myself from scratch although I have help now.”In November 2011 the store was finally finished, most brand names were on board and we were ready to launch. Our limited budget had been spent and we had nothing left to market our services. By chance we were approached by a foreign investor in Moscow who had been following our project over the past 12 months. We were offered investment capital which we gladly took. The official launch was on 16th Feb 2012 but we unofficially started selling online in Nov 2011.Maydew adds: “We outgrew our offices before we officially launched and are currently looking for our next building to house more people.

“Within the first month we took on 5 new people to help process online orders to ensure that we kept up with our promise of fast delivery. We have been growing steadily each month that has past. We split the companies responsibilities in half. One side takes care of the order processing and ensuring our customers are happy.  The other half keeps developing the website with more brands, more products and creating easier ways to interact with our customers.  It works well.

“Our latest employee is a graduate from the CTI college, he is responsible for content management on the site. We intend to create many more opportunities for the CTI’s graduate scheme.

On the ups and downs of the business Maydew shares his views: “The online world is an odd place, one wrong button pressed and the whole project disappears.

He adds: “Nothing is ever obvious with web programming and it can take you weeks to discover you even have a problem. Fix that problem and it creates a different problem.  We have had some very down moments when things have gone wrong.  Every time a new customer registers we are all on an up. We take it personally and it is the ultimate in satisfaction, something you built has been looked at by somebody you have never met, they found it easy enough to use. It works.

About the future Maydew says: “For now we want to keep growing and create a brand name that is recognized nationally alongside the Makro and the other giants. Medium term-Our system can be implemented in any location at the push of a button. Carbon copies of our site are ready for Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. When the time is right we will launch in these countries.

“Furthermore, the internet, for me, has been pretty much my life’s work. The possibilities are truly limitless. I spent from 1999 – 2007 in the UK building online shops for companies.

“The decision was made to relocate back to South Africa so we could get ready for the inevitable mass acceptance of the World Wide Web.

Maydew further reveals: “The process has already begun in my opinion and businesses are faced with the challenge of do or die. We officially launched our portal on the 16th Feb this year after 2 years of development. Since this time we have had over 40,000 visitors and 19,000 registered members. We are delighted with the results so far.

In an earlier chat Maydew had remarked:” I operate a national business from Cape Town. We chose The mother City over other cities as the location for our Head Office because of the opportunities and future possibilities it presents. As the internet gets cheaper, computers become more accessible and the Telecom infrastructure is improved it creates endless amounts of business opportunities.
“In my opinion, the internet genuinely levels the playing field for many. An online business is faceless. Race, Religion, Education background, fat or thin it is completely irrelevant. If you get your niche right and deliver on your promises then you have made it.  Anyone with the desire to succeed can be an online entrepreneur and what better place to do it in than this beautiful part of the coast line.”Our goal was to offer the business community world class and up to date products at value prices. Resource Now does exactly that. Our biggest market has become the endless cue’s of start up entrepreneurs that need business products and equipment at a fair price during the crucial start up period.”
“As an online business, our overheads are small compared with the big stores. We pass these savings directly back to the customer.”Regardless of the doom and gloom of recession and global economic crisis we have shown growth every month.
He concludes: “The louder we beat the drum, the more will join”.