JOHANNESBURG - The owner of Armadillo Concepts wanted to sell the company and retrench the full complement of staff, luckily a brave woman employee decided to save the day.
“The reason I contacted Business Partners to buyout the majority shareholder was that the company was in discussions to sell and it was going to retrench the full complement of staff and I could not let this happen,” says Lola Robertson the new owner of Armadillo Concepts.
Robertson worked for the company since 2000. In 2013 she became a majority shareholder. Armadillo Concepts manufactures high security aluminum roller shutter doors for the automotive and architectural industry.
The company manufactures automotive roll-top covers, roller truck doors, swimming pool covers and roller shutters for windows and doors. She says she knows that without her team she would not be where she is today. “My staff are my greatest asset,” says Robertson.
Robertson says when she first started out she did not trust others to do things as well as she could or convinced herself she didn’t have the time to show them. “This was a huge mistake on my part and effected the quality of work I produced. All entrepreneurs have to learn to delegate, you cannot do it all by yourself.”
The 45-year-old businesswoman says the ability to recognise your own weaknesses and surround yourself with those who are strong in those areas, the ability to multitask and execute decisions, have determination. “Entrepreneurs always want to do more but you can’t do it all so listen to the signs and your staff and drop those products or services that do not support your bottom line”.
Even though it was never an easy journey for her but she believes that giving up is not an option. “I don’t think you should ever give up on an idea however you do come across some ideas that are just not profitable or a correct fit in your business at that time. It’s a good thing to revisit past ideas every now and again as your business dynamics could have changed slightly,” says Robertson.
In a wide-ranging interview with Business Report in Johannesburg, she says she looks forward to the day her staff comes to her with Business Partners to pitch a management buy-out showing her they believe in the company as much as she do.
She said they made contact with Business Partners in 2011 for funding to do a management buyout, after a rigorous due diligence they approved their funding. They came to their assistance again in 2015 with asset based funding.
Robertson, who holds a Diploma in Business Management from the Damelin says her greatest fear was losing personal assets covering their funding was one of the biggest driving forces to keep her staff motivated and to keep the sales momentum going.
“It makes me focus on the necessity of up to date financials and budget forecasts”. A family woman and a mother of two believe family is everything even though he has never been married before and that work is not the only thing.
“You have to make time for family always, I make that I don’t do empty promises to my family if I say I will do something I will defiantly do it and I also make sure I don’t work more than 12 hours a day."
During her spare time Robertson says u will find her reading books, recording her family memories in a scrap album or working in her veggie garden. When asked what business tips she could to emerging entrepreneurs she encouraged them to work hard that anything is possible when you know what you want and where you want to be.
“Take the chance, you are young with little responsibilities and if you have a great concept you are passionate about you will find funding. Funding is available. It is out there. Know what you want to do, spend time and do your business plan and go for it, says Robertson. She added that at a later stage she would like to focus a lot more on recycling, reusing and upcycling.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE