Today we have the pleasure of introducing a local businessman/entrepreneur, Mr Granwald George, welcome to Kathu Biz. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Q) Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
A) I’m originally from Pretoria. My parents moved this side in 2003. I started my High school career in Kathu, so I can say that I’m a citizen of Kathu right now. I’ve been here for many years. I matriculated and I wanted to go study further, but I didn’t have the opportunity, so I’ve walked straight into my parents’ business. They had a contract on the mine. I started as a general worker with the company, and I didn’t like it at first. I felt that I should not have to start as a general worker when they owned this company, but eventually, I worked myself up without any favors from the family, just like any other person would have to do. I worked hard and became a project manager.
And then just before the company closed down, due to both my parents passing away, I started to manage the company. I got married at that time and we have two beautiful children. I have completed a lot of business courses in between with the help of Kumba Iron Ore. They actually assisted me a lot in the beginning with one of my major qualifications. And that’s when I started my business.
Q) Now at what stage in your life did you decide to go into business?
A) I made this decision in high school already. I think I was that way inclined because my parents had a business, and I think that just rubbed off on me. My friends will always say they would go and study to be lawyers and accountants, but I was adamant that I am going to be a businessman, and that I would have my own business one day. And I’ve been faithful on that path.
Q) What sets your business apart from other businesses in your industry?
A) I think in Kathu as well as nationally speaking, according to the research I did, the one advantage that my business has, is that granted I’m still young. And in this industry especially with the competitors in the area, the people stick to certain cultures that they have believed in over the years. And I’ve noticed that many businesses don’t want to diversify. And it’s a privilege to be in this business at this young age. There are so many opportunities available, and I grab them all. Our business is very diversified, while many of our competitors are very limited to what they offer.
Q) What, would you say, has been the driving force for you as an entrepreneur?
A) I am a self-driven entrepreneur. So, I think our success and well as having a good way of running the business that is our driving force. It’s the small achievements that I have made and achieved, in spite of the failures or mistakes. Conquering failures in business is my driving force. Every time I overcome a setback, or something difficult keeps me going because there’s always more to business than what meets the eye, so it keeps me driving me.
Pride Rock in Kathu
Q) Now, what is the name of your company? And how did you come up with the name of your company?
A) The company’s name is Pride Rock, I always knew I was gonna name my business Pride Rock. Since the time that I decided I was going to start a business. When I just met my wife I told her that I was going to name this company Pride Rock. The reason I chose Pride Rock is the movie, The Lion King, and the Pride Rock symbolizes the lions and the pride they show as lions, I’m driven and very adamant to protect, and serve, even with setbacks which we will get in the business. There’s always a comeback, and there’s always a sunrise.
Q) Granwald that’s quite a story. What kind of culture exists in your organization? And how did you establish that culture in your organization?
A) We are very focused on perfection, even though it’s difficult to be perfect in business. When we started our company it wasn’t financed and I started out of my pocket. So yes, we were small. We’ve got a culture where we speak and act big, as all these big companies do. We go into detail, we strive for perfection, we give ourselves a standard as the big companies do. So this is the culture of our company, to strive for perfection and be as perfect as possible, no matter how small we may be at the moment so that this culture can grow and become a habit. So one day when we are a much bigger company we will be able to accomplish anything and its very easy to maintain the culture.
Q) And what does your company do? What products and services do you offer? A) So we are an environmental management service. We’ve been concentrating on pest control and weed control, and we provide pest control products, herbicide products, and of course we’ve just diversified so we use new services, like health products, push control, deputation server services. volatilizes, etc. We also supply training., We’ve started with our own employees, we train them and empower them with knowledge. And then, of course, technicals for the companies.
Q) Now for a more serious question. How has being an entrepreneur affected your life? A) It has been a big test for me.
Q) Maybe a few impacts on your from being an entrepreneur? A) The greatest impact has been learning to be patient. There have been a lot of lessons. There are many things I didn’t know. It affected my personal life in a major way. My view on life itself has changed. It’s been a challenge. So being an entrepreneur and keeping your personal life separate has been a bit difficult because it has an impact on family life, personal life, but it has also strengthened me. It has taught me that there’s going to be good days, and there’s going to be bad days. But the main thing is that we can overcome these things if we are committed to what we do.
Q) That’s fantastic to hear. And would you change anything in terms of your journey in business?
A) I always think about how I started a business at a very young age since I was 19 years old. And I’m 10 years in the business, and looking back with the knowledge I have now, there’s a lot of things I would have changed. First of all, managing the finances back then probably would have put me in a better position than I am right now. As I said earlier, I never went to business school or anything. I just took the passion I had and went with the feeling. And I had to learn everything along the way with the short courses I completed. So, these are some of the things that I could have changed. Since being an entrepreneur, social life has changed because I’ve learned that what you do in your social life has an impact on your business. Especially in Kathu, which is a small town. I had a lot of changes in my personal life to accommodate my entrepreneurial life.
Q). And what is your vision in business? Where do you see yourself as a business in the next five to 10 years? As a company?
A) I see us as a company that employs 1500 people in the next five years, and I see us having a solid contract, for lack of a better word, a long-term contract, We don’t have one at this moment. My vision is to employ local residents and also uplifting other small businesses by investing in them. So that’s part of our vision. And the next 10 years, we would like to be nationally recognized. In governments, in the private sector, in the public sector, and in the mining sector.
Q) That’s a great vision to have. What would you say are your values in your business? What are the values in your company?
A) I think the services that we deliver are very scarce around here. That’s a value. We are really focused and our clients are important to us. We don’t bite off what we can’t handle. We value our reputation because at this moment, we have a great reputation with the local people. We deliver a lot to the households around Kathu, and the other companies don’t give that much attention to the local residents. So that’s one of our values. Most of our competitors go for the bigger contracts and the money which is perfectly right because they are bigger companies. We did research and the local residents say the bigger companies delivering services do not give that much attention to them as we do. So, this is one of our big values as well. And then, of course, our pricing. And we are much cheaper than competitors.
Q) How would you define success in business?
A) Well, firstly, achieving financial goals. I see success in business in that it is not a one-stop destination. It’s an ongoing process. So success I see in business is achieving the small goals that I set up for this business, And then by achieving the smaller goals, I set a bigger goal. And every time I achieve a goal, I see that as a test because we are not limited to just reaching a certain point and stop. We want to grow and be as big a company as possible. It’s gonna take us 20 years, 10 years, 15 years. Success will be every goal that we achieve, no matter how big or small, we see that as a success.
Q) You’ve raised a very good point there. Now, do you believe that entrepreneurs are born or they are made? And why do you believe that?
A) I would say most Entrepreneurs are born, although you do get some of who are made. Maybe it’s a double optional, but you have people with a natural instinct for business. If we, for instance, take soccer players, you have some of them who are born with the ability. Of course, there are learning curves that every entrepreneur has to go through. It doesn’t mean that if you’ve got an instinct to learn the business and you are born with the ability that you shouldn’t learn because you’re not born with a textbook and all these advisors and guidances and studies around the business. So if you want to achieve success as an entrepreneur, you need to apply yourself to learning even though you are born with the ability. And then on the other side, you get guys that are not born with the ability but are determined to put in hard work, go and study, learn, get advice from more successful people in their social lives, more successful people in business. And then they adapt the business principles on how to be a successful entrepreneur.
Q) What is your favorite thing that you like about being an entrepreneur?
A) I manage my own diary. I’m flexible and I love it. I need to be flexible and not boxed in one place, I can spread my wings. And I need to be free to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I don’t like being boxed in and limited to anything. I love to diversify. I can spread my wings. I feel free to do business. And that’s really the one thing that I like.
Q) What has been the greatest achievement for you in your business in your company?
A) Oh, there are a few. I think the greatest achievement was partnering with Khumani. Our first project with Khumani put us on the map. And the company is only established now for 3 years, we really still in the growing stage, Pride Rock. So that was a huge step for our core business. Getting us on the map was partnering with Khumani.
Q) Well done to you guys, I’m going to need links to your business that is in terms of your website, and any social media links.
A) At the moment we don’t have a website. In the near future, we will establish a website. But we are on Facebook. We do most of our marketing on Facebook. This is mostly for the small businesses and for residence because our target market statement at this moment is the mining industry and in the public sector. So you know they operate on a database. But all information that people need is on our Facebook page, Pride Rock Industries.