In harsh and unstable political and economic climate, only the strong survive. Whether it's carving out a niche, creating a strategy for diversification or both, operating in times such as these requires bold strategies and fresh thinking.
Today B-BBEE cannot be ignored, but a few years ago the picture was slightly different. There was much resistance and low awareness by corporate South Africa and the uptake was slow. During this time, Group CEO of the LFP Group Louis Pulzone identified a gap in the market that would propel his company to great heights.
The LFP Group is focussed on creating empowerment and driving transformation by providing end-to-end BEE solutions that help businesses soar and the country move forward into a bright new era. Skills development is a critical element of the BEE scorecard.
Working in the training industry, Louis had seen the inequality that existed and knew that education could be used to bridge this gap. He registered LFP to start providing learnerships to unemployed and disabled persons by aligning these to the BEE Codes of Good Practice. Here, clients were incentivised with BEE points and a more productive workforce, whilst the greater population had access to quality education.
“We started as training consultants and later moved to deliver on these initiatives ourselves. I think that the capacity to innovate has always been a big part of my natural being and I was soon able to identify what was lacking. Back then, I just wanted to implement credible training solutions that aligned to the BEE codes of Good Practice,” he says.
Looking back, Louis says that his vision for the company has evolved over the years. “In the startup phase, it was mainly about providing a much-needed credible service to an industry that needed it dearly. Obviously, the company had set financial goals but I wanted to make a significant difference where I believed it was needed most. As the company grew in size, I identified an increasing number of opportunities to develop more innovative service offerings and turnkey solutions."
“We understood our role fully and saw BEE not as a ‘grudge purchase’ but rather as a revenue growth possibility for corporate South Africa with an all-inclusive economy. LFP’s vision is now set to connect these concepts in such a way that our entire economy can benefit from it,” Louis continues.
Louis shares his advice for budding entrepreneurs, saying that one needs all the mentorship that you can get. “Listen to people as much as you can and learn from as many people as you can meet. I believe that a good leader knows how to serve his or her company, people and clients. You need to be open to criticism so that you can better yourself. You can never stop learning from others."
He says that operating in a tough economy is no excuse for failure. “I believe that anybody can make it, regardless of the economy. You just need to be fully committed and be prepared to work hard and sacrifice. Understand what you are getting yourself into, understand your industry, understand your service or product and add more value than anyone else."