Inspiration often comes from the most unlikely sources and a motorbike TV show celebrating Bike SA’s 500th edition and 40 years on two wheels, not to mention it’s legendary main man, Simon Fourie’s This is Your Life like Extravaganza, was not where I would have expected a single word to have inspired me!
1 This Is Your Life the TV show is used to honour living Legends
A gentleman by the name of Chris Speight, after extolling the virtues of Bike SA and Simon The Legend, went on to mention that he was experiencing a somewhat rough period of trading and offering some solid advice to anyone in a similar situation, it was time to reinvent your business! That word struck home with myself having been plat geslaan in my business for a number of months, culminating in the loss of my workforce through very clouded reasons!
2 My business was knocked down, like Ali,(R.I.P.), but never out cold!
With many motor vehicles in major stripped down situations, (I was presented with piles of jig saw puzzles!), it was definitely time for me to reinvent my business! My recently appointed foreman found himself swimming in the deep end too and his metal and tenacity was about to be tested! Yours truly’s core muscles and tennis fit triceps and biceps were also about to take some strain as the two of us went through the survival phase of lifting and heaving massively heavy assemblies into place, albeit with the aid of our clever workshop equipment!
3 The automatic transmission of this Renault Espace was manouvered into place using the workshop crane, modified with a platform so that it could lift the gearbox! We dubbed it a Croist, a combination of crane and hoist!
As knowledge and skills are slowly imparted to hungry minds and hands, most businesses in Africa must be labour intensive, and my workshop, shy to employ until the dispute was resolved, simply had to reinvent itself!
4 It was time to take a new direction!
Without a driver, the new high tech services of Sendr for courier and Uber for dropping clients had to be `employed. Both of these services operate with simple Apps downloaded to your cell phone, and at the end of each destination your credit card is debited with often a fraction of what your own vehicle / driver combination would cost!
5 The Uber of the parcel world, Sendr collected and delivered spares and components, reinventing my driver!
Unable to drop tools and do spur of the moment repairs, my service to my clients had to be readjusted to appointment only status, as you may have picked up in a previous posting, Under Pressure! The standards didn’t drop though and my clients, some having had 33 years exposure to getting it right, had to go with the flow! One person though, had the arrogance to stand and brazenly demand that I check his vehicle! He was dispatched in similar fashion to my Under Pressure whippersnapper!
6 Not even a pretty please could drag me away from the job at hand!
The workshop phone kept ringing and with both of my incoming lines connected to the cell phone, which connects via Bluetooth to my Starkey Surflink, whch connects via wireless to my new Starkey BiCros with Muse hearing aids, I could answer the phone with grease ridden hands by simply tapping the screen of the Surflink, hidden underneath my shirt!
7 With my Starkey hearing aids linked to my phone, I could answer by tapping on my Surflink and carry on working!
My trade clients, used to the luxury of my driver collecting and delivering gearboxes, did put a little pressure on me and lo and behold, Uber came to the party! I simply booked the collect and deliver trip and Uber’s app is most useful as the driver’s cell number comes up when you click on his icon. A quick call to confirm that a gearbox wrapped in plastic with a cardboard mat to protect his boot carpet, was the fare and once repaired, Uber delivered the gearboxes in the same fashion!
8 Uber reinvented my system of collection and delivery of clients and gearboxes!
All that is left to reinvent is a 65 year old mechanic who can manage a 12 hour day, party and dance as and when necessary, and still manage Golden Hour from 5am to 6am every morning!
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers captured reinvention with this classic song, Pick Yourself Up:
Or if you’d rather Chumbawamba’s version:
St Vincent School For The Deaf reinventing communication:
Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:
Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:
The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: