Ashley Uys: Diagnosing success!
Posted on June 13, 2014
Cash flow is also the first obstacle of an enterprise. I established my first business at the age of 24. This of course was an obstacle on its own as there was no significant personal/business profile and as there was a lack of experience. Couple of years down the line, I now employ 35 people! I created a distribution model that reduced risk and generated revenue prior to investing in a manufacturing facility. This buffered the challenges that i experienced with cash flow. The more you grow the more resources are required. This is a continuous cycle and you need to build resources for expansion if you don’t want to sell equity. We’ve organically grown the company, hence I still own 80% of the business.
I established three companies, Real World Diagnostics in 2006, Medical Diagnostech in 2010, and OculusID in 2013. Real World Diagnostic is a marketing and distribution company for medical diagnostic test kits like rapid HIV tests etc. Medical Diagnostech is a manufacturer of medical diagnostic test kits for drug of abuse, HIV, malaria, pregnancy, and ovulation. OculusID specializes in the development of biometric solutions with impairment and disease detection by analysing the pupil of the eye’s response to light. There is a correlation between all three companies – in some way each caters to the other, allowing for holistic growth due to the symbiotic relationship.
I’ve identified a gap in the market that impacts socially. I have found the need for high quality diagnostic test kits manufactured in Africa for Africa. However, our overall vision is to become a global leading in diagnostic innovations with first-to-world products and a presence on every continent. I decided to import and distribute products first to acquire market share and minimize my risk. I therefore generated revenue to eventually set up a manufacturing facility with a client based that has already established.
The entrepreneur’s character is key to success, specifically having the determination and good instinct in identifying opportunities and realizing the risks in executing strategy to maximize reward. One must have a sense of good ‘guesstimation’.
Don’t try to do everything and focus on one idea, stick to your knit (what you’re good at) and know your strengths and weaknesses. Align yourself with mentors and people that can assist in covering the risks that your weaknesses can introduce.
Best business advice i have received is to know how to spot a gap in the market and when the window-of-opportunity is. Worst business advice i have heard was not to look at markets where the product gross profit percentage is less than 20%. In my opinion, some products can be used as loss-leaders to get other products into market, which could bring great profits.
I believe that hard work will increase your odds in getting lucky.
Born to have a global impact.