Running a business is no walk in the park: it requires discipline, hard work, courage and sacrifice. Mosa Dikobo, the owner of Citrus Green Solutions knows this firsthand.
Despite his rocky start, he has achieved what many entrepreneurs dream of: he has three branches in two provinces, he employs more than 20 staff and he services big clients.
We chatted to Mosa about his journey and why he thinks his business is successful. He told us how his childhood prepared him for business: “While most teenagers spent their weekends hanging out at the mall, I worked in my grandfather’s cleaning business. We would go from house to house cleaning carpets. These happy years instilled in me a high work ethic and lit an entrepreneurial flame.”
After a disappointing foray in the corporate world, Mosa went back to what he knew: cleaning. In 2013 Citrus Green Solutions was born. The company does industrial cleaning that is affordable, uses environmentally-friendly products and services to the food, automotive and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.
Mosa identified four factors that contributed to his success:
1. Search for a niche and solve a problem
“When I started Citrus Green Solutions, I knew I could not compete with the bigger cleaning companies – I had to do something different. It was my grandfather’s death from cancer that made me realise the harmful effects of cleaning chemicals. That is why I decided to offer environmentally-safe alternatives to industrial and fleet cleaning. I did not want the lives of my staff and clients to be at risk.
“We use eco-friendly, bio-degradable chemicals and our equipment saves energy and water. We offer a waterless option on our fleet cleaning service. Another reason for our competitive edge is our collaborative approach – we work with other companies to give our clients the best service.”
2. Choose your clients carefully
Mosa is as selective about his clients as he is about his employees. “You don’t have to take every client that walks through your doors. You have good clients and you have bad clients. It’s important to make that distinction. Some clients are big clients, but they don’t pay on time or have unreasonable expectations.”
This is a far cry from the early days, says Mosa’s business mentor, Jeremy Barton, when he would take on any business opportunity just to chase the revenue. “Now, Mosa is totally committed to growing his company in a controlled way. He is very conscious of his goals and vision and gives these opportunities a much closer look. Mosa is now focusing on his core areas,” says Jeremy.
3. Find the right person for the role
Mosa understands the value of human capital. At the moment, Citrus Green employs 26 people, most of whom are from the surrounding areas. Every time he wins a new contract, he employs as many as 20 people who work together to get the job done. Bottlenecks can hinder productivity, and in some cases cause it to grind to a halt. That is why he invests in empowers his employees and delegates tasks.
4. Listen to the client and add value
Understanding the sensitivity of their clients’ needs, such as allergen management, ensures the areas they work on are microbiologically, chemically and physically clean. Their attention to detail and high standards has impressed big clients like Parmalat, Pioneer Foods, the Imperial Group and Europcar. Citrus Green Solutions are ISO-compliant and work hard to maintain their client’s image and brand.
It is clear after speaking to Mosa that he is not just any entrepreneur: he has that elusive grit factor. He is determined to continue his grandfather’s legacy and take his business national. He has branches in Port Elizabeth, East London, and Johannesburg with plans to open a branch in Durban this June.
About the business:
Citrus Green Solutions provides tailor-made services to the logistics, food manufacturing, and component manufacturing industries. You can follow them on Facebook, call them on 041 463 1799 or visit their website.