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Keeping the lights on for a living

For businesses in the retail industry, lighting plays a critical role in creating the best possible customer experience. So much so, that the right retail lighting is said to be able to boost a business’ bottom line by driving higher sales. Someone who knows this all too well is Mario Roos, who along with his wife, Hayley, founded LighTec – a Western Cape-based pro-active lighting and electrical maintenance business.

Established in 2017, LighTec services around 1000 South African retail stores every month, but this healthy business flow did not happen overnight. “LighTec started on a shoe string budget and has grown organically over time, without any outside funding,” says Roos. “We started with just one technician – myself – and an assistant, and have grown to 16 staff across South Africa in just two years.”

With big plans for the future, Roos is confident that this high level of business growth will continue. “Given the current challenges that South African businesses are facing with regards to rising electricity costs, we have recently shifted focus in a big way to energy efficiency projects with new LED technology, to alleviate the pressure on the national grid.

“We provide in-depth energy analysis and payback periods for energy projects, which is becoming increasingly demanded by South African stores. With this recent diversified service offering, it is our aim to have 100 staff in the next five years, which will enable us to serve more than 4000 retail store a month.”

While business is looking up now, Mario warns that the entrepreneurial route is not for the faint-hearted. “To start and grow a small business like this takes a lot of guts, and then a lot of sacrifice is required to keep it going in the right direction. I have had to sell things so that the crew could have fuel, I have had to pawn my personal laptop and car so that the crews can have enough stock and fuel for that month.

“The important thing, however, is that the crew is as committed as I am in this regard. We do not have the resources that some of the other bigger companies have, so if one of our vehicles breaks down, our technicians may have to be the mechanics as well.

“In this sense, we work for each other, as we know the end goal and believe that the rewards will be greater than the temporary sacrifices. This is why our technicians around the country always go the extra mile for our customers. After all, our motto is “lighting made easy”, and to do this, service delivery is paramount,” he concludes. Mario and Hayley Roos are finalists in the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by BUSINESS/PARTNERS. For more information on their business, please visit the LighTec website: https://lightec.co.za/.



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