Many entrepreneurs are so focused on the day to day pressures and challenges of running their businesses that they don’t realize how much their companies could benefit from external help in ensuring their business processes are optimized for success. Well, help is at hand - Excolo is the brainchild company of South African entrepreneur Raheel Muhammad and it’s on a mission to bring operational excellence to any company.
LoA chatted to the energetic and passionate entrepreneur Raheel Muhammad this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
Excolo provides business improvement services to entrepreneurs in the SMME sector. Excolo offers a niche service in that it focuses on developing business operational excellence through Lean process formulation and implementation. Excolo business process improvement methodology is inspired by the Kaizen theory of continuous improvement. This theory has been customized to optimize the operational processes of the South African SME and entrepreneur to facilitate growth and sustainability. The core offerings are Operational Analysis, Process and Policy documentation and General Business Improvement.
"Standardised operational excellence ensures continuously satisfied customers which ensures business sustainability."
What inspired you to start your company?
My current business motto: 'Business, after all is said and done, is about staying in business" together with "A satisfied customer is the best strategy of all" (Le Beouf), was the introduction to a dissertation I had to submit on a strategy course. Little did I know then, that it would become the foundation of Excolo's service offering: standardised operational excellence ensures continuously satisfied customers which ensures business sustainability.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Systems, policies and processes are fundamental business foundational tools. These operational essentials will ensure that the business has best practices and processes in place for standardisation, quality management, training, succession planning and growth. Furthermore, continuous assessments automates innovation and improvement and operational processes are aligned to meet strategic objectives. My many years experience in Retail, FMCG, Fast food and Franchising, and Service sectors coupled with relevant knowledge allows me to understand the complexities of SME business operations, and my failures and successes are testament to this.
"My many years experience in Retail, FMCG, Fast food and Franchising, and Service sectors coupled with relevant knowledge allows me to understand the complexities of SME business operations, and my failures and successes are testament to this."
Tell us a little about your team
I am currently a team of one but have support through well qualified associations to ensure that Excolo always adds maximum service value to all clients.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and have been inspired by my Mum who raised 3 children (whom are all now entrepreneurs, yay!) by burning the midnight oil doing embroidery on her very loud sewing machine. Excolo is my second business, the first of which was a small café. Making the decision to start my own business was one of the toughest, yet now it seems that it wasn't a choice but an organic journey to a new and exciting time of my life. A journey filled with substance, value, determination, authenticity and most importantly, like minded people.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Excolo was created to serve the needs of the SME entrepreneur and my intention is for it to grow to continuously provide innovative, relevant and valuable service offerings to the South African market and, thereafter, into the African continent.
"Making the decision to start my own business was one of the toughest, yet now it seems that it wasn't a choice but an organic journey to a new and exciting time of my life."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
For me, satisfaction in being an entrepreneur is made of a collection of elements that include, inter alia, the feeing of independence and success, consciously trying to make a positive difference in the South African business landscape, and most importantly, staying true to my mandate of adding positive value to my clients.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to startup?
"Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos. I love this quote as it is the must-have character trait of all successful entrepreneurs. My advice to my fellow entrepreneurs is: Be true to your vision everyday and let it resonate passionately through your company culture and client commitment...the money will come!
Contact or follow Excolo
Why LoA loves it….
Being an entrepreneur gives you a unique insight into what it takes to make a business work, and learning from the experiences of both success and failure is an essential part of the journey. For serial entrepreneur and business improvement specialist, Raheel Muhammad, these are traits she brings to her own business Excolo when it comes to helping other SMEs to build successful companies. She brings unique insight, expert knowledge, the highest level of professionalism and importantly solutions to any SME looking to create a business optimized for success. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa