By Amanda-Ellen Jojo
IN today’s volatile world, one thing that has been recurring is cut-throat competition thus, in order to build empires, most prosperous businessmen harnessed all the opportunities life gave them and attained their status by building everything from nothing.
This is the story of the even-keeled, industrious and business-oriented young man, Tatenda Samukange (27) who is the brains behind Skylake Borehole Drilling.
Despite the entrepreneurial circle’s long-running often controversial debate about who is ultimately more successful between middle-aged founders or those who launch in their 20s or 30s, Samukange is a force to be reckoned with as his company is competing with some of the country’s established firms.
Speaking to The Entrepreneurial Magazine, Samukange said his establishment was birthed out of passion and grit.
“I have a unique passion for the work I was involved in, which should be a recipe for anyone who wants to go far.
“I would say the keys are integrity, innovation, social responsibility, professionalism, and accountability. These are pillars that have held us upright and unshaken as Skylake,” Samukange said.
With a modest upbringing, Samukange’s life in boarding school was comprised of the basic “dollar and a dream” narrative which in due course landed him into the borehole drilling business soon after high school.
The young entrepreneur is building his significance and legacy on an unshakable foundation of skills.
He said: “My top three would be creativity, innovation, and diligence. Above all one needs to be a leader, who grows, knows, and shows the way.”
Skylake Borehole Drilling offers geological siting, solar pump installation, tank installation, domestic boreholes, industrial boreholes, agricultural boreholes, domestic and agricultural irrigation, exploration holes, borehole maintenance, borehole rehabilitation (cleaning), borehole yield testing, borehole pump installations, borehole camera inspections and also completion and testing of unfinished boreholes.
The company’s success is anchored on the dynamic team that is aligned to what the future looks like, aiming for excellence, creating an interactive customer experience, leveraging customer advocates and utilising customer service tools.
Research findings indicate that innovation and digitalisation are fast becoming the survival kit, pushing industries to stay agile, adaptive and emphathetic.
The Skylake team is religiously harnessing social media by highlighting customer experience stories on their platforms and prioritizing customer feedback.
“The future is digital and as a result, we have kept up with the times in ensuring we are up-to-date with digital campaigns and models everywhere.
“These include our individual objectives, company-wide strategic objectives, and even ideas for my own development as a business owner,” Samukange remarked.
In this COVID-19 pandemic, he further reemphasised the need for a maneuvered online presence because it opens up better and improved ways of making superior products. He said it is the way to go even for businesses that are not directly impacted by the digitalisation drive especially during unforeseen circumstances such as the novel pandemic, COVID-19.
“Never underestimate the power of having a formidable and ‘out there’ online presence… it was during this pandemic we hired our first-ever fully dedicated Marketing personnel and what I can say is the face and image of the company saw an incredible shift because of that,” he highlighted.
It is on the spotlight that performance review is a “necessary evil,” as such, Samukange believes that conducting them regularly is a technique to stay on the top.
Commenting on how being one of the youngest founders in the broader entrepreneurial space he said: “I would say what I favor most is the fact that everything that comes with being an entrepreneur right now is coming as early knowledge through some of the testing and challenging experiences and encounters.”
He added that being a youthful business leader within a pool of older subordinates accelerates his drive to work harder every single time.
“This allows me to see the importance of not seeing a limit to the success and whatever I can do to see it through,” he said.
The award-winning entrepreneur shared some of the sacrifices that he had to make in order to be where he is today.
“I have sadly not had the proverbial ‘enjoyment of my youth’ yet as I have had to enormously cut my social life and even time with family and close friends in a bid to grow and FOCUS on the business but I am now slowly catching up, so wish me luck,” he added.
Failures and challenges keep entrepreneurs nimble and on their toes as such, Samukange had his fair share of challenges, some which he encountered in the infancy stages of his business.
He mentioned that: “In 2018 while trying to secure my first drilling rig, thinking I had found a cheaper option. I was naive and did not exactly follow through in the acquisition processes.
“As a result, I was drawn back of my hard-earned money as the people I trusted to deliver were scammers, it taught me that sometimes “cheap is expensive”, one thing we have observed gravely at Skylake and it was through such a major setback that we learnt this.”
Samukange’s inspiration is drawn from local, established business tycoons.
“I look very close to home a lot and consider the legendary Strive Masiyiwa, Executive Chairman and Founder of Econet Wireless to be a great inspiration to me, everyone who knows me is aware that goes without saying,” he stated.
It is often asserted that great investors and business pundits are avid readers, it can be safely concluded that consumers of knowledge through reading are destined for entrepreneurial success.
Commenting on the above proclamation Samukange said: “I am inspired by ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and obviously the Holy Bible.”
Despite the macroeconomic challenges that are negatively impacting business activities, Samukange is optimistic that the future of Zimbabwe is bright.
“Opportunities are everywhere we look, I am generally happy with the Zimbabwean borehole industry as a whole as we have seen the sprouting of more competitors over the past few years, these are people who saw a market and decided to enter into the game.
“That’s commendable considering some of the challenges that come with being in business here in Zimbabwe. I also have to express, all sectors are slowly improving and it is a matter of time until Zimbabwe reaches its full potential,” Samukange expressed.
Samukange reinforces the conviction that for one to run a thriving venture, gratitude is a must.
“My favorite message to ANYONE, notwithstanding even those who look up to me and have aspirations to be running a successful business is, ‘Learn to appreciate life, don’t be greedy, and be humble,” he said.