Shield Technologies CEO Wayne Holt formed part of the expert panel on Summit TV’s The Big Small Business show, which aired on February 19, 2013. The in-studio interview provides advice for small business success, and aims to give viewers practical and down-to-earth business advice for any type of small business, whether well established or starting from the ground up.
Together with a number of industry experts, Holt and the panel offered advice to viewers that focused on the correct training of distributors to ensure that they act as an extension of the business that is motivated and eager to sell the relevant product. He said: “Distributors are the way forward for a business such as Shield, which focuses on a niche product and market, where advertising simply does not have the same effect.”
An important issue raised during the discussion was the option of running sales conferences with various incentives for different distributor packages. “The only way that Shield can penetrate the market is through educating potential customers on Shield’s products and services by making use of our distributors’ far reach, and I believe that the same applies for any other small business in South Africa that is in a similar position,” Holt added. “With this in mind, Shield appointed a sales person in March 2013, in order to prompt potential growth opportunities that the company has identified.”
Appearing on 702 Talk Radio’s Business Accelerator Show on March 18, 2013, Holt promoted the benefits of Shield’s Spatter Guard range of products, which protect weld surfaces from weld spatter in high temperature applications. Small business expert Pavlo Phitides was also on hand to provide valuable advice and insight into how Shield can successfully expand.
He said: “Shield Technologies is a very important business for South Africa. During the 2008 economic downturn, overseas companies became very aggressive about entering into the South African market and, all of a sudden, a large amount of industrial businesses in the services and manufacturing side found themselves on the back foot. Shield has been able to provide significant value to this industry, as the company’s products can actually reduce costs by up to 90 per cent.”
The show highlighted the fact that Shield has been in business for ten years, and that Holt has committed himself to searching for the latest products and technologies that can benefit the local industry, by travelling abroad extensively and meeting with various experts. These technologies were then brought back to South Africa, adapted for local conditions, before being trademarked and patented by Shield. Holt admitted that the biggest challenge facing Shield is promoting the benefits of the company’s industry leading products to the local market. These include gas optimisation and measurement solutions that encompass gas leak detection and gas flow management, in addition to the previously mentioned Spatter Guard surface protection products.
Phitides explained that old habits die hard. “What Shield needs to do to get education out there is to enter into the welding artisan world at a very early stage, so that artisans are familiar with the product from the very beginning. Make the product available to artisan programmes. This will create a best practice around welding in general and the product will eventually be the first option and the first step taken before any welding project begins.”
He indicated that the company should also be positioned as a technology expert that reduces cost and optimises efficiency in industrial services and manufacturing. “Shield has a very particular skill in identifying gaps and niches where, through providing a solution, the company can bring down the cost of an operation.”