Xolani Mkhwanazi – Dealer Principal of Barloworld Ford Alberton – was his parents’ pride and joy.
With a BCom in Accounting from KZN, Xolani worked hard and eventually earned a position as Finance Manager at global IT-specialist SAS Institute. But his love for cars and the thrill of sales spurred him on to resign without warning and become a used-car salesman. This, as Xolani will attest, caused more than just a few ructions in the family.
Fortunately, he stayed the course and a few years later he runs one of the busiest Ford dealerships in Gauteng as Dealer Principal.
“It still amazes me that so many people put money and material possessions on the top of their priority list rather than happiness and fulfilment,” he told Dealerfloor. “My own happiness, together with those of my team, is the most important factor in being a successful manager and motivator.”
According to Mkhwanazi, COVID-19 reinforced his life-long philosophy that you can control 80% of the circumstances influencing your life, as opposed to the 20% you have no control over. “Again, too many people focus on the 20% and forget the 80% they can change,” he said.
That explains why Barloworld Ford Alberton was the only dealership south of Johannesburg that opened its workshop for the duration of lockdown, especially the first three weeks at the end of March. As soon as the announcement of complete lockdown was made, Mkhwanazi was looking at ways to ensure his workshop stays open in delivering an essential service to the health and security personnel.
“I am proud of my team at the workshop,” he said, “as this ensured that we could keep a part of the business open to make a difference to essential workers, and at the same time making prospective customers aware of our dealership and the way we treat every customer, every time.”
Mkhwanazi explained that a dealership in a city must be very wary of becoming complacent, and the lockdown proved that most were exactly that. “The pandemic demonstrated that ways of making profit are not only reliant on increasing sales, but also on being cost-effective and productive,” he said. “What you focus on, you will grow.”
Mkhwanazi remarked that being appointed DP at Barloworld Ford Alberton from 1 February 2020 was one of the best things that happened to him. “I have a fantastic team, where for instance, the people in the workshop worked on their own accord every evening until 20:00 last week, just to make sure the backlog is eradicated,” he said proudly.
As a self-proclaimed family man, he drives a Ford Everest during those school runs early in the morning, but he doesn’t mind taking the Ford Mustang 5.0 GT for a spin once in a while “to get the blood flowing”, he smiled. A sensible man with a passion for cars!
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