Edition 2

Welcome to 2017, I am sure nearly everyone has settled back into their work environment already.

At the end of each year, I reflect on my journey with Major Tech, and still feel that we have much to achieve as an organisation. Whilst driving the streets of KZN during the holidays, I recalled the challenges faced when we opened our first branch in Durban, one being when our opposition tried to shut us down with cut throat pricing. We had a tough choice to make – close our doors or do something about it. From a young age, I was instilled with a strong values and belief system, and one which stands out was not to be a quitter, and always make a decision – do what you feel is the right thing to do. It is sometimes very difficult to make a decision when one is financially strained, as we were at the time.

I was a dreamer and always had a vision to have my own branded products, at times I felt this was far-fetched and something impossible to achieve. But I pushed aside the doubts and noise in my mind and conceptualised the idea of my very own branded products. In order to test the market and ensure that a new brand would be accepted by South African customers, we decided to introduce a range of low cost meters. The initial range consisted of voltage and continuity testers, microwave detectors, plus a digital multimeter and analogue clamp meter. The most interesting and fun fact was that we ordered the stock, but did not have a brand name. The factory started to push me for a name and insisted that I confirm the name within a day of their fax or face the products being manufactured with the factory’s name. I recall these events as if they were yesterday, I was excited and nervous all at once, but always remained focused on what I had visioned. After mulling around with a few names, I finally decided on the brand name of Major Tech. Now in 1991, there were no fancy software options to do design work, so I purchased a simple program called Sign Writer. I created the logo in a morning, with my signature “J” in the Major Tech logo with the stripe at the top, this is exactly the way I hand write the letter “J”. The moment I sent the logo off to the factory within the requested time, I knew that no matter what emotions were felt at the time, this was the start of something I had dream’t about.

Our first Major Tech leaflet was an A4 colour page folded into an A5 leaflet. At the time, we decided to introduce a cabinet that could be installed at Electrical Wholesalers, one that could be locked, but more importantly, the Perspex cover of the display always ensured that the display cabinet always looked closed. As a new brand to the market, we quickly learnt who were against us and those who supported us, even prior to us launching our brand, banter towards us was rife. Our new range of low cost testers were labelled “The Mickey Mouse” range, but my strong willed personality only drove me to persevere.   The good news was that the new range started selling quickly and the name was accepted into the SA market.

Had I not have persevered, accepted the challenges and overcome the obstacles, I would not have got to see my dream and vision become reality, or learnt the valuable business lessons that had directly led to the growth and success of the Major Tech brand.

My philosophy and advice is that one should not feel daunted by the unknown, but having a dream or an idea should be pursued. Rather try and fail than wished you had, but never tried.

Pat Shaw