My brother Faan and I started WBC in 2001, formally registered. We were operating for three years preceding that; buying and selling cars already. Faan started it. He bought his first motorbike and fixed it up when he was in Grade 10 – then Std 8.
By the time he left for Varsity, he had his own car from this enterprise. He became a teacher, and through buying and selling he managed to grow his capital to approximately R65000.
I joined in around 1999, shortly after I finished my degree in Bcom Marketing. Faan left for the UK where he spent 2 years teaching together with his wife, also buying and selling cars in the UK, while I continued full-time in RSA. Shortly after he returned, we registered WBC.
Faan is the Dynamo, the focus, structure, the disciplined hard work and commitment, where I brought to the mix a Pioneering Spirit, Innovation and Out-of-the-box thinking. We complimented each other well, but it is hard work to make a partnership last.
From there the business grew and eventually entered an exponential growth rate once we embraced data science, automation, and digital interfaces.
Part of the growth was since we had to stop doing everything ourselves and entrust it to other people, and once we saw that you can have other people do the job, it continued from there.
Thirdly, and most importantly we embraced servant-leadership as a concept and started adapting the client viewpoint as our most important focus, and when we articulated the client experience, we realised that we were more than just speculating, people experienced what we do as a service to them, and we took that viewpoint and started marketing the buying of cars as a service, with a strong emphasis on trust and convenience.
Circumstances in the market forced us to adapt and realign to constant changes in the economy and in the competitive environment, and we were very fortunate that we responded in ways that were well accepted. We invested a lot of money in people, systems, advertising, and infrastructure like Warehouses.
Later we realised that the Big-Box Business Model of Warehouses (as opposed to normal dealerships) has gained traction overseas and we were already doing that by default – and again we articulated the need of the customer and how they applied their time and resources to find the car they need. And thus, we established the Big-Box Model of car sales in South Africa, where both Dealers and the Public buy from a Wholesaler where there are literally a thousand cars under one roof to choose from.
We expanded our footprint countrywide, first in Gauteng, then Cape-Town, Durban followed, PE, and now many others. And we also introduced Auctions and experimented with that, where currently we have permanent Online Auctions running. Now we have started Online Selling, and we offer a variety of Financial Services and products as well.