Mathias dusted a business idea he had conceived and executed with a friend as students 12 years ago. Today, that business have been revamped and serving a major sub sector in our economy - the maintenance culture industry. He shed light on how much capital he started with and how he bootstraps. Enjoy our full chat:
Tell us about yourself and your business?
I am Engr. Mathias Tsado and CEO at Matstrutt Nig Ltd. The company is structured to address the major issue of maintenance in Nigeria. We are a complete facility management company that offers services ranging from engineering maintenances, building maintenances, janitorial services and power back up systems.
How old are you?
I am 38years old. Born on the 6th of February 1977.
When did you start your business and how much capital did you start with?
Matstrutt Nig Ltd started in 2003 as STRUTT ENTERPRISE. It was a partnership with a friend back in the school FUT Minna as mechanical engineering students. We started purely as a generator maintenance company, but after school we were separated by NYSC and everyone began to chase after his own goals. In 2010, I picked up the idea while working with intercontinental bank plc in Kaduna, and coined the name MATSTRUTT from MATHIAS & STRUTT, so it is like mathias' Strutt.
The company restarted with N350,000 in December 2010.
What inspired your business idea?
I have been concerned about the maintenance culture of Nigerians, our facilities ranging from buildings to cars and roads etc, our culture of repairing after damage or procure another one was a huge concern, so we began a sensitization campaign about the need for routine maintenance and the fact that prevention is better than cure even for infrastructures.
What are you currently working on?
In terms of project, we are working for Ecobank plc as facility managers and also working on renewable energy.
How can you describe your organizational culture/style of business?
Our focus is on providing solution to corporate organizations. We take the burden of maintenance off the organizations; our style is excellence.
What have been your biggest achievement as a business brand since inception?
The opportunity to work with my staff has been my biggest achievement; their creativity, their passion and the opportunity to contribute to their development.
Do you in anyway give back to the society as a responsibility. If yes, can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, we embark on sensitization campaigns on the need for environmental neatness and also partner with some foundations that provide books for public schools.
What have been the recurrent challenges?
I would said it's been low awareness about the need for preventive maintenance among corporate organizations, and the preference of foreign companies by large corporations.
How do you deal with times of low patronage or uncertainty?
We engage in staff trainings and team building activities.
What are your other interests apart from this business?
Politics! The need for young people to get involved in policy making is in high demand. I am interested in having a nation that is not referred to as a developing nation. Nigeria has all it takes to be a world leader, but these three major challenges- Order, Value and Leadership have stiffened our development, so my interest is to raise young minds that would be trained to tackle these challenges.
You can check what we are doing on Hope Platform via @HopePlatform on Twitter and Facebook.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
I see us become a household name in terms of facility management in Nigeria, with branches in Lagos, Abuja, Portharcout and Kano.
What do you love about doing business in Nigeria?
Nigeria is a large market that offers everyone the opportunity to offer his/her genuine services; there is always a market for every class and I love that.
What do you dislike about it?
The bottleneck and bureaucracy in procurement and contract procedures, is discouraging.
What's your advice for budding CEOs/founders?
You must be determined to succeed. Go to the places you are afraid of going. Identify your "must have" clients and do everything you can to get them. Value your staff, they are more important than your customers. Let your staff take ownership and reward them adequately.
Never pay yourself before your staff, and be accountable to them. Finally, be genuine and live within your means.
Who are your business role models or inspirations?
It is Tonye Cole of Sahara group. He is Simple, Classic and Focused.
How do you relax and vacation?
Unfortunately my relaxation has not been too good these days owing to the performance of Chelsea Football Club but we shall pull through. Vacations are always a good time with the family; with my wife, and our two kids in any part of the world, sometimes we go to the village.
How can one reach you for business?
Our office is at No.3B Bungalow Close Ungwa Rimi, Kaduna.
Call us on +23408092893776