At heart, I am an entrepreneur and passionate about growing businesses and brands.
I have a love retail, especially the healthcare industry and find great happiness in meeting like-minded and interesting people. We are constantly learning, and connecting with others which makes way for learning and growth. As founder of several businesses, OnShelf is my day to day vocation.
With over 400 staff members, OnShelf Pharma is a leading retail marketing and merchandising agency. We recruit and develop people that are excellent at finding and delivering opportunities. We foster a high performance culture where people lead by example and support each other to achieve goals and exceed expectations. With over 21 years of experience in retail and healthcare, I am fortunate to have grown our business portfolio to develop and empower our staff and employees.
Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.-William longgood
My story - humble beginnings
Born in a business family, I was exposed to and raised with the everyday ups and downs of a family business. We were encouraged to start casual work at age 16, and then be able to buy our own toiletries. I started my first entrepreneurial project whilst in boarding school. I bought off cut carpets from the families wall to wall carpeting business. I then used to cut these pieces into a giant foot with toes and all. These foot carpets I sold at the school from R5-00 to R10-00 a piece depending on the size. I managed to save enough money to pay 50% of my first motor bike , as this was a requirement before you could get a bike.
On turning 16 I started as a casual cashier with Checkers on weekends and school holidays. This gave me the opportunity to become a supervisor and increase my income. After I matriculated I spent 2 years at military training and during my second year I was invited for an interview with OK Bazaars.
I was successful and was employed as a trainee manager. This was a huge learning experience for me. It was an intense 2 year program with modules and tests. At the end of the 2 years, exams, presentations and questions was a requirement before getting appointed. After 12 years’ of service Ok Bazaars became Shoprite. Shortly after the takeover I was invited to an interview with Dis-Chem.
Dis-Chem and Pharmamark
I met Ivan Saltzman and was employed as an assistant manager in 1 of the 5 stores in 2001. Dis-Chem was a small successful family business with focus and defined strategy to specialize in Health and Beauty. Added to this focus was a huge drive on range and selection to improve the customer shopping experience. The driver was price points and customer satisfaction.
I salute and thank Dis-chem for what they have taught me, and I will continue to respect them as their success keeps on growing.
After almost 6 years at Dis-Chem I joined a company called Pharmamark. This successful dynamic company is owned by Andre Niemann and family. His entrepreneurial style of business was great for learning. I experienced business processes and systems, and grew. Work ethic was strong at Pharmamark – only the best will do.
Under the blessing and support of Andre Niemann, I started OnShelf Pharma. On 1 September 2012 I started my journey with 1 laptop, a white branded shirt , 1 potential customer and business plan geared to grow.
By 1 November 2012 I had signed 7 contracts and had a staff compliment of less than 10. We did everything, from sales repping to merchandizing, deliveries and instore promoters on weekends.
During the early days, I met up with Andre Duchenne for potential business. Andre Duchenne did not only agree to give me business, he became my partner and mentor. His advice and wisdom has helped the business grow, his old school ways has saved us many rands and endless stress.
Our business has just turned 5 years old, and we now have over 400 staff. We have offices in Centurion Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town , Port Elizabeth and Durban. We have built a brand and continue to improve our service offering to our customers.
I am grateful to so many people, suppliers and buyers for their support and continued support.
I am also grateful to the team and all the staff at OnShelf Pharma, my friends and family.