Startup Spotlight: The Battery Clinic

Retired Major Kebby Konie and Managing Director of Superior Auto Clinic Zambia, is the founder of The Battery Clinic. The Battery Clinic is a Lead Acid Reconditioning business specialised in batteries for cars, trucks, inverters, solar, forklift, marine and aircraft batteries. The Battery Clinic is about rejuvenating weak batteries, increasing their time of use and recovering those that are considered non-functional.

Kebby is a hands-on man with a passion for creativity, innovation and problem-solving. He shares a story on how the Battery Clinic came into being and the impact of the business.

While running an Auto Sales and Repair Workshop in Botswana, I was fascinated at how imported cars from Europe and Japan as old as 15 years would seemingly still have an original battery from the manufacturer! 

“Why would we have to throw away or change our batteries so often?  How did these batteries on imported cars stay alive all these years?” I kept wondering.

This was the origin of this business concept:  The realisation that we do not have to throw away a battery once it gives up power. It could be used for as many as 15 years with good maintenance!

The challenge was to convince clients that it was possible. Also, to find employees who would stick to correct procedures despite the cost to have the desired results. To solve this challenge, I created a method of operation which would make predictable outcomes and guaranteed performance. 

I decided to apply for the Discover Pre-accelerator programme at BongoHive because I was so convinced that my method and application would work but I did not know how to go about convincing the market and also to organise my operations to guarantee success. This program helped me to make a correct assessment of the market and target correctly. This, in turn, helped me not to waste resources on things that would not help my business grow. 

For the growth of the business, I have designed my SME as a franchise that can be operated by anyone, male or female, and does not need prior mechanics or chemistry experience. It has been developed and simplified that one only has to follow a simple procedure and use the equipment and chemicals we supply methodically. We are looking for franchisees in all towns of Zambia and area licenses will be given. 
The Battery Clinic Timeline:

  • 2016 Chelston Branch opened
  • 2018 Chilenje Branch
  • 2019 Ring Road Branch
  • 2020 Woodlands Branch
  • Opening in Chongwe by April 2021

The Re-use and Recycle of batteries helps to protect the environment, creates jobs and is a smart way of getting value for money.

Training for Franchisees will be conducted at the Head Office and all branches throughout the country will operate under the supervision of the Head Office for training, monitoring and mentoring

The economic benefits of the Battery Clinic are many:-

  1. We have the potential of having over 300 franchises countrywide each employing 4, thus creating 1,200 direct jobs with about 80 middle, senior supervisory and management. 
  2. Reduction on the Battery Import Bill, thereby reducing our forex externalisation.
  3. Re-use of batteries reduces the improper disposal of this hazardous waste which end up contaminating our underground waters if not properly disposed of.
  4. Clients save on as the cost of our services is less than 30% the cost of a new battery. 

In conclusion, the Discover programme taught me to organise my business to operate thermostatically other than thermometrically. Rather than measuring how the business is doing, the system controls what should be done in order for the business to achieve objectives.