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Friday, June 1, 2007
Get fired for success

While planning, cash flow and access to finance are essential to the establishment and sustainability of a new business venture, the core factor is passion.

This was the view expressed by leading business personalities at last night’s Biznetwork events, held throughout the country and hosted by First National Bank (FNB). The topic of the discussion was ’Leadership and Greatness’, and the philosophy and experiences of Raymond Ackerman, Chairman of Pick ‘n Pay, Herman Mashaba, founder of Black Like Me, Greg Fisher, a senior lecturer at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Jeff Ellis, the MD of Webmail and Trinity Ncala, the MD of T&T Appointments, were discussed.
Mr Ackerman’s belief is that entrepreneurs need 90% guts and 10% capital.
“You’ll always find the money somewhere – from friends or family or from a bank. But, you must have passion for what you are doing,” he said.
According to Greg Fisher, people often emphasise access to capital way too early. “Passion and enthusiasm will bring investors,” he adds. “In essence, if you demonstrate that you really believe in your business and its capacity to succeed, investors and banks are far more likely to see the potential and give you money for your venture.”
Mr Ackerman’s own story reflects the validity of this comment. Having been fired by another large retailer he found himself without a job, with a wife and four children to feed. But it was his passion for the food retailing business that kept him going, until he built up the empire that has today become the successful Pick ‘n Pay group.
Similarly passion is what drove Jeff Ellis to transform his life from being a bank teller to becoming the head of the innovative e-mail company, Webmail. Mr Ellis believes that every person is born a salesperson, but it takes passion and hunger to bring that skill out. “Sometimes, adversity ends up being the best thing because it promotes innovative thinking and the drive to succeed – often this is what makes an entrepreneur win,” he points out.
That same passion for your business should be communicated to your staff, so their attitude to the business is equally enthusiastic. Mr Ellis meets with his staff every day and communicates with them throughout the day via SMS, so that all his staff is thinking along the same lines and feel they are part of the same process.
Ultimately, business success is determined by a number of factors, but your own excitement about your business is crucial.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.5 1st June, 2007
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