Veronique Palmer started ‘Let’s Collaborate’, a SharePoint company, in 2009 out of a desire to find a better way to live. At the time, she was 40 years old, and the economy was in a recession. But her tenacity has paid off and the company has grown consistently year on year and effortlessly signs up the biggest names in business. Twelve awards in seven years are a testament to her success!
Incredibly, Palmer has had no start-up capital or funding of any kind at any stage. ‘I had to learn to manage cashflow, and understand that there are good months and bad months – it’s just the nature of the game – and to relax about it.’
Palmer’s credo in life is, ‘Do the right thing’, and consequently, her company is governed by a strong set of values. Conducting business ethically is the foundation for all interactions with clients. Palmer explains why this is so important to her: ‘It is so easy to screw people over in business: treat people badly, lie, cheat, steal, and pay late. It is far harder to be completely ethical and refuse to follow the trend of how a lot of business is conducted in this country. I believe the culture of non-payment in this country is crippling entrepreneurship. We only use small business service providers and make sure we pay them on the day of invoice, but we can’t do that when giant corporates don’t pay us on time.’
Many challenges have been overcome on the road to success, among them abuse from within the industry, loss of a big client due to sexual harassment, and a hostile takeover which left Palmer with R6179 in her bank account, one staff member and one project with which to take back her company.
There are many exemplary characteristics and achievements that set Palmer apart from other female entrepreneurs. She is a globally recognised specialist in her field, and was the first business specialist in Africa to ever beSharePoint MVP. She has spoken at numerous conferences around the world, and designed a training curriculum. She hosted the first all green SharePoint event in the world and raised R15 000 for rhino conversation. But more than all of that, she put South Africa on the global SharePoint map, is creating an incredible legacy, and positively impacting every client that comes her way.
When asked about her future goals, Palmer replied: ‘My next goal is to inspire as many start-ups as possible, and help them design better businesses so that this country and the workplace can just get better and better. I’m not afraid to work and get totally involved! I see opportunities and gaps in the market everywhere I go. I sometimes wish I had more time and money so I could invest in about 20 different businesses at once!’
Seven years later, Palmer has found a better way to live. ‘It’s all on my own terms, and I am still getting the job done and helping people. I am happy in myself and content – and I think that’s okay! I still have lots of goals, and I’ll get there soon enough.’
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