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Success Story – Labourworx

The NSBC approached some of their Premier Members to learn more about how they approached entrepreneurship and becoming a successful small business. Today we will feature Labourworx.

I started out in 1999 with different practice or consultancy names and with different partners. Since 2007 I have been practicing as a sole proprietor, trading as Labourworx, a labour law consultancy. I studied at the then RAU and got an LLB where-after I did a Certificate in Managing Labour Relations in the Workplace in 1990. I practiced labour law as a consultant for a while during the early 1990s, but then I became interested in a completely different venture. When the new Labour Relations Act and the CCMA came into being around 1996, I became more interested in setting up my labour law consultancy again. I have, and still do, mostly service small and medium sized enterprises with their labour law and industrial relations issues.

My normal day as a labour law consultant would include the following:

I start my day off at the office and read and respond to emails. I then give instructions to my secretary to prepare documentation and emails, where necessary. Thereafter, I might go to the CCMA to represent a client at an arbitration or to chair a disciplinary hearing. I may also draft findings for disciplinary hearings previously held and I may be asked to give a legal opinion when required. Furthermore, I have many mini telephonic consultations with my clients.

Here is what Jan Mostert from Labourworx had to say about success and overcoming tough times in business.

When did you consider yourself a success?

I considered Labourworx a success when I knew for a fact that I have always only acted in the best interest of my clients.

To what do you attribute your success?

My success can only be attributed to the fact that I only act in the best interest of my clients. I keep myself abreast of all the latest labour law and its amendments. I read labour law articles every day of my life. I love the work and I enjoy the interaction with other people, such as my clients and even my opponents. I truly try and advise my clients the way that I would have advised my family members with similar problems. Also, my fee structure is reasonable, as I also do my best to assist employees (who cannot afford high labour lawyer or consultant fees). I am also determined to keep on doing the right thing, all of the time. I keep doing what is best for the client. I try to settle matters quickly, and not to drag it out. (I have seen too many labour lawyers or consultants charge too much; charge for work not always earned or done; or dragging out cases unnecessarily.)

What failure taught you the most about your business and what was the lesson?

Failure has taught me the danger of trying to put too much hay on your fork. I have done that. I took on other responsibilities, such as training, recruitment, business rescue, etc., but once I returned to only concentrating on proper labour law and labour relations issues, things went a lot better. Plus, the stress levels decreased considerably.

What was your best moment in business to date?

Every time I bump into somebody who remembers and reminds me how I have helped them in the past

What drives you to keep going when it gets tough?

I love the work. The work is fun and it is sociable. Remember, I always act as if I am helping a family member.

Lastly, what are your success habits?

Some of the habits which have led to my success are:

  • Doing the right thing all of the time,
  • Giving feedback by answering all calls and emailing clients immediately,
  • Informing the client of exactly what I am going to do next and how many hours I will spend on the matter, which also gives the client an indication of what my fee would be, without receiving a surprise invoice with an amount that the client was not expecting.
  • Having an efficient and fabulous secretary. Her name is Sue Stratford.
  • And lastly not trying to do all the work by myself. The secretary must take responsibility for the many admin tasks in a consultancy like mine.

 Well done, Jan Mostert from Labourworx. We hope you will grow from strength to strength.