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Unstoppable: The spirit of an entrepreneur and the winding road to success

Leanne Rhodes (NSBC Creative Director) met up recently with Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO), Renate Jute (Owner of Noble Prosperity) and Shakeel Karijeker (Owner of Global Unique Fabrics) to discuss the spirit of an entrepreneur and what the road to success looks like. Here is what they had to say.

Tell us about your journey

Shakeel Karijeker, the owner of Global Fabrics, started his journey 18 years ago. In the beginning, it was just him and his neighbour but now he employs 30 staff members. He has also grown his business to be online. In the past few years, he has shifted from working in his business to working on his business which has allowed him to start his coaching practice which helps to build aspiring entrepreneurs.

Renate Jute, the owner of Noble Prosperity, has been in business for about four years but it is one of many businesses that she has started. Renate realised that one of her superpowers is starting and growing businesses. At Noble Prosperity, Renate likes to educate businesses so they can grow and optimise. Renate has been part of big operations with many staff members but she prefers to work with various sizes of businesses. She also wants to make numbers fun. She wants to take away the fear and anxiety of numbers but rather let the numbers tell the story of your business.

Mike Anderson, Founder & CEO at the NSBC, was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. From a young age, his father inspired him to think about being an entrepreneur. After his military service, he became a professional commercial diver on the West Coast and did it for about 3 years. Though he didn’t make as much money as he had hoped, he had an amazing time. After that, he went to Cape Town and started his first business selling fish which didn’t last very long. From this, he realised he need to do what he did best, but he hadn’t done much so he decided he need to start learning.

At this early stage, Mike learnt that it doesn’t matter that you fail as long as you learn from the failure. His first success was in the event’s industry when he had his first scuba diving expo and then he continued to launch more expos locally and overseas. This was where the Biz Show was birthed. From this, Mike wanted to help other entrepreneurs who were starting to not make the same mistakes that he had made in the past. This was when the NSBC was launched and has been going on for 14 years.

What qualities make an entrepreneur unstoppable?

One of the core qualities is that we have to be consistent and pitch up every day. You have to be a missionary for your business. Next, is to be a lifelong student. By investing in mentorships, classes and courses to help you build and grow your business. Be focused. We live in a world of distraction and we are multi-passionate. Remember to immerse yourself in one task at a time and don’t try to multitask. You will water down the effect you can have by multitasking. Another quality is endurance. Building up endurance is showing up every day and being lenient on yourself if you don’t finish all your tasks. You need to learn to lead. Your leadership quality affects the rise and fall of your business. Your leadership can also affect the long game of your business. Leadership is not a title but an act of service. Be a badass. Having healthy boundaries will help you to accelerate your business. The badass entrepreneurs are respected for what they have achieved and done and not necessarily for who they are or where they come from.

What is the value of surrounding yourself with specialists?

Everyone has unique superpowers and entrepreneurs start a business because of their unique superpower. When you know what your superpower is, it doesn’t mean you have to be the hero in every component of your business. You don’t need to be the best in every department of your business. You need to hire people who shine in the areas which you are not good at. You need your team to understand their role and their strengths and how it all contributes to a successful business.

Don’t throw energy at aspects of your business that are not your strengths. There are others who thrive in that area and bring their passion to that aspect of your business. When you operate in a place where your values are accepted, you want to be part of the team. We need to be careful when we hire people. We don’t want to hire more mini-mes as this can harm the business. Rather hire people who can do the task with passion in the areas where we are weak. Make sure you have a diverse team.

It is also important to remember “team” doesn’t necessarily mean people who are on your payroll but they can also be people who you partner with. This could be your IT guy or the freelancer who does your marketing. These people must buy into your vision and passion for your business. If you have limited resources then it is important to set times in your schedule when you will work on the different areas of your business.

How else can small business owners take their business to a new level?

Focus on what is important and not what is urgent. Learn to say “no” to almost everything and everyone. Focus on positive like-minded people. Take action and stop waiting for when conditions will be perfect because they may never be. Being an entrepreneur is hard, but if you love what you do and are passionate you will be able to endure the hard times. Taking risks is imperative but we need to ensure they are calculated risks. Failure is good. If you start failing it means you are working towards success. Resilience is another crucial element when you are knocked down, you need to stand up and keep move because you will arrive where you want to be though it may be a long, winding road. Challenge the status quo. Yes, become a nice guy.

What advice would you give an entrepreneur?

  • You don’t have to be a lone wolf in your entrepreneurial journey. Even with limited resources, you can take advantage of information that is freely given online and you can work on building relationships through networking events.
  • Embrace the failure because it is going to happen and you can use the failure as an opportunity for growth. Remember a successful person has ten to one learnt from past failures, whereas the unsuccessful person has looked at the failure and defined themselves by it and continued down a spiral of negativity. A successful person dissects their failure and takes learnings from the failure and moves on.
  • Start an emergency fund from Day 1. Make it a mandatory part of your budget. It will help you to boost the business when you find yourself in a sticky situation.
  • Be prepared for that one “yes”. Use your time productively so when the yes comes you can take it with both hands and you can run with it.
  • Become investable. So that when you look for funding, people will trust you and want to invest in your business or idea.

What is the story of numbers for your business?

The emergency fund is important to get you through a tough month or to help you save up for equipment you may need in your business.

Another important element to consider is the provision account. You need to have a place where you keep the money to pay SARS.

The story of money is not just the debits and credits but what is my money doing for me. Your money isn’t telling us whether it is good or bad but rather telling us if we are on track with our business or if we are taking a wayward wander down the wrong path.

By being cognisant of our money and making the decision to cut our losses when it is needed. So that we can free up that money and use it to create money babies in other fertile parts of our business.

You need to be mindful of how you cut expenses in your business. Be careful of wasteful spending. When you look at the numbers ask “what is this number telling me? What is its ratio?” Numbers give the data, so you have the information to make an informed decision. Know your numbers every day.

You can view the video here.

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