In this interview, we find out more about Liam Stander (co-founder of Company Partners (Pty) Ltd), his business journey and why he believes South Africa should support small business.
At Company Partners (Pty) Ltd they aim to empower entrepreneurs, so that they can be successful. Liam says that they sort out all the ‘red tape’ entrepreneurs deal with in South Africa – giving them more time to build their businesses.
He goes on to share that since 2006, their specialists have assisted over 50 000 entrepreneurs with their company formation process, within record time-frames. This includes over 120 compliance services including Company Registration at CIPC, SARS, COID, CUSTOMS, CIDB and many more. They also cover their clients’ Accounting, Payroll, Marketing and Start-up Training.
Why did you start your business?
As dire as it may sound, I started my business because I was broke. I was an entrepreneur for about 5 years with some success, but mostly failures and debt behind my name. My business partner then presented the idea to help entrepreneurs to register at CIPC online as this was a difficult process at the time. So we purely started doing that and charged clients a fee to help them. This was a small beginning and had limited potential, however it was the birth of our vision which was much less dire and extremely exciting. And that vision is still alive and burning strong today: “removing ALL the red tape for entrepreneurs as quickly as possible – so that they can achieve success.”
What do you love the most about running your business?
I love building new solutions with my excellent team. Be it our Tender App; our Workshop for Start-ups or our new react based online system. The most creative things we build are based on ideas which came from our team. It is awesome to see how much they can bring to the table and how their ideas can build the complicated ‘puzzles’ which we are continuously working on.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learnt on your business journey?
One of my biggest mistakes was getting caught up in ‘sexy ideas’. Those ideas which typically catch the most attention in the media, such as the latest new high-tech product which will change the world within 1 year and be worth R1 trillion. The problem was that I was not focused on the real needs of clients – for which they’ll easily want to pay. Once all my ideas failed and I was broke, I realised that I needed to change my mindset. Once my mindset was fixed, then it was easy to start a business. Even though it seemed boring and small, it was able to grow into a massive business changing millions of lives.
What is your why? Why do you do what you do and what do you focus on to help you persevere and get through tough times?
Purpose. My job is not comfortable. Most of the time it’s very stressful and sometimes even painful. It is however extremely fulfilling. I can be creative; see all our stakeholders grow; make a profit instead of a capped salary; and continue to learn about building cool new solutions in the business world. I love it. I believe Jesus has designed me to be an entrepreneur and has put me in the position I am in right now. I believe it is my purpose. My full testimony is available here.
Why should South Africa support small businesses now and beyond?
Look at the stats. When you look at what other countries with similar problems as South Africa have done, successful small businesses have always been at the core of fixing these problems. A good example is Columbia, whose government has solved many problems purely by pushing entrepreneurship and small business growth over the past 15 years. Poverty, unemployment, violence, the lack of skills training, poor local manufacturing quality, and many other problems can be solved by raising up entrepreneurs of all ages and then supporting them to build businesses which create employment opportunities. The government has the biggest role to play in this movement. Private companies can obviously also help – we’re putting some effort into training entrepreneurs to be successful at no cost through an online workshop.