There's no denying that financially, 2015 has been a tough year for South African businesses. However, if you're in business, now is not the time to lose heart. Instead take stock of your achievements, reinvigorate your motivation, and remember that attitude can have a huge impact on success.
Here we provide an overview of some of the best South African business quotes for 2015, to inspire you for the coming year.
“In my experience, in Africa there is space for innovation. And you don’t have to look far, especially when you are at a disadvantage. Look around you. You might be experiencing a problem that is a need in the community.” - Sizwe Nzima, founder of Iyeza Express.
21-year-old Sizwe started Iyeza Express because he saw a need for a medicine delivery service in his community. He started his business with money that he won as the best entrepreneurial student at the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development, as well as a seed grant from the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards. Today Iyeza Express serves more than 250 clients.
Claiming to be inspired by poverty, Sandile Shezi grew up in a Durban township, where his first entrepreneurial venture was selling muffins at school. Later, Sandile traded all of the money that was meant for his education and dropped out of university in his third year of study to start his own business. Now, at just 23, Sandile is South Africa's youngest self-made millionaire.
"Business plans are a waste of time if you do not get the basics right first time. Common sense and ruthless focus are the key ingredients to mastering the basics." - Mike Joubert, founder and CEO of BrandsRock.
In 2006, Mike won the South African Marketing Person of the Year Award at the Sunday Times/Markinor Marketing Excellence Awards. He went on to start the BrandsRock Group during the economic recession, and achieved his goal of selling the company within five years through focus and hard work.
"Our society teaches us to spend a lot of time looking out there for success, but the ability to drive yourself to your full potential starts internally with personal mastery." - Rapelang Rabana, founder and CEO of Rekindle Learning.
Rapelang is a technology entrepreneur, who founded her first company – Yeigo, a mobile communications company – shortly after graduating from university. Rapelang was included in the Forbes Africa '30 under 30: Africa's Best Young Entrepreneurs' and '20 Young Power Women In Africa' lists in 2013, and was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa before the age of 30.
Since starting Transman, a temporary employment service provider, Angela has pioneered change in the South African road freight industry. She was recently elected as the incoming president of the Steel and Engineering Industry Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA). She is the first woman to hold this position.
Abey started his career in marketing as an intern at VWV. He joined SAB in 2001, and went on to win three Managing Director Awards for marketing excellence. Abey is also a founding member of Young Business for South Africa, a networking organisation that aims to develop young professionals into future leaders.
“Businesses that are spoilt with too much capital make the wrong decisions… Constraints are the most wonderful things in business, because constraints allow you to be innovative and come up with different solutions.” - Michael Jordaan, founder of MonteGray Capital.
Michael was the CEO of FNB for ten years before he left to start MonteGray Capital, a Stellenbosch-based investment company, in January 2014.
“Nineteen people may love your work, but the twentieth one will hate it and will tell you so; you cannot allow that to affect you. That may sound trite, but there is huge risk in letting criticism get you down.” - Carrol Boyes, owner and designer at Carrol Boyes.
At age 35, Carrol decided that it was time to leave teaching and pursue her dream of being a full-time artist. She began making verdigris candles, before switching to silver and crafted jewellery; then to the distinctive functional artwork, such as cutlery and crockery, for which she is now known worldwide.
“Passion is vital to build a business. It’s the fuel that keeps you going after the many disappointments you endure in achieving success. But passion without purpose makes you a statistic.” - Pavlo Phitidis, CEO of Aurik Business Incubator, director of Aurik Enterprise & Supplier Development.
Pavlo has over 20 years of experience in conceptualising, launching and building business enterprises in South Africa. He is currently the CEO of Aurik Business Incubator – an organisation that assists and supports entrepreneurs in building successful businesses.
"When going into business, you should view yourself as a business person – people treat you the way you treat yourself. If you come in feeling at a disadvantage, you are already at a disadvantage." - Phuti Mahanyele, Chief Executive Officer of the Shanduka Group.
Phuti is a widely-regarded business executive – she was included in the Wall Street Journal's list of the Top 50 women in the world to watch in 2008, was named a Leading African Woman in Business in 2012 (by Africa Investors), and was chosen as the ForbesWoman Africa Business Woman of the Year in 2014.
“Focus on making [your product or service] awesome. I see a lot of guys go into business with a ‘how can I make money’ approach. But if you go in there saying ‘how can I make something awesome’, the money will follow.” - Alex Fourie, founder and CEO of iFix.
As a student, Alex started doing iPod repairs from his dormitory and, due to a demand for his services, started iFix. Today there are six iFix stores nationwide, and the company was named the winner of The Maverick Award for Service Innovation in 2014.
With 25 years of experience as a CFO at Absa and Standard Bank, Simon is one of the most respected financial leaders in South Africa. He was the recipient of the 2014 CFO of the Year Award.
“In life, there are two types of challenges: those you voluntarily take on and those you inherit. Both are inspiring, but come from different parts of your being. You pick up wisdom from those who work for you and those who work with you.” - Deon Viljoen, CFO at Alexander Forbes and CFO of the Year 2015.
Deon joined Alexander Forbes Group Holdings in 2003, and was promoted to CFO in 2007. He has since steered the company through a delisting and a relisting in a period of just 7 years – a massive achievement for any CFO.
“It’s a huge mistake to be motivated by money and the pursuit of wealth. A good entrepreneur is led by love for what you’re doing, where you’ve innovated, what developments you’re investing in, how you’re impacting your surroundings and changing the world.” - Gil Oved, co-founder of The Creative Counsel.
Gil, and business partner Ran Neu-Ner, started The Creative Counsel in a 15m2 office space, equipped with garden furniture and not much else! Although they started out with no clients, no capital and no knowledge of promotions, today their company has turnover of R500 million.
“The only way to do it is to remember that everything you’ll ever need to achieve your wildest dreams, you’ve already got.” - Vusi Thembekwayo, owner of Motiv8 Advisory, non-executive director of RBA Holdings and Managing Director of Watermark Advisory.
Vusi is a public speaker, and was already considered Africa's number one motivational speaker at the age of 17. By age 22, Vusi had his own successful consulting business, and by age 25 was named the Managing Director of MOTIV8 – a specialist consulting and services company.
“At the beginning you need to get creative. Many start-ups struggle because they look and act like a small business. To be big you need to think (and act) big.” - Justin Stanford, founder of 4Di Group and Silicon Cape Initiative.
Local farm-boy Justin dropped out of high school and moved to Cape Town to pursue his dream of becoming an internet entrepreneur. He launched a pan-African internet software company from a garage, and has gone on to become the founder, MD, advisor and investor for a variety of companies in the global technology sector.
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