How to be successful in business: top tips from winners of Sanlam's entrepreneur awards
Education is an on-going process and according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, this is especially true for entrepreneurs, who are faced with new challenges on a daily basis.
He said that seeking guidance from fellow entrepreneurs is vital for both the business’s and entrepreneur’s growth.
Botes said that a successful entrepreneur should never stop investing in the most powerful, trusted and best business tool at their disposal – themselves.
“Running a business can be challenging and it takes hard work and perseverance to achieve success. However, by continuously networking and seeking guidance and advice from fellow seasoned entrepreneurs, one can obtain valuable advice from those who have walked, or are walking, a similar path.”
The 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® aims to honour, benefit and uplift South African SMEs. Now in its 26th year, the competition celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship, serving as an inspiration to others to succeed in the world of business.
Here the winners share their best business tips for entrepreneurial success in 2014 with local entrepreneurs:
Chris Brown, co-founder of Daily Buzz and 2013 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year said: “Employees are a key asset to the success of any business. Ensure you put the correct people in the correct positions and look after them accordingly, as they will then in return take care of your business.”
Anton Rossouw, owner of Life Path Health and 2013 Medium Entrepreneur of the Year® said: “Conduct a detailed and thorough viability study and research financial projections. Identifying project scenarios will allow business owners to plan for the worst case scenario.
“While it may never play out in practice, having done these forecasts will proactively prepare the business for the future and will assist in recognising and dealing with any pitfalls that may come about in the future.”
Margaret Hirsch, owner of appliance chain group Hirsch’s and the winner of the 2013 Lifetime achievement award® said: “Master your trade. Instead of being an all-rounder, find your niche and become the expert that everyone needs -specialised skills are in high demand, so rather remain focused and become a specialist in a specific trade.”
Jonathan Pepler, owner of Silverline Group and winner of the 2013 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year® award said: “Develop a strong business plan. The key to any successful business is to create a firm foundation, which can be achieved by establishing a concrete business strategy.
“Business owners must have a realistic strategy and action plan with set timelines in place. This will assist entrepreneurs in staying focused on what they want to achieve, when they want to achieve it and provide guidelines on how they going to achieve it.”
Tommy Makhatho, owner BiBi Cash & Carry and overall winner of Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® and Job Creator of the Year® said: “Do not go into business for the sake of money. Business owners should focus on creating wealth that will be built over time. The value in business is not what you get every day, but what you are investing over time.
Botes added that whether entrepreneurs are already in business, or looking to start a business, it is beneficial to continually network with fellow entrepreneurs.
“Top entrepreneurs attend networking seminars and workshops, even if they feel they have already ‘mastered’ the subject.
“They do this because they realise that the key to being a successful entrepreneur is on-going learning and networking with fellow entrepreneurs, which provides a great opportunity to learn the secrets of success from other established business owners.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.