While VaultGroup prides itself in being an emerging South African success story, it certainly isn’t Michael Gewer or Lance Baum’s first rodeo. Michael is VaultGroup’s CEO and his lifelong dream was to start and own his own business. From the start, his career reflected that, from creating online trading platforms where none had existed to running divisions of larger companies as his own business.
Lance started his career managing one of the first mobile retail stores in South Africa, and helped build the country’s first VoIP network before founding and heading a digital signage company. The allure of taking an entirely new product to market took him to VaultGroup where is now the COO.
As both will tell you, starting a business in South Africa isn’t the easiest task. Raising capital to start and sustain the business is a perennial challenge, and the regulatory environment is tough. Many entrepreneurs battle to make the shift from running start-ups to managing people as their businesses grow.
Here are 10 entrepreneurial tips from Michael and Lance.
- Let things go
Don’t hold grudges or dwell on your past mistakes. Learn, forgive and move on.
- Relationships over profits
If you build the right relationships with your clients and people, the profits will come.
- 2 times longer, 3 times the cost
Everything takes longer and costs more than you planned.
- Manage your cash flow
In this world, cash is king. You have to manage your cash correctly. Start slowly, and get the fundamentals right.
- Rather be kind than right
Don’t point out people’s weaknesses. See their perspective.
- Your people are your greatest asset
When Lance and I started out, we did everything ourselves. Now it’s crucial to have the right people in the right positions.
- Flip negatives into positives
We all make mistakes in business and life. But it’s how you react to difficult times that is important. Learn and grow from them.
- Don’t fall in love with your idea
If ‘the next big thing’ doesn’t work, be prepared to tweak it or let it go.
- Fail fast
Rather get to market fast with a product that isn’t 100% perfect, and adjust along the way, than wait.
- Success is your greatest threat
Signing that great deal, or launching that amazing product, is very satisfying. But stay humble and keep looking to improve and grow.