This month we look at the year to come, what makes entrepreneurs go the distance, and we meet our latest square pegs Wynand Haasbroek and Adnaan Achmat.
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Hard times ahead, but also great opportunities

Business owners who steered their enterprises through the financial crash that started in 2008 may experience a familiar dread when they look at the storm clouds gathering on the 2016 business horizon. It is going to be a big one, says Nazeem Martin, Managing Director of Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS).

But those survivors also know that during an economic downturn a surprising number of opportunities present themselves to businesses that are well prepared and carefully managed – and that storms do pass eventually, even those as bad as the one that seems to be building up.

A number of factors point towards the possibility that 2016 may be at least as rough for business owners as 2008 and 2009, and perhaps more so, says Martin. Like then, the South African economy is at the mercy of adverse global economic forces. Growth in China is at a 25-year low, and with it the prices of commodities. Europe is still struggling to recover from the last crash, and is sorely tested by the worst refugee crises since the Second World War. Even positive developments seem to conspire against us: the recovery of the US economy is pushing up interest rates there, pulling investments away from emerging markets such as ours.


What makes entrepreneurs go the distance?

Building your own business is not a sprint, but a marathon, with hills, headwinds, heat and dust. Those who succeed are not necessarily the fastest or the strongest. The successful ones are those who are able to endure.

Anton Roelofse, regional general manager of Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), has over many years seen hundreds of entrepreneurs set out on their own business marathon. He has come to recognize nine characteristics that make some them resilient enough to go the distance:

1. They possess a strong internal locus of control:

Resilient entrepreneurs are disciplined individuals whose working hours, pace, workload and output are not controlled by something imposed upon them from the outside, such as an employment contract, peer pressure, a boss or the clock on the wall. They set their own standards and targets, and they set them high. The “boss” who makes sure that they get the job gets done is their own psyche, and more often than not, it is a very demanding boss.

January 2016 / Vol.7.1


Are you a
square peg?

This quiz is not scientific but serves to highlight some of the key attributes of entrepreneurs or “square pegs”, as we at Business Partners affectionately call them. The quiz should give you some idea on whether you “possess” entrepreneurial qualities, or not. However, please remember that a positive outcome/score is not a recipe for success.

Take the quiz

Spotting opportunities where others see difficulties

Many of the most hard-nosed business people would see the South African agricultural sector as frightening space to operate in, with rocketing minimum wages, unionisation, climate change, uncertain markets, the scrapping of farm subsidies, extreme seasonality and constant disruptions caused by technological advances, among other difficulties.

For Wynand Haasbroek, however, the sector is teeming with opportunities. The 35-year-old entrepreneur based in Paarl has over the past nine years taken probably the most difficult aspect of farming – people management – and turned it into a thriving business. The core business of Haasbroek's Boland Agri Personeeldienste (BAP) is to provide labour to farms in the Winelands out of his pool of 400 well trained and well managed farm workers.


Pursuit of quality keeps business growing

The sheer size of the Libra Joiners and Interiors factory in Lansdowne, Cape Town, instantly tells you that this is no ordinary shop fitting business. The slanted green roof towers above the surrounding factories and covers 4 300 square meters and 150 workers.

And the history of Libra tells you that the entrepreneur behind the company is no ordinary businessman. Adnaan Achmat started the business twenty years ago on his own with nothing but a set of old-fashioned skills and old-fashioned values. He studied woodwork at school, and considers himself lucky to have caught the last wave of apprenticeships before the system was dismantled in the nineties. Today, one of his main struggles in his business, which does high-end shop fitting for the likes of Woolworths, is to find suitably skilled craftsmen. He laments the fact that the learnership system which was supposed to replace apprenticeships is limping...

Aldo Park
Location: Greenbushes Industrial Park, Gate 2, Old Cape Road, Port Elizabeth

Description: 598m² space available to let (Unit 9). The unit consists of one garage door with access to factory, an open plan reception, offices, toilets and showers. It includes 24-hour security with electric fencing and guards at access.

Rent:R28 800.00 excl. VAT pm (Prepaid 3 phase power & water charged separately)

Sharon Lines
041 367 1082
Industrial Park
Location: 289 Grahamstown Road, Deal Party, Port Elizabeth
The park is located within 15 minutes of the Coega IDZ, 20 minutes drive from the PE CBD and within 1km of the N2 off-ramp.

Description: 1174m²space available to let (Unit 3), it can be used as warehousing facility or factories. The property has undercover parking, offices and a reception area.

Sharon Lines
041 367 1082

Vacant Shop
Location: Langverwacht Road, Kuils River, Cape Town

Description: A 66m² shop is available.

Rent:R10 055, plus R12 000 deposit

Availability: 1 February 2016

Sharon Jacks
021 464 3645

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