As CA(SA)s, we are taught to be risk averse, which us why MD of W Consulting, Bruce Mackenzie, saw the decision to start his own company as a major step into the unknown. Today, W Consulting is a global company, with 40 employees working across the world, providing advisory services on IFRS, corporate finance, IT product development, training and audit risk.
In an article posted on entrepreneurmag.co.za, Bruce provides some pointers on the fundamental steps to take to build a successful business.
His first piece of advice is that if you want to start your own business, take the risk sooner rather than later. Rather than regretting never taking that first step, take the plunge, he says, as it gets harder to break away with every year that goes by. He adds that as a CA(SA), one’s instinct is to avoid risk at all costs, which makes the decision that much harder.
Hard work and perseverance is key, Bruce believes. He adds that the amount of work required to start your own business is simply not stressed enough when people talk about being an entrepreneur. “I attribute my success in large measure to high energy levels,” he says, adding that as an entrepreneur this is a vital personality trait.
Succeeding as an entrepreneur is also about selling yourself and your company, Bruce reveals. He says that selling is in his DNA, but at the end of the day, sales is what ultimately grows a business, which means it’s a big part a successful enterprise – that together with persistence and building networks and relationships.
It’s also about hiring the right people. While its tempting to want to do everything yourself and ensure that you have total control over the business, this ultimately limits your capacity for growth. According to Bruce, the first person you hire is one of the biggest decisions facing any entrepreneur. His advice? Make sure they share your passion, that they’re prepared to do what it takes to get things done and that they’re trustworthy. His philosophy, he reports, is to hire people who know what they’re doing – and pay them well to attract them to the business.
Finally, he highlights the importance of innovation when it comes to maintaining growth and success. He explains that while most small businesses crash in the early days due to reasons such as cash flow or other management and accounting basics, businesses run by CA(SA)s are unlikely to suffer these challenges, as they have a thorough understanding of how a business should be run.
However, when it comes to ensuring that a business shows consistent growth, he points out that continuous innovation is key. “It is easier to sell something new,” he concludes.
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