BRING CHANGE LOWVELD MENTOR HUGO STROUD (KMIA): GATHERING A STRONG TEAM A SECRET TO SUCCESS

Building a good team is the secret to a successful business venture.

MBOMBELA - This was one of the lessons gleaned by Bring Change Lowveld winner for 2017, Ms Lizelle Grobler, from KMI Airport’s (KMI) Mr Hugo Stroud. As the winner of this coveted title, she is completing a mentorship programme during which 10 of the Lowveld’s top entrepreneurs will empower her with pearls of wisdom.
According to Grobler, these will be strung together to benefit women and children who have suffered from abuse through the Trinity Foundation, the non-profit organisation (NPO) Grobler recently established.

She said hearing about Stroud’s experiences and accomplishments was very insightful. “The only given, in being an entrepreneur, is that there will be ups and downs, accomplishments and failure,” she said. “The ones who make it to the top are simply the ones who got up and tried it again, and again.” Stroud’s advice is to always take the ethical, honest and lower-risk route. “If I look back at my career today, I know that I could have gotten to financial security faster, but I always chose the ethical lower-risk options,” Stroud said. “It took me longer, but I have never done anything that could put my family’s financial security in harm’s way. If I was given a second chance, I would pick the same road again.” He shared that the mistakes he had made in the course of his career taught him powerful lessons. “Focus on the tasks you are good at. If you are a visionary, leave the operations to experienced managers. Find some knowledgeable staff and build a good team around you.”
He regretted trying to be the managing director, financial director, marketing director and operations manager in the past. “This will cause burnout,” Stroud said. He advised young entrepreneurs not to give up. “In my experience, young business owners’ expectations are often unrealistic. Set realistic milestones and set out to achieve them one by one. Tailor your personal financial requirements to match those milestones. And keep in mind that business takes time; ‘overnight’ sometimes means 10 years.”

He added that business owners needed to build a team of loyal and trustworthy people. “Once you have this in place, delegation and handing over is easy.”
“Stay focused on your chosen industry and objective,” he added. “Set realistic and achievable goals, even if it takes longer to reach your objective than you would like. Taking fewer risks will increase your chances of ultimately reaching your goals.” Stroud concluded, “Build discipline into your work ethic. Passion for what you do and who you do it with, will make anything achievable.”

Following the success of last year’s Bring Change Lowveld programme, the organisers stepped it up this year by launching four Bring Change areas. Aside from the Lowveld, these are Pretoria, Johannesburg and Botswana. A mentee has been selected in each area, and the one of the four who performs best or grows the most over the course of the programme will be selected as the overall winner. This mentee will be afforded the opportunity to visit Sir Richard Branson on his private island, Necker. The programme is performance based and not judged according to a business’ turnover. Last year’s winner, Ms Phephsile Maseko, had the opportunity to be mentored by 25 of the Lowveld’s best business minds, before taking a trip to London with Bring Change Africa founders, Mr Etienne and Ms Erichia Pretorius.
Maseko’s hard work during the programme also earned her the opportunity to meet with, and be mentored by, managers in the internationally reputed Virgin Group. She paid a visit to Virgin headquarters where she also sat down with Ms Holly Branson and Mr Noah Devereux.

Grobler’s vision for the Trinity Foundation was put to paper, in the form of a business plan, which was presented to the judges, who chose her as the winner. In September last year she was also awarded the 2016 SACBW Business Woman of the Year Award as an emerging entrepreneur. Through winning this award Grobler became known for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is also the owner of Iqiniso Forensics Investigations and well-known in that industry for her involvement in the fight against rhino poaching. Her vision for Trinity Foundation’s Nelspruit Haven has two phases. Firstly it will be a self-sustainable business in the form of a women-oriented mall. “Stylish stores with women’s clothing, beauticians, hairdressers, coffee shops, fitness centres, therapists and a children’s play area will make the mall a family-friendly hang-out and a hub of tranquility. In this oasis of serenity amid the bustling city, women will be able to spend some quality time together. It will also be home to a very classy conference and wedding venue, focusing more on outside functions. The venue will be located in beautiful water-feature gardens. Phase two will be the safe haven where victims of abuse will be accommodated. “We will help them find their way back to a normal, happy life, free from abuse,” she said.

“The NPO will need initial funding to get it off the ground and sustain it. I trust that the mentoring process will open some doors to much-needed advice and exposure,” she said. Grobler is very excited about possibly meeting Branson. “He has always been one of my ultimate idols, seeing as we share a vision: being successful is not so much about what you obtained or achieved in life; it’s using what you learned, gained and achieved, your knowledge and your resources for the benefit of others.”

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