Q and A with our Group CEO, Dave Romero.


What is it like to be an entrepreneur and what insight to being one do you have for new entrepreneurs?


I often get asked what it’s like being an entrepreneur. It’s interesting the perception people have of starting a business. Some romanticise that they want to be the next Richard Branson or start a company like Apple. What many fail to see is the journey people take to reach the point where you can say you have reached success. I don’t think I have reached that point in my life yet, but I know that I will be at that point soon.

But getting to that point, you have to endure the following:

Personally

  • Accept that like scientists, you will have to try and try again until you get the winning formula; while accepting that business goes in cycles, it has ups and downs. And how you handle the downs is what makes or breaks you;
  • Having life partners, family and friends questioning why are you’re putting yourself through such pain. Loosing friends that can’t relate to what you’re going through;
  • Waking up in the middle of the night having to write some new thoughts that will enhance your business;
  • Joining gym not only to get fit but to work through your frustrations of the day. Dealing with people that don’t have a clue about business but telling you what you’re doing wrong;
  • Go through the day realising you have not eaten all day. Feeling dehydrated and weak from not having hydrated yourself with drink of water;
  • Watching TV and not having a clue what is going on because all you’re thinking about is the deal you’re working on;
  • Realising that you are actually a bit crazy to do what you do.

 

Financially

  • Sometimes not having any cash at all;
  • Going to your bank manager for a loan and when they see you they literally run away;
  • Making creditors understand that paying late is character building for them;
  • Asking clients to pay before you supply and getting it right;


After 25 years of being an entrepreneur, would you change anything?

 

Not on your life. I LOVE what I do. I love the fact that I am making a difference and that rewards do come to those that follow their passion. You see, it’s not so much that you become an entrepreneur just to make money. It’s because you can have a positive impact to the people around you, that’s the main driver. The feeling of living your dream is immeasurable.

 

What would you say to a potential entrepreneur?

All it takes is the courage to take that first step and say yes, I want to do this and keep on doing it. The rest is easy!

 

You can also engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

When walking down the road of establishing a business you will often find yourself asking who can truly help you. You can talk to your life partner and family, accountant and lawyer. It is always important to obtain professional advice in business matters. But where do you turn when you are feeling a bit lost or even despondent. When you get conflicting advice (which happens more often than one would think), which advice do you follow? I am often amazed to hear entrepreneurs seeking advice from friends that never have been in business! It is surprising how keen and willing everyone is so willing to give business advice.

We at Caban believe that only entrepreneurs can effectively assist other entrepreneurs. Only those that have walked down the entrepreneurship road can truly understand the pitfalls.

I remember before I had kids (I started a bit later than most at the age of 35), I used to ask my friends what it was like to be a father. The answer was always the same – it cannot be described and one has to go through the experience. I am now the father of three wonderful children and the experience is truly magical, beyond explanation. Entrepreneurship is the same; you have to experience it to be able to advice properly.

I am a great believer in the right MBA programmes. In fact I am embarking once again on this route. My previous attempts were unsuccessful. Not because the material was hard, it was the fact that the professors teaching about business had never been in business themselves! I started my business when I was 25. I started my MBA when I was 29. I already had four years business experience. My argument with the lectures used to be the fact that the examples that were given were taken from the assumption that most things went right. The reality is that most things go wrong!

Furthermore, the lecturers were academics with no business experience! I would pose questions to them such as what do they suggest one does when the debtors are slow in payment, your bank facilities are maxed, you have no cash flow and you need materials from your suppliers to produce? The answer was usually, “let me look it up and I will come back to you”. Through experience one knows that in this kind of a situation, more often than not, if you speak to your suppliers frankly, honestly and come up with a plan that is acceptable, your suppliers will assist. After all, they want to keep you as a client. This comes through experience. No text book will tell you what to do under the above circumstances. Having said that, there are MBA programmes that add a lot of value. Do research on the lectures before choosing one.

You will only learn from the failures. It is pointless to focus on the success. Why did a company go wrong and what did they do to fix it? You learn more from that exercise as opposed to learning how Apple became successful. Don’t get me wrong, that is also important. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan when you try to emulate a successful story? You get frustrated and despondent. It’s more inspiring to study a problem company and how they manage to overcome their problems.

At Caban, we are entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs. It is our duty as fellow entrepreneurs to assist other entrepreneurs. We understand what it’s like being an entrepreneur because we have walked and continue walking the entrepreneurship path. We are committed in assisting entrepreneurs. For that reason we have decided to introduce an entrepreneurship helpline. You will have access to our executives for free advice.

To access this service you need to contact our offices on +2721 683 2425 and speak to Vuyiseka Ndinisa. She will register you as a member and give you access to a contact number for free advice. You may use the service as many times you wish and we emphasise once again – it is a free service.

Caban, helping entrepreneurs one day at a time.

 

You can also engage with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REFERRALS FOR THE CABAN GROUP OF COMPANIES:

 

Caban Investments has assisted a number of high impact entrepreneurs realise their goals. Below are some referrals. 

 

Petro-Tec

 

I must say it is really a pleasure doing business with you. Your prompt response and professionalism is appreciated. Looking forward to more business with you. Thank you. 

 

Kind regards,

 

Portia Manuel

Director, Petro-Tec

 

iMzu Tours


We assisted iMzu Tours with four years of books, produced three years of signed off financial statements, submitted four tax returns and obtained tax clearance and BBBEE certificates which enabled iMzu Tours in obtaining a tourism license. Download the referral here

 

SpringLeap


We assisted SpringLeap to become investment ready and raise their first round of investment. Download the referral here.

LifeStraw SA / Aqua4Life

 

We provided Aqua4Life with financial, marketing and sales services. We assisted the business go from start-up phase to investment ready stage after which we exited the business. Download the referral here.

 

M.O.M & W.O.W Diary


MOM Diaries approached us needing assistance with approaching investors within a very short time-frame. Our business model is designed to take a journey with entrepreneurs before we encourage inventors to participate. Although we did not find her an investor due to the time frame, we produced financials that resulted in the company finding an investor from their network.

Furthermore, our assistance with negotiations with their printers made it possible for the 2014 edition of MOM Diaries to be printed. We decided not to charge the company and have agreed to give her ongoing strategic assistance – thereby helping another entrepreneur. Download the referral here.

 

Vizion Consulting 


Mohale Mangena was a part of the Gauteng team of the Caban BBBEE Initiative which eventually became Investure (Pty) Ltd. He attributes the mentorship he received during the course of the competition to the current success of his business. This is a great example of mentorship in action and the great results that can be achieved when established business people take the time to assist those starting on their entrepreneurial journey.

 

We wish Mohale all the best for the future and look forward to watching Vizion Consulting go from strength to strength. You can read the full letter of recommendation here.

 


 

Our Business Planning  and Advisory Services division (Fast Business Plans) we assist entrepreneurs with the advice and business plans required to either launch a new company or take their company to the next level. You can read the referrals from our happy clients here.

 


 

 

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