Gauteng Business News

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Management: Discipline and Determination Key to Success Of New Business


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When a young, enthusiastic graduate, armed with a flawless business plan and eight years work experience, approached Standard Bank’s Centurion branch for finance to start her own recruitment agency, Standard Bank responded by providing working capital within days.

Today, Lizel van Staden’s business, People Dimension CC, has more than 50 business clients and turns over R1.5 million per annum.

Says van Staden, “My lifelong dream has always been to own my own business. I was fortunate enough to have cultivated good contacts working in the recruitment industry and my BComm degree also gave me good insight into the financial side of running a business. With the opportunities provided by the need for suitable, qualified staff, I was from the outset passionate about placing good candidates and matching my corporate client’s requirements for appropriate staff.”

Lizel, a Standard Bank savings account holder from a young age, approached Standard Bank since it was the only bank where she had a track record of any kind and following a first consultation with banker, she sprang into action.

“University hadn’t prepared me to write a business plan, but the Standard Bank consultant referred me to the website, where I was able to download a document that helped me write a professional plan,” she says. “I was amazed at the bank’s response time, as well as the fact that they had approved my entire funding request. The slogan - simpler, better, faster – did occur to me a few times.”

It was the original business plan that became van Staden’s business ‘bible’, guiding her every move in the establishment and management of her business in the next 12 months. Through sheer discipline and hard work, she was able to translate her business plan’s targets and cash flow projections into reality.

Lizel acknowledges that the year was not easy and it seemed a challenge to keep the business going. However, in the first 12 months, the objectives and targets that were set out in her original business plan were achieved. In the second year, Lizel’s goal – to employ two consultants – was half realized with the employment of one consultant. “But,” says Lizel, “I managed to catch up and now in year three I have two full time consultants working for the business.”

A cautious approach, coupled with regular interaction and advice from her banker, provided good support along the way. One lucrative contract in 2007 paved the way for many more successes, and within three years, Lizel - happy that she had met her targets – decided to upgrade her old Mazda to a top of the range RunX.

With time, People Dimension became well known. Lizel believes that her relationship with clients and job seekers is paramount and spends time cultivating relationships and ensuring that her company meets the needs of her many medium sized corporate clients. Although the industry is very competitive, Lizel believes that her business has secured a good niche by being owner-run and focused on high service levels, good attention to detail and being target driven.

In order to meet her business plan projections and annual targets, Lizel’s disciplined approach to cash flow and business management has seen her draw only a small salary. “Although I had no dependents when I started People Dimension, I am determined to remain cautious when it comes to cash flow management.”

Lizel has not had any doubts about starting her own business. She loves the freedom and empowerment that owning her own business brings and most of all is delighted that she works on her terms.

Lizel advises those who want to start their own businesses to heed the following advice:

·When doing research prior to starting your own business, don’t exclude information that you can find online. The Standard Bank site is an example where good business plan templates are available. Also, speak to your banker for relevant, up to date information

·People make your business. Depending on your business staffing needs, ensure that you hire quality staff that share your passion for making your business grow

·If it makes financial sense, try to run your business away from home and keep the two separate

·Be disciplined in your work hours. Get to the office every day early and realize that you’re working for a business (even though it’s your own)

·Remember that your boss is your client. With no-one else to manage or check up on you, take care to self-evaluate your productivity and performance

·Make sure that you have a business plan and believe in it – this must guide your progress. Measure yourself in terms of how you have met your targets

Lizel is in a great believer in the power of exercise to reduce stress and ensure overall wellness, and she is therefore a regular at her local gym. Lizel recently married, and she believes that her business, once fully grown, will one day give her the freedom to spend more quality time with her family.

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