Many business owners don’t grow up dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, but grow into the career path later in life. This was the case of Jeanie Harvey, owner of Camelot Business & Financial Solutions, an accounting and tax business which also offers accounting tutoring lessons, and an entrant in the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition.
While working as a financial manager in the franchise industry in 2011, Jeanie was approached by her then CEO’s wife to assist with her accounting service business. Inspired by this experience, Jeanie considered opening a similar business, and soon after began her entrepreneurial journey.
After conducting extensive research and due diligence, she decided to pursue the opportunity and made the leap to start her own business. “I understood that to be successful in this venture, I had to give it 110% of my time and therefore made the decision to resign from my position as a financial manager,” says Jeanie.
As a new entrepreneur she realised that to ensure the new venture’s success, a clear set of objectives and outcomes was vital for her new business, as well as for her own learning and development as a new business owner.
Jeanie took time to carefully draft a business plan, which included her past experience, a list of services she wanted to offer based on her skill set, as well as her potential target market. “This helped me identify my strengths and enabled me to motivate my services to small business owners who were seeking to outsource their payroll functions, bookkeeping, tax, and monthly SARS returns. I also made the decision to register as tax practitioner with SARS and the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners (SAIT).”
Once all the due diligence was completed and plans put in place, Camelot Business & Financial Solutions was established in 2012 with just two clients utilising the business’s accounting services. One short year later, Jeanie extended her service offering to include accounting tutoring lessons to high school and first year university students.
When asked about the some of the entrepreneurial challenges she faced, Jeanie says that starting a new business with very few clients is a challenge in itself, as well as building a name for the business in an established industry. “A new business requires dedication and a lot of hard work, but you must believe in yourself and the product you have to offer – this will ultimately determine your success.”
The challenges are worth the effort, when you love what you do and when you are able to reap the rewards of your hard work and establishing something from nothing, says Jeanie. “Being able to see my accomplishments thus far, how my client base has grown, as well as my growth as an entrepreneur is very rewarding.”
These triumphs, and love for what she does, is also clearly visible when Jeanie shares her clients’ stories of success. “A new client was saddled with significant penalties from SARS, and was at the time very pressured and stressed as a result. I managed to get the penalties revoked and will always remember seeing his immediate relief and experiencing his appreciation for my services.”
While Jeanie has only recently opened her business – the inherent entrepreneurial trait of always seeking new opportunities is clear. In the near future, Camelot Business & Financial Solutions aims to expand the business’ service offering to include training and employment of individuals who share the same passion and dedication.
With a bright future ahead of her, Jeanie encourages fellow entrepreneurs to remain steadfast and not to buckle under that the pressure, and regularly reflect on what you have accomplished thus far. “Be thankful for your accomplishments and always consider new opportunities and possibilities,” she concludes.