Entrepreneurs to set resolutions that will drive and grow business in 2016

Setting the right New Year’s resolutions will not only give a business the competitive edge necessary in today’s global environment, but will also ensure that entrepreneurs know where their business is heading, and can plan ahead accordingly.

Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says that the first step towards realising a goal is to set one, and the beginning of the year presents the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to review their business’ goals and to create new targets for the year ahead.

“Running a business is very much based on trial and error, and with each passing day, month and year, entrepreneurs learn something new about themselves, or identify a more efficient way of conducting business. Entrepreneurs should regularly reflect on these learnings and use the knowledge to set new goals for the business with the aim to ensure greater success and profitability for their business in the new year.”

She adds that these new goals should be applied to the business in the form of a structured plan that is reasonable, realistic and most importantly, achievable. “As with all resolutions, these often fail as they weren’t thought through properly or fully committed to. Entrepreneurs can fall prey to the New Year’s resolution curse too.

She says that entrepreneurs are often referred to as eternal optimists, and therefore need to determine whether their goals are feasible. Putting a plan in place can assist with this, as well as ensure that the business has a roadmap for the year which will help determine whether the business is in fact heading in the right, intended direction.”

Mjadu provides an example of a resolution that can assist in driving long-term success in today’s tough trading conditions. “Improve the business’ financial standing is a good resolution in light of current economic woes. Evaluating pricing strategies will help review the business’ financial standing, and based on this exercise entrepreneurs may need to refine pricing or introduce new plans to attract more customers to increase profits. This resolution can also include making a concerted effort to consolidate existing debt and avoid accumulating further debt unnecessarily. Improved cash flow management is another area that can fall within this resolution.”

Lewis Thomas, owner of Partners Hair Design and Job Creator of the Year® category winner in the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, agrees that a new year is the ideal time to pause and reflect on the past year and to learn from these experiences.

“Given that we are experiencing tough economic conditions, consumers are faced with rising food prices and high inflation which does not look to recover in the near future. Some of our retail products and electrical equipment are imported, and with the weakening Rand, we foresee excessive price increases in the near future, which will have a knock-on effect to customer spending power. For my business, now is a time to focus on finding and introducing innovative ways of growing turnover and profit within our 22 salons where existing leases are in place,” says Thomas.

For Bryan Anderson, the 2015 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® category winner and co-owner of Cape Town based business, Delta Steam Systems, 2016 is the year they seek to expand and dominate their business. “Our goal is to ensure strong business foundations and to find the correct people to place within the various positions within the business.”

He says that the business has a number of key focus areas, namely sales, administration, and management, but that the one area they have earmarked for special attention is staff welfare. “We are growing as a company and recognise how our staff have played a large role in helping us achieve this success. We want to ensure that as we continue to grow, we also foster strong relationships with our staff to ensure their wellbeing,” says Anderson.

Mjadu concludes: “Entrepreneurs should think carefully about their business’ 2016 resolutions as setting the right goal can be vital in driving long-term success.”

SA entrepreneur recognised for cutting edge approach to job creation in hairstyling industry

Lewis Thomas, owner and founder of Partners Hair Design, has been named the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year’s Job Creator of the Year® at an awards ceremony held in Johannesburg this morning. Thomas was recognised due to the significant work he does in educating and empowering individuals within South Africa’s growing hairstyling community.

After establishing Partners Hair Design 31 years ago, Thomas established the Partners Hair Design Training Academy (PHDTA) with the aim to educate, empower and equip aspiring local hairstylists with the necessary tools to succeed in a very competitive industry. The academy is SETA accredited and provides solutions, aligned with the latest in global hair styling trends, to both the general public, as well as Partners Hair Design staff.

The training academy offers a full-time course over a 12-month period to learners, thereby enabling them to complete all three academic levels required for a full ladies hairdressing qualification in one year, and empowering them to enter the local job market far sooner than after the standard three year course.

Lewis has a very hands on approach and plays an integral role within the academy, as he believes that it plays a critical role in growing the business, as well as the hairstyling and beauty sector, as all students are instilled with global standard skills, professional values and work ethic. He explains that the training includes a fully-functional salon that accurately simulates a day’s work in a salon, empowering graduates with real-life skills and experience. “In the simulation they work with real-life hairstyling products from the larger beauty houses, and are trained in the use of the in-salon software that is commonly used by large players in the hairdressing industry.”

In addition to the role that Thomas plays in education, Partners Hair Design employs approximately 250 individuals nationally, who are exposed to continual on-the-job training and education, which extends to advice on savings and financial wellness, dress and even diet. He says that professional, intensive and personalised training and education is the most important factor which differentiates Partners Hair Design not only from other businesses in the industry, but often from businesses in general.

“Our staff are our most important asset, not only as they are the essence of our business, but because we care for them as individuals,” explains Thomas.

Feroze Oaten, a member of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging pane, says that Partners Hair Design epitomises what the Job Creator of the Year® award stands for. “Thomas and his team not only employ a significant number of employees throughout South Africa, addressing unemployment rates of the communities which the businesses serve, but also play a key role in continually uplifting and training their employees with world-class skills.”

Thomas believes that entrepreneurs should be celebrated and recognised due to the important role they play in society. “As with most global or multinational businesses which employ thousands of people it starts with just one person with an idea – the entrepreneur. This person focuses on the idea, overcomes the obstacles and ultimately reaps the rewards on his or her journey.”
For more information about Partners Hair Design visit www.partnershair.co.za

SA’s top entrepreneurs recognised across sectors

South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial competition, Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®, this morning named Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner, founders and owners of The Creative Counsel (TCC), as the overall winners of the 2015 competition in Johannesburg this morning.

Speaking at the event, spokesperson for the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, Christo Botes, said that the judging process was extremely challenging this year, with judges having to select winners for the seven categories from 15 deserving finalists who were selected to advance to the final round of judging.

Botes says that Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner of TCC were selected as the overall 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners due to the phenomenal success which the business has achieved in its 14 years of operation. “Founded in 2001 as a two-man agency, TCC is today the largest advertising group in South Africa by staff and turnover, with a targeted presence in Africa and plans to expand further into emerging markets.”

He says that TCC has also perfected the process of job creation – a trait inherent in entrepreneurs and a key reason why the competition seeks to discover and unmask South Africa’s economic heroes and celebrate the role they play in society. “The agency is one of South Africa’s largest private first-time employers in that the business employs untrained candidates and then focuses on up-skilling these individuals and equip them with experience for their future careers.”

Other 2015 category winners include:

2015 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Bryan Anderson, co-owner and co-founder of Delta Steam Systems

Anderson is the creator of a revolutionary Delta Venturi steam trap system, which removes water from steam systems to keep manufacturing systems efficient. The innovative product range is disrupting the global steam trap industry due to its simplicity and longevity.


2015 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® and Innovator of the Year®: Nadir Khamissa, founder and owner of The Hello Group

The Hello Group exists to create game-changing integrated consumer and business services for migrant and marginalised communities, and consists of a number of subsidiaries, each of which offers an innovative product or solution for individuals from these communities.


2015 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year®: Kim Whitaker, co-founder and co-owner of Once in Cape Town

Once in Cape Town is a hospitality establishment which is a combined product of two different accommodation types – a backpackers’ lodge and a luxury hotel – globally dubbed as a ‘poshtel’. The business offers a concise brand promise – the fun and adventurous qualities synonymous with a backpackers’ lodge, together with the cleanliness, safety, centrality and efficiency of a hotel.


2015 Job Creator of the Year®: Lewis Thomas, owner and founder of Partners Hair Design

Thomas started the successful group of Western Cape based hair salons 31 years ago and currently owns 14 are unisex salons and eight male salons. In 2012, he launched his second line of hair salons called Hair Freedom. Providing full-time employment to over 250 employees, Lewis has also established a successful SETA accredited hair training academy which educates and equips students with tools to success in the competitive industry.


KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) entrepreneur, Ncamisile Maphumulo, of Coastal Nephrology Centre – a kidney dialysis treatment centre in deep-rural KZN – was awarded the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Judges Prize. The judges prize was introduced last year and seeks to acknowledge a business that may not yet be at the same level of the other entrepreneurs (in terms of size and turnover), but makes an impression on the judges due to their attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

Botes says that the judges believe that Maphumulo’s business needed special recognition for the social impact it is making. Maphumulo decided to start her business to provide much needed healthcare solutions to the patients that were left stranded by the closure of the health company she worked for in the community. “Maphumulo recognised the need in the community and used her competence to render a much needed service,” says Botes.

The competition provides prizes worth R 2 million, and will see the overall winner receive a cash prize of R 100 000.00 and the other category winners receiving R50 000 each. Each winner will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure to further drive their business’ success. Past winners have also gone on to win other prominent national and international awards and form valuable partnerships as a result of their success in the competition.

Now in its 27th year, the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition aims to honour, recognise and uplift South African SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship and inspire others to succeed in the world of business.

A stylish route to entrepreneurship

Lewis Thomas, Partners Hair Design, 2010 and 2011 Finalist

For Lewis Thomas, entrepreneurship is a trait he was born with. One of his first memories of wanting to run a business was at the tender age of 12, when he saw an opportunity to earn money by opening and closing a farm gate in Bath, England, for motorists on their way to play golf. Needless to say, it did not take long before he started selling golf balls to the motorists. “If you want to become an entrepreneur, just do it,” Lewis says.

Partners Hair Design comprises of 18 salons strategically positioned in up-market shopping malls in and around Cape Town. The head office and training school is based in Kenilworth, and the newest edition to the group of salons will be opening in 2012 also in Kenilworth but at a separate location – boasting a SETA accreditation. The salons offer the following services: shampoo, cut and blow-dry; colour and highlighting; extensive in-salon hair treatments; and a vast selection of professional retail products and styling tools for home care use. “The company was established in 1984 and, after much thought, I decided that the company was about many people working together, namely, staff, suppliers, customers etc and not just about one entity,” Lewis explains. “Hence the name Partners Hair Design.”

Back in the day

Having started out as a hairdresser when he was 15, Lewis gained as much experience as he possibly could. Fourteen years later, at the age of 29, he opened his first salon. “While I was learning the hairdressing trade, I often found myself feeling uncomfortable about the decisions made by my superiors, several of which I did not agree with,” he shares.

Lewis soon realised that while enjoying the stability of being employed, he should learn as much as possible from his bosses, even though they often made inaccurate decisions. “I would analyse their rationale and often came up with better solutions to the situation at hand. During those years, as a result of me challenging their decisions, I was often left feeling uncomfortable and was made to feel like ‘just a hairdresser’ – nobody important,” Lewis continues. “It was in this uncomfortable and less than ideal space that a seed was born. I knew that one day I would open my own salon, and I made a personal promise that I would never make myself or my staff feel as though they are not important.” According to Lewis, the company’s core differentiating factor can be attributed to its rock solid foundation of education and training, which has been part of their business methodology from the start. He praises his stylists, whom he refers to as “so skilled and of such a high caliber”. “Partners Hair Design only makes use of internally styled visuals that are displayed as branded images throughout our salons.”

Lewis has three children and when he is not busy styling people beautiful, he spends his time with the family, and incessantly attends classes at the ‘University of Life’. “I do not take part in organised sports,” he admits, “but I do spend some time running.”

Although Lewis holds a City and Guilds of London Institute qualification in ladies and gents hairdressing, his most significant achievement at school was achieving immigration papers for South Africa, which he affectionately calls home.