Start-up advice from the CEO of King Price
In the highly competitive and cut-throat world of insurance, King Price has carved a niche for itself by becoming the only insurer globally that reduces its premiums each month in accordance with the depreciating market value of motor vehicles. However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the brand.
In this episode of the “Making SMEs Matter” podcast series, sponsored by Investec Business Cash Solutions, CEO of King Price, Gideon Galloway, shares the company’s growth story – one that certainly wasn’t easy. Galloway sunk personal investments, savings, as well as the profits from his other companies into King Price as it took four years to secure the funding needed.
However, he stayed the course, and after just seven years King Price is a popular and successful South African insurer. Here are Galloway’s 5 tips for business success.
Listen to how the combination of doing things differently, sheer determination and being bold has made King Price Insurance a massive success.
1. Culture counts
From an unusual interview process that involves staff voting in an applicant, to unlimited leave for management, Galloway believes that culture and having fun at work drives staff to be more productive.
“I believe that if you look after people they’ll stay and that if you share [shareholding] with people they will buy into the business passionately. You can’t force anyone to do something, but if they do it voluntarily, one person will do the job of five people.”
2. Do background checks
Having learnt the hard way by going into business on two occasions with unscrupulous partners, Galloway now believes that if you take the short time needed to do background checks, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.
3. Become a professional pitcher
Thinking that money is your main problem as an entrepreneur isn’t accurate. There is more than enough money around – there are angel investors and others. If you have a good idea, you’ll find the money.
4. You don’t have to be the majority shareholder
When you present to an investor you need to know who you are speaking to and make it realistic. A bank is looking for something different to a private investor, for example.
“Entrepreneurs often believe they need to own the business 100%, but if the cake is bigger, there’s enough for everybody. You don’t have to be the majority shareholder if you get the return on investment right and you know how much of the shareholding you’re prepared to give away.”
5. Go with your gut
It takes an unshakeable belief in your business’ ultimate success to see it from the “dream” phase to the point where it is making a profit. “I started with nothing,” says Galloway. “It was just me, with no staff. Then we needed programmers. We got five varsity interns who worked on the coding from a garage in Benoni. I thought it would take six-months, but it ended up taking four years to get the business going. I stuck with my gut and kept going.”
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“These exclusive conversations between top South African entrepreneurs are a great way to garner insights from those that have walked the path and are able to share their experiences with those who find themselves in similar situations as they build their businesses. Cash flow has always been an area of concern for businesses – from start-ups through to those that are on their next phase of growth. Finding a partner that allows you to drive opportunity is critical today but more than that, its about finding one that understands your business and is able to tailor cash solutions that help you realise your dream. After all, cash is king,” concludes Sean Jackson, Head of Business Cash Solutions at Investec.
About the author
Serial entrepreneur Marnus Broodryk is a Shark Tank SA investor, founder and CEO of The Beancounter. and founder of sme.africa. He is also the host of the popular Investec-sponsored Making SMEs Matter podcast series, and is the author of the best-selling book 90 Rules for Entrepreneurs. Marnus is dedicated to helping SMEs start up and grow in a volatile environment.
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