In this episode of the “Making SMEs Matter” podcast, sponsored by Investec Business Cash Solutions, Fuhr made it clear that to succeed today, you cannot be afraid to fail. “Entrepreneurs face incredible challenges. They need to be resilient. They need to be innovative. They need to be inspired. They also need to know that they are in it for the long haul and have the determination to see it through over time,” said Fuhr.

Listen to Ian Fuhr's story of how he built the Sorbet brand.
Here are Fuhr’s 5 tips for business success:
1.    Understand the social, economic and political environment in which people are living


It’s important to take cognisance of the external environment your staff live in because it has impact inside the business. Issues of race, religion and culture are as relevant in today’s workplace if not more than they were previously, and they have an enormous impact on productivity. “If you wonder why South Africa isn’t up there in the productivity stakes when we come up against other countries, it’s quite clear it’s because we haven’t been able to address our melting pot of diversity.”

2.    Don’t go into business to make money


If your business is just about making money, it’s not customer-centric, which means you will cut costs on things that are important to people. Rather go into business to serve the needs and wants of people – if you do that well, the money will come. 

3.    Do something different
“Sameness is a disease,” says Fuhr. “When people tell me it can’t be done, that really spurs me on, that’s an exciting challenge. All I was trying to do with Sorbet was to find every differentiator in the market. From the name, to the look and feel, to the branding and staffing. I realised that culture at the end would be the real differentiator, never copy a culture.”


4.    Ignorance can be wisdom


Come into a business or an industry with fresh eyes so that you are not contaminated by the conventional wisdom of what works and what doesn’t. Come in with what your gut tells you.


“When I started Sorbet, I tried not to ask too many questions. I decided if I’m going to do this, I’m going to blunder in and make it happen. Whatever was out there, I was going to do it differently.”

5.    Be intuitive, be courageous, be determined and don’t be afraid to fail


Intuition is essentially knowing that something is right, even though you don’t have the proof that it will work.


“To be an entrepreneur you need to be able to ‘vasbyt’, even when you want to throw in the towel.”

Marnus Broodryk
Get more insights from "Making SMEs Matter"

“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. Business owners are hungry for content and by finding the right information and partners that allow them to drive opportunity across their business is exactly what they are looking for today,” concludes Sean Jackson, Head of Business Cash Solutions at Investec.

About the author

Marnus Broodryk

Marnus Broodryk


Serial entrepreneur Marnus Broodryk is a Shark Tank SA investor, founder and CEO of The Beancounter. and founder of 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.

Get Focus insights straight to your inbox


Please complete all required fields before sending.

Thank you

We look forward to sharing out of the ordinary insights with you

Sorry there seems to be a technical issue

  • Disclaimer

    The information referred herein has been obtained from various sources believed to be reliable, and may include opinions, estimates and facts relating to the related products as well as current events or prevailing market conditions as at the date/time of the information going to print, which conditions or facts may change without prior notification to the recipients. Investec or its affiliates and/or any of its subsidiaries do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information.


    The information contained herein is for information purposes only and readers should not rely on such information as advice in relation to a specific issue without taking financial, banking, investment or other professional advice.

    Investec and/or its employees may hold a position in any securities or financial instruments mentioned herein. The information contained in this document does not constitute an offer or solicitation of investment, financial or banking services by Investec. Investec accepts no liability for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature including, but not limited to, loss of profits, goodwill or any type of financial orother pecuniary or direct or special indirect or consequential loss howsoever arising whether in negligence or for breach of contract or other duty as a result of use of the or reliance on the information contained in this document, whether authorised or not. Investec does not make representation that the information provided is appropriate for use in all jurisdictions or by all investors or other potential clients who are therefore responsible for compliance with their applicable local laws and regulations. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part or copies circulated without the prior written consent of Investec. 


    Investec Corporate and Institutional Banking, a division of Investec Bank Limited. Reg. No. 1969/004763/06. An Authorised Financial Services Provider and registered Credit Provider. A member of the Investec Group.