5 tips for business success from the founder of Sorbet
25 Feb 2020
Serial entrepreneur Ian Fuhr is South Africa’s unlikely king of cosmetology. Yet today, his unconventional resume has resulted in 200 salons, 3,500 employees, 180-plus franchisees, and half a million loyalty club members all devoted to the Sorbet brand.
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.”
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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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