Pick n Pay: Raymond Ackerman

Pick n Pay: Raymond Ackerman


I had lost my job at Greatermans – I was turfed out for “being too difficult” (this is what they said, not the view I had of myself). It was a difficult time because I’d been striving to get the principles of customer sovereignty that I believed in across to people, and it didn’t work. So I’d lost my job and was struggling to recover from the experience. At that point I was analysing my life and trying to decide which option I should take. Should I emigrate, should I go into another company or should I go back to university?

It was then that I learnt one of my greatest lessons, and it came in the form of advice from an American who said to me: “You need 90% guts and 10% capital.” It was this piece of advice that prompted me to start my business.

What he was saying is that if you have passion, you’re most of the way there, even if you don’t have the money. And I knew I had passion for the consumer sovereignty principle – that’s what prompted me to go out on my own even though I had no money.

What was important about the advice is that it wasn’t just about the importance of passion, but also about dispelling the myth that you always need lots of cash to start a business.

It was a huge lesson to learn that you don’t need to have money. You need to have passion and a dedication to what you want to do.

That situation changed my whole life. If I hadn’t decided to start on my own, where would I be today? I’d just be a big corporate guy.

Juliet Pitman
Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.