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Lessons Learnt

9 Insightful Lessons From Tim Hogins Founder Of GOG: Lifestyle Parks

Starting out as a security guard before moving into IT and then getting retrenched, Tim has built a business from nothing. But he had a dream, and he never let it waver. This is his story.

Nadine Todd




1. Relationships don’t always last

I was young when I got involved in municipalities and government and I relied on the people I met. I learnt the hard way that if your business is based on a relationship with one person, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The relationship needs to be with the organisation, not an individual.

2. Go out of your way for your clients

It’s tough to get into business, but easy to stay in business — provided you always look after your clients. Many businesses lose sight of this when they start growing. As your clients grow, you grow with them. Your clients are your business. Never forget that.

3. You will make mistakes

I’ve made mistakes, negotiated badly and had dumb ideas that cost me money along the way. That’s the reality. I know I’m not a great businessman; I’m an okay businessman. But I don’t give up, and because of that, I’ve made more than I’ve lost and I’ve learnt a lot.

As long as I don’t make the same mistakes twice, I’m moving in the right direction.

Related: Karl Westvig On Why Passion And Knowledge Drive Success (Together)

4. Hire the right people

Invest in the network around you. My first hire was a bookkeeper because I knew I needed one. Since then, I’ve surrounded myself with experts in their fields. I’m a visionary and I can sell, but to make this business work, I need great implementers.

5. Grow and develop people

This is one of the key reasons why I run my own business. We promote internally as much as possible and focus on internal development. This means that mistakes will be made. That’s okay. It’s the cost of taking a chance on your people, and as long as they learn and don’t make the same mistake twice, what you achieve is an incredible, focused, dedicated and loyal team. In six years we’ve had only two resignations.

6. Invest in your future partners

I’ve adopted 15 youngsters in my old neighbourhood whom I’m mentoring. Most kids in South Africa can’t afford tertiary education. They need opportunities and support. Some of them will start their own businesses, but I’m hoping most of them will become future partners of mine, running their own divisions and taking GOG into Africa.

7. Make sure you always get paid

First, make sure you offer a product or service that people want and need. Second, make sure you get your money. Government always paid me on time because I had a product they wanted and I wouldn’t deliver the next site until I’d been paid. Don’t carry on doing work if your clients don’t pay, and chase your invoices.

Without cash flow, your business won’t survive and you won’t achieve your long-term vision and goals.

Related: 7 Pieces Of Wise Advice For Start-Up Entrepreneurs From Successful Business Owners

8. Find your niche

Great businesses are built on unique offerings and good service, but you have to find your niche. First identify your industry, and then find your niche in that industry. We’ve diversified, but we’ve done so within our niche. We’re specialists. In a competitive landscape, that’s critical. Everyone is diversifying. Indoor gym equipment manufacturers are moving into our space. Our competitive advantage is that this is our niche.

9. Foster your creativity

Poverty can be a good thing, because growing up poor makes you creative, and that’s an incredible power if you know how to use it. Anyone can be creative. Keep your eyes open, pay attention, and think out of the box. Nothing is impossible.

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Lessons Learnt

#Wealthiest List: 8 Self-Made Millionaires On How They Built Their Wealth

These inspirational self-made millionaires built businesses with nothing less than hard work and sheer determination.

Catherine Bristow



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1. Nick D’Aloisio Wrote a Million Dollar App At Age 15


At the age of 15, Nick D’Aloisio wrote an app while sitting in his parent’s bedroom in the UK. At the age of 17, D’Aloisio sold his app Summly – a mobile news summarisation app to Yahoo for a staggering USD 30 million.

As one of the youngest millionaires, D’Aloisio is also the world’s youngest entrepreneur to be backed by venture capitalists – having secured seed funding from Sir Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong’s billionaire, as well as raising USD 1.23 million from celebrity investors, including Yoko Ono and Ashton Kutcher.

“The number one thing I did that I think was wise was to get, through some of my advisers, was a Chairman; basically someone who was a very experienced business person, an industry veteran — Bart Swanson, who had been at Amazon and then Badoo. Then, myself and Bart really started finding people and growing the team.”

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Lessons Learnt

7 Cannabis Industry Millionaires Making It Big In The Marijuana Business

These entrepreneurs have capitalised on a new market set to continue to grow rapidly as more countries legalise marijuana across the world.

Catherine Bristow



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1. Brendan Kennedy


Brendan Kennedy worked on job sites as a carpenter to pay his way through university, with his eyes set firmly on becoming an architect, until the allure of Silicon Valley changed the course of his direction. While working at technology start-ups Kennedy began thinking about the possibilities that medical marijuana provided.

“I was really sceptical of medical cannabis,” he says. “It took a year of having conversations with patients and physicians and hearing the same story, repackaged but essentially the same, over and over and over again, where my scepticism eroded and I became a believer.”

In 2013, Kennedy and his partners applied for a licence from Health Canada and launched Lafitte Ventures, which was later renamed Tilray. Today, the company is a global leader in medical cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution.

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Lessons Learnt

Scaleup Learnings From Our Top Clients – What The Most Successful Entrepreneurs Do Right

So, how do our successful clients move through these constraints to scaling up? We see four key drivers of success, and they are: people, strategy, flawless execution and finance.

Louw Barnardt




You’re out of your start-up boots, staff is increasing, your client base is growing, revenue is up and you’ve proven your case to the market. Now it’s time to scale up. The challenges of this vital growth phase are different and it’s a time that demands different mindsets and different actions. In a world littered with small business failures, it helps to be well-prepared for scaling up using a proven methodology. At Outsourced CFO, we get an inside look at the success factors of our clients who are mastering the transition.

On the one hand, scaling up is a really exciting phase; this is what moves you into real job creation and making an impactful contribution to economic growth. On the other hand, it is really hard to scale up successfully. We see three major constraints that limit companies’ transition from start-up to scale-up:


The business has to have the leadership that can take it to the next level. When you start scaling up, especially rapidly, the founders can no longer do everything themselves. The team must grow and include new leadership talent that can take charge and execute so that the founders are working on the business instead of in the business.


The processes, procedures, networks, systems and workflows of the business all need to be scalable. This is imperative when it comes to your infrastructure for the financial management of your business. You’re only ready for growth when your infrastructure can seamlessly keep pace.

Market access

Scaling up demands more innovative marketing and storytelling so that you can more easily connect and engage with the new employees, clients, network partners, investors and mentors that need to come along with you on your scale-up journey.

Businesses that build a market conversation and a compelling brand narrative during their start-up phase are better positioned to have this kind of market access when they need to scale up.


It is critical to have the right people on your team. Our successful entrepreneurs have what it takes to attract, inspire and retain top talent. A strong team of smart, ambitious and purpose-driven people who love the company and want to see it succeed contribute greatly to a world class company culture. They are adept at communicating a compelling vision and establishing core values that people can take on. These entrepreneurs are tuned into the aspirations of their people and focus on developing leaders in their teams who can in turn develop more leaders.


It is planning that ensures that the right things are happening at the right times. At successful scale-ups strategies and action plans are devised to ensure that the most important thing always remains the most important thing.

Strategy includes input from all team members and setting of good priorities for the short, medium and long term. Goals are clear and everyone always knows what they are working towards. The needle is continuously moved because 90-day action plans are implemented each quarter to achieve targets and goals that are over and above people doing their daily jobs.

Flawless execution

Top entrepreneurs are not just focused on what operations need to achieve, but how the business operates. They have the right procedures, processes and tools in place so that everyone can deliver along the line on the company’s brand promise. Frequent, quick successive meetings ensure the rapid flow of effective communication. Problems are solved without drama. There is no chaos in the office environment. Everyone is empowered to execute flawlessly to an array of consistently happy clients.


Everyone knows that growth burns cash. A rapidly scaling business faces the challenge of needing a scalable financial infrastructure to keep the company healthy. Our successful entrepreneurs pay close attention to finance as the heartbeat of the business, ensuring that everything else functions. They look at the tech they are using for financial management and for the ways that their financial systems can be automated so that they can be brought rapidly to scale. The capital to grow is another vital finance issue.

The best way to finance a business is through paying clients on the shortest possible cash flow cycle. However, when you are scaling up and making heavier investments in the resources you need for growth, it is likely that you will need a workable plan for raising capital. Our scale-up clients know the value of accessing innovative financial management that provides high level services to drive their business growth.

Navigating the scale-up journey of a growing private company is one of the hardest but most rewarding of careers to pursue. Having people in your corner who have been through this journey before helps take a lot of pain out of the process. No growth journey looks the same, but there are tried and tested methods that will – if applied diligently – lead to definite success. Happy scaling!

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