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Bokang Seritsane: A Maverick Mindset

Local entrepreneur sets himself apart as a solutions crafter, deal closer and supporter of young entrepreneurs.

Nadine Todd

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Bokang Seritsane began his entrepreneurial journey as a salesman working for other entrepreneurs. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was grooming himself to eventually launch his own business.

Related: The Midas Touch: Hina Kassam & Irfan Pardesi

“As a salesperson, you’re responsible for your own sales and turnover,” he says. “You need to craft a strategy for your clients as well, so what they do and their needs dictate how you approach them and structure your offering. In my case, I sold advertising.

“Marketing managers can spend their budgets without your assistance, so you need to create a need to ensure they spend with you – and translate that need into a service. It was an excellent foundation for entrepreneurship, as that’s exactly what business owners do – find a client need and fill it.”

As an entrepreneur, Seritsane needed to find gaps, create solutions and commercialise them, but soon found that you often need one deal to close the next ten. “Closing that first deal is often what undoes a start-up. You need clients to attract clients.”

Sertisane’s advice?

Bokang-Seritsane_Snapshots_Success-stories

Invest in doing work for free. “It might sound counter-intuitive, particularly as you don’t want to set a precedent of doing work for free, but often that first “no” is because your potential big client is unsure of your work ethic or ability to deliver – and you don’t have a track record yet. Offering to do the work for free for three or even six months has two advantages:

“You’re able to prove that you live up to your pitch, and it lends credibility to your subsequent pitches because you can show you’re doing work for a large corporate. It obviously affects your bottom line, but as long as you work with integrity and deliver what you promise, you’ll be building a relationship with a great long-term client.”

Family and friends started asking Seritsane for business advice, which ultimately inspired him to launch Under35Mavericks, a business that builds up young entrepreneurs through its Maverick Mindset Programme.

“The programme is funded through corporate ED funds, so before I could officially launch it, I needed the right relationships in place and to have proved myself as a trusted partner. It took longer to launch, but I’m now working off a much more sustainable base.”

Celebrating SA’s Hot young entrepreneurs

Seritsane has hit on an innovative way to celebrate young South African entrepreneurs while also gaining brand traction with the inaugural Maverick Awards.

 

Related: Clem Sunter’s Take on the Entrepreneurial Economy

As South Africa’s first youth entrepreneurship excellence awards, the Maverick Awards recognise, acknowledge and celebrate entrepreneurial genius and prowess displayed by young, hard-nosed entrepreneurs who are rising up to local challenges and building great businesses as a result.

Visit www.under35mavericks.com for more information.

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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