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The Tax Solution Company: Russia Beeby

A self-taught specialist sets up shop with an innovative idea and a bit of spare cash

Juliet Pitman

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Russia Beeby of The Tax Solutions Company

“With R500 and a good idea,” is how Russia Beeby started The Tax Solution Company. When he left permanent employment at the chartered accountants company where he had worked for 12 years as a tax specialist, Beeby didn’t have one client. Today, he has 500 individual taxpayers on his books and about 80 close corporations.

What’s even more impressive is that Beeby has no formal qualification. While this might not prove too much of a hindrance in other fields, tax is an area where specifics and expert knowledge are the name of the game.

Well aware of this, Beeby set about ensuring he learnt everything there was to know about tax. He applied for a position at a firm of chartered accountants as a trainee tax compliance clerk. “I realised I could do what they were paying me to do in a couple of months of the year, so I had a lot of free time,” he remembers.

Determined to put this time to good use, Beeby took books home to teach himself about tax. Impressed by the young man’s eagerness to learn, one of the firm’s partners set about teaching

Beeby all he knew, sending him on many tax courses and guiding his development. The leap of faith paid off – the firm partner developed enough confidence in Beeby’s abilities over the years to eventually give him the responsibility of running the company’s entire tax department.

In some respects, Beeby’s story is a typical one. He inched his way up the corporate ladder, learning everything he needed to know on the job. What’s different about him, however, is that unlike most people in that position, he wasn’t content after his long, hard climb to sit at the top and look at the view.

The 12 years of continually striving to be better had left their mark. “When I realised there were no longer any opportunities for growth in the company I decided to leave and go on my own,” he recalls.

With no pension from his previous company, Beeby used R500 from his final salary cheque to set up The Tax Solution Company. The challenge was how to attract clients in a private tax consultant market in which he was virtually unknown.

Digging deep to find something to differentiate his business, Beeby approached Nedbank, offering to be a “roving tax consultant” for its employees. The bank jumped at the idea and The Tax Solution Company was a going concern. “I was lucky that Nedbank had an HR intranet at the time and the one thing missing from its service was a tax consultant solution for employees.

They would log onto the intranet to make an appointment with me and I would travel round to different Nedbank offices, doing their tax,” remembers Beeby. It was a win-win situation, allowing the bank to offer a service to its employees that did not cost the company anything, and giving Beeby access to a base he desperately needed.

Within a year he had 120 clients. One of his biggest challenges has been managing the workload that comes with the July tax filing season. “I change all our clients’ postal addresses so that their tax return forms come directly to me.

The minute they come in, we apply for a deadline extension. From there, we log all the returns on our system and deal with them on a first come, first served basis.” In spite of expanding The Tax Solution Company’s service offering to include registration of close corporations, business plan advice, insurance and accounting services, income tax returns still make up the core business.

“People pay me to take away their tax return headache,” explains Beeby, “and I take that position of responsibility very seriously. We’ve managed to retain clients and grow the business from referrals because we are pedantic about ensuring they can rely on the advice we give them.”

That guidance stems from what Beeby has learned in a long and successful tax career, and is something he’s not willing to compromise on: “When it comes to tax, play by the rules and pay your dues.”

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.

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Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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