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Vered: Darryl Mayers

An entrepreneur turns real estate on its head when he buys a family business

Juliet Pitman



Darryl Mayers of Vered Real Estate

When Darryl Mayers bought Vered real estate agency, there was a great deal about it that he didn’t like. “I couldn’t stand what I saw as common practice in the industry – cold canvassing, annoying and invasive marketing, overpricing to get mandates and most of all the gushy 60s American-style selling techniques,” he recalls.

He didn’t even like the look and feel of the Vered brand: “The name was great – really established in the market – but the brand was so ‘mom and pop’.”

But in spite of the faults he found, Mayers also knew he’d made a good buy. “I’d come from Investec and was looking around for a new challenge. When the family who owned Vered approached a friend of mine to ask if he knew anyone interested in purchasing their business, I told him to buy.

I just knew I could run it,” he says. After a due diligence and a deal that took only two months to structure, the former owners emigrated to Australia and Mayers was the proud owner of a business he knew very little about.

But sometimes not having experience in an industry can be a distinct advantage. In Mayers’ case it has allowed him to take a fresh approach to things – if there are any holy real estate cows, he’s ignored them. “In particular, the level of sales training was very weak – the market was awash with cold calling in the evening and knock-and-drops – all very lazy and passive ways of getting stock.

It drove consumers mad and it was never measured so you could never tell how ineffective it was. But it was all so entrenched in the market that no one seemed to want to question it or recognise how bad it was,” he says.

After listening to dismal presentations bya number of different trainers, he eventually took things into his own hands. As he explains, “I wanted agents to start building relationships with people and you don’t do that by giving them a free fridge magnet or a calendar with a scone recipe on the back.

So I started doing dialogue training with agents and tried to weed out all the stock-standard responses that the old training manuals contained. They all suggested that if a customer asks you to cut your commission, you should tell them to cut their asking price, but frankly that’s not a great way to talk to a person.

“So instead of being confrontational, rather have a reasonable answer that treats your customer like the sophisticated consumer they are. Talk to them. Enter into a conversation. If you believe they’re asking too high a price, explain the current market conditions and real estate trends to them.”

But in spite of his no-nonsense approach, Mayers admits that one of his biggest challenges was ensuring that he didn’t make too many drastic changes too quickly. “I needed to remain sensitive to the fact that many of the people in the company had worked there for many years and were used to one family and one way of doing things.

Slowly, over time, he changed the brand from the ‘mom and pop’ style with a heart-shaped logo to a cleaner, less cluttered and more sophisticated look and feel. “I asked agents to give me six months before they considered leaving and in the end we didn’t experience a very high staff turnover, in spite of the fact that we almost completely repositioned ourselves in the market,” he says.

If anything, the changes have only built a stronger business. “Today we have a very work-orientated group and some of our teams are doing four times better than the best team when we bought the business. We’ve built up a rookie from scratch in Hyde Park, for example, and he did close to R250 million in 2007.

And having strong teams has attracted great agents from the outside and motivated our existing agents to push harder,” he says. With a consolidated foundation, the business is set to expandand Mayers has already started selling licences. “We’re aiming to do ten a year,” he says. Contact: +27 11 646 5432;

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.


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.






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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Company Posts

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




Vital Stats

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.


“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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