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Z Capital Founders on Inspecting What You Expect

How sisters Yolanda and Amanda Cuba used their skills in project management to launch their own business — and acquire a 45% stake in Re/Max.

Monique Verduyn



Z Capital

Vital stats

  • Company: Z Capital
  • Players: Yolanda Cuba and Amanda Cuba
  • Est: 2011

When project failure happens in an organisation, fingers are often pointed at the hapless management consultant. ‘What is it that you do anyway?’ people mutter.

In the case of Amanda Cuba, the skills she developed during her time as a management consultant in the corporate environment enabled her to start Z Capital, an investment and management consultancy group, which she launched in 2011 with her sister Yolanda, former CEO of Mvelaphanda Group, and two other family members.

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Z Capital recently bought a 45% stake in Re/Max Southern Africa, the largest estate agency in the country, as part of a move to help transform the property industry. The group now comprises businesses in investment and consulting, as well as waste management.

Project management

Ask Amanda how it was possible to grow such a diversified group and she’ll tell you that it’s because she manages it as though she is running multiple projects.

Given that project managers are able to take a concept, create a business plan out of it and then find ways for it to be delivered within a certain timeframe – using the set budget and resources that have been allocated – the success of Z Capital, which now employs 80 people, should come as no surprise.

Management consultants are primarily concerned with the strategy, structure, management and operations of an organisation. They will identify options for the business and suggest recommendations for change, as well as advising on additional resources to implement solutions.

Start with strategy

“When you launch a start-up, the first step is to understand the business and the strategy,” says Amanda. “Why are you in business? Why have you chosen a particular type of business? What are your strengths? As the business grows however, these important questions take a back seat to daily operations. They shouldn’t. They should remain front and centre. If you continue to regularly ask – and answer – them, you will to map a path that will enable you to continue to grow the business from one level to the next.”

Another key to growth, she says, is to make sure that you inspect what you expect. “Inspection of how your expectations are being met is the only way to ensure success,” she notes.

Part of the management consultancy approach requires her to look at business holistically to shift it forward. “In the beginning, I was involved on a tactical level, and strategy came second. Then my coach advised me to set aside time for strategy unless I wanted the business to fail, even if that meant putting a ‘do not disturb’ sign on my door.”

The business is not you…


Related to that is the understanding that you are not the business. “Without a great team, your company is not going anywhere,” says Yolanda.

“When we started out, the four founders were seasoned business women with loads of skills and expertise that were different but complementary. To grow, we had to hire other smart people who can demonstrate passion and commitment. If we are in the process of completing a tender, they have to be willing to work through the night with us.”

Don’t expect what you don’t inspect

Delegation is a leadership skill, but insisting on updates will make sure that your people create the results you expect from them, say the Cuba sisters.

On his blog, management consultant Timothy Carroll says that without proper inspection methods, things can quickly go wrong in a business. He says there are three rules to follow:

Inspect what is important

Let your team know that they are important and that their work helps the company to achieve its vision, and grow the bottom line. Empowering your people creates motivation, responsibility, and accountability, and gets everyone working towards the success of the organisation.

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Inspect what is agreed

Over and above job descriptions and key performance areas, set clear expectations with your team, and make sure that everyone understands what is required and agrees.

Inspect to create results

Micro-management is not support. Ordering people around will not result in effective leadership but is instead more likely to result in defiance and poor performance. Servant leaders empower employees to be better at what they do so that they can achieve better results.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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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.






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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