Backing the jockey

I recently had the honour of being part of the Nedbank It’s my Biz campaign and had the delight of being selected to join them on the Pietermaritzburg leg of their Simply Biz seminar. The seminars are attended by a bunch of enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are eager to succeed and eager to learn. As an entrepreneur myself, I was eager too; sharing my journey and things I’ve learned along the way was an absolute pleasure. I realised that I love having my brain picked and it’s important for any entrepreneur, young or old, to have a mentor or someone to learn from. A wonderful campaign and kudos to Nedbank for putting it together and offering these seminars free to the public.

What is also important in the path to succeeding is that the “BIG GUYS” believe in you too. It is all well and good receiving encouragement from fellow entrepreneurs or the guy you just met at a braai, but to take a business to the next level, we need support from South African business as a whole, more specifically the banking sector. BON Hotels is at a growth stage in its cycle, an exciting stage where we are in need of a war chest.  This can be a daunting prospect for any growing company, as business sentiment is not very upbeat about hotel development capital. Opinion is that a company looking for a helping hand from banks or through black economic empowerment or government initiatives such as the IDC or the DTI will have a hard task ahead of it in fulfilling the criteria and receiving what it needs.

I have been pleasantly surprised lately to learn that we are not all numbers. Our recent projects and opportunities have produced the need for us to approach the banks for capital injections and I have to report that it IS about relationships. The banks are unilaterally responding positively to who we are as a company and who we are as leaders. Yes, we have a great business strategy, our financial plan is sound and on track and we tick all the company policy boxes, but the banks are saying, “We believe in you.” A definite shift in the way banks have historically operated and an encouraging one to say the least!

Banks are backing the jockeys – time to show them our colours and take the lead out of the starting gates.

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