In conversation with Lebo Gunguluza: Three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs
Talking business with Gunguluza over an ice-cold Heineken 0.0 on Take A Beer to Work Day
Lebo Gunguluza is one of SA’s most established businessmen, best known for his role and contribution on television show Dragon’s Den, which groomed young entrepreneurs. He is known for his passion in developing entrepreneurs through investing in their businesses. Gunguluza has become a beacon in the business world. With experience in the hospitality space and now a renowned businessman, he is the perfect example of how to mix business with pleasure when the moment arises.
We chat to Gunguluza about business, balancing his roles, and how he winds down after a long day.
Who is Lebo Gunguluza?
I am a passionate entrepreneur who is dedicated to solving Africa’s challenges in the technology (focusing on e-commerce), hospitality and financial services spaces.
What made you become an entrepreneur?
My main driving force was the need to be agile, flexible, adaptable and aggressive in solving Africa’s challenges, which you can only do if you are an entrepreneur.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
Being an entrepreneur requires patience and focus, especially when resources are limited, and that has made me disciplined in all areas of my life and frugal when it comes to spending and investing.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by my family and kids. They are all doing well at school and they need a stable environment to do so, and that requires financial resources and my time. This means I need to put systems in place that ensure I have time on my hands, hence my love of technology.
How do you generate new ideas?
My ideas are inspired by what could be, and envisioning all possibilities that could improve the way things are in the world; other ideas are generated by gaps I see in the marketplace. As a businessman and an entrepreneur, I want to either solve challenges or improve efficiencies — and when there is a lack of efficiency, my head starts running with ideas.
Three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Cash is king: retain it as much you can, use it as your bargaining tool, and always invest it wisely.
- There will always be limited resources but unlimited creativity. Every time you face a challenge, especially a financial one in your entrepreneurial journey, be creative and think outside the box, and you will solve many such challenges.
- Building a business is a long-term game with lots of challenges, so exercise patience and do not be discouraged by those challenges. Most successful entrepreneurs can tell you stories about their journey; no entrepreneur has had it easy.
What are three career highlights for you?
- Being chair of the Local Government Business Network.
- Being in client services at Herdbouys Advertising.
- Being the group executive chair of the Gem Group of Companies, which has invested in a number of companies and technology start-ups that intend to solve Africa’s challenges.
What does your daily routine look like, and how do you maintain a balance with the multiple roles you play?
My day starts at 5am. That’s when I catch up on emails, documents and draft new proposals, as my mind is still fresh. Between 8am and 10am, I compile a list of clients and stakeholders I need to meet so that my PA can arrange those meetings. Between 10am and 12pm, I monitor all planned communication that goes to the marketplace from my team. In the afternoon it’s mainly meetings, and then in the evening I critique or share ideas about the team’s creative designs and provide creative direction. If not that, I attend evening functions, where I am invited to be a speaker or for networking.
At which one of your jobs do you need a Heineken 0.0 most?
I am also the executive chair of Lux Empire VIP, where we host clients at various hospitality events and luxury experiences. That can be demanding and entertaining at the same time, and that’s when I need my Heineken 0.0 the most.
How does a Heineken 0.0 add to your busy day?
It’s an opportunity for me to take a break and relax. Because it’s an alcohol-free drink, I can enjoy an ice-cold beer and it’s all guilt-free and pure enjoyment.
How has your work experience been changed or enhanced now that Heineken has an alcohol-free product?
It gives me and my team a chance to have a beer during brainstorming and strategy sessions without compromising our work and outputs. It brings a level of relaxation and fun during these sessions as they can sometimes get quite intense.
This article was paid for by Heineken.
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