The main disruptors of their respective industries, Neal Froneman and Faan van der Walt, joined BizNews Power Hour to share their entrepreneurial drive, passion for business and determination to succeed. Froneman, who is the CEO of mining giant Sibanye-Stillwater, started from the beginning. “I was engaged in buying and selling used cars in college,” the general manager remarked. – Jarryd Neves
Neal Froneman on entrepreneurship:
I went through college buying and selling used cars. The common denominator, I think, is entrepreneurial talent. Many of my friends told me I had an entrepreneurial style. I think I didn’t really know what it meant at the time, but to be a disruptor you have to think outside the box You have to see the opportunity; they often tell you why it can’t be done. – but if you understand your markets and your business correctly, you need to be entrepreneurial, see the opportunity and create value. This is the main focus. It is not being different because it is different. It is creating more value than your competitor; this is what sets you apart.
Faan van der Walt being an entrepreneur:
The essence of being an entrepreneur is to never be satisfied with the situation [and] have the ability to see room for improvement in everything you do. Every day, when we leave work, we leave the space different from what we found in the morning. It changes overnight to improve. We have these goals and we work through people. I have a real chance to try something new, whether we fail or succeed, but at least we are trying something and we will see the result. We have developed a good gut feeling and it usually works. But it’s become a science and it’s fascinating how we value cars, the data sets we’ve developed and what we can do with most of the data we have. We can now start doing smart things and setting vehicle prices and crafting commission structures for buyers and selling vehicles in different ways, for example.
Neal Froneman’s Trading Tips:
First, understand the value of what you are trying to buy. There’s a lot of perception that lets you be driven by the “deal mania” – that’s absolute rubbish. I think anyone who does this on behalf of shareholders should know exactly what the value is, what you are willing to go for, and at that point, take it out if necessary. That’s why it’s so hard to make deals in public. Doing them privately, where you don’t say many times more than you say you do, is very important.
Faan van der Walt on Transaction Capital trading and agreement:
In the end, it’s not always about prices. It’s about partnering with the right people. My brother and I (founders of WeBuyCars) remain shareholders, up 25.1%, once this agreement is approved by the regulatory authorities. We see it as a knee to a larger market, to create more value by incorporating this partner. Price is one thing, it’s important to work with the right people.
Faan van der Walt’s tips for young South Africans who want to start a business:
The most important thing is to stay focused. We get distracted too soon and people want this instant reward. This business, even though people only recognize it now, has been 20 years of grinding. During the first half, my brother and I did everything: we were the buyers of WeBuyCars. I visited every neighborhood every day, went to people’s houses and learned the hard way.
I remember one day a guy called me and I ended up at Johnny Clegg’s house – I bought his VW Kombi. All these great experiences. There are so many stories like this, that help people in situations they are unaware of. You have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you do or are passionate about, you are dead in the water. So have a passion for it and be patient.
Neal Froneman’s tips for young South Africans who want to start a business:
It’s hard work. There are very few success stories overnight. It’s hard work and focus. All of these elements that we apply to our businesses as we direct them today: the clarity of the role and the focus of each executive are critical to the success of the business.
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