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Heading 1 ( A rial bold - point size 2 2 ). Softline Pastel - Over 20 Years in the Making Steven Cohen. Heading 1 ( A rial bold - point size 2 2 ). Our Story Business founded with 3 partners in 1989 and 2 employees Supporting , manufacturing and distributing accounting software

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Softline Pastel - Over 20

Years in the Making

  • Steven Cohen
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Our Story

  • Business founded with 3 partners in 1989 and 2 employees
  • Supporting, manufacturing and distributing accounting software
  • Business sold to major JSE listed IT business in 1994
  • Management buyout in 1996 and listed on the JSE in 1997
  • Grew the business organically – but also used equity to grow by acquisition – acquisitive vs organic growth
  • Hostile bid in 2003 - de-listed from the JSE – Sage PLC acquires 100%
  • Today part of the Sage global business with over 6 million business users of our products – Sage employsover 8,000 employees
  • Strong throughout the UK, Europe, North America,Africa, and Australia
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What can you learn from “Our Story”

  • In the beginning, the owners do everything
  • Very considered and “anxious” about the next “move”
  • How do they grow?
  • Anxiety around overheads
  • Slowly begin to acquire more customers
  • Hire more employees
  • Working capital and finance issues
  • System issues
  • More stakeholders
  • “Exposure” in the market brings more challenges
      • Competitors
      • Public awareness
      • Working capital requirements
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What can you learn from “Our Story”

What mistakes did we make in the beginning ?

  • Scared to hire good people because they cost too much
  • Accounting systems – too busy to analyse and think about the numbers
  • Culture of the business – we let the wrong people through the “gate”
  • Learn to say NO easily – allows you to then say YES at the right time
  • Sometimes lost focus in the pursuit of turnover
  • Don’t let anxiety strangle your business
  • Issue equity only to partners who can add value
  • Don’t be scared of debt
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What can you learn from “Our Story”

    • What are we now doing right ?
    • Learning to sell our value proposition confidently
    • Using our information systems to help us understand our business – not only to “balance the books”
    • Plans are a waste of time, but planning is essential
    • Not distracted by the small stuff :Important vs Urgent – don’t take your eye off the ball by only concentrating on the urgent stuff
    • Leading by example – it lends credibility
    • Hiring the right people and making sure the good ones stay
    • Moving out the bad ones
  • Making sure the cultures right
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What can you learn from “Our Story”

  • What are we now doing right ?
  • Know your weaknesses and don’t be embarrassed by them
  • Never forget where you came from
  • Make your employees love coming to work (not easy)
  • Give them responsibility
  • Allow them to make considered mistakes – don’t punish them
  • KEEP THEM INFORMED!
  • Educate them – generally and within the industry
  • Recognise good work for people who go the extra mile!
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The Road Ahead

  • Invest/spend for sustainability – this often takes guts!
  • Remember – your business needs to outlive you
  • Employees don’t work “for you” rather they work “with you” – and you all work for the business
  • Understand your competitors – always
  • Understand where your industry is going – always
  • To identify trends, you need to read, read, read
  • – and share this information with your employees
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The Road Ahead

  • Make your own opinions and draw your own conclusions
  • Be confident but not arrogant
  • Look after your customers – credibility through word of mouth is invaluable
  • Procrastination is the enemy of progress withinyour business – make a decision and move on!
  • Keep your promises and get back to people– don’t clutter your mind with unfinished business
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The Road Ahead

  • Don’t be defensive – it destroys your self growth and frustrates the flow of opinions
  • Keep your mind clear by taking care of the necessities – admin and systems – when your admin is bad, everything suffers and time is spent on tidying up non-critical areas of the business
  • Give back to the community – it makes you feel goodand you are growing your future customers
  • Get to the “Sweet Spot Quickly” and alwaysbe relevant
  • Don’t complicate the easy stuff to make yourselffeel important
  • Keep your eye on strategic issues – but without execution, strategy is meaningless
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The Road Ahead

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man\'s character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

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