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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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    THANK YOU

    FOR YOUR TIME


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