Secrets behind success

2013-09-20 00:00

DUNCAN Paul, successful entrepreneur, adventurer and Pietermaritzburg resident, was the guest speaker at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) Leadership Forum on Wednesday night.

He shared the story of his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur: the pitfalls he experienced and the life lessons these taught him along the way, as well as what he considers to be the secrets of his success.

While he insists that he is “as ordinary as the next person”, Paul has lived an interesting life.

From jobs in the Rhodesian police, the Natal Parks Board and Natal Sharks Board, and working for a farmer who paid him in copper-coin change — a humiliating experience, he says, which taught him how important it is to treat staff with dignity and respect — he went on to build up Bophuthatswana national parks by commercialising wildlife utilisation there. This led to his founding the Hunters and Guides hunting safari company with eight other partners.

He said the opportunity to sit around campfires and chat with customers on these safaris was a great chance to learn.

“Eighty percent of the customers we had were self-made people and I milked them for all the information and advice I could.”

Learning the secrets of their success was fundamental in his journey to business success, he said; secrets which he passed on to those present at the PCB Leadership Forum on Wednesday.

The PCB Leadership Forum hosts a speaker every two months at Chamber House in Pietermaritzburg’s Royal Agricultural Showgrounds, is open to all and is free. The next talk is in November.

IT’S not all work and no play for Duncan Paul.

He runs eight thriving businesses, including two large Spur restaurants, two John Dory restaurants, a Rockafellas restaurant, a wedding and function venue, a B&B, and also manages a property portfolio. He also regularly leads safari expeditions to remote corners of Africa as part of his hunting safari company; has climbed Kilimanjaro three times; scaled 6 200 metres up Mt Meru Peak in the Himalayas; skied the last degree to the South Pole, and became — along with his partner — the first South African to finish the 750-kilometre Yukon Quest canoe race in the Canadian Rockies. He has also competed in the Duzi canoe marathon many times.

He was named Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013. — WR.

Duncan Paul shared his lessons in leadership at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) Leadership Forum on Wednesday evening. Seen with him at the event are his daughter, Hayley Griffin (right) and Lungi Nkabinde from the PCB.

PHOTO: Barry du Plessis

Duncan Paul shared his lessons in leadership at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business Leadership Forum on Wednesday night. Seen with him at the event are his daughter Hayley Griffin (far right) and (from left) Shirley Stephenson from Harcourts, Mike Stephenson from PDC and Dave Griffin from Prosyscom.

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