Alec Hogg: Two secret ingredients for a successful business

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An email from an old friend triggered thinking about my own entrepreneurial endeavours. Not for want of effort, the first two companies I founded during my 20s both bombed. But the next one, started at age 38, continues to flourish. And now our Biznews.com, created by a 53 year old, is putting the others in the shade. My realisation is entrepreneurs need lots of luck; and get better with experience. But there are also two secret ingredients that must be ingrained into the business’s DNA for it to be really successful. – Alec Hogg

Hello. I’m Alec Hogg and here is the Rational Perspective.

I had an email this morning from an old friend, Rudolph Miller, who’s been highly successful in developing his Mybroadband.co.za business. Rudolph asked whether I would give him some responses to questions that he’s using as a survey, to talk to IT entrepreneurs. I guess he meant media entrepreneurs as well. It was really interesting because with the benefit of hindsight, I realised that my first two businesses, both failed. It was only at the age of 38 when I started Business # 3, that you could define it as successful.

Although it was successful to an extent, I think it could have been a whole lot more successful had it not gone the route of listing on the Stock Exchange because in our particular industry (the media industry), it’s far better to have companies that take long-term decisions without having the public focusing its attention on you all the time.

The last business (hopefully, the very last business that I start) – Biznews.com – began in 2013, which means that at the age of 53, I decided to go back into the fray and apply the lessons that have been learned in all the years that had gone before. I think this also shows that entrepreneurship is something where you can get lucky, or you can learn as you go along.

A couple of lessons that remain uppermost in my mind and that I would strongly recommend for any entrepreneur are to only work with people you like. In other words, avoid (like the plague) people who churn your stomach and make sure that you tap-dance to work every day of your life because if you’re having fun with people you like, that is really the true secret for entrepreneurial success – in my opinion, anyway.

This is Alec Hogg with the Rational Perspective.

* For more in-depth business news, visit biznews.com or simply sign up for the daily newsletter.

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