Name of company: Consilia Technology
Years in existence: Originally incorporated in 2005. It was restructured into its current trading form in late 2012
Position: Johan Botes CA (SA), Group CEO
Location: South Africa, Pretoria, Head Office
Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
Consilia Technology is a globally leading, experienced Sage Business Partner that empowers our clients’ momentum by providing tailored business application solutions.
Incorporated in 2005, Consilia Technology Investments initially provided comprehensive business solutions only to clients in Southern Africa.
In 2012, the Consilia Technology Group was restructured to empower the growth we needed, to start expanding our global footprint from 2015 onwards.
We have subsequently grown to a global business solution provider serving clients in Asia Pacific, Canada, Middle East and Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background – personal, educational and professional?
I founded Consilia Technology Investments in its current form in 2012 with the vision of creating a new player in the Enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, consulting and technology integration market that would be well positioned to export South African skills to the world.
I am a chartered accountant by qualification, I started my career more than 20 years ago with Deloitte. Between 1993 and 2007, I was a senior partner at Burnan Chartered Accountants & Auditors.
I returned to Deloitte for a five-year stint as CEO of Deloitte Mining Shared Services in 2007, during which time I learnt a great deal about large multi-national ERP implementations, remote technology delivery, technology integration and project management across multiple countries in the Technology and ERP global market. I left Deloitte in 2012 to establish Consilia Technology Investments.
“South African business is much more relationship based”
What were some of the obstacles you faced starting out, and how did you overcome them?
Recruiting employees with a like-minded attitude towards growing an international business. The average age of Consilia Technology’s employees is around 28 years of age. This has presented some challenges and problems as most of my time goes into coaching, and leading employees.
It’s a challenge to expose the younger generation to the real day-to-day challenges of the business world and teach them that the only real factor for success is hard work and determination.
Irrespective of the challenge of dealing with employees of a much younger generation, it still has its benefits. We made a conscious decision to recruit people who are adaptable, self-motivated, and quick to learn because we need to be able to work overseas independently. We value business acumen and energy as much as experience and qualifications because these qualities can’t necessarily be trained into someone who doesn’t have them.
How many people does your company employ?
Consilia Technology currently has 66 people in full-time employment
What is your overall vision for your business?
The overall vision for Consilia Technology is to build a global technology business that funds itself.
We believe that success is about the product, people and infrastructure. Get the mix right, and you can today build an international business without needing to make a huge capital outlay.
What do you think it takes to establish and run a successful business in South Africa?
South African business is much more relationship based. Most of our projects and implementations are done on a referral basis and word of mouth. We believe that by placing our clients at the centre of everything we do, we excel in client satisfaction.
How did you finance your business, how difficult or easy was the process?
Consilia technology was financed initially with shareholder capital contributed, and currently has no bank debt, which means it’s been “self-funded” from the onset. This has definitely not been easy, as our business is sensitive to sometimes very large monthly cash flow fluctuations.
When did you know that you were an entrepreneur?
Even though I am a chartered accountant by profession, I have always been an entrepreneur by heart. I have a passion for business, building relationships with clients and I’m not someone who follows trends, but rather a trendsetter.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I am someone who takes action immediately. I am more likely to ask for forgiveness than permission, as I forge ahead to address the opportunities or issues I recognise.
I am fearless when it comes to business growth, where most people avoid risk, I see potential. When confronted by problems, I rise to the occasion as opposed to passing the buck.
“Self-starting is not just getting up early, it’s a commitment to work hard day-in and day-out”
What three pieces of advice would you offer young entrepreneurs starting out today?
- Focus – Develop a niche market and product/service, understand your business model and then stick to it no matter what, do not lose focus, ever.
- Passion – Do what you love, every day. This is by far the one aspect that will drive you towards success. Commit to your passion and follow your dreams.
- Determination – Don’t take no for an answer. This would require one to be or become a self-starter. Self-starting is not just getting up early, it’s a commitment to work hard day-in and day-out – the most difficult thing is to take the decision to act, the rest is mere tenacity. Act immediately, plan later.
What do you wish you had known starting out?
Working and having a better understanding of how the different generations fit together, and how to forge a cohesive group from three different generations. We have millennials, we have generation X and Generation Y, and even the baby boomers as staff – aligning all in one group to the same culture and global goals are a real challenge – daily.
And finally, do you believe in luck, hard work or both?
I personally do not believe in luck, however, the smarter you work and the more you engage with clients, staff, suppliers and delivery partners, the “luckier” you get.
Featured article: http://www.smesouthafrica.co.za/16134/Success-is-about-the-product-people-and-infrastructure-Johan-Botes/