Ran Neu-Ner, Co-founder of The Creative Counsel – South Africa’s biggest activations agency and subject of the biggest media company buyout in the country’s history, recently shared his entrepreneurial journey with Seed Academy’s Alumni, Clients and Partners – combining his stories & lessons learnt with humor, he had the audience captivated.

Ran doesn’t consider himself a serial entrepreneur but rather an entrepreneur from birth – which was evident in the stories he told of his many ventures – some were great successes, some failed spectacularly but all had one thing in common; a willingness to take the risk.

Neu-Ner’s first encounter with entrepreneurship was in primary school where he started the ‘sandwich swop club’ – for a nominal monthly fee, students could exchange their lunch for someone else’s. School goers got variety in their daily lunch and Neu-Ner made money in the process. At an early age Neu-Ner discovered the basis of business and entrepreneurship – find a simple solution to common problems.

Ran had lessons for every entrepreneur – even the closet ones!

  • Ditch the excuses! People don’t care about the why you can’t or the buts – your circumstance or background is not a reason for not achieving
  • Harness the power of negotiation
  • Be hungry for success, for achieving more – never settle for what you have
  • The only barrier between you and the top is your mind – get out of your own way
  • Don’t wait to be an entrepreneur (this one is for the closet entrepreneurs) – the longer you wait the more responsibilities you get and the more comfortable you become in your current situation.
    • Decide here and now if you want it
    • Take action – have a plan or idea and do your research
    • Believe in yourself
    • Make the jump today
  • Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing in the world – it is like riding a rollercoaster every day of your life – buckle-up and enjoy the ride
  • Attitude is everything – if you don’t believe you will be bigger than you are, you will keep making small business decisions (as the saying goes ‘dress for the role you want, not the one you have’)
  • Character is much more important than wealth
  • You only learn from your failures – wear your battle scars with pride
  • Enjoy the ride – don’t be paralyzed by fear
  • Key to successful partnership (co-owners) – each person should have their own area of responsibility within the business and don’t interfere with the other person’s area or do projects together. Most importantly agree to do all new ventures together – that way you are never worried what the other person is doing
  • Keep fighting – take the knocks, assess where you are and keep fighting
  • Offer solutions to problems they don’t know they have
  • Hire the best people from day one – rather have less people but the right people
  • Never take ‘no’ for an answer
  • Surround yourself with the best-of-breed people and companies
  • Test your ideas to make sure they are sound and viable – doesn’t matter if someone else is doing the same as long as you have a clear differentiator
  • The business plan is the most important document to have at the beginning – it helps you think through your idea and business
  • There are only 2 times you should consider selling your business
    • 1) when you need money or a partner to grow
    • 2) when your business is at its best and you are ready to move on to the next thing

If there are only 3 lessons you remember – let it be these

  1. No excuses
  2. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer

“May the odds be forever in your favour”