CEN exists to support entrepreneurs and many great business owners and innovators come to our events. Here we meet Izindi Visagie who is a member of the CEN Committee and the organiser of Founder2Founder
, our new dinner group for entrepreneurs:
1) Tell us the elevator statement that describes your business.
A solicitor’s firm specialising in planning enforcement on behalf of local authorities. The service offers combined legal and planning advice on a project or ad hoc basis, depending on client needs.
2) What gave you the idea to be an entrepreneur?
My dad, initially. He started his business when I was in my teens and I had the opportunity to be immersed in his business. After my MBA at Cass, I worked in venture capital for a couple of years (including some time with the Peter Cullum Entrepreneurship Fund), which gave me a privileged insight into growing businesses and reignited the spark to start my own business.
3) Have you adapted your business model since starting out?
The basic principle is still very much there, but I constantly make small tweaks that over time become bigger changes.
4) What has been your biggest entrepreneurial challenge?
The challenges change on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, but on the whole my biggest challenge is to build a good team.
5) Is there anything you’ve done that you wish you could turn back time and try again?
Not at the moment, as I try to look forward rather than back. I always think there is room for improvement in everything I do, but it is the experience of doing things wrong the first time round that makes me do it better the next time round.
6) What single decision have you been most proud of?
Taking the plunge to start the business.
7) What funding have you had so far? How did you secure it?
Initially I self-funded the business. In the future I hope that the business will grow organically and will not need external funding.
8) Has being in London been important to your success?
Yes. London is a central base from which I can approach prospective clients in the greater London area. I make use of the incubation space at the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cass, and particularly in the early days of the business, it was fantastic to have an office to go to and to share experiences with other entrepreneurs based in the centre, and to discuss my business issues with investment managers at the Centre.
9) If you were Prime minister and could change one thing to help other entrepreneurs what would it be?
Make changes to local government procurement to make it easier for local government to appoint SME providers.
10) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A friend with whom I did my undergraduate degree, once told me that the best advice she had ever been given, was to ‘Just Do It’. I am still borrowing the advice given to her and often remind myself to ‘just do it’ whenever I go into procrastination mode.