Ian Fuhr | Sorbet CEO

Ian Fuhr is a serial entrepreneur and business go-getter whose working career is lined with a number of entrepreneurial start-up businesses.  Since he launched the Sorbet chain of beauty salons in 2005 the business has grown to over 104 outlets, employs nearly 1 000 staff members and has over 160 000 loyalty members. Ian is also the co-owner of the Lion Park, a popular tourist destination in Johannesburg.

Ian-Fuhr_P1My Definition Of Success | As a young entrepreneur of 22 years old, my notion of success was all about money, influence and power. After nearly 40 years as a serial entrepreneur, I now have a totally different idea.  Success should be measured by the contribution you have made to other peoples’ lives. I have come to learn that life and business is not only about self-enrichment. If you have accumulated wealth without having touched the lives of other people in a positive way, then your achievements are meaningless and shallow.

I Am Driven By | I am driven by the excitement of building a brand in a new and unfamiliar industry.  This involves challenging the conventional wisdom of that industry and upsetting the status quo.

My Highlights | The establishment of the Sorbet group of beauty salons and the publishing of my book, “Get That Feeling” in August 2014 which tells the story of my entrepreneurial journey.

A Key Talent | I believe my strength lies in the development of a corporate culture that is focused on people and service. This requires a number of important principles:

  • The purpose of work is to serve, not to make money! Only when you have served well, do you deserve to make money. In other words, service always comes before reward.
  • You should always place people before profits. Business can be simply defined as “People serving people” If you can successfully focus on the people who are serving and the people who are being served, the profits will flow from there.
  • Through the principles of Servant Leadership, you need to serve your people rather than be served by them.
  • Through a strong vision, you need to lead people to places they would never have gone by themselves.
  • You cannot motivate people. You have to create a working environment which is conducive to people motivating themselves. If people are comfortable and content at work, they will be inspired to achieve.

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Principles I Live By | The most important principle in life and business is to always place service before self-interest and to put in more than you take out. If self-interest consumes your life, you run the risk of becoming an “I Specialist” after which success will become an elusive target.
Lessons I Have Learnt | As an entrepreneur, you need four important characteristics:

  • Intuition – The ability to know something is inherently right without the evidence or data to prove it.
  • Pioneering- Go into unchartered territory and be the person who creates the map rather than the ones who require it for their journey
  • Courage – The strength and fortitude to tackle the unforeseen risks and dangers that confront you on your journey
  • Determination – The single-mindedness and stamina required for the long haul when it seems so much easier to throw in the towel.

Dealing With Doubt | As a result of a speech impediment as a child, I developed a great fear of public speaking which I have still not completely overcome. Over the years, I have faced up to this fear by accepting speaking engagements at various conferences and seminars despite the sometimes intense anxieties that I feel before the event.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I have read many business books and entrepreneurial autobiographies and without fail, there are always some inspirational lessons to add to my knowledge bank. The business philosophy I have developed over the years is a conglomeration of all these lessons which I have combined with my own melting pot of experience.
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I Am Inspired By | I am inspired by Robbie Brozin of Nandos and Reg Lascaris of TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris. Both of these gentlemen have been true trail blazers in their fields and have touched the lives of millions of people.