Andile Khumalo is the the ex Chief Investment Officer of MSG Afrika, a media and communications group. He is also the founder of I am an Entrepreneur, an online platform to find and assist entrepreneurs in South Africa. Andile was named one of Mail & Guardian‘s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.
Defining a Business | For us entrepreneurs, businesses aren’t just businesses. They are a way of life, an extension of who we are, whether I’m selling oranges or I’m running a PR agency. What I am doing is an extension of myself because I as an entrepreneur can choose what I want to do.
Freedom To Dream | I was lucky to be in a family where everybody was a teacher but nobody wanted me to be a teacher…. I always had the freedom to dream so when I latched onto something I liked I was in an environment where I was encouraged to pursue it. When it’s your time to provide that guidance – whether or not your parents gave it to you – try and give your children guidance and let them choose their passion and try and support them in their passions.
The Value of Doing | There’s value in people who can do things. I have a lot of respect for people who have done things even if they fail because soon enough they’ll do something else just because of the hit rate, whereas if you never do anything your hit rate is non-existent. Failure at things is good. Failure is good. It means you’re trying.
On Positivity | Being positive is a habit you have to build. You have to work on yourself. You gotta get yourself trained, which means you gotta hang out with the people who are positive influences on your life, not negative influences in your life. You’ve gotta do positive things; you’ve gotta take in positive things. If you’re positive you just attract positivity and the contrary is true; if you are negative and you associate yourself with negative things, you will attract negativity.
Resources I Use | My favourite book is The Richest Man in Babylon. Reading is more of a habit and once you get into it, it becomes a relaxation; it literally takes my mind off some of my stresses at work and I focus in on the story or the content. I like the real world too much so I tend to read a lot of business books and a lot of autobiographies and I also try to read a lot of history. It’s amazing how much we don’t know about the world and even the things we profess to know about.
Consistency for the Consumer | I’ve read most of Richard Branson’s books, I really like him because he is a human being; he has never professed to be anything other. He is just Richard Branson…and he’s also built his business on a brand promise. I have a lot of respect for people who have consistency in what they do; that is built on the brand promise that Virgin will fight for the consumer by trying to make life simpler and cheaper for the consumer and he’s done amazing things as a result of that.
Principles I Live By | I think there is definitely a pattern that you can see amongst the greatest entrepreneurs and I think we should all aspire to it. It is ethics. If you’re a dishonest person… nobody will deal with you on a sustainable basis. It will eventually end and that’s not how businesses are built; that’s not how great businesses are built. Great businesses are built on longevity and sustainability. The one thing that is consistent amongst very good entrepreneurs is the ability for their word to be their bond.
Breaking the Cycle | I think if all South Africans – especially those who’ve escaped the poverty web and who are free, really free – if we could invest some of our time, energy, and money into helping just one other person get out of that cycle of poverty I think this country would be a better place.
The Meaning of Life | I think the meaning of life is happiness, and for me happiness is passion. I try to make everything in my life be something that I am passionate about. If you can find for yourself something which makes you get up in the morning to pursue and it doesn’t make you feel tired or feel like you have had enough and want to stop. If you’re still doing it and you are still happy then I think you’re having a good life.