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5 Ways to For Your Startup to Thrive Entrepreneur, tax specialist and leadership advisor George Diab believes one's character and grit are tested when launching a start-up. Here are his lessons for not only surviving, but thriving as a new business owner, based on his own entrepreneurial experiences and those gleaned from his expertise at the NeuroLeadership Institute.

By Diana Albertyn

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Mike Turner

PLAYER: George Diab

COMPANY: NeuroLeadership Institute

POSITION: Head of Solutions Delivery

No two entrepreneurship journeys are the same, but George Diab believes it's rarely a career path, but a calling. "From a young age, I have always been involved in various ventures, partly because of the excitement of putting deals together but mostly because I love helping people and creating things," says the co-founder of Tailor Me, a business which sells bespoke tailored suits, and Head of Solutions Delivery at the NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI).

"It's a beautiful feeling to address a need and watch as people show appreciation for something you created. There's a romance about it."

George shares his entrepreneurial advice for other start-up owners striving for business success, summed up in five lessons.

1. It isn't always about passion, but a need — no matter how personal

Tailor Me was born out of necessity. My business partners (Brad Marriott and Rick Da Matta) and I were looking to add a dash of class to our lives. Frustrated by off-the-rack suits never quite delivering a personalised fit, we turned to more traditional clothing methods.

This led to us importing fabric and employing a master tailor to create bespoke suits for us. The suits were perfectly fitted, but the part we fell in love with is the process of getting tailored.

It is after all an 18th century form of art and every man should experience it once in their lifetime. One thing led to another and we decided to establish a brand that celebrated individuality, style and supreme quality — Tailor Me was born.

2. Keep your cash flow consistent and prioritise sales — especially during the boom periods

There have been many learning opportunities over the past years that test one's character and grit. Some teach longer and harder lessons, but ultimately you emerge on the other side with more knowledge and experience than you had before.

The usual suspects have played a role in my biggest challenges — sales and cash flow. They are possibly the most important functions in a business and as a matter of fact are some of the main causes for start-up failure.

When business is booming we often neglect sales and cash flow management and begin to believe that we are invincible. We stop selling as aggressively as before and our spending patterns become irrational. Nothing refocuses your attention like worrying about how to pay your rent.

3. Unlock the real key to business success to release boundless potential

The opportunity to be part of a company, which is widely regarded as the world's most innovative behaviour change company, was too appealing to pass up. The NLI makes neuroscience research practical to help organisations transform their effectiveness through their people.

Breakthroughs in neuro-science have given us a new lens to understand human behaviour and provide better insight into people effectiveness and performance. As an entrepreneur, I have realised that the key to business success is people and your ability to engage with them at different levels. Within business, if you are able to lead your people more effectively you may unleash unlimited potential.

4. Embrace change as a business adventure and not an insurmountable challenge

Understanding the social brain has made me more aware of social factors that hinder performance and have provided me with the necessary tools to prevent this from happening. With the speed of change and the impact that technology is having on business, we need to create workplaces where people are inspired to perform and experience change as a business adventure and not as a threat.

We should all aim to improve the level of our thinking, increase the quality of our conversations and achieve higher levels of engagement and collaboration within our teams.

5. Let passion and purpose fuel your mindset to deliver true business success

My mentor once told me that the path to success is passion. It took me a while to understand what he meant but I think I understand now. I am going super cheesy and philosophical for a sec, but bear with me… If you are passionate about your work, then hard work does not feel that hard, it doesn't even feel like work.

Passion will enable you to handle challenges (or learning opportunities, rather) with ease because your mindset is different. Passion shifts your mindset and leads to better thinking. Passion is infectious and people feel compelled to be around you and support you. Call it universal forces, hard work or luck — passion and purpose lead to success.

Diana Albertyn

Entrepreneur Staff

Sales Enablement: Content Developer

Diana Albertyn completed a BA in Journalism in 2010 and has honed her skills as a newspaper reporter, senior communications specialist: strategy and media liaison and feature article magazine writer. Since joining the Entrepreneur South Africa team in 2016, Diana has honed her expertise in business leadership, content marketing and managing client accounts. 

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