Asccher-3.38

Q 1.    Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans:    Ascot Diamonds was established in the US in 1978 after our family was fortunate enough to emigrate from South Africa.  From day one our mission was to identify only the best of the best diamonds from around the world for our clients and to use our experience and knowledge to ensure each stone we offer is exceptional and priced accurately.

Each Ascot showroom provides a spotless, professional atmosphere for clients to compare different diamonds and ring designs as their important purchase.

We are proud to have a ‘state of the art’ manufacturing facility where we invite only the ‘most talented master jewelers’ to join our company.  Ascot’s exceptional quality standards are comparable only with the finest jewelry brands in the world.

At Ascot our mission is to a different and better diamond buying experience to each client… every day.

We currently have 4 Ascot showrooms:  Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas and New York.

Q 2.    Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans:    The Ascot founders are both from South Africa where we learnt the inner workings of the diamond industry from the ground up.
The first Ascot office in the US was opened in 1978 when our mission was to create a different diamond experience for our customers; A diamond company that provides g a priceless education, excellence and value… every day. These core values remain intact, 38 years later.

Q 3.    What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans:    Just loved the diamond business immediately and found the skill required to grade, assess brilliance, and value each stone most intriguing. Even after so many years, I still enjoy the nuances of establishing the correct value for each unique diamond.

Q 4.    What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:    1. Stay true to your company core values.  At Ascot we have never lost sight of our mission to provide ‘Excellence, Knowledge and Value’ in a professional atmosphere.

2. Serve clients in an exceptional manner every single day. The goal should be to make each client a customer for life and enjoy the priceless benefit of their referrals.

3. Hire the very best people and treat everyone you touch with fairness and dignity.

Q 5.    What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    1. Discipline and the courage to follow through with difficult decisions.

2. Recognize the need for change and embrace it. Often this is opportunity in disguise.

3. Clear core values and an unwavering commitment to observe them over time.

Q 6.    How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans:    50 hour weeks are not unusual for the Ascot managing partners; we have one partner at each location.

Q 7.    To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans:    Surrounding ourselves with quality people.
Making sure our systems are effective and adhered to by everyone, all the time.
Recognizing the need for change and adapting quickly.
Never losing sight of our core values.

Q 8.    How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans:    We have 2 key marketing strategies:

Our number one driver of new business is referrals from satisfied clients. Our primary focus therefore is to ensure every customer experience is so exceptional that they will want to share their Ascot experience with others.

Second is the Ascot website; Keeping both our mobile and desktop websites fresh and relevant is a considerable challenge that I believe we do particularly well.

Q 9.    Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans:    Ascot operating capital has been provided by the partners and by reinvesting profits to facilitate growth. We are not big believers in leverage or bank borrowing.

Q 10.    What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans:    Surround yourself with quality people and embrace the inevitable need to adapt to changing market conditions. Preserve your company core values.

Q 11.    Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans:    We anticipate continued growth both through our existing 4 showrooms and new location options under consideration.  We believe in our model, and have the absolute ability to compete in the diamond market by any metric and provide an exceptional ‘one on one’ diamond buying experience.

Q 12.    Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans:    Apple – Absolute clarity in their message, consistency and the way their product is presented leaves the buyer with no doubt that each item has been created without cutting corners. Beautifully executed.

Q 13.    How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans:    Crucial of course. We believe in waiting to attract for only the very best people. Our promise is then to provide exceptional training, a dignified, spotless working environment and opportumity. As a result, our staff turnover is incredibly low; we have many team members who have been with Ascot 10, 20 and even 30 years.

In fact we have never in our 38 year history had to advertise to fill a position. Invariably we receive excellent recommendations from our existing staff or customers. We are proud of the relationships we have developed with the people within our company.

Q 14.    How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans:    Provided the idea does not disturb our core values… we never give up. Otherwise every new idea is considered seriously. Saying ‘no’ is far more difficult than ‘yes’.

Q 15.    What motivates you?

Ans:    Constantly raising the bar to improve the Ascot proposition is a never ending work in progress. I really enjoy this aspect of being engaged in business. Keeps the mind agile and life interesting.

Q 16.    What are your ideals?

Ans:    On a personal level, my goal is to treat everyone with fairness and dignity so that they feel better for having had dealings with you. While I do my best, it is not always easy to  live up to this standard.

Q 17.    How do you generate new ideas?

Ans:    We pay attention to everything going on in the marketplace, not just the diamond business but overall market place where buying habits are evolving at lightning speed. One has to adapt quickly in order to remain relevant, this has been particularly true over the last 10 years.

Q 18.    How do you define success?

Ans:    My yardstick is how you, your family and company are perceived by the world over time.To what extent have you positively impacted everyone you have touched is more relevant than financial success.The right attitude, hard work and knowing your particular space inside and out will produce some level of financial success over time. Personal success is more nuanced, important and complicated.

Q 19.    How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans:    Impress each client by educating them about our fascinating business while providing a positive and experience. An interesting, warm experience will inevitably create a client for life who will enjoy relating their experience to friends and family.

Q 20.    What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans:    Starting a company with a blank canvas gives one the unique opportunity to create a culture and build a brand on your own terms.  Succeeding with this challenge has the potential to become a great source of pride.

Q 21.    What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans:    Each time we open a new Ascot showroom there is an unquestionable sense of achievement. Our company has an interesting collection of art and it is particularly satisfying to observe clients in major cities embrace not only the Ascot Diamonds business proposition but our unique sense of aesthetic evident at each location.

Q 22.    What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans:    Willingness to take on risk is the obvious.     Entrepreneurs have their reputation and finances on the line every day challenging them to make the right decisions…big and small.  Not everyone is wired to be comfortable with this challenge.

Q 23.    What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans:    Partners have exactly the same workspace as all employees and interact on an equal footing at all times.  We engage, challenge and learn from each other as we strive for the common goal of excellence.

In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Ans:    Challenging

Q 24.    If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Ans:    While have there been bumps along the way, I honestly love the diamond business and the Ascot model we have built. Would not change much at all.

Q 25.    How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans:    Positively.  It has added a sense of pride and color to our family life.  The support of my family in many ways has also been an invaluable piece of the puzzle.

Q 26.    What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Ans:    Fear would be that the business would fall into hands that would compromise our core values and identity that has been so carefully developed over 40 years.

On a daily basis I minimize the fear factor by fixing all problems promptly. If you make the wrong decision, pay the price and change again. Sitting on the fence is not a strategy and breeds fear.

Q 27.    How did you decide on the location for your business?

Ans:    Looking at the demographics of each city and carefully selecting a safe and accessible location that serves our client profile best.

Q 28.    Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    My formula would be include these 3 priorities no matter what:
1. Absolute respect for the accounting process.
2. Stick to core values
3. Develop the ability and skill to recognize when change is necessary and embrace it as an opportunity.

Q 29.    If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Ans:    Winston Churchill – He had remarkable insight, an agile mind and thought independently; His determination and conviction at a critical moment in history may well make him more responsible than any other individual for freedom and the survival of western values and civilization.

Q 30.    Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans:    My father… He was a warm and intelligent man with a great sense of dignity, respected by all who knew him.

Q 31.    What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans:    Under a Cruel Star – Story of a family that suffered repression under the Nazi’s and immediately after under the Communist regimes. This remarkable story of survival provides an acute appreciation of the best values we tend to take for granted living in the United States.

Q 32.    What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Ans:    Virtually every significant mistake we have made relates to delaying or avoiding the difficult decisions in the hope the issue will resolve itself. They do not.

A corporation cannot think for itself and depends on the principals making prudent, prompt decisions in order to survive and thrive.

Q 33.    How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Ans:    Be absolutely disciplined in following through with all procedures and quality controls.

Q 34.    What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Ans:    Reading, Drive vintage automobiles, hike, travel, great food with ethnic diversity.

Q 35.    What makes you happy?

Ans:    Doing things properly.  Being true to one’s self.

Q 36.    What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Have worked extremely long hours over the years.

 

Company Detail:

Company : Ascot Diamonds
Contact   : Roger Frysh
Address  : 6105 Blue Stone Rd NE, # E
City        : Atlanta
State       : GA
Zip         : 30328
Phone     : 404-844-0800
Email      : info@ascotdiamonds.com