1. The first section contains mandatory questions. 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: Our Business, Pro Flow Dynamics LLC, is located in Corona, California about 45 miles east of Los Angeles. We are a high quality supplier of well-priced industrial fittings and fluid handling equipment including: Stainless Steel Ball Valves, Camlock Fittings, Homebrew Hardware and Fittings, General SS Fittings, and Pumps and Flowmeters and associated fuel handling equipment to pump, measure and control oil and fuels.
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: I was born and educated in South Africa. I have an engineering degree and an MBA. I acquired my first small company in South Africa in 1984 and built a group of companies that was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. At the turn of the century I moved to the UK and built up a group Flowmax Limited. My family moved to the US and I started Pro Flow Dynamics in California.
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: The idea of starting Pro Flow Dynamics was to build a family type business based on the companies I built up in South Africa and the UK.
4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Have a well-thought out business strategy, stick to it and work extremely hard- drink, eat and sleep the business.
Have sufficient capital to keep you going for a year or two. Start-ups always take longer to succeed than you first think
Take business very seriously but not personally.
5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: You need to be very logical in your thinking and the ability to see opportunities
You need to understand yourself and your strengths and weaknesses
You need to have very good people skills
6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: 10 hours – it used to be more
7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Determination, hard work and the belief in yourself
8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: At present it is through good websites, SEO and good e-marketing
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: I have sufficient funding now from previous investments to provide my own funding. Previously I had a business partner who loaned the company the required funds.
10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: To have a plan, capital and determination. Then to do a hundred small things correctly. Your businesses will then build up positive momentum which no-one will be able to stop.
11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: Running a well-respected and very successful company called Pro Flow Dynamics that is one of the leaders in its field of operation.
12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: There are too many to mention including Space X.
13. The next section contains recommended questions. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: Good, competent and loyal employees were vital to my success. Interviewing and selecting the correct people are one of the most difficult functions in business. I involve others in the final selection interviews.
14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I stick with it until it is successful or until I believe it is no longer that important or will be too difficult or expensive to achieve.
15. What motivates you?
Ans: I am self- motivated but motivated by the sense of achievement.
16. What are your ideals?
Ans: To build a successful group that benefits all employees and society and operates to the highest standards of integrity. Employees are expected to work hard but they must also have fun and be able to achieve their personal and financial objectives through the company.
17. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: By keeping up with the latest technology and product advancements and involving all employees in brain storming and coming up with novel ideas.
18. How do you define success?
Ans: You are successful if you, your family and your employees are happy.
19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: By doing a lot of research in finding customers but primarily through providing them with exceptional service.
20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Seeing the company grow and succeed and to see how the employees are growing and becoming very competent and confident.
21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: When I became financially independent. (You are financially independent when you do not have a boss or do not have to laugh at his jokes)
22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: Entrepreneurs come up with viable ideas and work extremely hard to achieve them. You have to go through the pain barrier regularly. I define the pain barrier as doing things you don’t want to do but know you have to, to succeed.
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: Our culture is friendly, serious, goal orientated and co-operative.
24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
25. The next section contains optional questions. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: Instead of studying engineering and then doing an MBA I may study business, with the emphasis on small businesses/finance, and then also do an MBA
26. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: It has been tough at times due to the work hours but I think rewarding overall.
27. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: One of my greatest fears has been the collapse of the local economy or currency. You only fear because of the unknown. Tackle problems head-on, do as much as possible to solve them and then do not worry about them if there is nothing further you can do.
28. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: The location in my case has always been either where my family is or where they are prepared to move to if the chances of success are better elsewhere.
29. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: No, not really. It is more the type of person and his competence and determination.
30. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: Nelson Mandela. He was so inspirational and forgiving.
31. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: Not one particular person.
32. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans: I do not have a favorite book. I keep up to date with the latest business news and trends.
33. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: Not believing or understanding that I was an entrepreneur until I was 36 years old. I wasted a lot of valuable time
34. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: By employing good people who understand your philosophy and way of operating.
35. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: Play golf, cycle, spend time in nature and visit remote game and wildlife areas.
36. What makes you happy?
Ans: When I succeed and when my family is happy.
37. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Plenty. I particularly regret not spending more time with my children when they were small.
38. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: Would you do it all over again if you knew what you knew now and what would you do differently.
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