alt=”‘Without passion it’s very difficult to get through the lows’ – James Hedley” width=”300″ height=”198″ />Company Profile
Name of company: Quicket
Years in existence: 3 years
Position: Founder and Director
Employees: 7, fulltime
Can you tell us a little bit about your background – personal, educational and professional?
I went to Reddam House in Constantia, Cape Town. After finishing I did a gap year. When I came back, I started off university at Rhodes University then moved over to the University of Cape Town (UCT). I did my undergraduate at UCT, then did a postgraduate in Entrepreneurship.
Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
I was working after my entrepreneurship course, and staying with two web developers who were also friends. I was really looking to start online business, and we were always looking for idea. We eventually came up with an idea for a group payment system that would allow money to be collected from a group of people. We wanted to make it easy to do that. We launched, and no one was interested. We really thought we were solving a problem that people have.
“Most entrepreneurs find that they not only have to invent the product, but also build a system to run the company”
We sat down with people and asked them what they needed. Before we knew it, we had secured a big event and become a ticketing company.
The lesson for entrepreneurs is to start with something. The idea won’t be perfect. Once you start you learn as you go.
What were some of the obstacles you faced starting out, and how did you overcome them?
I think getting customers is difficult, with online in particular, it’s always a matter of getting traction. You need to get the ball rolling, get people to start using the service and talking about it to drive traffic up.
We overcame this by getting big events to partner with us. That drove thousands of people to our site.
Another challenge is when you are starting something, especially something innovative, you also have to learn how to run company because what you are doing hasn’t been done before. Most entrepreneurs find that they not only have to invent the product, but also build a system to run the company.
“For your business to work it has to solve a real problem”
What is your overall vision for your business?
We would like our brand to be recognised from South Africa to Nigeria, and for our service to be used throughout the continent. We want to be the African leader in ticketing technology.
What do you think it takes to establish and run a successful business in South Africa?
It’s impossible if you don’t have strong desire to achieve change in your life and world. It’s a difficult journey. There are lots of ups and downs. Without passion it’s very difficult to get through the lows.
Secondly, for your business to work it has to solve a real problem. There is a saying that if you want to start a billion dollar business, start with billion dollar problem. Entrepreneurs should understand that. You as an entrepreneur should solve problems in a way no one else is doing. These are the key aspects of business, everything else you learn as you go.
How did you finance your business, how difficult or easy was the process?
We bootstrapped the business. My partners and I had existing businesses at the same time that paid for our expenses while we were in the development phase.
We then started getting profitable customers that we were making money from. We reinvested that money back in the business.
After year, we were making enough to start paying salaries. I know that this route not feasible for everyone, it depends on your business model. Some people can’t afford not to work, they need seed funding to start.
What are the three things you attribute your business success to?
– Having a good team from the beginning.
– We got big clients quite early on. That launched us into the future.
What three pieces of advice do you wish you had known starting out?
– Take the leap and start.
– Identify someone who can give you really good advice. Someone who has been through what you plan to go through. Phone them up and speak to them. You will find that so many people want to help.
And finally, do you believe in luck, hard work or both?
You have to work hard to make it work. Obviously there is a little bit of luck. What did that golfer say? You get luckier the harder you work – by putting yourself out there and creating opportunities.