Tips and tricks for young entrepreneurs

“I think the most critical skill an entrepreneur needs to learn as he grows his business is how to identify and find the right people and to match people that will form a good team,” says Elmar Conradie, CEO of FlySafair. “Opportunities are everywhere, but in order to be able to take full advantage, you need the expertise and efforts of a group of motivated people who between them can offer a fully rounded set of insights into how best to take advantage of what lies ahead.”

The first thing to do is to figure out exactly what it is that you are setting out to achieve. The most key thing is to understand your business/product before you launch it. We launched the airline twice and the second time around our product offering and even our brand looked a lot different because we spent an extra year understanding our market, our business model and our product.

Once you’ve clearly defined what your business/product is you then have to make sure that you work towards that vision and stick to your business model. As your business grows, it gets easier to deviate what you set out to do and what your vision was. It’s very easy to get distracted when new opportunities come along, but the key is to constantly question whether or not that next exciting project actually helps you to achieve one of your core objectives. What goes hand in hand with that is to always keep in mind that your business will hopefully start growing exponentially if you are successful, so you have to think the whole time how you will scale your business to meet increased demand.

How entrepreneurs can manage financial projections in a tightened economy

Entrepreneurs or any business for that matter should always take a conservative view when they do their forecasts and make sure that their business can withstand shocks from the outside. One of our key objectives has been to ensure that flying is affordable, but in aviation we are hugely exposed to macroeconomic factors like the price of oil and the exchange rate. It is good to know what the impact of these kinds of factors will be on your business and what your reaction to it will be – even if it means that you decide in advance there is nothing you can do about it.

Elmar’s leadership mantra and how it translates to his business approach

You have to love what you do to do great work, but you also have to do great work to love what you do. I often say that we must not get used to things or situations – it is easy to start taking things for granted or that things should always work a certain way. This way you keep on challenging what you do and question whether it is the best way of doing it.