Tim Hogins is the founder of the original Green Outdoor Gyms across South Africa and Happy Island Water World in Muldersdrift amongst other ventures. He is and is considered one of Africa’s emerging business leaders, with interests in recreational lifestyle brands, technology, manufacturing, e-commerce development, real estate & property development, pharmaceuticals, health and insurance.
We recently had a chat with the serial entrepreneurs on his lessons in business and teaching youth to create profitable, self-sustaining businesses without relying on handouts. Check it out below.
1. How would you best describe Tim Hogins the businessman?
I am a disruptor, feeding off the constant need to improve those around me, my community and my businesses. I am fearless and 100% committed to my ability to succeed and this has made me who I am today. I am forward thinking and yet grounded in the realities of today’s challenging world.
2. What is your business mission statement?
Always do better. I believe in constantly evolving and moving forward. I don’t let my environment dictate to me so I seek to always do better for my community, family and for myself. I demand that.
3. You’ve successfully ran multiple businesses over the last decade, how do you make sure they all thrive?
My approach is two prong. Firstly get to know your business and the space you are working in. You must know it intimately and be aware of opportunities, weakness and possibilities. Secondly I get the right people to partner with me, who can carry the same vision I have and know how important each one of them is. This is important to me as I don’t believe in micro managing . IF you have to micro manage then you have the wrong team or your leadership is wrong. Like Steve Jobs said “ We hire smart people to show us what is possible. Not to be given orders”. I am a firm believer in that. Do your part and the whole system works. So I am very meticulous when getting my team right. The right people is a winning formula, always.
I have also had a very strong support system. This is critical for when the times have been hard and one has to introspect. Keeping my core support around keeps the vision going forward.
4. What do you wish you had known before starting your business.
I would be more patient with myself. If you are true to your vision everything works out. There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has arrived. And knowing that then would have helped with the sleepless nights and fear filled meetings. Also money isn’t what you need in the beginning – its execution. Execution requires the right mind set and when done properly money comes to you.
5. Would you do anything differently?
Surround myself with great mentors for each aspect of my business. I stumbled and I would have been further if I had more mentors that would have guided me earlier.
6. What sparked the idea of coaching the South African youth on entrepreneurship as your contribution to tackling the unemployment issue?
I am a father. And speaking to my son who is about to become a man, it dawned on me how hopeless he thought his future in South Africa would be. He painted a picture of underwhelming expectations that it spawned me to ask – do others feel just the same? And what can a parent do about it? I saw all these young people struggling to secure a brighter future and that is on us the parents. It’s our job to be leaders, mentors and nurturers of these delicate minds that have so much potential. If not us then whom?
7. What do you think young start up business owners are getting wrong about entrepreneurship in SA from what you’ve observed?
Firstly they expect instant success. That’s not going to happen. Patience is a virtue that any start up must have. Pace yourself. Don’t give up just because no one bought into your idea immediately. Plan to have rejections. It may seem strange but not everyone will buy your idea off the cuff. Learn to learn. Listen to what the audience is saying, get those insights, feed on them and grow a whole idea from them. Being patient is critical.
8. You believe the youth are too reliant on the government to solve the unemployment issue, if the government is to be involved, what do you think their role should be?
Mind shift for the youth. We have too many of them relying on grants and not their own hands and minds to survive. We need a change in the education of our youth. They need more skills that build the country. If you look at the education landscape before independence, the white youth were trained in essential life changing skills that made them survive anything. They were taught to work the land and also be self-reliant. They learnt how to protect themselves. The government needs to re-engage the youth on a skills level. Teaching them how to generate their own employment opportunities.
9. What advice would you give young entrepreneurs to survive the current Covid-19 pandemic?
Pivot. The issue isn’t that Covid – 19 is here but it’s how you respond to the pandemic. How does my business look to grow from this situation? How can I adapt to make this situation a learning and possibly a stepping stone? Too many of our young entrepreneurs see the problem and not the opportunity.
10. What makes you most proud about your entrepreneurial journey?
I did it my way. And I am here to talk about it. It made me feed my family when the odds were against me.
11. Where do you see yourself and your businesses in the next decade?
Glad you asked that. I would have established a formidable business empire across Africa touching more than half a billion lives positively. I aim to do better. I intend to change the way we see ourselves and how we can be the change we want to see in our children.