About The Alternative Board
What we do
The Alternative Board supports business owners to take their business to the next level through supportive advisory boards made up of other local business owners, expert one-on-one coaching, and our suite of proprietary business tools.
But how do we differ from a traditional business coach or consultant? They may concentrate on improving your sales, sorting out your HR or helping you with your finances but that’s often a silo approach and where it ends. At TAB, we look at these too of course, but we start with you, the business owner, as a person.
It is critical to understand, and unlock, the personal vision of the business owner, how that links to the business vision and how the status quo of the business impacts these. The TAB Business Builder’s Blueprint is an indispensable tool to help the you navigate the process, led by with the TAB facilitator and ultimately with the guiding advice and accountability brought by your peer board of business owners. This multi-pronged approach attends to all aspects of the business, and business owner, and ensures you have everything you need to exceed your goals, and set new ones.
Where we started
He recognised the value that peer advice and coaching from experienced business owners could bring to individuals who were serious about achieving greater personal and business success.
He also knew from his own experience that when his personal and business lives were balanced it made him happier and more successful in his role as an entrepreneur.
TAB started as one board and grew from there. TAB has helped over 20,000 business owners to improve their businesses and their lives and now, with the addition of South Africa at the end of 2018, operates boards in 20 countries around the world and continues to expand.
I grew up on a farm in the Northern Cape, the driest and most arid province of South Africa. The climate of this birthplace exposed me early on to both the beauty and the harshness of life.
Formally, I hold an undergraduate degree in finance, complemented by a master’s degree in business as well as attending Harvard Business School on strategic and leadership dynamics. I spent almost a decade at the helm of a multinational organisation headquartered in Europe, represented through multiple African offices in more than 20 sub-Saharan Africa countries. I was privileged to spend 13 years at the coal-face of SME financing and entrepreneurial mentorship in South Africa. I travelled more than 40 countries across Africa, through Europe and North America, sat in many conferences and addressed many a distinguished audience about SME’s, business development and enterprise growth. In the leadership role of a large company I held boardrooms in my hand with strategy, structure, vision and team, knowing you cannot do it alone.
The boardroom battles and market strategy hold nothing to the harshness of sitting with a business owner, who has given their all, whom you have worked with to turn their business, till they finally slide you the keys to the business across the table with an “I cannot anymore”. The harshness of a restructure, walking with a colleague through a retrenchment in a corporate re-boot.
The accolades, travels and the corporate acquisitions hold nothing to the beauty of a business vision when an entrepreneur finally opens the front door for the first time, giving birth to a life-long dream. The beauty of a brilliant mind, a colleague, a protégé, a friend, whom you mentor and guide to unlock their potential and soar in their own confidence.
Life is filled with beauty and harshness. Life and business centre around people – how we treat them, respect them, recognise them. And through that, change their lives and that of those around them; changing a village.
Like my partner David, one of my favourite quotes is Teddy Roosevelt’s “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Well, sometimes, you can do more, because you are there.
Whether sipping on a fresh-grounded-bean coffee at home that I made myself, on my motorbike on a dirt road, mentoring, consulting, speaking, reading, learning something new, walking the production floor, or sitting in the boardroom, I am an unapologetic challenger of the status quo. I have a simple principle for life, inspired by quotes from respectively Ray Dalio, Edgar Allan Poe, Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein – “To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true.” “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see”, and find out the rest for yourself. Then “do what you can with what you have where you are” and never forget that “insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”.
With more than thirty years’ experience in banking, I have first-hand experience in a plethora of business fields and am as comfortable in the boardroom as in the canteen. Spending twenty-two years of my career in South Africa and nine years experiencing fourteen countries in Africa, I grew a particular awareness of the impact decision-making has on businesses. Having had seen how volatility in markets, as a result of exchange rates, ignorance of, and/or lack of mindfulness of macroeconomic factors, can seriously damage and even destroy any business, I developed a keen interest in helping people better circumnavigate life’s challenges, both business and personal in nature.
As both an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, I enjoy asking the unwanted questions, getting to the “real issues”. With the famous quote of Nelson Mandela – “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, I believe that – “There are no stupid people. Only ignorance. And to get rid of ignorance we need to ask as many questions as possible. Then challenge the answers. Challenge the status quo. Unapologetically.”
Business Owner – Durbanville
I have lived in Paarl for the past 14 years and this is officially the longest I have stayed in one place. I am passionate about business and can now best describe myself as an entrepreneur and private business owner. After formulating my own personal vision, I looked for opportunities that would allow me to achieve my personal goals and that is why I joined The Alternative Board® (TAB) as first Business Owner and Facilitator in the Western Cape.
Like The Alternative Board, my business career started 30 years ago. After qualifying as a CA, I jumped straight in Corporate South Africa and started my career as Group Accountant for the fishing division Marine Products, a division of the third largest Listed Food Company at the time, Foodcorp. Within three years I was promoted to Financial Director of six Divisions and learned all the tricks of the trade but realized I needed new challenges.
I have been in general management and executive management roles, I know what it feels like to be alone at the top.
I have been fortunate to work directly or indirectly in more than 50 different industries and travelled the world extensively.
My core strengths lie in the fields of business and people development. I served on the boards of numerous companies and various industry bodies.
I developed a bit of a reputation for turning around companies following some early successes in my career. My last assignment was with Stellenbosch Vineyards, one of the 10 largest branded wine exporters in South Africa. Following a successful turnaround, I negotiated a deal and sold out to a listed French wine business.
I am looking forward to sharing my experience and to continue the journey of lifelong learning.
Business Owner – Alberton
My passion and drive for excellence has played a central role throughout my career.
Starting out as a financial controller for a large corporate, it gave me international exposure. This allowed me to move into a space where I ran my own business. During this time, I was head-hunted twice in the space of 4 years to head up the finance teams at two organisations. This culminated in the role of CFO for a mid-sized manufacturing organisation. In this role, I provided leadership to, not only finance, but also HR, Payroll, SHEQ and IT. My role was expanded to COO in 2018 where I took on the additional responsibilities of operations. Although a broad span of responsibilities, I rose to the challenge and brought clarity and vision to the team of General and Senior managers. The main focus at the time was to create one culture from the merger of three companies, seeking to unlock the value in the organisation that ensured its sustainability into the future.
12 years of board participation, being a member of various business forums and focusing on leadership development over the last couple of years has grown my strategic and leadership abilities. Frequently being consulted by senior managers, I realized I would be able to impact the business world at large. I decided after 12 years of corporate employment to focus my efforts on providing strategic and professional services to other organisations through my own business.
Business Owner – Fourways
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world, because you’re working for a lunatic!” Michael E. Gerber.
I have always been fascinated with running my own business. To control my own destiny and dream while pursuing my passion and purpose.
The problem though, like most entrepreneurs, we are all a bit extreme, or in Michael Gerber’s words, a lunatic.
But it’s about connecting the dots… the journey has to start somewhere.
I spent my first 13 years in business working in the corporate world, but quickly became frustrated with its apathy.
This fueled my passion to be an entrepreneur and take control of my destiny.
So, after spending a few years at Sony, I started my own distributor business of Sony and other electronic products. Over the next several years this grew into an audio-visual company specializing in servicing many blue-chip companies throughout South Africa.
My real passion lies in inspiring people to do what inspires them and ignite possibility. During this time, I started a training business called Maximum Impact.
For the past 17 years I have worked as an entrepreneur, following a journey that sometimes ended in failure, and sometimes success. But as Michel Jordan said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
As long as I have failed forward, I counted it as a win.
In 2014, my brothers and I formed FitChef, a disruptive health food company. Together we built a business from the ground up as we successfully created a brand that dominates the online healthy frozen food industry, as we scaled the business rapidly throughout South Africa.
Connecting the dots as I look back, it has never been about arriving at the destination of owning a business. It has always been about the journey of discovering the boundaries of what is possible, and inspiring others to do more.
The journey taught me the most valuable lesson – none of us is as good as all of us.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
And that is why being part of The Alternative Board is a privilege every business owner must experience.