You may be too young to start a business, but you are rarely too old.

“Older age often brings two necessary ingredients for business success which is capital, social capital and experience” said Ian Mann, Founder and Managing Director of Gateways Human Resource Development; author of the best-selling books “Managing with Intent” and “Strategy that Works”. “The mistake that younger people are considered greater at starting businesses is not only a myth but wrong. The average age for starting a business is 45-55 years old.”

ORT Jet, a division of ORT SA facilitates business growth with the help of expert mentors and facilitators. Over many years, Ian Mann’s Strategy Masterclasses has assisted ORT Jet businesses and training participants to create a business strategy that works.

His significant employment history, business experience and expertise has made him a sought-out speaker, for one of ORT Jet’s exclusive “In the Boardroom” events, which was held on the 10th of November 2020. Ian shared his journey to success and key discoveries learnt throughout his career with the audience.

How do you choose which books to read? Asked David Zidel, ORT Jet facilitator, Business Author and Business School Lecturer, who interviewed Ian throughout the session. “I like books written by business school teachers and journalists from fine magazines.” And sales books, I cannot think of any profession where sales isn’t relevant” I like to read at least one book a year on sales” said Mann.

“There is no excuse for any human being to read an academic book in one week and is an insult for that matter because of the time that goes into writing a book. One should not read more than 4 books a year. We should learn it, write on the side, and pick the best stories. It really is worth reading slowly.”

There was interest in what the future holds posing a question we have been challenged to ask ourselves this year “What must I start working on today?” Mann challenged us to think differently about how we perceive the future.

“The future is not-unknowable, it is here already but not evenly spread. For example, the future of retailing and banking has already been put into place in certain places indicating where the future is gives you a hint on what’s next.

Ian advised that we need to understand the future and get groups of people together in guided discussions to create an impressionistic picture of what this looks like”

“People say they are so busy with their day jobs and can’t spend time doing this, however this can be done in small bursts. From that, in 7 years’ time we will probably have an idea of what the world will look like. So when you look up, you don’t see that you are 7 years behind and some business or competitor is eating you up.”

“The leadership and method of strategy in this case has to be very different but it’s not impossible.” Mann said

Ian gave important advice to entrepreneurs emphasising that if you want to be an entrepreneur, there’s a model in business you need to know.

“Think in terms of the 3 wheels and if you get them right, your business will work” said Mann. “It starts with the first smallest wheel which is having start-up money and being able to pay all your bills at the same time. Everyone in business must worry about building their smallest wheel. If that’s not spinning, you will miss out on opportunities.” When you are making enough money which will give you the luxury to find great opportunities, then you can worry about your second wheel.  This is when money is made monthly or bi-monthly in bigger quantities. Next is the third wheel, the next big thing that can make you a lot of money such as from investments’’

“Most importantly, acumen in business is noticing opportunities so keep your eyes open.”

Out of all the books you have read “What is the one thing that would sum up everything you have learnt” Zidel asked.

“I am going to give a non-business answer. The real thing is energy management. You can manage your time perfectively but you have to be able to manage your energy too.” Said Mann “Pulling an all-nighter is a sign of stupidity, human beings need sleep. This is because sleep deprived people make worse decisions and cannot decide between a good or bad idea. “There are more accidents from sleep deprivation than anything else.” he added

“Your body also cannot be deprived of nutrients. Having a lunch bar at lunch is not a substitute for lunch” “We also need a basic amount of exercise to get our blood flowing to keep our bodies strong so can do what we need to do.”

“Lastly, we need to ensure that we have a strong social structure. As according to a Harvard Study on longevity, people who have lived the longest have had the most friends.  It’s often when times are tough we really need our friends.” said Mann

“If you have this cluster of things together, then you can start about building a great business.”

Please click on the link to watch the recording