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Leon Q's story on... never losing sight on the impact you set out to create

It comes as no surprise that this founder started his working career in customer care.  Leon, having experienced first hand how impossible it could be to access delivery services for those living in less accessible areas such as townships, made it his newfound mission to rectify this challenge.

“After seeing certain challenges around you, knowing you can make a change, and actually being able to see the solution in your mind and the difference it could make to people's lives, you realise why you chose entrepreneurship over being an employee.  To have to ask permission to bring resolution… I just can't cope like that.”

In true customer care style, he went forth to explore a solution by taking the time to listen to the much needed ‘other side', the service providers, on whether they saw opportunity in making their products accessible to those living in less accessible areas.  Turns out listening goes a long way and he had hit on a clear product market fit. “The responses I got from businesses wanting access to township delivery was overwhelming, I had to give this a shot.  I later realised the reverse was also true”.

Leon shows us how ideas really ARE all around us, through our very own experiences, and in each of those, lies a potential business.  We are reminded that we are all in a privileged position, uniquely surrounded by problems that need to be solved in different and unique ways.  Not all of us, though, come with the will, the passion, and inherent characteristics required to make that change. Leon was bold enough to take that very initial thought and advance it into a real business.  

“There is so much that a township has to offer. What we are doing matters. It's a crazy feeling I cannot get over, that something I created is having such an impact on other people.” Leon's key motivator lies in changing and having an impact on people's lives.  When the undercurrent to our business has such a purpose, the drive to make it work and continue to make it work is ever present. 

“People often imagine entrepreneurship like it is in the movies.  Wearing a suit, entering a boardroom, doing an amazing pitch, closing deals, a really exciting lifestyle when in reality it is rather that (sometimes boring) day to day grind.  It is not that glamorous.” 

Leon shares this important insight, and a big caution to those who are chasing the glamour, when too many times entrepreneurs stop when it (inevitably) gets tough. He goes on to share how difficult it can be for an entrepreneur to get funding and support, something we should never assume or expect to receive.  He advises us to turn to our networks to get support even if this is just in terms of access to information or people that can help us help ourselves to get to where we are headed.  Many times all the help we need is a lot closer to our immediate circles than we realise.  He emphasises the need for networking as the reality is that most times founders need some traction before they will be taken seriously by any investor, partner etc.  Networks and relationships give us access to knowledge and information, the basic requirements to move forward in any venture. 

“Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or somewhere inbetween, you need to be able to speak to people because it is truly amazing how many people out there are willing to help.”    

There often comes a time in the entrepreneurial journey for a much needed pivot.  Establishing partnerships to those already established delivery companies (who saw the advantages in his already built up network with extensive knowledge and experience in township delivery) now elevates both his and their business offering by turning competition into collaboration.  Leon advises us to consider bringing what we may see as competition, even closer.  When we take time to strategize to beat out the competition, we can lose valuable time on our business, not to mention creative and potentially fruitful avenues to explore.  It can certainly surprise you how what may be seen as initial competition can easily convert into the best collaborators for your business.

Leon continues to shape and pivot his business to keep it in a position to achieve impact.  We cannot continue to use old or traditional methods of business to build something relevant for today and tomorrow, with the very business one founded to disrupt the norm.  Moving his business into the realms of a marketplace and adopting a platform business model, Leon certainly keeps his business in check with the changing times, we admire his foresight.  He remains stuck in the trenches, able to witness the impact he has on people's lives daily, never losing sight of the why behind what he has built.  

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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