AFTER three years of training to become an electrical apprentice, Stephen Dondolo picked up his bag and left.
It was 1980 and one of the big automotive companies in Port Elizabeth did him a huge favour when they told him he was not allowed to qualify as an apprentice because he was black.
Dondolo decided to venture into the retail business and soon owned 10 liquor stores. Today he is chief executive of an investment company, African Pioneer (Pty) Ltd, sits on the boards of major Eastern Cape companies and is the owner of several business ventures and properties in the region.
"We always need to ask ourselves, why are we in business. It cannot only be only money that drives us; we must also enjoy what we do and understand our customers' needs.
"It is important to always recycle our ideas in order to innovate and do things differently," Dondolo said during an address at the Eastern Cape Small Business Network's Sanlam breakfast.
The monthly meetings are free to all small business owners and offer networking opportunities to start-ups and established small businesses.
Dondolo said some habits of successful entrepreneurs included good management skills, to be organised, have people skills and to motivate and trust employees.
He said owners of small businesses should be disciplined when managing company finances. "Control the finances like you control the rest of the business. Leave the business' money in the business," Dondolo said.