Seinker started his career at a property group managing a portfolio of assets and over 200 staff members.
After deciding to leave the corporate world to start his own entrepreneurial journey, Seinker built a unique online platform to connect entrepreneurs with a group of high net-worth individuals.
Whilst successfully concluding deals for these businesses, he identified that there was a great need to establish a flexible office brand in South Africa that would offer small businesses both flexible lease options and access to funding and networks.
He established the Business Exchange towards the end of 2014, following a successful approach to one of his investors.
The group now has four properties spread over 7 000m2 in key business units in Johannesburg and os looking to spread these sites across the country and the continent. The Business Exchange specialises in fully serviced and flexible office space and also provides complete access to marketing, digital and public relations services.
“I decided to leave the corporate world and launch my own business helping entrepreneurs connect with investors.”
“I had my own office in a business centre (now one of my competitors). The centre was extremely full and had a waiting list, so I saw an opportunity to provide what they were offering but add something new and exciting, and introduce a networking angle,” he said.
He said when they started their first workspace or business centre, it was a fairly unique space – geared towards call centres. They managed to fill the space straight away, but when their biggest tenant left, it really knocked their performance and placed them under a lot of pressure.
“It was a very large space with high ceilings and we had to split it up to create smaller spaces. We also had to come up with a whole new strategy and experienced a number of infrastructure challenges (like the fibre installation taking a year to complete).”
Fortunately, Seinker was already part of Raizcorp’s Partner Elite programme. He recalls that the programme team were influential from a strategic point of view and really helped them deal with this challenge.
“Partner Elite has given me a great deal of assistance with processes and introduced me to the Flowcode system, which is a really clever, unique approach to building strategy and creating processes.,” he said.
“It’s been very relevant and important in terms of what the business needs and I am already seeing the benefits. We’re looking at the business as being in the service space, there are a number of similarities with the hospitality industry, and we’re also looking at using a star rating for our workspaces – like a hotel.”
He recalls that when he started on the programme, a key factor that came out of the panel interview was that he wasn’t as good a listener as he could be.
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“After starting with one business centre, we are about to open our fifth in Mauritius and are looking to expand further into Africa. We now have almost 10 000m2 of property in our portfolio. In terms of staff, we started out with just me and a receptionist, but we are now employing 30 people. Our revenue has grown and so have our profits. The next big development in our journey will be buying property instead of leasing it. That will be a big diversification for us.”
He said without the support of Partner Elite, it would have taken him much longer to reach this point and he would probably have made more mistakes.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to listen. He said another critical lesson he has learnt from his years of business is that focus is key. “You need to have patience and perseverance,” he said.