Entrepreneur of the month

Robert Sussman, co-founder and joint CEO of the Integr8 Group, shares his business and leadership strategies.


Robert Sussman is the co-founder of the Integr8 Group, the largest privately owned Information Communication and Telecommunication (ICT) Company on the African continent. He reveals his entrepreneurial and leadership tips.
What inspired you to start Integr8 in 2001?
The drive to work with people to deliver innovative technology based services. We wanted to take an innovative, South African-based operation and turn it into an international business. Money was never my sole driver; I was driven by my desire to achieve goals and be successful. Of course businesses need money to survive, but it should never be the underlying motivator. Being an entrepreneur requires hard work, time and effort, but it allows you to be in control of your own destiny.
To what do you credit Integr8’s growth?
To three things:
1. Businesses don’t do business with businesses. People do business with people. Each of our 550 employees has been handpicked. The average age in our company is 26, our future leaders come from within our company. So that longevity is there.
2. The way people are led. We try to promote leaders, so we lead rather than manage. Our employees have the freedom to try new things and we’re highly focused on innovation.
3. Competing well in the market. We compete ethically and fairly, but also aggressively. We want to win.
What are your three success tips for entrepreneurs?
1. Have a can-do attitude.
2. Work harder than anyone else.
3. Remember that a champion gets up when he’s down.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
You always have challenges in business; what changes is the scale of the challenges as related to the growth of your business.
It’s not so much about the problems you face as it is about how you deal with them.
For example, dealing with many people can be a challenge, especially managing bright, diverse people in a new-age work environment, who are highly driven to succeed.
We manage them by breaking down the boundaries of the old business world. We have a completely open-plan office, where management sits as well.
Management is as flat as possible and communication is open. We celebrate wins and every occasion, like birthdays, etc.

DATE:  30 MARCH 2011