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Clive Zulberg – the 18-year-old entrepreneur

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What makes entrepreneurs tick? How do they overcome the odds? We put these questions to Stallion Security CEO, Clive Zulberg, who founded his company at the age of 18.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

After completing my national conscription service I realised that I thrived in a controlled and accountable environment. I needed to operate in an environment that suited my nature. I was, however, always entrepreneurial and grew up in an environment that encouraged children to sit in on business meetings and participate in discussions around world affairs.

What major obstacles did you face?

I was 18 years old when I founded Stallion Security. Most of my staff were older than me and NOBODY took me seriously. This was my strength.

How did you overcome them – please specify for each major obstacle?

Complete self-belief. I did not believe I was better than anybody else but I also believed I was as good as anybody else. I found my “True North” and stayed the course.

How have you succeeded against the odds to be where you are today?

Business is tough but I approach every obstacle as a challenge with a solution that I have yet to discover. Given enough time and enough determination we can overcome most at what life throws at us.

What have you learnt the hard way that you would now do differently?

It is not as hard as we think to make money, but you have to be committed and focused. If I was starting out again today I would make space for myself in the biggest mall in the world – the internet.

What advice do you have for people looking to start their own business?

Don’t waste too much time developing logos and mission statements. You haven’t got a business until you buy something and sell something and have some money left over. Start trading; the rest will fall into place.

Who has been your most important mentor or person who guided you and what did you learn from them?

Without a doubt it has been my dad, although I have often disagreed with him over the years more often than not he is right. NEVER discount the experience that age brings. Find a mentor who has been a success, not a “new business coach”.

Are you mentoring anyone outside your business and, if so, what are you focusing on teaching them?

I often speak to aspiring entrepreneurs and I teach them one thing: “it’s much easier than you think”. Figure out what you REALLY want and go get it. Millions of people around the world do and many have had less to start with.

If you started today with what you now know what would you do differently?

Nothing – it has been a helluva journey.

If you could replicate yourself, what else would you focus on achieving?

Dollar-based revenue. It’s soul-destroying watching a depreciating rand diminish your hard work.


Alison Goldberg is the former property editor of Business Day (1985) and the Financial Mail (1991-99). In 1995 she won the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year Award. She has edited such titles as National Constructor and The Miner in Australia and has freelanced for The Star, The South African Jewish Report and The Jerusalem Post.

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