The little start-up that could

CN&CO remains a fascinating experiment. Can a company exist, thrive and add ongoing value to clients and partners while supporting the changing lifestyle needs of the team?

Judging by the amazing activities CN&CO team mates get up to (over and above the work we do), like …..

Josie’s babies – Frankie (left) and Grace – have both entered the world since we started CN&CO in its current form

  • Having babies
  • Supporting family members
  • Travelling to places as diverse as Cuba and Japan
  • Helping to save our oceans and trails
  • Running races for charity … and much more

… as well as the excellent growth and activities at our clients, including:

  • Satrix, which has over R80 billion under assets and has solidified its positions as a brand providing access for all
  • Club Med South Africa, which continues to smash sales targets and bolster its magnificent local team
  • EasyEquities, which has again doubled assets and client numbers, making buying shares fun, easy and cheap for everyone
  • OUTvest, which is courageously helping South Africans invest using a phenomenal hybdrid robo/human advice service
  • Dead Reckoning, which remains a leading, local entrepreneurial clothing brand

… the answer is a resounding YES! You can read all about that – and more – on our blog.

Our mantra remains one of relationships, culture, communication. We believe people always trump strategy, finances and process. We intentionally keep our team small but constantly push ourselves to learn more, read more, see more, do more and expose ourselves to more, so as to not get staid or complacent.

Team CN&CO all in the same place at the same time. This has only happened once in three years

With our fourth financial year behind us, we are proud of what we have achieved – with and for our partners – and we are bloody excited about what we can still do, together. Our work must always add value. It must get and/or keep our clients customers who believe in their products and support the values of these companies. We also remain humble – knowing that we can always learn and do better. And we thank all of you who keep us on our toes. We love being challenged.

While some clients – like Lombard Partnerships, ITOO, Innosys, Fulcrum and EasyEquities – have been with us since our founding, other clients have joined us more recently – like Ince, Bidvest Insurance and OUTvest. And some brands we have parted ways with – RTT Logistics, CIB and the IISA to name a few – as it made sense that we do so. At CN&CO we never want to “just” keep a client to pay our bills. We respect our partners too much, and have enough confidence in our abilities not to do so. And so our business happily has a mix of new and old, of big and small, of retainer- and project-based clients. We do what is right for our clients, and as a result we benefit in the long run. Some of the relationships that we ended when we could no longer add value took interesting turns and opened new doors. Like life, there’s always another opportunity just around the corner if we are open to it.

We continue to take what we do seriously, not ourselves. We continue to make mistakes and to learn. We continue to have fun. And we continue to experiment and to build our lifestyle business. I sent a piece about culture to the team recently. It speaks about culture within a business and poses a few questions. Colin – always the word nerd and conscientious, diligent one – sent me his answers. I share them with you as they made me realise how lucky we are to be part of THIS lifestyle business. THANK YOU.

Q: What would you tell a friend about your organisation if they were about to start working here?

A: You’ve made an excellent choice

Q: What is the one thing you would most like to change about this organisation?

A: The perfume (haha) [inside joke – Colin doesn’t like our room scent – but I love it, sorry!]

Q: Who is a hero around here? Why?

A: Everyone here is a hero, otherwise they wouldn’t be here

Q: What is your favourite characteristic that is present in your company?

A: Trust in each other

Q: What kinds of people fail in your organisation?

A: Negative and self-interested

Q: What is your favourite question to ask a candidate for a job in your company?

A: Do you have any tattoos?

Wishing you the very best as we suck the marrow from the second quarter of the year! And continue to build our brands, and our country.

Carel is an investor in people and businesses, believing that 1+1 = (at least) 22. Working with a few basic concepts – best encapsulated in his believe that unless we are dead, anything is possible – Carel aims to build long-term sustainable value with like-minded individuals and companies, while having (a lot of!) fun.