6 business lessons from Starbucks co-founder Zev Siegl (Video)

Entrepreneurship advocate and serial entrepreneur shares his advice for getting to the top


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"Every 24 hours two Starbucks Coffee Company chains are opened" - this bit of Starbucks trivia is shared by Zev Siegl (60) a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who together with co-founders, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, founded what would be the world's largest coffee chain in Seattle, Washington, United States in 1971.

The trio went on to sell the company in 1987. The brand under the leadership of Howard Schultz has gone to achieve great success. According to a Forbes May 2015 report, the company is valued at $70 billion and is regarded as one of the world's most innovative companies.  

Today Siegl is a renowned global speaker and an early-stage SME consultant. He is in South Africa for the annual Old Mutual Corporate Wisdom Forum – a platform for debate with local and international speakers. 

Siegl is a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship and travels the world in a bid to inspire and develop young entrepreneurs.  

He sat down for an interview with SME South Africa to discuss the value of sharing wisdom, the importance of building a supportive team and you must always listen to your customer. 

The Starbucks story - "Customers loved getting involved, they loved learning about something that was at the time really new"

On advice for surviving the first 1000 days - "Keep an eye on your cash forecast" 

On building a team and company culture - "It's the total team that can establish the company culture and at the same time make it stable"

On scalability - "It comes to a question of values"

On the importance of  mentorship and sharing knowledge - "It's vital for experienced business people to share what they have learnt"

On South Africa's entrepreneurship ecosystem - "Here in South Africa you are strong in some categories and in other categories support is needed"  

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