Eikon Investments founders discuss doing big things in Port Elizabeth

BY NATALI IVERSON - MARCH 7, 2016

Many say that passion and dedication should be your drive for success, and speaking to the owners of Port Elizabeth-based Eikon Investments, Melvin Iverson and Cameron Millar, they show that having that passion, dedication and working hard for what you want, really does pay off.

Eikon is the umbrella company of several brands, which operate in various industries. Through these businesses, the two partners generate a profit, which they then reinvest into new or existing ventures. RNews sat down with them to hear more about what they do.

What made you become entrepreneurs?

Melvin: From a young age, we have both always had a passion for business and entrepreneurship. I started my first venture when I was 15 years old, and I won a national award for business plan development.

We find the drive behind idea conception, creating, innovating, building, pushing and managing our brands an absolute thrill, especially when you start seeing the results.

You mentioned that Eikon owns several brands. Can you name these brands?

Cameron: Yes sure, in no specific order:

  • Scribes Manufacturing
  • Brave Explorations with Brave House
  • Yo! Media Marketing
  • Amuse Photo Booths
  • The Hoard Store
  • Epic My Event

How did you find partners who are as passionate as you are about your businesses and what have you learned from these partnerships?

Melvin: Eikon consists of the two of us as partners, as well as our staff. Finding a business partner that is as passionate as you are is not an easy task. A business partner needs to bring something to the table and it must be mutually beneficial.

The expectations from both sides needs to be clear from the get go. You need to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and see where you can complement one another. In order for us to work together, we expect passion, drive, loyalty, respect and communication. We are both mentored by an award winning entrepreneur and she helps us through these processes.

What have been some of your mistakes, and what have you learned from them?

Melvin: In the past we have made paperwork errors that have cost us immensely, emotionally and financially. You must be sure to have a watertight contract in place with partners and staff, and refer back to the contract on a regular basis, see how your company has evolved, and make amendments should they be required.

Boundaries have been an issue. Your partner and staff will most likely become your friends as you share similar interests. Learn to step out of the friendship to make business decisions as a company, and then step back into the friendship outside of the company framework.

Do not boil up feelings and emotions. Speak often; you owe it to your partner to be transparent. Communication is the key for the success of any brand.

Cameron: As our business grew, we realised more and more how valuable and costly time really is. We had to learn not to waste it. Get enough sleep and start your day early with a set structure based on goals. It is likely that your business will require most of your time. It is however important to schedule time for yourself to switch off.

We then also left our brands in the hands of unskilled staff too soon in the past. No one has the same passion for your business as you do, get your hands dirty. Do not be afraid to work at grass root level in your company often to make sure your employees know what you expect and what you will not tolerate. Learn to delegate and to say no.

What motivates you?

Melvin: Meeting up with like-minded individuals is a great form of motivation. Goals that need to be achieved are a major drive, and your drive increases once you achieve those goals and as you set new ones. Constantly challenge yourself to dream bigger and go further.

What is your favourite aspect of being entrepreneurs?

Cameron: Entrepreneurship has provided us with creative and innovative freedom. On a daily basis we meet interesting people, we work with a dedicated driven team and we are all passionate about the brand. Furthermore we do not answer to a boss; we get to choose our own work environment along with more flexible hours.

The rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. We have the opportunity and responsibility to change lives for the better, and that is our vision with Eikon.

What advice would you give to university students who want to become an entrepreneur?

Melvin: Educate yourself in business. Find a mentor bearing entrepreneurial fruit. Ask these questions: Do they own a business? Have they built it from scratch? What are some of their entrepreneurial achievements? Do they know anything about your industry? Ask your mentor about networking opportunities, these are vital, as they will force you out of your comfort zone and get your brand out there.

Switch off the TV and read. Invest in business books and read loads of business blogs. Ask questions and learn from the mistakes of others.

Cameron: Managing friendships can be tricky as an entrepreneur. It is likely that you will lose friends, and that is Okay.

Not all your friends will understand the sacrifices that you need to make in order for your dream to become a reality. Those that are supposed to be in your life will stick around and be your support system as you climb the mountain. Be loyal to your loyal friends. Drop the ones that are not and move on from drama.

Melvin: Money is not everything. If you are into entrepreneurship for the money, rather find employment. You should be driven by a passion for your business idea. Through hard work and dedication, the money can be there, but do not let finances be your drive.

When you make a profit, reinvest into income generating assets and keep growing. Be wise with every single cent you spend, take R1.00 and make it R5.00.

Humility is the key. Do not let success go to your head, you can fall tomorrow and everything you worked for will be gone. Stay humble and play your cards close to your chest. Grow alongside your brand. Know when to move on from an idea and see it as a lesson, not a mistake.

What is next for Eikon?

Cameron: We have several things in the pipeline for 2016 and we have a lot of work ahead of us! One of our brands is in the process of franchising. Three of our brands we plan to grow and double in net worth by December 2016 by reinvesting into their assets.

We have two start-up brands that we plan to get off the ground. We recently found office space and will be moving into a warehouse soon. We plan to innovate, create, be different and challenge the norms in business.

Melvin: Through all of this we believe in living with open hands and giving back, 2015 has redefined the importance of this to us.

Want to see for yourself what Eikon Investments does? Visit their new web page at www.thisiseikon.co.za for more information.