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Entrepreneur goes for gadget insurance gap

Sep 03 2014 18:11
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Richard Neville of SurethingSA can be called an online gadget insurance entrepreneur.

SurethingSA provides inexpensive, quick insurance for all portable electronic items like cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, laptops and MP3 player.

Fin24 asked him how this came about.

Give a bit of background on yourself.

I am a 37 years old and from Cape Town and started working in the insurance field at 21.

I started the second pet insurance company in SA – MediPetSA - in September 2007. The company is now the largest pet insurer in the country.

I spent 12 years at Murrayclan Insurance Brokers, became MD and a director. I left to establish my own insurance brokerage, Forsyth & Nash in June 2013.

I started SurethingSA in December 2013 with R50 000.

How did you become an entrepreneur?

I have always had a fascination for business and successful start-up stories. I love the challenge of being my own boss and setting myself tasks to accomplish.

I also love the freedom of being able to make my own decisions, both the good and the bad ones and learning to deal with the consequences.

Tell us a bit about your business SurethingSA.
 
It offers affordable online gadget insurance cover aimed at the young people of SA.

Quotes and registration is all completed online in a matter of minutes.

I wanted to establish a fast, affordable and trustworthy online insurance model.

What were or are the challenges as an entrepreneur?

Advertising is expensive. It’s difficult to get your name out there with a limited budget.

Any new business takes time and reliable word-of-mouth referrals to get going.

We have been open for business for nine months and luckily the growth has been increasing at a steady pace.

You can’t be an impatient person when starting your own business. Successful businesses take time to become successful.
 
You must be able to take criticism on the chin. It’s difficult to digest criticism, even from your closest friends, but it’s important to hear others’ feedback on your product, so that you also learn to listen to your customers.

You may believe that your product is the best in the market, but it may have flaws that even you can’t see.
 
Be prepared to take risks. You have to have a certain amount of self-belief to be an entrepreneur.

Believe in your product. Your passion must be felt by your customers and suppliers.
 
What makes your business successful and what was the gap you saw?

There was only one other company in SA offering gadget insurance. All other companies required clients to first insure their cars and/or homes in order for their gadgets to be insured.

I also believed that I could create a simpler and quicker solution, thus making it appealing to our market, namely the youth of SA.

The number of cell phones in South Africa surpasses the number of people living here.

South Africa has one of the largest telecommunications markets on the continent.

If SurethingSA could access only a fraction of this market, it would be a very successful company.
 
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

People will tell you that there are people doing this or that already. But I believe there is always a place for someone to offer a good product and a great service at a competitive price.

If you can do that you will be successful.
 
What are your future plans?

To make SurethingSA the leading online gadget insurance solution in the country. And possibly take it into Africa and abroad.

- Fin24

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entrepreneurs  |  small business  |  insurance
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