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Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneur of the Month Dec 2022. Raymond Brinkhuis of Lierolac is building tomorrow’s corporate by empowering small businesses today.

Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneur of the Month Dec 2022: Raymond Brinkhuis from Lierolac

By Cebelihle Mthethwa.

The words, ‘When you support a small business, you support a dream’ run true to entrepreneur and founder of Lierolac, Raymond Brinkhuis. After working at a financial institution for over two decades as an Internal Auditor and Process and Operations Manager Raymond combined his skills and passion, to start Lierolac, – a business operating in the Stellenbosch area- with the aim to support small businesses and help them scale.

Founded in 2017, the small-business consulting company was established specifically to help small business owners that do not have the capacity or the expertise to set up appropriate financial and operational processes for them to operate efficient, sustainable, and competitive businesses. They support start-up entrepreneurs, small business owners and social entrepreneurs to establish sound business and financial management processes within their businesses.

“I believe there are two areas that business owners desperately need in their business: to have proper processes, guidelines and policies in place. On the other hand, businesses need a strong financial department to survive, so I help business owners with compiling their financial information and ensure that they’re comfortable with the financial part of their business,” said Raymond.

“Small businesses are tomorrow’s corporates. They’re also the biggest driver of the economy, meaning that when they prosper, they employ more people and contribute towards uplifting local communities. Meanwhile, the statistics around small businesses failing are extremely high. In most cases, this is because they don’t know how to manage their finances well,” he added.

Raymond further noted that while he is pleased to have reached the five-year mark, his business journey has had a few setbacks that have prepared him for the road ahead. Like most businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on Lierolac, causing Raymond to not penetrate the market as was the intention.

“When you’re a small business, you start off as an idea, but as you grow the idea evolves. Another difficulty that I faced was not being able to grow my gaining a client base as quickly as I intended to and convincing potential customers others about the value that my business can add to their business credibility of my business. With the kind of business, I am running, one has to take into consideration that not all small businesses will have the ability to pay for services, hence I say that when starting a business, it should not be purely based on profit, there should be an element of passion into what you’re doing.”

Since the Covid-19 pandemic Lierolac has however experienced a steady upward trajectory in its growth and has been able to offer its services to a number of diverse businesses in its client base.

According to data from the BLS, approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years and only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. This was one of the main reasons that prompted Raymond to start his business. Lierolac offers customised consultation services including reviewing current procedures in place, recommending enhancements and implementing appropriate systems to manage “back office” functions. They also assist clients by executing some of the back-office functions until such time when business owners are comfortable with doing it themselves. Raymond didn’t just end with starting a business to help entrepreneurs, he also joined the Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship programme as well as the Small Business Academy of Stellenbosch University as a mentor.

“My passion is to help small businesses scale, so when I joined the Stellenbosch Network Entrepreneurial Mentorship programme, it was second nature for me and that’s why I’ve stayed with the programme for the past three years. Working with entrepreneurs gives me so much energy,” he explained.

Raymond’s future aim is to create a business process centre, which will assist small businesses with those tasks which they don’t have capacity to perform internally.

Giving advice to other entrepreneurs planning to take the leap of faith, Raymond said: “Entrepreneurs need to look at their passion, what you like to do, and combine that with their skills – that is the recipe for success. In addition to this, entrepreneurs need not shy away from doing their research and aligning their passion with what is needed in the market.”

Get in touch with Lierolac by clicking here