Morne Botha is a founding partner in the media agency All Square Media but has a strong golfing background being a PGA professional with roots in coaching at the heart of the game having previously franchised academies.
Morne has spent many years establishing himself as an innovator that, through All Square Media, services various the golf market through the publication ‘Corporate Golf Magazine’, together with the agency’s work with IGPN itself.
Q. Explain a bit of background about your business ventures and your involvement with them…
A. I qualified as a class A PGA professional in 2001 and instantly fell in love with the business side of the game. The PGA of South Africa was the perfect platform and partner for all my ideas I had at the time. As an entrepreneur and golfer it made perfect sense to focus on golf and the industry; I started with my own golf school for kids with a very strong business case, communications channel and brand. Later on this turned into a franchise business, which I sold on to focus more on technology alone.
My next venture was a communications application for clubs; more schools than clubs adopted this, so I also sold this business once I saw that I was drifting away from golf and my passion – the golf industry!
I then met with my current business partner, Marnus Visagie, an expert in the publishing industry, and started an online golf magazine for corporate individuals, which covers top corporate events in a personalised magazine. This was an instant hit in South Africa.
My focus with all ventures is on core business development and new business – with all the networking and experience I have gained over the years it has made this key to our company.
Q. What were the main business opportunities you saw within the ventures?
A. I looked at the game and saw a big gap in the business sector and also with how golf operators in general miss out on a big opportunity to communicate with corporates, the way they engage and also not being able to close business.
Our product is just one vehicle to communicate better to corporates, get them engaged in your golf business and then sell! It grows big databases or contact lists over time which are massively valuable.
Q. What strategy did you adopt in order to assess these business opportunities?
A. With today’s technology it is very easy to see who is really looking at your product or using it. Our product evolved over time and as we saw people using it. The most important factor with digital media is that people need to use it, read it and spend time on it; otherwise there is no value! Which all means you need to pay attention to what the stats are saying!
Q. What were the main challenges you faced with the strategy/ventures and what did you do to overcome them?
A. Our biggest challenge is to get people (especially in the golf industry) to change their ways and thinking about the industry itself. It took some time to get people believing in technology and good communication systems and products.
Q. How did you go about achieving the goals you set out for your ventures?
A. Like golf, you have to work really hard. My first step was to get a team together – a smart team to “out smart” our competition. I have a great business partner and we have the same vision. The second step was to make sure they understand our vision and also work hard! And then perseverance – sometimes it gets really hard but you have to keep grinding away and put more hours in and it all comes together, but at the same time we’re also having fun at what we do!
Q. What results have you had so far and how have you achieved the goals that were set?
A. We achieved most of our goals – the ones we missed out on were great learning curves and keeps us humble and make us work harder. We see all of our partnerships in business as huge successes; we are a Media Partner to PGAs of Europe, Affiliate of The PGA of South Africa, Communications partner to SA Israel Chamber of Commerce and Forbes Africa Media partner.
Q. What is next for the business – where do you now aim to be?
A. Our next step will be a big leap into what I believe is the future for Digital Publishing/Media. We are aiming to launch a franchise model before the end of this year. This will allow franchisors to own a piece of a fully fledge design studio. What this means is that you don’t have to set up your own studio anymore with all the resources and overheads, we will do all the in-house production for you at literally a fraction of the cost. This allows people to produce magazines, newsletters etc. and is an ideal business opportunity for any individual in the golf industry!
For more information on All Square Media visit www.allsquaremedia.co.za.