Standing room only

Why the Ignite event was on fire

Thanks to Sasfin, Mark Sham and his team at The Tryst hosted an exciting event for like-minded people who are keen to ignite their business’s growth.

Play Video about M Sassoon

Fireworks from the word “go”

As the Tryst team sees to the finishing touches and the smell of snacks wafts up from the bar area, Cam Bruce tunes his guitar to the tune of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, while Hannah Foster warms up her vocals.

The sunlight filters through the autumn leaves and people start to arrive. The energy is already electric and the first few glasses of Nalu Wines have been poured. Three sips in and the selfies are happening!

At first glance, the venue is mellow. A few people sit down and finish up business on their phones, while tapping their feet to the music. Groups mingle while a Tryst team member sets up two delicious Cakey by Davey.

Small business owners, who have unexpected ongoing relationships thanks to the Small Business Showcase, chat and mingle.

Ignite 2022 - 01

And the countdown begins…

Not so mellow any more

When Mark Sham puts the timer up on the screens, BAM! People flood the downstairs seating area. Tryst teammates hustle to set up more chairs and a range of people, from millennials in funky plaid jackets to Gen Zs in pantsuits to Boomers in bombers sit and wait for Mark to start.

"We're a tiny business - in a massive space."

Wow, growing The Tryst over the last year has not been easy, but bit by bit, it’s developed its identity.

After some background on this SME’s journey, Mark dives headfirst into a real doozy: Cakey by Davey Video – There are moist eyes and goosebumps all-round as Mark says, “I could have cancelled… What if I’d cancelled?”

Davey used to be a waiter and when Covid-19 hit, he was let go and forced to reinvent himself. Using sheer willpower he started his own business. Mark interviewed Davey and was deeply affected by his story…and so were the thousands who watched the viral video on Cakey by Davey back in August 2020.

This impactful video led to kind of a big deal: Sasfin Bank approached Mark directly and asked how it could get involved in the small business shout-outs he was doing.

C’mon baby, light my fire!

With Sasfin’s involvement, Mark and his team have been able to create more and more videos aimed at igniting small businesses. Businesses like Fabric Bank, which made The Tryst’s wallpaper and Mad Giant, the company behind the beer we’re enjoying.

Michael Sassoon, CEO of Sasfin Holdings, chats with Mark about SA’s economy. He has good news. And even better advice to give (blog). He admits that Covid-19 forced people into survival mode, where the focus was on holding down the fort. But he says we need to figure out how to find a growth mindset again.

M Sassoon
How to begin again

Michael Sassoon reckons crises (like Covid-19) have happened over and over in the past and each time, “Businesses that reinvented themselves are now giants.” He sees this happening now: some small businesses have spent time consolidating – but their competition hasn’t. And so they died.

Despite the hardships of the last two years, Michael says that he “can’t help but feel that there is a lot of positivity” right now.

“Okay, but of course a CEO of a bank sitting in his ivory tower is positive, right?”

But this isn’t the case. And we’re not just saying that because Sasfin is a client. We’re saying that because we’ve seen the very real way he and his team supports small businesses, like us.

Michael Sassoon explains how Sasfin decided to do something about the frustration around supporting SMEs, but not knowing how to do so outside of the traditional financing route. Introducing the Small Business Showcase!

Reaching new farenheits

Next up, we hear from the Godfather of Small Businesses, Allon Raiz. Wow. His advice (link blog on Allon) is incredibly powerful. At its core, it is advice on how to be human in complex times.

Allon advises “rigour in your thinking”. Find a network and a mentor – and use them! Don’t leave all the strategising to just you. Oh, and try not to be a “networking dick”, as Mark puts it. When you chat with someone, hear them out. It’s not all about you.

Allon shares four affirmations he recites in the shower every day:

I MAY, I CAN, I WILL, I AM… (Read here)

He explains how they keep him on track. Yep, even Allon Raiz needs help staying on track.

Allon Raiz
Fighting fire with fire

The evening comes to an end and there’s a vigour in the audience’s thinking and feeling. The crowd bubbles as strangers chat to each other. Entrepreneurs steal Mark, Michael and Allon for quick tête-à-têtes.

How wonderful to see “unpixellated faces” again!

Until next time.

P.S. If you’d like to hold an event of any size (with hybrid options easily available), contact The Tryst.

The Tryst Team

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