Meet the Boss: Vino Govender, managing director, LA Consulting Engineers
1. What was your first job?
My first job was at a take-away in Eshowe as a cashier. My parents could not afford university fees and I had to work first and subsidise my studies.
2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Not being able to remunerate my staff, due to payments from clients not received on time. Compliance and legislation changes, when you just think that you are on top of your game and then government brings in a new legislation and you need to meet those compliance issues or else you are unable to do business.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
Definitely got to be my mum. My mum (may her soul RIP) was a phenomenal women. She was illiterate, but her knowledge of finances and the budgeting thereof was amazing. It’s the very same thing we engage the services of mentors and professionals to assist with and way back then, it was done with such ease and knowledge.
4. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
There are 24 hours in a day – choose to use it wisely to make a difference.
5. The top reasons why you have been successful in business?
- Having a vision and goal and striving continuously to reach that goal
- Ensure your professional support structure is solid.
- Know your competitors, study them and understand them, knowing that always gives you an edge above them
- Be flexible to the ever-changing environment, know when to change your sails when the wind does not blow in the direction it is meant to.
6. Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
It’s a combination of both, with the major part of it learning towards on the job preparation because you are dealing individuals and emotions.
7. How do you relax?
I play golf, whenever I can. I also am passionate about the charity work I am involved in, so whether it is spending time with orphaned kids or aged parents, the destitute mum on the street or mentoring a teenager, it gives me peace knowing that I am working towards making a difference.
8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
It fluctuates. I don’t strive to be the first in the office, that definitely won’t work for me. I am more a late night worker than an early morning person.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
Favourite…mmmmm. It’s been a while since I have had an interview. But if I think back, it would have to be: ‘What made you choose this career?’.
10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
- Know your product or your service
- Know your competitors
- Be compliant
- Keep learning and do not be afraid to seek the advice of professionals
- Be flexible
- Familiarise yourself with legislation pertaining to your business
Govender recently won the title of National Woman in Business Champion at the 2016 South African Small Business Awards.