As 2015 gets underway, we need to ask ourselves – what should we stop doing that is not working, what should we keep doing that is working and what should we start doing.
These are wise words from Cindy Norcott, owner of Pro-Appointments, founder and chairlady of the Robin Hood Foundation and author of the book ‘How to Be Unstoppable’.
‘’Pro-Appointments is twenty years old and the Robin Hood Foundation turns ten this year, and every day I wake up motivated and inspired to do more and achieve more for both organisations,’’ says Cindy.
When asked how this is possible, she replies that, according to her husband, Steve, she is too stubborn to have a bad day or year. Pro-Appointments continues to grow year on year with July 2014 having been their best month to date.
She launched her company in a spare room in her parents’ home with just an old desk, a couple of chairs, a telephone, fax machine and typewriter. ‘’I started my business at the age of 24 with R2500 in my bank account, and I have never had to touch that money. I have never applied for a loan and I have been blessed to have been able to increase my profits year on year.’’
Cindy attributes her success to hard work, being exceptionally disciplined and surrounding herself with amazing people.
In her book, she explains that when she looks back on her early days in business, she remembers just how hungry she was to succeed – and how determined. “Failure was not an option. I would wake up early, get dressed and start work at the same time every day. Even though I worked from home, I treated my business seriously from the beginning. I would work all day filling assignments and visiting clients and, at night, I would do my administration and invoices. Every weekend I would work in my business and on my business plan…. I don’t remember it as hard work as I loved what I was doing and I was having fun.”
Not much has changed and, even now, she still sticks to what she calls the basics. “Every Sunday evening between 5.30pm and 8.30pm, I pour myself a glass of wine and do a comprehensive ‘to do’ list for every area of my life. This helps me to plan, keep focussed and, more importantly, gives me the confidence to say no. I am a people pleaser and so putting boundaries in place has been a challenge for me. Having a list of everything I need to achieve allows me to say, honestly, that I am unable to attend a meeting, a function or a presentation. Another valuable piece of advice which I have learnt is that, if an activity is not taking you closer to your goal, simply don’t do it.’’
In 2004, Cindy bought The KZN Business Training Centre – and sold it two years later. ‘’I am passionate about mentoring and growing people, especially entrepreneurs, and this was a perfect opportunity for me. Being linked to a training centre which specialises in business and entrepreneurial courses and seminars gave Pro-Appointments increased credibility.
‘’I continue to mentor people for two reasons – to see them achieve their goals and reach their full potential as well as for my own growth. I always obtain a new perspective on a business solution when I mentor.’
‘’The same applies to giving speeches. I started speaking to get out of my comfort zone but now writing speeches inspires me. At a recent fundraiser, I was asked to talk on how to make 2015 the best year ever. I had to sit down and think about what steps I need to take to ensure that it would be my happiest and most successful year to date. Once I have a game plan, I am very driven to achieve it.’’
Cindy makes bucket lists which she ticks off – and then recreates them. In 2014, Cindy’s list included climbing Kilimanjaro, building a crèche in rural Mariannhill and writing a book, all of which she had achieved by August last year.
‘’My book is an account of the lessons that I have learnt during my twenty-year business experience. In the book, I ask many questions that will challenge the reader to reconsider their goals and actions, and encourage them to dream bigger, expect more of themselves and start their journey of unstoppable action.’’
Cindy’s goal was to sell 1 500 books by the end of 2014 but, after selling out in August, she ordered an additional 1 500 which corporates are using as inspirational gifts for clients and staff and individuals to keep them focussed throughout the New Year.
So what’s on Cindy’s bucket list for 2015? To be the happiest person she knows because, in her opinion, happy people are opportunity thinkers, to slow down, to have an ever increasing attitude of gratitude, to be anchored in self-respect by guiding people on how to treat her and to make every week a Mandela remembrance week by doing 67 minutes of random acts of kindness.
Cindy’s book, ‘How to be Unstoppable’, is available from Adams in Musgrave Centre, Stanley Stationers in Westville Village Market, Scribbles in Fields Shopping Centre, Kloof Village Stationers, Green with Envy, Blend SA, Books & Books in Durban North, Book Boutique, Brigit Filmer Spa & Skin and Pro-Appointments.
Readers living outside of KZN can order Cindy’s book for R120 (excluding postage). They need to email her on email@example.com to order.
Cindy is also reaching out to those who need to market their businesses but do not know how, those who have run out of ideas or find they don’t have the confidence to network. She’ll be hosting a Manic Marketing Mini Conference on Wednesday, 18 March at the Westville Country Club. Tickets are R250 per person. Email her on the same address to make a booking.