Faizel Cook – Managing Director of Cut2Black Media

Faizel Cook
Faizel Cook – MD of Cut2 Black Media

Cut2Black media is a multi-communication agency that offers a variety of services including strategy development, creative design, content development, and film and TV production.

Under the leadership of Faizel Cook and Lesley Hudson, Cut2Black has worked with clients as diverse as the United Nations, Standard Bank, Accenture, City of Jo’burg and the Department of Arts and Culture.

How did you finance your business?

“I saved enough to allow me to work without a salary for the first three months. By the time I left eTV, we already had enough work to keep us busy for the first few months.

We had a cash injection of R80, 000 from our other partners. We hustled a lot. Most banks will only give you money if you have some form of surety.

Our goal was to have enough cash to keep the business running for three months, which we reached in year two. By year three we were able to buy out our other partners and we haven’t looked back since.”

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

“Any entrepreneur will tell you that one of the biggest challenges is moving from working in your business to working on your business. Both Les and I are still quite operational but we intend to scale down the amount of work we do so we can focus on growing the business.”

What was your best idea that never worked?

“Investing in a security company based in Cape Town. On the face of it, it was a good business with enormous potential. Once we drilled down into the detail we discovered the business was in trouble with SARS, and was basically being bled dry by its employees.

There was a protracted strike and the owner is currently trying to save it. Fortunately, this all happened during the due diligence process and the deal was never consummated.”

How do you feel when your employees don’t agree with your decisions?

“We have people who have been with us since the beginning, and we treat them very well. With our support, our receptionist moved into HR and is currently running our events management business.

Creating opportunities for our black South Africans was always a part of our strategy. Unfortunately, it can’t be the same for everyone, so we’ve parted ways with others.

We have a code of conduct and a tight process that governs how we deal with people who cross the line. Principles and process are important to any business.”


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