Sebastian Daniels, the recipient of the Young S.A. Entrepreneur of the year 2019 Award, would be impossible to encapsulate on a single sheet of paper!
A vibrant, passionate, strongly opinionated man on a deliberate mission to contribute to the support and growth of small businesses, Sebastian holds in his heart, the firm belief that the small business sector creates more opportunities than the larger companies, and are more innovative and environmentally friendly. He believes it can adapt far quicker to changing markets and is not focused solely on profit, but on passion, as well as social and environmental change.
Sebastian, the founder of Ground Culture, holds the conviction that the key to unlocking the incredible potential of the country, is by linking the formal and informal sectors, thereby contributing to the greater benefit of humanity and planet earth, and has spent the larger part of his adult life searching for ways to build a bridge in order to achieve these means.
Sebastian, has defined the Lockdown experience as mind altering and revolutionary. Off the belt of providing 75 coffee shops with their merchandise, doing all the sales and deliveries personally, in March 2020 he found himself having to redefine his procedures and strategies and now has many of these systems automated.
While most of the coffee shops had hoped to hold on through the Lockdown period, with some of them experiencing vulnerability at the start, and with the progression of those first deadly quiet weeks, around 65 of them closed their doors. “This kicked me into gear and got me thinking, OK, I need to adapt, I need to do something different. It also got me thinking, this whole world is going to be a totally different place when we emerge. I need to ensure I’m part of that new world” He says.
Sebastian’s purposeful intention, is to focus all his energies on the customer. Whilst enjoying the brand, to show people the fun of supporting small businesses, being real, creating a whole experience, and that the purchase and exchange of product for cash, is not a stand alone event…at the end of the day, he wants his message to be: “We love you, we want to thank you for supporting us, and you are our gold”.
Looking back, Sebastian recalls how the changes were pending as long ago as 9 months prior Lockdown, when he already founded a name for the changes up ahead, saying: “The shutting down of life as we knew it, resulted in me getting kicked to the curb, ideas and all, and it was a case of, well now boy, you sink or swim!”.
Through a process of enthusiastically jumping on the bandwagon, and then faltering and jumping off to do essential re-grouping and re-enforcing of his groundwork, Sebastian is now satisfied that he has the basics of a thriving business in place, with all the core values in keeping with his own personal brand and passion.
He believes he has done the lockdown exceptionally well. The opportunity for introspection helped him understand himself, together with the isolation and separation from everything that was the norm, allowing him to think properly, and do things properly. He describes it as a ‘kind of like growing up’, coupled with the realization, that good ideas are great, but in order to be sustainable, they need good execution with reliable systems in place.
Sebastian’s parting words on the post Lockdown situation are: “Clueless, except that it will be different. Predominantly online…..
Online is the new future”.