Rene Bresser is the owner of Kraft Digital Design, a digital design company based in South Africa that helps businesses create websites, logos, social media management and any other design needs that represent their brand, reinforce their presence and sell their products and services.
- His business currently out-earns his full-time employee income by 15%
- He now gets an average of 5 referrals per month
- The ‘Coffee first, Business later’ approach is one of the tribe’s most important tools for fostering growth, new opportunities, and collaborations.
Like many employees in the pandemic, Rene lost his job as a General manager of a packaging company. That meant he could no longer provide for his family because his job was his major source of income. Rene also owned a business – as a freelance web developer and an online marketplace called Kraft Emporium where artists and craftspeople could sell their products. However, he had trouble monetizing the space.
“When I lost my job, I had to scale my business, really quickly. My business had to become my sole and permanent income… I realized that these guys [the store owners] were only selling on my platform because they couldn’t afford online shops for themselves. But many of them couldn’t afford to pay me either.”
To sum up, he was unemployed with a fledgling online business model that was struggling to take off, and an overwhelming pressure to find a new source of income.
Rene was already a member of the Explore Protech Tribe so he had access to all the resources the community had to offer.
The remarkable transformation that followed was the result of a joint effort between Rene, Nestene and Peter (the founders of Explore Protech) and the rest of the tribe members under the guidance and support of Steven Levy
Explore Protech prides itself in providing resources to help entrepreneurs solve their problems, as opposed to solving the problems for them.
As Nestene and Peter put it, “I think from our side, we thought we could give him a safe space, where he could find answers to his business problems.
“Rene didn’t expect this group to solve his problem. He expected that the people within the group would help him get value if he put his efforts in. And that’s what he did.”
Support that Inspires Confidence and Growth
Confidence was an issue for Rene at the start. After losing his job and failing to scale his online business, he needed to rebuild faith in his ability.
Nestene and Peter connected him with a few tribe members who specialize in helping people gain perspective.
“The moment that I lost my job, Steven Levy (one of the tribe members) was willing to sit with me and help me put together a plan and just put things in perspective in terms of what I need to do. Because obviously losing your day job is very shocking,” Rene says.
Peter and Nestene also reached out constantly, showing Rene a consistent and supportive presence, a listening ear, and a shoulder to lean on.
“They would just say to me, ‘listen, let’s do this for you. What do you need?’ and then they would connect me with people who could help me find those resources… I think there are so many people in this tribe that have lost everything and had to start over again. And they’ve helped them do that.”
Referrals Based on Trust
The tribe also rallied to provide Rene with a constant stream of referrals based on trust in his work and the common thread of support that ran through the whole community.
“There were many people who referred business to me. In the beginning, it wasn’t necessarily big ones but I had clients all over Explore Protech. I’ve even done many people’s websites, including exploreprotech.com”
As word spread of Rene’s skill and unique needs, everyone who needed his service, or knew someone who needed him, sent business his way.
“And all these referrals helped me grow to a point where I could go out and network with people outside the tribe.”
Now, he has referrals coming in from connections all over the world and has been able to surpass his previous employee income by 115%!
‘Coffee First, Business Later’
Another thing that the Tribe helped Rene understand was the ‘Coffee first, business later’ approach. It is one of the tribe’s most important tools for fostering growth, new opportunities, and collaborations.
The gist of this approach is that you should first form relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and strive to understand them as individuals before ever trying to do business with them. According to Nestene and Peter, it’s important to build a great relationship with everyone you’re in business with. And even if you don’t do business, you walk away with one more ally.
… but a little while later, he was all about the coffee. He could just show up to meetings and networking events and form relationships with people” Peter says.
This unique approach allowed Rene to network with multiple people globally, and unlock a steady stream of referrals.
“The majority of my clients now are actually abroad more than local. So Explore Protech helped me grow my company to an international company rather than just local.”
The coffee first, business later approach also allowed Rene to find creative solutions with entrepreneurs and grow their businesses together.
“The collaboration model I learned from Explore Protech was brilliant, and the fact that you need to work with other people and collaborate, and grow together. I currently have collaboration partners all over the world, from designers to copywriters.”
After growing his business to replace his job income, Rene doesn’t plan on stopping. He fully intends to continue networking, collaborating with new entrepreneurs and being an integral part of the Tribe.
“I’ve grown to a point in my business where I can’t do everything myself and I need to outsource some tasks. It’s a challenging place to be because I have so many people depending on me to deliver, but it’s also very exciting because obviously your financial security gets better and you get a stable long-term income.”