Angie Goff nee Hadjidakis is CEO of The Hadjidakis Group, a family owned company invested in property, retail and manufacturing. She took over the reins from her father in 2004, during a time when the business faced complete ruin. Determination and perseverance prevailed and the family business is strong and growing once again.
It was an honour to ask her 5 Questions.
Congratulations on your new retail brand The Good Batch, which opened on 19 October in Canal Walk Shopping Centre. You also started Guacamole, a Mexican take-away offering on 4 June, well done! These brands join your J&M Famous Biltong concept. There is much speculation and many woes sung about the current state of traditional retail worldwide. What are your views?
Thank you. I am well aware of the woes and the current state at retail shopping centres, however, I believe that these two brands will survive this current state because they offer food.
Especially in the case of The Good Batch, it is a unique concept in South Africa that has not really been done in this format.
Current trends are moving towards the “experience” of things and I think both these brands offer an experience. It is the category of retail that I am confident still has much scope.
Brands need to focus on great customer service, now more than ever, customers want to feel good once they have left your store so if you are still in traditional retail you have to work even harder at customer service now.
You grew up in an entrepreneurial family, where your father built everything up from scratch. Tell me a little about your childhood and what you think were some of the major values which formed the way you approach life and who you are today.
From a little girl, I was expected to work in the business during every school and university holiday. I had to work in every aspect of the company – any and all jobs were tackled. This taught me respect for every single type of job and position within our family business. It has also ingrained in me to value every staff member, as I know hands-on what they have to do. The long service track record of our staff is a testament to showing this respect to staff.
My father taught me the importance of perseverance and dedication, but above all, made sure that I knew how to stay motivated. Honesty and reliability are also core values instilled in me.
You had to take over the reins of a large organisation at a very young age when your father passed away. What advice do you have for young, ambitious achievers in light of the lessons you have learned?
Be brave. If you have done your homework and you are contemplating a big move – be brave, be bold, make that move.
Be prepared for failure, there will be some along the way.
I keep the following quote by Og Mandino in mind: “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
Try and look at every situation from all angles – it will go a long way to finding a suitable solution.
And lastly: ask questions!
As CEO of a multi-layered firm which includes being a retailer, property owner and investor, what are your greatest challenges and what do you find the most rewarding?
A great challenge is determining where the reserve funds will be invested when all the companies have their growth needs simultaneously and there is limited access to funds.
Being in a family business also has challenges, as you constantly have to know which hat to wear: when to be CEO, shareholder or family member.
I find providing jobs for others and developing the skills of our staff are the most rewarding parts of my job. Seeing someone growing and moving up in positions also provides such encouragement to others.
Nurturing a business that can take care of our next generation and formulating a good succession plan within the family holds many rewards too.
In my opinion, your most endearing quality is your remarkable humility. You are kind and approachable, yet quite clearly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to business. What keeps you sane, balanced and grounded?
I have always believed everyone is important and should be treated equally and I think this drives humility.
Being a mom keeps me balanced, as I get to go home at the end of the day and have to be compassionate and nurturing. It brings a completely different kind of structure to my life.
I stay grounded by the constant reminder of how grateful I am to have been born into this family and have these opportunities. I understand, however, that nobody is invincible and hard times can fall on anyone.
Exercising regularly helps me stay sane: especially a good boxing session. It relieves many frustrations!
Copyright © 2018 by Natalie du Preez.
This interview was conceptualised, conducted and authored by Natalie du Preez and is original content, which is property of the author, all rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be copied, shared or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner.