Having attended Pitti Uomo trade fair for multiple times, it was fair to pay homage to local expos and learn a thing or two of how is done here at home.

Just like Pitti and any other expo, the main aim is to promote businesses and brands. Going to Florence to attend this internationally acclaimed trade fair was my journey to learn more about the sartorial menswear world. Season after season I learnt new things from the art of tailoring; types of fabrics and timeless style of dressing like a gentleman.


However there was not much in terms of important factors that one should consider when running a business. Of course the running of a business differs from individuals and also depends on the type of business. Take a moment and reflect on the current state of our country’s economy, regardless whether you running a business or having a “9-2-5” somehow it has affected us all in different ways. In the past years we’ve witnessed new and rather strange things, such as the recession; credit downgrade as well as what we now know as “junk status”. All of these had a major blow on employment in the country and talking from experience I was also a victim. Yes, I was laid off at work due to the business not doing well and as a result they had to cut down on staff. With that said, finding another job was also a mission which forced me to taking a risk I’ve postponed for years.


I took a path of being self-employed and starting up my own business. Like anyone who has his or her own business, big or small; successful or not yet…they will tell you the same story that it was one of their biggest challenges. So since I am also one of those that are still going through the challenges of running a business, it was imperative for me to attend My Business Expo. Organised by World Famous Events and NSBC, My Business Expo is the largest business expo, conference and networking event for anyone serious about starting or growing a business. With more than 25 000 delegates, 250 exhibitors, 100 top of the line seminars and sessions, it’s the most successful show of its kind in Africa. It’s where business gets personal with top of the line speakers, business experts, incredible interactive exhibits, cutting edge solutions, new trends, world class networking, incredible ideas and opportunities, in-depth education and off-the-chart experiences.


In the past year I have built a network of young and progressive gentlemen from different industries and all of us were passionate about the dandy lifestyle of a gentleman. Most of these gents are running their own businesses and through this movement, the aim is to try and find ways to grow as a collective and improve our businesses. After my experiences at Pitti Uomo trade fair, a lot of the gents wanted to go visit Florence and experience the thrill. I know I may sound contradicting but the experience I had at Gallagher Convention Centre this week was much more thrilling. I didn’t have to dress up and go look pretty for photographers in the scotching heat. I was just feeding my knowledge with everything that will help manage by business and brand at large better.


These past two weeks have been very interesting with regards to the economy of the country and it has been influenced by politics. We’ve witnessed a transition in the presidency and the strengthening of the currency. What was more interesting was the recent National Budget Speech. One of the major talking points about the speech made by the finance minister was the inevitable increase of VAT (Value Added Tax). Now this on its own was one of the big topics in the seminars during the expo.


As boring as it is to know and learn about taxes, there were other more important topics such as intellectual property; digital marketing; funding; financials; etc. The latter point was one of my highlights from the expo, as it spoke to every SME and I’m sure we could all relate. We are creatives and sometimes when it comes to numbers we may not be so creative, but I got to learn the importance of familiarizing myself with figures of business. I believe for SMEs one should try and know as much as possible about finances of their businesses while the business is still young, once it grows then one can consider an accountant. Fraudulent activities have been trending in South Africa and the more one knows about financials of the business the less they become victims of such actions.


The last point that wrapped it up for me was the importance of networking. I’ve done a lot of networking in Florence during Pitti Uomo, however most of those people I networked with are far away. This was another reason I saw the need of establishing this networking movement with dandy gentlemen in South Africa. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards, “showing up; reconnecting; making follow-ups; getting organized; and strategizing”. I don’t even have to explain them as they are self-explanatory.


There was more than what I covered and definitely felt like I could have another day at the expo, I mean I could go on and on. A lot of the delegates who attended left with so much confidence and knowledge that will help grow and improve their businesses. As for me, I’m definitely going back to the drawing board. If you want to know more about #MyBizExpo check their website on https:www.mybizexpo.co.za/site/ and Facebook @NSBC South Africa.

Until next time…

Suitably Yours

Brian Lehang


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