Cindy Norcott - A happy business person is an opportunity thinker, has an ever increasing attitude of gratitude, is anchored in self-respect and guides people


Owner of Pro-Appointments, founder and chairperson of the Robin Hood Foundation

CINDY NORCOTT a business leader in constant motion and it comes as no surprise that her book is titled 'How to be Unstoppable'.

Apart from being an author she is a wife, mother to two girls, a businesswoman, has climbed Kilimanjaro, built a crèche for needy children, has her own foundation, is a motivational speaker and an entrepreneur who single handedly launched her business, Pro Appointments, 22 years ago. She launched her company in a spare room of her parents' home with an old desk, a couple of chairs, a telephone, fax machine and typewriter.

"I started my business at 24 with R2 500 in my bank account, and I have never had to touch that money. I have never applied for a loan and I have been blessed to have been able to increase my profits year on year."

Norcott attributes her success to hard work, being exceptionally disciplined and surrounding herself with "amazing" people. Failure she says was never an option. Although her business was from home, she would wake up, get dressed and start work at the same time every day. "I worked all day filling assignments and visiting clients and, at night, I would do my administration and invoices. Every weekend I would work in my business and on my business plan. I loved what I was doing and I was having fun."

It was not easy and, she points out, with success came growth and she had to learn new skills."I lacked general business and accounting skills when I started and I had to have a very steep learning curve to get my head around the figures. I lacked managerial skills and I battled in the beginning to be assertive and handle conflict, especially when it came to dealing with staff."

Today her business in Westville is among the leaders in the field. She has a team of nine staff and the focus is on placements of temporary, contract and permanent staff in the fields of office support, accounts and sales.

Success for Norcott is a combination of factors. "More than profit I know that a happy business person is an opportunity thinker, has an ever increasing attitude of gratitude, is anchored in self-respect and guides people." She says consistency and growing her skills and learning more in her field has increased her credibility.

Integrity is everything for Norcott. She says she was told by a wise businessman never to confuse integrity and reputation. "He said reputation is what everyone thinks you are and integrity is who you really are. I believe that if you operate with integrity, you sleep well and you never have to worry about remembering any lies."

She is passionate about all the things she does. She also mentors start up entrepreneurs free of charge and does motivational talks at various churches and community organisations. "I love business and I really enjoy running my recruitment company and employing my strengths on a daily basis with a team of professional and driven staff. I love seeing people develop and grow and I love the motivational speaking."

She is emphatic that she is not a perfectionist but rather a planner and stickler for lists. She lives by what she calls the basics. "Every Sunday evening between 5.30pm and 8.30pm, I pour myself a glass of wine and do a comprehensive 'to do' list for every area of my life". The process helps her plan, keep focused and gives her the "confidence to say no".

She believes in goals that have value. "I have learnt that, if an activity is not taking me closer my goal, I simply won't do it." Apart from her energy-charged motivational and inspirational speaking engagements and appearances, she is most proud about the contribution she is making to the community through her Robin Hood Foundation.

Eleven years ago she launched the Robin Hood Foundation - a non-profit organisation, running projects such as Love the Babies, Bless Granny and Grandpa, Hope Breakfasts and Gogo Bags. "We host entrepreneurial conferences and parties for schools with children with special needs. We run more than 100 projects per year and our focus is helping people in need. As the name suggests, we take from the rich and we give to the poor. Through our work individuals and organisations are making a difference."

She is strong on leadership. "I work with teams of people and they know what to do and how to do it but when you can inspire people to do more than they thought they could, that is when the magic happens.

I have been gifted with a mind full of ideas and I love walking away from a meeting where there has been crackling energy and where I see lights going on in people's eyes. I believe that a good leader will get people to do more than they think they can."

She has won dozens of awards over the years for business excellence and community involvement. Awards that have meant a lot to her include the Paul
Harris award from Westville Rotary and the Lead SA KZN Hero award. She was also awarded the Most Influential Woman in Business and Government award in the services category in 2014 and also voted one of the 29 awesome women of the year by Cosmopolitan magazine.

She has drawn inspiration from a number of leaders in society including Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey. She also pays tribute to her business mentor whom she names only as Andrew. "I have also been inspired by Richard Branson and John Maxwell. I was lucky enough to have my mentor, Andrew, in my first three years of business. He helped me push myself, believe in myself and become more accountable".

Norcott's book is an account of the lessons learnt as a business leader. It challenges you to reconsider your goals and actions, and encourages you to dream bigger and expect more of yourself.

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