Trevor Mclean-Anderson


Trevor Mclean-Anderson is Founder & CEO of Axis House, a billion Rand turnover multinational business servicing mines with a range of highly specialised proprietary chemical products.

My Definition Of Success | In the beginning, success meant the accumulation of wealth or the accumulation of recognition in one’s chosen industry. I was very lucky that early on I realized that in order to be meaningfully successful, you have to be working on something that you really enjoy. To become a master at something it is said that you have to spend 10 000 hours at it. I am not sure about the 10 000 hours theory – but you will never be tenacious at something if you are not intrinsically passionate about it. My perception of success has changed over the years – personal success is meaningless if you are not happy at home and in your community – this means that you have to balance your work, family, personal, spiritual and community personas – this is something that is extremely challenging and will always be a work in progress – as time is limited – so you have to choose wisely.

I Am Driven By | Although my parents gave me all that they could, and I got many advantages that many kids did not – times were tough and the fear of poverty was a huge driver. In South Africa and even Africa for that matter – we do not have a big social security net to catch us if we falter. We face real peril if things go horribly wrong. Now, though, I am driven by my wife and my family.

My Highlights | I think the creation of a business that is now a living, growing entity that lives and breathes without me, is a really amazing thing to look back on. Something that grows in some places and dies in others makes it really exciting.

A Key Talent | TENACITY. We have all heard the 80/20 rule of start-up businesses – 80% of businesses fail in their first year. I think 100% of all businesses would fail if the managers/owners threw in the towel when it seemed logical to do so. I have often heard successful business owners saying that if they know now what they knew then – they would never have started their journeys!

Love what you do
Get good at it
Keep doing it
Get better at it
Keep doing it
Expect failure
Keep doing it
Become the best at it
Keep doing it
Keep improving – even when you are at the top
Never forget number 1 on top – Love what you do!!!
Keep humble

Principles I Live By | In business and in life – there are always two sides to a transaction – to make sure that you secure tenure – make sure that the other side of the transaction is allowed to live well  if you don’t do that you will have short term gains. Fairness in business and life breeds partnerships. Without partnerships, you will not have the armour that you need in times of adversity when your leverage might be wanting.

How I Use My Mind | I believe it is very important to be super-organised but I battled with this in the early years of my career. Thankfully IT has made it easier for me to keep ahead of things. If you create structure using IT – it is easier to see the trees from the woods so to speak. Then you can concentrate on what needs doing. I also do not prioritise. I work through my list from top to bottom. If it is important enough to be on the list it must be done without compromise.

Lessons I Have Learnt | A very simple lesson that I learned long ago – If you go to a meeting and you get what you want, say “Thank you” and leave – after that, you can only go backwards – this happened to me once.

Dealing With Doubt | Many years ago the odds were stacked against us in business and we could not see around the corner – we honestly thought it would be impossible to make it through to the end of the year. We could not understand how this could happen to such nice people! We just continued doing what we did. We relied on the partnerships that we had built, and in 8 months time we were growing again, had money in the bank with even stronger bonds of partnership.

Performing At My Peak | It’s not always possible to perform at your peak. But I do think it’s very important to keep improving and to keep changing. A company or a person that adapts to change is the company that will survive and flourish

My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I find the internet and the mobile space the most interesting space to be involved in at the moment. I have a few ventures that will solely derive their income on these platforms. This is exciting as well as quite scary for me. My businesses have only used the internet for marketing and communication up to now. Watch this space.

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Never give up!

Advise On Building Wealth | Don’t chase money – you will never find it. Find out what you love – then do that – become the best!

On Inspiring Others | The most important thing is to make sure that the people you work with have the same values as yourself and by extension the company. It is important to engage with your team all the time to make sure that you are all still connected and ‘scrumming’ in the same direction.

I Am Inspired By | I am not really inspired by anyone alive. If I am honest, I think one always wants the approval of your parents and your wife – these are the people that have inspired me over the years at various times.

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I think the idea of leaving a legacy is a bit vain – I would just like to know that I have lived the life that has been given to me, properly. It’s a cliché but we are here for a short space of time and we really do need to make the most of it for ourselves and our fellow human beings.

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