The prestigious Standard Bank KZN Top Business Personality award 2019 went to Allan Hirsch, the founder and CEO of the Hirsch Group. The honorary award is given to a person who has demonstrated, “exemplary business achievement, industry influence and is a true inspiration to others”.
Allan Hirsch is an outstanding example of someone who came from humble beginnings and had to overcome personal challenges to become successful. He well illustrates that “where you begin does not determine where you can go”.
Significantly, Hirsch’s celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019. The business is the biggest privately-owned appliance dealer in southern Africa and comprises a chain of mega appliance and home furnishing stores in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.
Allan says hard work with a goal in mind was necessary to achieve success. Retail requires listening to customers and keeping them happy; he believes his success is due to serving others.
His leadership style is quite simple. “People are human, grow them, teach them skills, and more than just selling or servicing, teach them how the business works.” Seeing staff grow, improve their circumstances and being happy with their lives inspires him. “We like to keep people part of us, but if they leave, they take their skills elsewhere and we wish them well.”
He gets serious when stating, “Honesty, integrity, and loyalty are required; these principles can’t be compromised and are not negotiable. We are totally transparent about the business with our staff.”
He believes that “having a why” is important for staying passionate and for being a good leader. The book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek, describes this view and helped him define the ‘why’ for Hirsch’s.
Allan and his wife Margaret have been married for 47 years. They have two children, Richard and Luci, both of whom are part of the business, and he is the proud grandfather of five boys.
Previous award winners were: Imtiaz Sooliman the founder of Gift of the Givers (2018) KZN Business tycoon, Vivian Reddy (2017), and internationally renowned film director Anant Singh (2016).
Allan Hirsch founder and CEO Hirsch’s