Entrepreneurial journey leads to founding one of the biggest companies in the industry

Joe Hamman is the founder of the Novus Group. Image: Supplied.

Joe Hamman is the founder of the Novus Group. Image: Supplied.

Published Jun 20, 2024


TENACITY, having a high standard of work ethic and determination are some of the attributes that Joe Hamman credited for his successful entrepreneurial journey.

Having grown up in Germiston, Gauteng, Hamman began working at the age of 13 to help support his family.

His early jobs included waiting tables and even a stint as a security guard at Ellis Park.

He is now the founder and CEO of the media monitoring company, Novus Group.

Hamman told Business Report that his early jobs taught him the value of hard work and the importance of taking control of one’s future.

At the age of 20, Hamman met a successful stockbroker who offered him a job doing sales. Hamman said that he was not a very good salesperson. However, a meeting with one of Old Mutual’s top financial advisers changed the trajectory of his career.

The adviser recognised Hamman’s potential, took him under his wing and trained him how to do sales successfully.

This mentorship was transformative and ushered in the second chapter of his career.

He was headhunted by McGregor BFA, a company that supplied information to stockbrokers.

There, he quickly learned the ropes of the media monitoring industry.

Hamman said he realised the sector was poorly managed with many companies seeing media monitoring as a grudge purchase.

A lot of them wound up looking for the news themselves and not benefitting from any analysis. Hamman added that he saw the potential to provide a more efficient and insightful service.

In 2014, amid the ripple effects of the 2008 financial crash, Hamman founded Novus Group.

“It was a risky move, especially with a young family to support and limited financial resources. I realised that I could lose everything in 13 weeks if I did not make it work,” he said.

Joe Hamman, the founder of the Novus Group with his wife Roxy Hamman. Image: Supplied.

Hamman meticulously planned his strategy, calculating the number of clients he needed to secure to survive that initial period.

The first two years were tough, with the company barely breaking even.

Today, Novus Group is a leading player in the media monitoring industry, employing 94 people.

Hamman attributes the company’s success to its customer-centric approach and the ability to adapt to client needs.

His philosophy is simple: if you build a product that truly meets customer requirements, you will have a client for life. This belief, coupled with his commitment to continuous improvement, has made Novus Group a trusted partner for many businesses.

For him, the fear of failure is a big driver. But more than that, it is about envisioning success, and believing it will happen through hard work.

In offering advice to young business owners, Hammon said, “My best advice would be to take a few days (even weeks) and construct a very detailed business plan – outlining exactly what your business would look like, what need it will serve and what you aim to achieve. Focus on details like what you want to achieve in week one, then month one, then year one and so on.

“I, personally, found that my business plan acted as a roadmap for me – so when I felt lost, or did not know where to go next, I would review my business plan and it would help me guide my decision making and ‘next steps’. Once you have the business plan, focus on a strong work ethic and seek out mentorship.

“Find someone who knows more than you do and learn as much as you can from them – even if they are from another industry. Also, pray often and work harder than your competitors. Lastly, remember the saying, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!’.”