Behind Shannon’s business

As part of the Xero #behindyourbusiness series, we spoke to Shannon, the independent thinker behind The District – a Johannesburg-based strategic marketing agency.

Choice, not chance

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would own a business,” says Shannon. But it’s clear that the foundations were in place years before she founded her Johannesburg-based strategic marketing agency.

“My biggest inspiration would have to be my mother as she’s the one person in my life that really ensured that I was educated enough, inspired enough to do really well in business.”

“She ran her own business. It was a direct selling business. She said to me, ‘You’ll never rely on a man to support you.’ That’s what happened.”

After completing her degree, Shannon strode into a successful career, working at top creative agencies, but eventually she found herself wanting out.

“I just found that I was quite independent, I could run on my own and I really didn’t like reporting in to anyone. So the birth of The District comes from walking straight out of a mainstream agency not knowing what I should do, and this wild idea popped into my head that I should start my own agency.”

“I literally picked up the phone, phoned a couple of people and within a week to two weeks, The District was born.”

It’s an origin story telling of the independence of thought and action that epitomises Shannon. She’s never been one to follow the herd.

“My purpose in life is to be a free-thinker and change mindsets one step at a time. I choose to live by choice, not chance.”

“We developed this business to enable scaling businesses to really understand marketing. We’re here to change perceptions, change behaviour… change the world.”

– Shannon Weber, The District

Making a difference

For Shannon, working on the right projects is one of the most important choices: “The thing I love most about running my own business is the freedom to create a world that I want to live in, to do the projects that I love doing and to be able to help people in the way that I really want to help them.”

And, while The District’s clients see real benefits, the impact reaches farther afield. Shannon says, “We developed this business to enable scaling businesses to really understand marketing. We’re here to build businesses, change perception… change the world.”

On her way to changing the world, Shannon has found herself wearing many hats, she reveals, “When I started, I had no idea what it would entail to run a business, so I’ve now become a financial director, a managing director, a new business director, an HR director…”

Fortunately, with so much on her plate, Shannon has one secret weapon at her disposal: “Xero has really changed my life in the fact that I can literally access any financial information in my business at the touch of a button.”

Fortunately, with so much on her plate, Shannon has one secret weapon at her disposal: “Xero has really changed my life in the fact that I can literally access any financial information in my business at the touch of a button.”

Being fast enough to keep up with Shannon is no mean feat, and Xero does the job admirably, giving Shannon all the insights she needs at a glance.

Shannon adds, “My favourite Xero feature would definitely be the front-end dashboard, because I can look at my business in a 360 view, as well as the reporting functions.”

That speed and insight lets Shannon choose how she runs her business and, crucially, how she spends her time.

Asked what she loves most about being a business owner, Shannon says, “I guess it’s mostly the freedom to do what I want to do, choose the projects I want to choose, and to be able to innovate in a way that I want to innovate.”

Visit The District >

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Behind your business is a Xero series celebrating the people who power the South Africa’s small business economy.

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The small business owners featured in this series all use Xero – online accounting software that helps them to save time and get paid faster. It’s a helping hand that makes it easier to run your business and write your own story.

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