10Vusi Thembekwayo says to lead, be disruptive
“By the time you realise your competitor has moved away from you it’s too late. If you want to be a clear industry leader, you need to be the disruptor.”
- Vusi Thembekwayo is the founder of Motiv8 Merchant Services and a Dragon on South Africa’s Dragon’s Den.
It’s easy to get complacent when you do well and make targets. The problem is that your competitors are trying to figure out how they can outbox you in your own markets. That’s the warning from lead strategist, advisor and investor, Vusi Thembekwayo.
At 25, Thembekwayo served on the Operations board at Metcash Africa, a R17 billion business at the time. He was tasked with launching a new division, which he built to a R461 million turnover business before leaving to launch his own company.
Today, he’s acknowledged as a leader in understanding the challenges of growing market share in a declining economy. His advice is simple: to compete in this disruptive environment, you need to unlearn your own learnings. The single most important tool at your disposal is the ability to understand that what got you here won’t get you there.
“If you want exponential growth, you need to be disruptive. Safe strategies lead to linear growth, which for many business owners is fine. But it’s not enough if you want to be a market leader. New business models, products and solutions are quickly old and ubiquitous, and while you keep innovating, so does everyone else. Keep this top of mind: What do people say about your brand when you’re not in the room? What sets you apart from everyone else? As brands increasingly imitate each other, how are you changing the market you operate within?”