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Be an Inspired Leader

Leadership can be learnt – as long as your business goals align with your highest values.

Dr John Demartini




Everyone has an inherent leader inside them. This inner leadership may not be in business and finance, two areas that are more socially acknowledged. It may be in sports, social, beauty or in family matters. Leaders can arise in all areas of life.

People tend to naturally arise in the areas of their highest values or priorities. Although we all have a leader inside, unless we set our sails in the direction of our highest values, our leadership won’t emerge and become discovered by ourselves or others.

The role of leadership

Every business initially requires a leader to get it off the ground and fly. Without a leader there will be no direction and no momentum factor to start the ball rolling. Leaders give power to objectives and provide actions that others follow. Even clients act as followers to the leader. The greater the leader, the greater the base of customers who will follow along the trail of innovation.

There are different types of leaders. Younger leaders are generally more speculative and aggressive or impulsive than the more mature. Less experienced leaders often take spontaneous actions, and then discover the repercussions afterwards, but they have time on their side to learn by their mistakes.

Mature leaders on the other hand, with previous mentorship, have seasoned, trial and error experiences to draw on for their decision-making. They tend to take more calculated risks and think out contingencies more thoroughly to assure their odds of success. They may be slower in growth but more enduring in outcome.

The most important element of leadership is the congruency between someone’s goals or intentions and their highest values and priorities, which when aligned allow the greatest creativity and productivity to emerge. Authentic original ideas and companies are born out of such congruency.

These visionaries are unstoppable. When leaders do not subordinate to the opinions of the outer world and stay true to what inspires them from within, they transform their outer world. They are new paradigm makers – not traditionalists who follow the norm.

The basics of leadership

While each leader is different, there are a few basic elements that all great leaders possess:

  • The congruency between goals or intentions and highest values or priorities. This is sometimes known as integrity.
  • Clarity of the mission to be accomplished which is also aligned with the needs of the market place.
  • Clarity of the vision to be fulfilled.
  • Clarity of the strategy of accomplishment.
  • Identification with their mission and enthusiasm for their inspired action.
  • Inspiring teams to participate in the mission and vision according to their team members’ own highest values.
  • Quick decision-making and certainty of action.
  • Listening to feedback and refining policies and procedures toward ever greater efficiencies and efficacies.
  • Continued adaptability and innovation.
  • Appreciation of the journey and continued expansion of the destination.

The behaviour of many leaders has been strange, even seeming to be counter-productive. Steve Jobs is one famous example. Even Henry Ford was erratic in his way of dealing with people. In fact, great business leaders have come in every imaginable type. What is the factor that makes unusual leaders

In a nutshell, they all harness some of the basics of true leadership. Their quirks add flavour to their personalities but their basics are still in place. They are still congruently committed to their outcomes. They have no turning back mentalities and show their determined paths of adventure and refinement. They still calculate their risks, make decisions and take actions.

Though they vary in the other outer personas their inner drives are still intact and their unwillingness toward defeat makes them climb, tunnel or go around any and every mountain. Their challenges are their sources of fuel and their obstacles are their stimulating companions. Look beyond the outer façade and you will still discover the core of the true leader as they drive their ambitions to the top.

Learning leadership

The good news is that you don’t need to be a ‘born’ leader, it can be learnt or at least awakened from its slumber by setting congruent objectives and clarifying missions and visions according to the true highest values of the individual.

I have seen people who have sat stagnant for months or years awaken to their inner power and begin to lead by simply asking themselves the right questions and making the right associations.

Again, this goes back to understanding your own highest values. When you see how building a business can help you fulfill your highest values, or you choose a business path that aligns with your values, you will naturally embrace your own leadership capabilities.

No one works for the sake of a company. Everyone, consciously or subconsciously, works to fulfill their highest values.

Business success and leadership

Another question I’m often asked: Can you be successful in business without being a good leader? The simple answer is yes. If you surround yourself with other leaders and create effective teams of specialists that are dedicated to your mutual goals and objectives, the business will be rewarded sufficiently to build momentum.

Some of the greatest companies have been built by individuals who had the savvy to hire great teams of specialists with knowledge and skills that exceeded their own. They may have held the vision or initiated the new idea but they realised their strengths and weaknesses and allowed themselves to step out of the way of their ever emerging enterprise. There are people who are great at ideas and then there are great implementers. They are often referred to as visionaries and detail people respectively.

Some of the most powerful companies have grown out of the combination of two complementary people and their talents. Hold the vision, gather the right players, build the team and win the game. But make sure that all are congruent with their highest values along the way.

Dr John Demartini is a health professional, an expert on human behaviour, the mind and body connection and on the laws of the universe. He is a bestselling author of nine self-help books translated into 22 languages. He teaches full time assisting people across the world to see the order in their perceived chaos and consults to business leaders around the world. He is also the Founder of the Demartini Institute with a branch in South Africa, Johannesburg. Whenever he is in SA, he donates his time freely to deliver inspired talks to SA's Police Service, Prison Wardens, Prisoners, teachers and disadvantaged young adults. For more information on the Demartini Institute in South Africa call +27 11 0119093 or visit To receive a complimentary audio presentation by Dr Demartini titled: Staying Focused on Goals, visit

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9 Ways To Get Employees To Buy Into Your Vision

Your business is your dream come true, now it’s time to include your employees in your vision to drive future success.

Nicholas Bell




Your vision statement is the foundation of your business. It is the baseline against which all strategic planning is assessed and the benchmark against which all results are measured. However, as important as it is to have a vision when it comes to business success, it is equally important to get your employees to buy into this vision to ensure that success.

Here are nine ways to get your employees to buy into your vision by making it their dream, as much as it is yours…

  1. It must be believable – Your company vision needs to be within the realms of possibility otherwise people just won’t believe in it. It must be steady, achievable and relevant.
  2. It must be inclusive – Employees need to see how they can play a part in achieving this vision to make it relatable and inclusive. If they don’t understand what the business does, they won’t care how well the business does.
  3. It must be reinforced – Talk about your vision all the time. Don’t assume everybody has read it or is familiar with it as new people may not have seen it and older people may have forgotten. Constant communication is critical to ensure everyone is, literally, on the same page.
  4. It must be transparent – Make sure your communication around your vision is open and clear. Talk about it with clients, with all staff members, at all meetings and keep on talking until everyone understands it. When a vision is tangible and accessible it is far more achievable than when it is ethereal and vague.
  5. It must be practical – Don’t make flamboyant statements that are almost impossible to achieve like, ‘We will be number one in X!’. Be practical. It doesn’t matter if you’re not number one, it does matter  that  your vision is practical.
  6. It must be shared – Connect people’s careers to the vision by creating opportunities for them. Show them how the work they do is tied back to the vision and the business. If the business is only about profit and customer, then employees often don’t see how they fit in or why they are important. Create opportunities for them and they will be inspired to achieve your vision.
  7. It must be people-centric – People make up the core of your business. It is bigger than just one person or one idea. So, give them something to aspire to with a realistic, practical and human company vision.
  8. It must have purpose – Embed your vision and its values into the way you do business. The way you treat your employees and your customers and the choices you make should all reflect your vision.  Take it beyond just ‘We want to make money’ and show how your vision positively affects your community and others.
  9. It must be visible – Put your vision on doors, in emails, on letterheads, in proposals. Show what you stand for at every opportunity. Employees need to feel that there is a cohesive plan for the future. This will not only drive engagement but it will keep them steadfast when times get tough – they believe in the ship too much for it to sink.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make A Great Leader

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What’s Your Number? How To Unpack Company Valuations

Business is booming. Investors want in. But how do you put a price on the value of the company you have built with your own hands?

Louw Barnardt




Company valuations is such a hazy part of the scale-up journey of a private company. Putting a price tag on a business is both art and science. At the end of the day, the number that makes the headlines (if ever disclosed) will be where willing buyer and willing seller meet.

But how do you , as business owner,  go about setting your asking price? Before approaching investors, it’s a good exercise to determine your own valuation range for the business. Choosing the right valuation method is the first big question. The answer has many parts to it, but the most important driver is the stage of the business.

Let’s look at some of the most commonly accepted valuation methods in our market:

Earnings Multiple

Applicable stage: Established, profitable companies

Listed companies, institutional players and private equity investors normally invest in a company for its cash flow profit that can contribute to their portfolio income. More often than not, companies will be valued based on their current earnings (bottom line profit after tax).

This method can only be used for companies that consistently make a profit. A multiplier will be chosen based on the company’s perceived risk. Younger, more risky businesses will likely have lower multipliers (as low as 3 and 4) and high growth, well established, lower risk companies will get higher multipliers (8-15).

Sometimes small adjustments are made to current year earnings (like non-standard, non-repeating income statement items) after which the valuation is set at Earnings times multiplier equals company valuation.

Related: 7 Factors That Influence Start-up Valuations

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF)

Applicable stage: Post-revenue start-ups, growth companies and established businesses

The most commonly used method in practice, the DCF method argues that a company’s value is determined by the future cash flows that it will yield to investors.

The starting point is creating a five to ten year cash flow forecast for the business. This is no small feat. In order to create a full financial model – income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement – for the next decade requires a lot of work, both from a strategic and technical perspective.

Investors love this model because if forces the owners to put a clear strategy and expansion plan for their business into numbers. It will include dozens if not hundreds of assumptions – all of which can be scrutinised for reasonability. The result of financial model will be five to ten years’ worth of projected cash flows. These amounts are then discounted to present value at a discount rate that reflects the company’s risk and expected cost of capital.

The sum of the discounted future cash flows plus a terminal value (that represents the value after the five or ten year period of the model) then represents the valuation of the company after some final small adjustments for things like existing debt in the business.

Revenue Multiples

A revenue multiple valuation approach is focused on the market for similar businesses and is underpinned by your company’s current turnover. It seeks out the sales price of other similar companies in the country or worldwide, adjusted for size, stage and market differences.

A company that sold for R100 million at a turnover of R50 million would have a two times revenue multiple (valuation/revenue). If the average revenue multiple for similar companies is in a certain range, this multiple is then slightly adjusted and applied to your business.

If the average sale in your industry has been two times revenue but you are growing much faster than the average with a better competitive advantage, you can argue that two and a half times revenue is a more applicable number for your business. Revenue multiples are often used as a reasonability check in the market for the current asking price.

Related: Why Start-ups Like Uber Stumble When They Scale

Other methods

Most established companies are valued using one or a combination of more than one of the above three methods. At start-up stage, there are a number of other methods like Cost to Replicate or the Scorecard Method that early stage investors look to. When a company is simply in too early stage to practically value it, seed stage investors would also consider SAFE Agreements (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) – an instrument that determines that the percentage of the company the investors are buying with their investment. This is only determined when the Series A round is raised at a future date and under certain conditions, generally at a discount to the price the series A investors are paying.

Company valuations are complex. Many of the above technical factors play a role. A lot of it also comes down to the salesmanship of the owners and the negotiating capabilities of the parties. In ‘How Yoco Successfully Secured Capital And The Importance Of A Pitch’, the Yoco team speak about the importance of the right approach in their recent R248 million fundraising

Don’t go into this process without seeking some kind of expert advice. The price of the wrong valuation is simply too high. Make your numbers and your arguments bulletproof and you will be on your way to defending a strong and exciting valuation for your next raise!

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3 Keys To A Vision Others Can Own

Trying to get others to buy into a vision that is all about you getting more money is not going to excite people.

Zech Newman




I get really excited about my dreams. Over the years, as I have led my team, I have realised that they aren’t as excited about my dreams as I am. I own two restaurants and employ minimum wage employees. In the early years of owning my restaurants, turnover killed me. I used to fight for them to have the same passion for my goals and dreams as I had and as a result I had extremely high turnover. Confused and frustrated, I knew I needed to change the way I was leading a team.

A few little changes have created a committed team and extremely low turnover. If you don’t have a passionate, committed long-term team, check these simple vision casting strategies.

Deeper Vision

Often our vision that we cast is shallow and self-serving. A vision that is all about you getting more money is not going to excite people. Take some time to uncover what you are trying to accomplish. When you can cast a vision beyond your selfish desires, others can sink their teeth into the vision. For my company, I wanted to raise up leaders to change the community.

My focus changed to my crew and they could feel the shift in perspective, which also helped me to earn a bi-product of more money, my original desire.

Related: 30 Top Influential SA Business Leaders

Their Vision

Our deeper vision helps us keep and build a team, but it’s still our vision. We need to really understand the goals and dreams of our team to find untapped potential and loyalty. No one will ever care as much about our vision as us because it’s ours. The more focused you get about helping your team and their wants and desires, the more they will care about yours. In my restaurant I had a young lady who wanted to be a teacher. I thought about what it takes to be a great teacher and how I could help her toward that. Find out what they care about and dig deeper to see what is behind that desire.

Marry the Two

If you have a team running around caring only about their vision they may be loyal and passionate, however, they will not be united in one direction. Magic happens when we combine our vision and their vision. At the points of intersection, our interests and theirs are united to accomplish more. I want to encourage leaders who can change the community.

Related: Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change

As for the employee I mentioned above who desired to be a teacher, I trained her toward being a better teacher so that she could raise up young leaders to change the community. Now she is one of my top supervisors and teaches many other crew members. She will be an awesome teacher someday, but in the meantime, she is a valuable team member.

Caring for a team and helping them see how your vision and their vision can help each other will change everything. Growing people is the business no matter what business we are in. Care for others and they will care for you. Care only for your own wants and you will never get the most out of your team. Find a deeper vision, figure out your teams’ vision, and combine the two and your business will transform.

This article was originally posted here on

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