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Listen And Learn: Why Podcasts Aren’t Just For Start-up Founders

Podcasts aren’t just for start-up founders. They’re also a great way for busy company CEOs to brush up on their business knowledge and learn from some of the best businesses in the world.

GG van Rooyen

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1How I Built This

How I Built This is produced by NPR (National Public Radio) in the US. As its name suggests, the podcast looks at famous brands/companies and the founders behind them. Each episode features a guest entrepreneur who discusses the highs and lows of building a massive brand.

The show is hosted by Guy Raz and is intimate and conversational in nature. Founders are often remarkably frank, speaking openly about the challenges they faced. Episodes are fairly long (around 30 minutes), but worth the investment.

Great episode: Zappos: Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh

The head of the most famous online shoe company in the world discusses how he leads as an extreme introvert, and reveals that he doesn’t care about shoes at all. In fact, he only owns two pairs: Black Asics and a pair of flip-flops.

Time invested: 30 minutes

“I’m actually not passionate about shoes at all. I’m passionate about customer service and company culture, so I can talk about those two things, but I can’t say anything about shoes.” — Tony Hsieh

Related: 7 Podcasts Every Entrepreneur Should Be Listening To

2The $100 MBA Show

Hosted by Omar Zenhom, The $100 MBA Show is short and to the point, delivering useful info and actionable lessons. Episodes are brief (around 10 minutes) and don’t have any fluff. Some focus on personal development, while others look at the nitty gritty of building and managing a large organisation.

The name of each episode makes it very clear what that particular podcast is about, so you can listen to the ones that you think will have value for you, and ignore those that won’t.

Great episode: #895 — Selling to Big Corporates

Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski

‘Guest lecturer’ Steve Glaveski discusses the mindset and approach needed to sell to big corporate companies.

Time invested: 10 minutes

“Understand the KPIs of who you’re targeting so you can speak their language. Understand what their challenges are and how they make purchasing decisions. Price might be one factor, but other things companies consider when making purchasing decisions could include things like switching costs, the quality of your brand, reputation, brand awareness, trust, security, privacy concerns, social proof and compatibility.” — Steve Glaveski

3Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson is hosted by, well, Walter Isaacson. He’s one of the greatest living biographers — having penned best-selling biographies on people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin — so he knows how to take a true story and turn it into a riveting narrative. With Trailblazers, he looks specifically at disruption.

He looks at how and why it happens, and why large companies are often too slow in reacting to it. The show is expertly produced, with Isaacson interviewing various thought leaders and showing how industries like film, music, electronics and gaming have been disrupted. Interestingly, the podcast series was commissioned by Dell Technologies, but it doesn’t feel like a piece of marketing content.

Great episode: Lights… Camera… Disruption

Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are threatening to disrupt the film and television industry, but it’s not the first time this has happened. The entertainment industry has been forced to deal with disruption before. Will the traditional system survive in the age of Netflix?

Time invested: 30 minutes

“[Netflix] have brought a very Silicon Valley type of culture into Hollywood. And they have played a pretty hardball game. Unlike the TV competitors they have, they know exactly how much you watched. They know if you watched 13 minutes and stopped. They know if you’ve watched to the end. They know if you binged. That’s the kind of granular information TV networks don’t have.” — Kim Masters, editor-at-large, Hollywood Reporter

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Podcasting But Were Afraid To Ask

4Masters of Scale

As both the founder of LinkedIn and a partner at investment firm Greylock, Reid Hoffman is a Silicon Valley insider with access to some of the most famous entrepreneurs on the planet. His podcast, Masters of Scale, hasn’t been around for very long, but it already boasts a guest list that includes Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Brian Chesky from Airbnb and Eric Schmidt from Google. As the name suggests, the podcast is all about the tricky process of scaling a business.

Great episode: Imperfect is Perfect

mark zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg talks about the early days of Facebook, explaining the company’s growth strategy and how it managed to spread from one college campus to the entire world. As you can imagine, what works for one campus doesn’t work for the whole world. Facebook’s motto of ‘Move fast and break things’ quickly became problematic.

Time invested: Between 30 and 90 minutes

“So ‘move fast’, I think, is interesting, because you actually have to be willing to give something up to get it. And the question is, ‘What are you willing to give up?’ And early on, the trade was, ‘Move fast and break things.’ The idea was, we will tolerate some amount of bugs and flaws in the service of moving faster and learning what our community wants faster. But we got to a point where it was taking us more time to go back and fix the bugs and issues that we were creating than the speed that we were gaining by going faster.” — Mark Zuckerberg

5The Tim Ferriss Show

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the biggest podcasts on the planet. Most of the time, it is the most popular business podcast on iTunes, and it was the first business/interview podcast to achieve more than 100 million downloads.

Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Workweek) interviews high-achievers on his podcast and deconstructs their habits and behaviours to examine why exactly they are so successful. He doesn’t focus only on entrepreneurs and business people, though, often also interviewing celebrities, athletes and scientists, but the podcast is almost always worth listening to. Generally speaking, these interviews don’t offer very specific business advice, but they do provide great insights into the mindset and self-talk of the super-successful.

Great episode: Testing The Impossible: 17 Questions That Changed My Life 

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

A sample chapter from Ferriss’s book Tools of Titans, where he examines insightful questions that have helped him reframe situations and overcome obstacles.

Time invested: 90 minutes

“These days, more than any other question, I’m asking: ‘What would this look like if it were easy?’ If I feel stressed, stretched thin, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m overcomplicating something or failing to take the simple/easy path because I feel I should be trying ‘harder’.”  — Tim Ferriss

6The Matt Brown Show

Matt Brown is a local entrepreneur, speaker and the founder of the global media platform the Matt Brown Show. He is also the CEO of Digital Kungfu, a strategic business consultancy that specialises in helping companies accelerate innovation and disrupt traditional markets by enabling them with new ways to do business that serve their customers more effectively and responsively. Unlike the other podcasts on this list, which are all from the US, this podcast is South African, and it focuses on some of the most interesting and dynamic local entrepreneurs.

Great episode: Gil Oved & Romeo Kumalo

matt-brown-podcast

Matt Brown speaks to South African Shark Tank entrepreneurs Gil Oved and Romeo Kumalo.

Between 25 and 60 minutes

“Very simply, if I have two entrepreneurs with exactly the same features in front of me: Same business, same opportunity — two entrepreneurs asking for the same amount of money, with only one difference separating the two: One guy had succeeded in his last three business ventures and the other failed in his last three business ventures, ten out of ten times, I will pick the guy who failed.” — Gil Oved

GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

Dr Alex Antonites

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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Company Posts

How English Language Skills Play An Essential Role In Building Trust With Your Customers

The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide.

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The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide.  While English is not an official language in many of these countries, it is the language most often taught as a foreign or second language, which means that it is spoken by over two billion people.  It therefore breaks down barriers, drives global collaboration and thinking and opens doors to a multitude of opportunities around the world.

However, in spite of this leading role of English in the globalised world, management often considers language skills a ‘soft’ issue and does not recognise that  immediate or concerted efforts for change are required; or more specifically, that individuals need to be fluent in English in order to be competitive in an international business market. As  Jeff Standridge, Vice President of Global Workforce Management at Acxiom Corporation states, “We have to be able to work seamlessly across the enterprise. That requires us to overcome any language barriers that exist. Without the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively, significant risks begin to enter the equation, including lower quality and lost productivity. By addressing these needs early on companies can see a significant financial impact with global initiatives”.

Companies face challenges in educating clients about services and specifics of a product when they lack English language skills. Misunderstandings or mistakes in conveying that type of information cost time, relationships and money.

Related: Effective Communication Means Business Success

The potential loss of trust and commensurate loss of business as a result of misunderstandings through language underscores the importance of a full knowledge of the language for external communications, marketing and branding as well as for handling government and media relations. Ultimately, developing trust with local and global clients and overseas partners requires highly developed English language skills. This sentiment is echoed by Herman Uscategui, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives and International Business Development, Starbucks Coffee Company:

“Advanced language skills provide the foundation to trusted relationships with customers, communities and partners”.

There are many companies and individual professionals who fail in their quest for business or professional success. This failure can primarily be attributed to one of the most basic foundations of forming business relations – the language spoken. Undoubtedly, the English language is the global language for business and having a good command of English will definitely give one who is eyeing globally competitive business or career a clear edge.  Any communication problem, whether personal or business, translates to losses, zero result in negotiations, incompetence for global business or will just simply leave you ill-equipped to carry out business.

In an increasingly aggressive and competitive environment where people work an extraordinary amount of hours and have a number of objectives to reach,  language vendors need to ensure that individuals are capable of learning successfully at their job. The best results occur when instruction is customised to employees’ roles. Subsequently, they will be able to listen to and communicate effectively with diverse people, using appropriate verbal and nonverbal behaviour, language and strategies thereby bridging geographic and linguistic barriers.

The Wits Language School English Communication for Professional Development programme customises English language solutions for public and private organisations that enable organisations and individuals to reach their language goals and to maintain their competitive edge in local and global business.

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Ongoing Learning

10 Books Tim Ferriss Thinks Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Check out these titles curated by the productivity expert and podcast host.

Emily Conklin

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Tim Ferriss, the productivity expert, author and inspirational speaker, is an avid reader, and has highlighted many books on his show and through his blog, seeking to share some of the same wisdom that inspires him.

From self-help to science fiction, there is something for everyone, and these 10 tomes have been selected from the many that make up Ferriss’s library. See what he recommends and why, and get ready to spend your Sunday mornings curled up with one – or several – of these books.

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