Are you In?
Gil Oved, Lebo Gunguluza, Polo Leteka, Vinny Lingham and Vusi Thembekwayo have all spent decades in the start-up trenches.
Here they share some of the insights they gained along their steady climb to the top.
These tips have been taken from their new book I’m In: Essential Advice for Entrepreneurs.
The art of negotiation – Gil Oved
“No is the beginning of a negotiation, not the end of one.”
First piece of advice is that negotiation is an art. There is science behind it, but mostly it’s an art. Like any technical skill, you can hone it. And you should, because everything in business is about negotiation.
Second piece of advice: Everything in business is negotiable, and so that’s how you should treat it. Never accept things at face value. No one is going to give you a badge for accepting blindly. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. What have you got to lose?
Want to know about The Creative Counsel? Click here.
Passion is not enough – Vusi Thembekwayo
“Many people still think passion is enough to be successful. The truth is that passion is standard.”
Your competitors are all passionate. Passion is no longer a differentiator. Passion is boring. Passionate businesses don’t reply to customer queries after 5pm.
They don’t care if you’re tweeting your bad experiences and they are forever delegating their customer responsibility to call centres.
If you are looking to stand out from the rest, then passion is not enough. You must be obsessed!
Read more on Vusi’s art of pursuing crazy ideas and turning them into profit here.
A good idea is just the beginning – Lebo Gunguluza
“A great idea gives you the foundation for an opportunity you want to seize, that’s it.”
If you really want to make an idea work, ask yourself these questions: Is there a definite market for my idea? Is my idea going to benefit the customer? Will people be prepared to pay money for my idea?
Follow the numbers – Polo Leteka
“Numbers tell the story – it’s as simple as that.”
They are a health check and will help you identify where the problem areas are in your business. When it comes to income projections or turnover projections, every entrepreneur thinks they’re going to start off like ‘this’ and it never happens like ‘that’.
In your projections, you always have to have a worst-case scenario, middle-case scenario and best-case scenario. You need to be satisfied that even with your worst-case scenario, you still have a business. Even with your worst-case scenario, you can still hold your head above water.
We recommend you read this: Advice: 2 Minutes with SA’s Top Entrepreneurs.
Don’t be afraid to fail – Vinny Lingham
“I hate failing, but it spurs me to succeed.”
I could write a book on the mistakes I have made, but the important thing is to reflect on these mistakes and try not to make them again.
Root-cause analysis is very important, because sometimes the reason you think that you failed, is not actually the real reason. Don’t be fooled by randomness.
Regardless of the industry you are in, the mere fact that you have failed the first time and are willing to pick yourself up again, increases your chances of success. And if you fail again, your odds of success the third time are even better.
We recommend you read: This Entrepreneur Got Vinny Lingham To Invest In Him By Crashing His Party.
Protect your equity – Gil Oved
“Equity is cheap when you start your business but years later, when your business is successful, it’s very expensive.”
Entrepreneurs are too quick to give away the equity upfront. Rather raise capital through debt as opposed to equity.
If you do give away equity, be tough about it, because every percentage counts – you don’t want to be the entrepreneur who is actually working for someone.
Find out more on Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner here.
Develop a network – Vusi Thembekwayo
“Develop a network not only for its ability to feed you, but for your ability to feed it.”
We often think of networks as people who can elevate us when we should be thinking of networks as people we can help elevate. Networks only exist when there is a mutual benefit in the relationship. When you figure out what you can ‘give’ you will get a very strong ‘get’ in return.
Want to know what Vusi thinks of Jugger-niches? Want to know what a Jugger-niche is? See here.
Be creative – Lebo Gunguluza
“Be creative, be resourceful.”
You may at times have limited resources, but there is one thing that you must possess, and that is unlimited creativity. The power of creativity cuts across all business platforms, the minute you stop being creative is the minute that your business will start to suffer.
Read more on 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing here.
It’s about the entrepreneur, not the idea – Polo Leteka
“In this space, you back the jockey.”
You want a jockey who can ride any horse and make that horse win, or has the best potential to make that horse win. So you look for character. You look for somebody with a clear vision. Somebody who is determined. Somebody who properly respects the process of being an entrepreneur.
Know your business – Vinny Lingham
“I invest in a person who understands their subject matter and has a strong passion to succeed.”
I need to see big drive and stamina to know they are in it for the long haul and won’t give up when there are hurdles, disappointments and difficulties.
We recommend: Silicon Cape: Vinny Lingham & Justin Stanford
10 Gary Vaynerchuk-Approved Success Strategies
The VaynerMedia founder gets real about drive and ambition.
Perhaps the best way to describe Gary Vaynerchuk is “nonstop.” The founder of VaynerMedia, VaynerSports and Vayner/RSE is also an author, host and vlogger who records just about everything he does.
He is known for being relentless in his pursuit of the hustle and has a loyal audience of millions (2.4 million on Instagram, 1.58 million on Twitter and 2.3 million on Facebook) who take his advice to heart.
We took a deep dive into his blog archive to find some of his best tips and advice for making it as an entrepreneur.
1. On why failure shouldn’t scare you
“It’s the lack of fear of failing that has allowed me to make decisions so quick. People don’t make decisions because they are scared to lose. I make decisions because I want to know what’s going to happen, and then I use that information to help advise what I do next,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“The one thing I know for sure, is the outcome of what happens if you don’t decide. If you never make a decision, or deliberate for too long, all the upside or potential opportunity could be lost.”
2. On the value of patience
“The game is LONG. There’s so much opportunity. Optimism is the secret to capitalizing on this opportunity and that’s where you need to live. You need to figure out how good it really is and how much opportunity you have,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“Patience is practical. I push patience because I know life is long. Everybody around here is running around like it’s not. 24 year-olds running around like it ends tomorrow. Like they need it now. What’s wrong with being 26 or 41 or 73?”
3. On why age has nothing to do with ability
“The youth are the future of everything. They are the future of business, of society, of law and of government. We better pay attention, and empower them to be the best that they can be,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“My hope is that we lose the sentiment of age makes a difference in skill. There are plenty of 22 and 24 and 26 year olds in my office right now that work harder and smarter than some of the 50 year olds I know. It’s just the truth and we are going to continue to see this trend adopted in the marketplace. You can’t deny results.”
4. On how to build a lasting legacy
“I think my actions map to my ambitions. Because my ambition is to have legacy. I treat it that way. I treat everybody I interact with, with kindness and respect. These days, as my notoriety has grown, I still treat people just the same. I look them dead in the face and I’m just in it with them for that one minute or two or three or 10, and really care about they have to say! Because I am very appreciative and humbled for their attention. I will never get over it. I will never get over the fact that people actually care.”
5. On the importance of an open door policy
“I don’t think one can win in business without having the proper teammates and empowering them to play their role. Ideas can come from anywhere but the fact of the matter is you need an offensive line, you need a receiver, you need a quarterback, you need them all and I think any leader that doesn’t recognise that will ultimately not succeed in the long term. Obviously you can have a company that runs for six months and you sell it but over a 10, 20, 40 year period, there is no other strategy that will actually work.”
6. On why you need to prioritise your own happiness
“To truly be selfless, you have to give without expectation. It’s the mindset of giving with expectation, which kills everything. It just doesn’t work at all. Being selfish is the gateway to selflessness, because you learn to take care of your own personal needs first in order to use that as collateral later so that you can really, truly help.”
7. On why you shouldn’t think about how things “should be”
“Navigating our society and our lives with the hope of how it ‘should be’ versus the way it actually is, is the quickest and least practical way to create success. This is something I say to myself every single day,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“I am in control of my destiny. Nobody else. I get to decide how I react and how I respond, and the greatest motivator to inspire perspective is the simple statement ‘What’s the alternative?’”
8. On why you must value the perspective you bring to the table
“Why are you taking somebody else’s opinion about yourself greater than your opinion about yourself? It’s the single greatest mistake that will keep you from finding happiness and confidence in who you are,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“And it’s not that their opinions don’t matter. You have to have an equal amount of respect for yourself as for others. It’s a democratic society and everyone gets a vote. So beyond the thought leaders, and politicians and school systems you have to have respect for yourself. You need to put yourself on your own pedestal and then start weighing the opinions of others proportionately to how you actually feel about yourself.”
9. On why the competition doesn’t matter
“I am and always have been consumer focused. The reason I don’t pay attention to my ‘competition’ is not because I’m brash or cool. It’s because it doesn’t matter when you’re obsessed with the end consumer,” Vaynerchuk writes.
“Because it starts and it ends with the end consumer and where the attention actually is. I will always do actions that bring you the most value because then I get value in return.”
10. On why your goal should be to keep working
“I didn’t need to get mine at 25. Heck, I don’t even need to ‘get mine’ at 41. This is the long, long game. I’m driven by the climb. It could be because I’m an immigrant and I just have this chip on my shoulder. Or maybe it’s in my DNA. I don’t like winning. I like losing. I like the struggle. I like people telling me that I can’t,” Vaynerchuk writes. “I don’t give a shit if my payday comes tomorrow. I want the game. The game is my life. There will never be a moment to quit. There’s no dollar amount. Nothing you can do to make me stop.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
7 Motivational Habits That Drive Millionaires
Habits seem to rule us. They can hold you back, or you can adapt the right habits and prosper.
Have you ever been awed by the motivation of a successful entrepreneur, leader or athlete? I have. It’s not jealousy, either. Far from it. It’s respect for how motivated they are. Even though I consider myself fairly motivated, their examples encourage me to become even more focused and driven.
The good news is that by adopting the following seven habits, anyone can become more motivated:
1. Find your why
“Highly motivated people start with their WHY. WHY do you do what you do?” asks J.D. Meier in an article for Time.
“If you climb a mountain simply because it’s there, that’s probably not enough to keep you going when the going gets tough. If you know WHY you do what you do, and it matters deeply to you, then you will find your strength in any situation,” adds Meier.
Why do you want to start a workout regiment? Because it was suggested by your doctor? Did your spouse mutter a comment? Are you tired of feeling lethargic? Once you find your why, you can use that to motivate you to follow through with exercising.
2. Get your morning started on the right foot
One of the easiest and most powerful habits that drive motivation is kicking off your day correctly by having a morning routine. Think about it. Getting your day started on the right foot makes it a lot easier to stay motivated throughout the entire day.
To ensure that you wake up on the right side of the bed, try these tips:
- Have a reason to get out of bed. It could be anything from walking your dog, making sure your kids are off to school, or squeezing in a workout before work.
- Stretch and breathe deep. This gets the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain, and helps you get up.
- Do something simple to start the day. I make my bed immediately once I’m up. It’s not because I want the bedroom to look presentable. It’s because it’s an easy task that makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something — even though I’ve only been awake for a couple of minutes!
- Create rote tasks. As explained by Due’s Miranda Marquit, “Look for ways you can make mornings easier by creating rote tasks that are easy to accomplish. We don’t like to face a day that starts hard. Do what you can to make it easier. Once you’re up and moving, you’ll feel better and eventually be awake enough to tackle the
- Set goals for the day. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. Just list your top priorities for the day.
3. Change it up
There’s an old saying: Variety is the spice of life. Variety keeps you motivated to meet goals when you haven’t yet made much progress and risk falling into a rut.
Changing things up is like your workout routine. You can’t just work on your legs. Other parts of your body need some loving too. Keep doing the same exercises and you’ll soon plateau.
The same is true for any aspect of your life. Changing things up gives you a chance to break up the monotony, try out new skills, and have new experiences that can lead to new ideas or develop a new passion.
4. Chart your progress
This is a simple way for you to see how far you’ve come along. Sounds simple, but think about when you set a reading goal. Maybe you want to read more books. Your initial goal is to read for just five minutes a day, but once you start you’re reading for ten minutes and then 30 minutes and soon you’re flying through books.
If you can do 30 minutes, then why not bump up to 40? Just imagine all the books you’ll be able to read. Mark this on your calendar each and every day.
5. Create environmental anchors
This is simply writing your goals or inspiring quotes on a Post-it or 3×5 card and placing it on the wall of your office, the inside of your car, bathroom mirror or calendar. A daily reminder of your goal will push you to accomplish it.
6. Develop gratitude
Just by identifying the one thing every day that you’re grateful for is powerful enough in helping you achieve both mini-goals and your big goals, since it develops the ability to look for a daily opportunity that you can grow from.
For example, if you’re grateful that you just landed a new client today, use that feeling and experience to secure two new clients tomorrow.
7. Discover your passion
Obsession can be an extremely powerful motivator since it creates its own motivational might. In fact, the most successful individuals are those who chased their passion and are doing what they love to do.
When you become passionate, whether it’s at work, exercising, or volunteering, it no longer becomes laborious. It becomes something that you enjoy, look forward to, and want to get better at.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
From Local To Global: Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA) Shares Top Tips On Being A Successful Entrepreneur
Managing Director of W.Consulting, Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA), has done exactly that and shares his top tips.
How do you grow your own SME into a global consultancy? Managing Director of W.Consulting, Bruce Mackenzie CA(SA), has done exactly that and shares his top tips.
“I started W.Consulting with the aim of providing an independent, high-quality alternative for corporates and audit firms looking for advice on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The business has grown substantially to more than 40 people working globally, providing advisory services on IFRS, audit risk and corporate finance, training and IT product development.” These are Bruce’s five top tips for achieving growth.
1. Take the risk as soon as possible
It was a nerve-wracking decision to go on my own, as CAs(SA) are taught to be risk-averse. It’s very tough to throw away a CV, but rather than spend a life regretting not taking a chance, if you have thoughts of running your own business, do so sooner rather than later, as the decision only gets tougher with each passing year.
Related: Better Thinking For A Better World
2. Work hard and persevere
One point seldom emphasised enough when talking of entrepreneurs is that it is very hard work and requires a great deal of energy and perseverance. I attribute my success in large measure to high energy levels. You need that.
It’s exhausting — long days, early flights to London to deliver training, and sometimes back again the same day. So, yes, you need a surplus of energy.
3. Know how to sell yourself and your business
You also need a predisposition towards selling, as any business requires sales in order to expand. Selling is something that’s in my DNA.
Especially when selling advice, it requires persistence because I know that a potential client will at some point need services like ours, so I make sure W.Consulting is top of mind when that day comes. I achieve this by keeping up the relationship, sending new ideas with no sales angle connected, mailing interesting books, and checking on how things are with the client. It’s a matter of having genuine interest.
4. Hire trustworthy people who share your passion
There are many risks in establishing your own business and one of the first challenges stems from the need to expand beyond a one-man operation. There’s a certain comfort in doing all the work and seeing all the cash in the business as yours, but it puts a fairly low ceiling on the business’s prospects and potential income.
The decision to expand and hire your first employee is both a big decision in itself and important as to the individual you select. It’s the biggest single decision most entrepreneurs have to make — and one that most don’t make early enough. You need to scale up a business to release resources at the top. That process never really ends — whatever you’re currently doing, you have to continually ask yourself: “Could this be done down the line?”
In an SME, each hire, but especially your first, has to be somebody you can trust, someone with the same objectives as you. Instead of having 9 to 5 people, rather employ someone who will do whatever is necessary, regardless of what time of day it is.
My philosophy is to hire people with passion and who preferably know what they’re doing, and then pay well to get them.
5. Continue to innovate
Most businesses fail not for want of an entrepreneurial idea, but because of management and accounting basics like cash flow. CAs(SA) already understand these basics and so arguably can concentrate on the actual operations of the business. However, because CAs(SA) can earn good money in the corporate world, most opt for the easy route in the corporate environment.
The future and success of any business is to keep on doing what it’s doing well. Bruce attributes the success of the business to its culture of continuous innovation: “It’s easier to sell something new,” he concludes.
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