After 17 years in business development, director and co-founder of Slo-Jo, creator of tailor-made taste sensations for South Africa’s leading restaurant chains I have to share some of my business success ‘secrets’. In my experience, once you set structure and strategy in place, and boost this with training, success in inevitable.
Businesses are like families – there are different types of people that make everything work: there are some creatives, some process-driven people, some influencers, and some leaders. In the same way that you would try to accommodate all these talents to build a harmonious and successful family, so you need to work to create the time and place for different parts of your business to thrive.
A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, but there are some basics that every family – and every business – need to get right.
Related: Boost Your Business Success In 2017
Secret #1: Structure
I’ve seen that many industries view manufacturing to be a very structured and process-driven side of their business, preferring to leave the research and development teams to explore in an unstructured ‘sandbox’ environment, without any restrictions on their imaginations, their creativity, or their inspiration.
I totally disagree with this approach. I believe that successful creative development only takes place within structured, systematic parameters put in place with a clear strategy in mind – similar to how you would create processes and structures for the manufacturing side of your business. If you don’t have these in place, you’re setting your company up for failure.
While the creative and manufacturing sides of our business both operate within structures and parameters, we have chosen to house them at different sites. We’ve seen this have a positive impact on our business because it gives different operations and different personality types the structures and spaces that they need to get their job done to the best of their ability – with everyone using our overall strategy to guide them in their decision-making.
Secret #2: Share your strategy
Everybody’s going to get lost if they don’t know which direction they’re supposed to be going in, so share your vision, your passion, your dreams and your strategy for your company with all your employees, so that everyone can get on board and pull in the same direction.
We have had to find a balance between having our teams at different sites so that they have the space they need to do their jobs, and keeping communication channels open, so that our strategy is interpreted and understood properly by everyone in the company.
We’ve learned that the teams do need to get together from time to time and take a break, to make sure that everyone is aligned with the Slo-Jo vision, and that we nurture our carefully developed culture, rather than dividing it.
Secret #3: Get moving with training
Apart from missing structure or strategy in a business, I believe that one of the biggest shortcomings in South African businesses is its failure to invest in training. In our business, which is all about developing beverages for the hospitality trade, at least 50 percent of our success lies in training our people, and giving them the opportunity to realise their talents and growth.
It’s for this reason that we encourage job shadowing throughout our company, with the exceptions of finance and HR. Doing so gives all our people insights into every aspect of the organisation, which helps them understand the role they play in its success, and appreciate their colleagues’ contributions too. It also shows them their potential to grow – and we’re only too happy to help them to move in their chosen direction.
Doing this was how we identified that our then-receptionist had a talent for sales – and she is now our national sales manager. Similarly, our head of beverage design started with us as a sales representative – but displayed the vision and talent that has seen her become the creative force behind our products.
Giving people the room – and the security – that they need to expand their skills could be a risk – but it is the only way that you can encourage people to move beyond the tunnel vision that comes with only believing that they can do one task, and the only way you can grow your business to new heights.
Richard Branson’s ABCs Of Business
Throughout the year, the Virgin co-founder shared what he thinks are the essential elements to success.
If there’s one thing Richard Branson knows, it’s how to run a successful business.
Throughout last year, the Virgin founder shared what he thinks are the keys ingredients to building a successful company with each letter of the alphabet, which he slowly revealed through the 365 days.
From A for attitude to N for naivety to Z for ZZZ, check out Branson’s ABCs of success.
How Reflexively Apologising For Everything All The Time Undermines Your Career
How can you inspire confidence if you are constantly saying you’re sorry for doing your job?
I’m one of those weird people who gets excited about performance reviews. I like getting feedback and understanding how I can improve. A few years ago, I sat down for my first annual review as the director of communications for the Florida secretary of state, under the governor of Florida.
I had a great relationship with my chief of staff, but I had taken on a major challenge when I accepted the job a year prior. I didn’t really know what to expect.
Youth takes charge
I was 25 at the time, and everyone on my team was in their thirties and forties. I came from Washington, D.C., and was an outsider to my southern colleagues. I was asking a lot from people who had been used to very different expectations from their supervisor.
I sat down with my chief of staff who gave me some feedback about the challenges I had tackled.
She then paused and said to me, very directly,”But you have to stop apologising. You must stop saying sorry for doing your job.”
I didn’t know what to say. My reflex was to reply sheepishly, “Umm, I’m sorry?” But instead I immediately decided to be more cognisant of how often I said I was sorry. Years later, her words have stuck with me. I have what some may consider the classic female disease of apologising. When the New York Times addressed it, five of my friends and past coworkers sent it to me.
In it, writer Sloane Crosley got to the heart of the issue:
“To me, they sound like tiny acts of revolt, expressions of frustration or anger at having to ask for what should be automatic. They are employed when a situation is so clearly not our fault that we think the apology will serve as a prompt for the person who should be apologising.”
Topic of debate
I’ve talked at length with other women trying to figure out this fine balance. The Washington Post, Time, and Cosmopolitan have all tackled this topic. Some say it’s OK to apologise; others criticise those who are criticising women who apologise. Clearly, I’m not alone in dealing with this issue. In fact, I’m constantly telling the people I manage that by apologising they give up a lot of their power.
Here’s the bottom line: Don’t apologise for doing your job.
If you’re following up with a coworker about something they said they’d get to you earlier, don’t say, “Sorry to bug you!” If you want to share your thoughts in a meeting, don’t start off by saying, “Sorry, I just want to add…” If you’re doing your job, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for.
That’s what I think. And I’m not even sorry about it.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell
If you’re in need of a little motivation, check out these quotes from Dell’s CEO, founder and chairman.
There’s much to learn from one of the computer industry’s longest tenured CEOs and founders, Michael Dell. As an integral part of the computer revolution in the 1980s, Dell launched Dell Computer Corporation from his dorm room at the University of Texas. And it didn’t take Dell long before he’d launched one of the most successful computer companies. Indeed, by 1992 Dell was the youngest CEO of a fortune 500 company.
Dell’s success had been long foreshadowed. When he was 15, Dell showed great interest in technology, purchasing an early version of an Apple computer, only so he could take it apart and see how it was built. And once he got to college, Dell noticed a gap in the market for computers: There were no companies that were selling directly to consumers. So, he decided to cut out the middleman and began building and selling computers directly to his classmates. Before long, he dropped out of school officially to pursue Dell.
Fast forward to today. Dell is not only a tech genius and businessman, but a bestselling author, investor and philanthropist, with a networth of $24.7 billion. He continues his role as the CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies, making him one of the longest tenured CEOs in the computer industry.
So if you’re in need of some motivation or inspiration, take it from Dell.
Snapshots8 years ago
Habari Media: Adrian Hewlett
Start-up Industry Specific5 months ago
How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?
Snapshots10 months ago
27 Of The Richest People In South Africa
Types of Businesses to Start9 months ago
11 Uniquely South African Business Ideas
Entrepreneur Profiles6 months ago
10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing
Types of Businesses to Start6 months ago
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Lessons Learnt2 years ago
6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa
Types of Businesses to Start7 months ago
The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven’t Heard About Yet