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Business Growth For SweepSouth Means Metric Measurement

Growth takes work, and that means finding and measuring the metrics that will move your business forward.

Nadine Todd

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SweepSouth

Vital Stats

  • Players: Alen Ribic and Aisha Pandor
  • Company: SweepSouth
  • Past skills: Software developer and researcher (with a PhD in human genetics)
  • Launched: 2014
  • Visit: sweepsouth.com

Why have metrics been so important for the growth of your business?

We believe metrics should be at the heart of every growth strategy. As a researcher Aisha’s background was lab work, using the principles of process engineering. You experiment and then measure your results against your expected outcomes.

When we launched SweepSouth we approached data in the same way. This is a data-driven technology platform for ordering, managing and paying for home cleaning services online that matches cleaners with clients; it’s a completely different industry, but the process of tracking data holds true.

What do you attribute successes and failures to if you don’t know what you’re measuring, or the outcomes that you’re looking for?

Related: Bankrupt And Dreams In Tatters: How Sheree O’ Brien’s Self-Belief Drove Her To Success

Where should businesses start?

That’s very dependent on the company and its industry, but customer feedback is always a good place to start. Data is just information. Too many business owners and managers see it as intimidating. It’s not.

Just start with something — one small unit of measurement. Once you’ve got that, build on it. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and the decisions you can make once you have data at your fingertips. Information is power.

Is there a right way and a wrong way to collect data?

The main thing is to use it appropriately for your business’s lifecycle. We launched with an MVP, so our early data points were related to refining our product. Now we measure different things that will help us grow the business. It’s easy to get blindsided by plans and ideals.

I don’t believe we are unique in our propensity to overcomplicate things without stopping and listening to feedback. You need to take the time to stop and listen to your customers. If you look at the overall data available to you, is what you’re doing satisfying goals and projections?

How do you determine what you should be measuring?

You need to know your business and what your ‘north star’ is. What’s important to you? What will drive business growth? For us, how many bookings we receive per month is important.

We break this down into new and returning customers; returning customers indicate how well our service providers perform on a customer satisfaction level, while new customers reveal how well our marketing and sales efforts are working. Both are important metrics.

Related: What The Concept Phase Really Means To Alex Van Tonder

How do you stay focused?

This goes back to knowing what your north star is, and then being ruthless in sticking to it. We encourage healthy debate in our organisation.

New employees in particular are able to look at how we do things with fresh eyes and make valuable suggestions, but then everything gets evaluated according to our north star. This lets us know what we are measuring the idea against. Will it impact this key area? If it won’t, we don’t put focus and energy into it.

How have metrics improved your business?

Most notably by showing us that we shouldn’t presume to know what our customers want. Our first algorithm had customers picking a date for their cleaning service.

Carefully monitoring how the site was used revealed an important detail about customer behaviour that we had missed. Many users would switch dates if it meant getting a specific cleaner. Initially, this wasn’t an option, and so people would leave the site and try again later.

Adjusting the algorithm to allow them to find when a cleaner was available upped our returning customers. It was such an important discovery, and all because we measure metrics.

These matches are really based on asking the right questions, so we are refining those all the time as well. Because of this, we keep tracking the success of what we’re doing. We never take anything for granted. It’s an internal mantra of the business to assume we can keep doing things better — and then finding a way to do it.

Lessons Learnt

(Podcast) ‘Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern: ‘I’m Addicted To The Hustle’

How this week’s ‘How Success Happens’ guest overcame personal struggles and built an empire.

Dan Bova

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andrew-zimmern

I didn’t know what to expect when we scheduled an interview over breakfast with today’s guest Andrew Zimmern. As you may know, the chef, writer, restaurateur and TV personality made a name for himself traveling the world and eating some, well, bizarre foods on his hit travel/food show, Bizarre Foods.

Turns out our breakfast was pretty normal – we didn’t dig into a fresh plate of scrambled brains or anything – but the conversation was anything but typical.

Over the past couple of years, Zimmern has built a true empire around his name with books, TV shows, restaurants (including his new Twin Cities joint Lucky Cricket), and a production company, but as he very candidly told me, the road to success has not been easy. He has gone through a lot of personal pain on his journey, and he says it is a daily endeavour to keep himself moving on the right track.

As Zimmern explained, over the course of his life, he’s had problems with substance abuse, depression – even homelessness – and he was very open about sharing the lessons he’s learned along the way about coping and finding redemption. We also spoke about his dear friend, Anthony Bourdain, and about the struggles of feeling overwhelmed that most of us face.

Related: Gareth Cliff Shares His Tips For Starting Your Very Own Podcast

But don’t get me wrong, he’s really funny, too! There’s nothing “normal” about Andrew Zimmern. Hope you’ll enjoy our conversation, thanks for listening.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Lessons Learnt

How BrightRock Is Disrupting The Insurance Industry With These 2 Pivotal Strategies

Developments in technology, and clear communication are positioning BrightRock to disrupt their industry and transform the consumer experience.

Monique Verduyn

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brightrock

Vital Stats

  • Players: Sean Hanlon, Leopold Malan, Schalk Malan, Suzanne Stevens
  • Company: BrightRock
  • Est: 2011
  • Visit: www.brightrock.co.za

BrightRock was started around a dining room table in 2011 by four people with years of industry experience and — importantly — a diverse set of complementary skills.  They wanted to make changes to an industry with an age-old methodology by allowing customers to co-create a solution that precisely meets their individual needs, and adjusts as those needs change. Today, BrightRock is the fastest-growing insurer in the intermediated individual life risk market. It also provides underwriting management services to funeral parlour businesses and, more recently, has entered the group risk insurance market, offering its needs-matched approach to employees.

The founders of BrightRock, established in 2011, knew the life insurance industry all too well, and they found its methodology wanting. “Traditional life insurance lumps all the individual’s needs into one policy,” says CEO Schalk Malan.

“It’s a methodology that has been around for centuries. We started afresh and looked at how we could design life insurance based on individual requirements. Our cover is designed to exactly match each specific financial need. Because there is no waste, it’s more cost efficient and sustainable. And if circumstances change and our customer needs more cover, it’s easy to get it because needs-matched design enables the policy to change in line with changing needs.”

1. Embracing digital technology to provide needs-matched insurance

Suzanne Stevens, marketing executive director at BrightRock, points out that this type of innovation achieves efficiency (cost savings) and effectiveness (higher returns). “By harnessing digital technology, we have made our operations more efficient, and aggressively lowered costs by up to 30% for our customers. Every rand they spend with us works harder for them. That’s the benefit of a solution designed around the customer.”

BrightRock’s founders took a similar approach. ‘We ditched legacy thinking in favour of creating a product that is intuitive and easy to navigate. An enormous amount of time and effort went into writing and designing that system, and creating the optimal customer journey.”

Related: How BrightRock Is Rocking The (Industry) Boat In Only 5 Years Since Launch

Unlike clunky legacy systems, BrightRock’s platform is modularised, and was built according to the agile principle of rapid delivery cycles. The result is a technology stack with longevity, that is also flexible enough to be tweaked when needed.

“The advantage of the technology available today is that you can plug things in and pull them out as required,” says Suzanne. “That’s one of the enablers of a truly disruptive mindset. To step away from accepted norms and find new solutions requires curiosity and creativity, as well as a lot of courage to go up against large incumbents in the market. There is always resistance to new technology, although we are fortunate in this country to have one of the most innovative insurance sectors in the world.”

2. Effective communication is critical

These disruptors have set themselves above the rest through one surprisingly simple tactic —  effective communication. They agree that it simply doesn’t matter how world-changing your product or service is if you don’t communicate it to the right audience at the right time. New companies that fail to communicate their remarkable new development will quickly be pushed aside by other disruptors. Without a clear communication strategy that reaches the audience in the industry you’re trying to disrupt, you’ll set yourself up for failure. A key question to ask when you are developing your communication strategy is simply whether people understand what you do.

“Because the premise for our product was fundamentally different from anything on the market, communication and clear messaging were critical to convincing our clients to put their trust in us,” says Schalk.

“It was especially important to educate insurance advisors so they would understand what we were doing, why we were doing it, and how it was better than the other options available. That was key to disrupting the individual life market.”

Currently, BrightRock employs 380 staff, has experienced 40% year-on-year growth, and has an annualised premium income of more than R1,3 billion. The company has recently entered the group risk environment with a similar offering that addresses many of the same shortcomings of traditional group risk products. “The inefficiencies of the structuring of group products has meant that, to remain competitive, insurers have cut the benefits offered to employees, undermining their sense of financial security. Change is needed, and we believe our needs-matched philosophy positions us to change the group risk market too.”

‘We ditched legacy thinking in favour of creating a product that is intuitive and easy to navigate. An enormous amount of time and effort went into writing and designing that system, and creating the optimal customer journey.”

Unlike clunky legacy systems, the BrightRock’s platform is modularised, and was built according to the agile principle of rapid delivery cycles. The result is a technology stack with longevity, that is also flexible enough to be tweaked when needed.

Related: BrightRock’s 5 Entrepreneurial Tips For Start-ups

This iterative, modular approach typically begins with defining the strategy and programme plan upfront, delivering a core capability fast so it can provide benefits immediately, and then continuously improving with regular, incremental capability improvements to achieve the objectives of the strategy. It’s an approach that fosters closer collaboration between stakeholders, improved transparency, earlier delivery, greater allowance for change and more focus on the business outcomes.

“The advantage of the technology available today is that you can plug things in and pull them out as required,” says Suzanne. “That’s one of the enablers of a truly disruptive mindset. To step away from accepted norms and find new solutions requires curiosity and creativity, as well as a lot of courage to go up against large incumbents in the market. There is always resistance to new technology, although we are fortunate in this country to have one of the most innovative insurance sectors in the world.”

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Lessons Learnt

The 9 Obsessions You Need To Have To Become A Self-Made Millionaire

Here’s how to stay focused on your millionaire goals.

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elon-musk

The ones who succeed weren’t handed a golden ticket; it wasn’t chance that helped them cultivate their fortune. To reach millionaire status, you must be driven to reach your dreams. You must be obsessed in order to be successful.

These are the nine obsessions that give every self-made millionaire an edge in creating success and wealth.

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