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EY’s Azim Omar Says Your Business Needs A Cause To Be Successful

What single characteristic unites South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs? They have passion and a purpose — and it’s driving their successes to new heights.

Nadine Todd

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Vital stats

  • Player: Azim Omar
  • Position: Africa Growth Markets Leader at EY
  • Visit: www.ey.com/za

Purpose before profit

This is the critical deciding factor that we have seen amongst the most successful business leaders who have been nominated as finalists in the EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa 2016.

Starting with a ‘why’ makes all the difference to success, because you aren’t just chasing profit, but a cause. Passion follows a why, allowing solutions to be found to even the greatest challenges.

You need vision, but keep your feet on the ground

They dream big, but they know that goals aren’t reached unless you make specific decisions to get there. The winner of the EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa 2016 was Super Group’s Peter Mountford.

When he was appointed CEO in 2009 the group had made a loss of R1,3 billion and there was talk of a takeover. As part of a turnaround strategy to become sustainable and achieve growth, Peter had to make some tough decisions, starting with disposing of all non-core and loss-making businesses within the group.

Related: RocoMamas Founder Brian Altriche’s On Fabulous Failures And Visualising Success

Within six years Super Group went from a R1,3 billion loss to showing a profit of R230 million, and the business as a whole does a turnover in excess of R25 billion.

The key ingredient to success at the EY awards programme

ernst-and-young-logo

In 2015 disruption was a key theme. In 2016 passion and purpose have dominated the business stories we’ve heard. This has always been a key ingredient of success, but as business and markets get tougher, it has become increasingly important.

Entrepreneurs with next level vision and growth

Margaret does the impossible. She visits every store once a week, in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. She also holds artisan and baking classes, and builds up communities from grass roots level. That’s purpose. It inspires us, but it’s also a key indicator of what it takes to be a real success.

Behind every successful business and entrepreneur is tenacity, determination, innovation and the will to make an impact on society. You’ll never find money as a purpose when we evaluate the finalists in our awards programme.

You can’t buy success

That’s not how you’ll make an impact, because it’s a completely self-serving goal. The business leaders who focus on impact, who look out instead of in, and who have a desire to really be the change they want to see — these are the individuals who are building businesses greater than themselves.

Related: How Neil Robinson Is Saving The World 1 Bracelet At A Time

Finalists displayed the perfect mindset

One is the son of an entrepreneur who ran a stationery and clothing store in Zimbabwe before its economy collapsed. At the time, many business owners packed up and left. Kirit Naik didn’t.

Surely children still needed an education and stationery? If all the businesses packed up and left, who would support the community? Today he runs the largest stationery manufacturer in Zimbabwe with his two sons, all because he had a purpose.

Finalists who want to make an impact

Jurie Bester of Junit Manufacturing, wanted to use his family’s small clothing manufacturing business to make a real impact in his community.

He secured a contract to manufacture clothing for Woolworths, and with that was able to grow a factory in Utrecht outside Newcastle, KZN to employ around 700 people, and a further 1 700 people in Swaziland.

Jurie’s ultimate aims are to grow local employment and launch his brand internationally. Working in Swaziland is step one in understanding the challenges of cross-border business transactions.

Achieving your ultimate business purpose often requires linking a number of dots that work towards the same goals, but always, purpose remains paramount.

What is your definition of success?

Fatima Vawda, founder of 27four Investment Managers and winner in the 2016 Emerging category has helped 22 black fund managers to grow their own businesses and achieve their dream.

She’s grown from managing R500 million in assets under management and advisory to R55 billion. Her definition of success is to help others grow. This is how she lives her purpose and ticks her boxes.

Related: NicHarry’s R100 Million Business Plan

Ideas are one thing, but purpose is important

Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner

Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner

You’ll find the idea if you have the purpose. Our Exceptional category winners, Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved, co-founders of The Creative Counsel, live their values in every aspect of their business, but they’re also committed to growing SMEs and being one of the biggest first time employers in South Africa.

This purpose means they are constantly innovating, striving to be better and looking for ways to elevate their stakeholders and partners. And success is the result.

Nominations now open

EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa 2017 nominations are open in the following categories:

  • Master: Honours individuals whose achievements have made them world-class entrepreneurs. Must be running an organisation with revenues in excess of US$100 million.
  • Exceptional: Recognises individuals who have shown exceptional tenacity and determination in building a successful and established enterprise with revenues in excess of US$10 million.
  • Emerging: Credits those individuals building businesses with high growth potential. The minimum revenue threshold for participants is US$3 million.

Recommend an entrepreneur or submit a nomination at www.ey.com/za/wea

Submissions close: 31 July 2017

Terms and conditions apply.

Take note

Start with your ‘why’ and you’ll naturally find solutions to the biggest challenges you are facing, both personally and professionally.

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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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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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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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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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