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Lessons Learnt

Fatality Rose From The Ashes Because Of Pareto’s Principle

Phillip Gimmi and Jared Koning of Fatality on inbound marketing and rising from the ashes.

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Vital Stats

  • Players: Phillip Gimmi and Jared Koning
  • Company: Fatality
  • What they do: Inbound marketing and appointment setting
  • Launch: 2016
  • Visit: fatality.co.za

As a small business owner, we all struggle to find new customers. This is part of the burden of entrepreneurship that most people don’t like to talk about.

Entrepreneurship is hard, you need to be able to provide a great product/service at the same time you need to be the accountant, operations manager, do the HR and get the marketing done. Above all, you need to increase sales and grow the business.

We not equally good at all jobs, we usually have an area of mastery. When we spend time on things we not good at, we taking precious time away from what we are good at. We need to manage our business the way Pareto would have done if he were a modern day manager.

Related: 5 Leadership Secrets Stolen From Famous People

Pareto and the Pareto principle

Vilfredo Pareto was an italian economist who lived at the end of the 19th century and discovered that roughly 80 percent of the wealth of the country was distributed to the top 20 percent and that 80 percent of the population only had 20 percent of the wealth and this ‘rule’ remained historically true.

He called this discovery the Pareto’s principle, it’s also commonly referred to as the 80/20 principle.

Years later after studying Pareto’s principle, an enthusiastic entrepreneur/management consultant by the name of Richard Koch had a stunning realisation about this economic principle. He realised it applied to management as well. He discovered that 20 percent of the work done gave roughly about 80 percent of the return, whereas the other 80 percent of the work done only gave about 20 percent of the return on the business.

This research by Richard Koch was taken one step further by life long learner and adwords expert, Perry Marshall. He discovered that the 80/20 principal was just the tip of the iceberg. He spent months analysing his adwords account and realised that there was an 80/20 inside of the 80/20.

In other words 4% of all the search terms he used across all his accounts that he managed brought in roughly 64% of the qualified traffic. This applied to all industry and multiple countries. He further elaborated that their is an 80/20 to everything we do, all we need to do is take the time to work on our business rather than just in our business.

What to focus on and who to partner with?

The problem is that most business owners are good at the technical skill they sell and not necessarily good at finding customers or running a business. This means you get really good ‘lawyers’ ending up being very bad salespeople and business owners. They decided to be a salesperson when they have never been in sales.

Related: Swopinfo Is Harnessing The Power Of The Network Effect

It’s like getting a law degree and opening up a surgical practice. It does not make sense. These people that sell the technical skill they good at may it be accounting, legal advice, human resources, graphic design, information systems etc. should focus on their strengths and hire for their weaknesses.

The difference between ‘in’ and ‘on’

fatality-south-african-logo

The other challenge that these business owners have is that they too busy working in their business and not spending enough time working on their business. They jump on the hamster wheel and go! When you ask them to stop and spend a few hours each day to work on their business they look at you as if you crazy.

Saying they can’t stop because they too busy. Ironically, they are only as busy as they are because they don’t spend enough time to find ways to do things more efficiently. They are literally keeping themselves stuck within their business working long hours and having an unbalanced lifestyles.

According to Michael E Gerber the entrepreneurial myth is a ‘technician’ who started a small business thinking they are an entrepreneur and then left wondering why the business is not working. They know how to do the work and mistake the work for running the business and this is a fatal mistake. Working on the business is not the same as working on the work within the business.

Key takeaway

These are the two biggest challenges both Jared Koning and Phillip Gimmi had to face before growing Fatality and helping 25 b2b based businesses. These two points are the some of the biggest internal struggles many entrepreneurs face and either don’t realise it or don’t talk about it.

Related: How PFE International Remains Relevant By Creating Value

Once we overcame these two realisations, it only took a few short months to rise from the ashes, experience hyper growth and help many other businesses grow.

The first point is you need to identify where the majority of the impact is coming from and focus on making that work very well compared to trying to make everything work well. Additionally if you not good at sales, don’t try to be. It’s easier to become better at what you good at compared to becoming good at something you bad at.

The second point is If you to busy doing a good job for your customers business, you probably part of the majority that are neglecting their own business. If you are a skilled attorney in a law practice and you love being an attorney then get someone else to run the business so that you can do your best work first and always. Working in a business compared to working on a business could not be any more different than what it is.

You can overcome this like Fatality has done, by choosing the right type of partner so that you cover each others weaknesses or alternatively hire the right type of staff that covers your weaknesses. This way your organisation has no weaknesses and each person is allocated to their individual strengths.

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Lessons Learnt

Brian Tan Of FutureLab.my – Bridging The Knowledge Gap Through Social Learning

Brian Tan a young Malaysian Entrepreneur whom has built the largest social learning platform in South-East Asia.

Dirk Coetsee

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“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away” – Pablo Picasso

As a keen observer of the behaviour of successful entrepreneurs I have learnt that:

“You do not attract what you want but you attract what you are”

Brian Tan truly believes in what FutureLab stands for and therefore has attracted the belief of key partners such as Cradle whom has invested in his ground-breaking project.

Brians’ gift is to solve big problems. In unison with his two other co-founders he is giving this gift away in the Form of FutureLab, a company obsessed with learning and more specifically bridging the gap between education and careers.

Brian wants to play a role in making humanity better by applying his knack for solving unique problems and firmly believes that quality and ongoing education is a powerful catalyst for positive change. FutureLab is a social learning platform featuring diverse applications that not only connects mentees to mentors but also empowers several companies to track their employees utilising Futurelabs’ technology as they navigate through development and talent development programs.

Slowly but surely FutureLab is becoming much needed feedback loop between university and industry and brings exposure to people who have not had it before. Brian believes that a lot of people have not fullfiled their potential due to low standards of education in general.

Related: Channeling The Fire Of Authenticity: Asia’s’ Top ‘YouTuber’, Joanna Soh

I fully realised that I was engaging a modern entrepreneur as he described his company culture as:

‘Geeky, awesome & badass.’

He elaborated on that by explaining that his team do not follow trends, that they authentically like what they like, and do what they love in their unique way. When you act according to the Leadership principle of Authenticity you avoid having regrets as you did not apply unnecessary energy to attempt to become someone that you are simply not.

This unique company is founded upon three core values which flows through all the activities that they engage in:

  • Giving back to society
  • Continuous Learning
  • Creating your own reality.

The FutureLab team does not only pay lip service to these values but instead actualise them as a matter of regular practice. Brian gives his team ‘homework’ in terms of things that they need to learn and the CEO of FutureLab himself is engaged in a lifetime commitment to learning. Regular ‘Stand up meetings’ are held were team members give feedback and hold each other accountable.

Brian is a Biochemist by trade whom constantly seeks opportunity to learn more about business and has completed several business programs to learn how to build a company which included spending 3 weeks at Stanford University studying entrepreneurship and meeting teams from Google, Apple, Facebook and Pinterest as part of a government initiative for the top 25 Malaysian start-ups. This young entrepreneur believes that his passion for teamwork has helped him a great deal to transform from being a biochemist to being an entrepreneur. He finds joy in ‘pushing a team forward’, as he puts it and loves seeing his team members grow in self-confidence and belief in the vision of the company that he co-founded. He has a keen knack for finding potential and then helping his team members to unleash their inherent talents.

What follows is Brians’ clear description of how Futerelab obtained cradle funding and how they managed to secure the top universities in Malaysia as clients, in his own words:

“We wanted to prove that FutureLab was solving an actual problem before applying for Cradle funding so what we did was to invite mentors from specific industries (at this early ideation stage of FutureLab it was our own personal networks).

“We started with mentors from Management consulting and posted a google form up on Low Yat and Facebook to see whether anyone wanted to speak to them. Within a couple of days, we had 20 people signup to meet our mentors. At this point, we decided to close the google form since we didnt know what kind of people would show up. We set the meet up at a local coffee shop and only spent RM 50 on buying coffee for the 5 mentors from Accenture, BCG, PWC, Ethos Consulting and Deliotte. We split the mentees into mini groups and they cycled from one mentor to the next, the last stop for each mentee group was with me telling them what we are trying to build, how much we are thinking of charging and how would the system work. We got really good feedback from the participants and the mentors.

Related: Meet Jan Grobler: Serial entrepreneur, Advocate, And Job Creator

Me being a scientist by training, I like to see whether results are repeatable so we organised 6 of these meet-ups over the whole year inviting mentors from different industries, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, doctors and we even tested on online mentoring session using google hangouts. At this point, we were convinced that FutureLab should exist. This is when we applied to Cradle for Funding along with all the evidence we collected on why FutureLab should exist.

When FutureLab was first launched, we already had 40 mentors and 60 mentees that were waiting to use the platform that we were building. Mentees really enjoyed speaking to our mentors and vice versa for mentors, our growth has been mostly from word of mouth from mentors and mentees eventually universities started being aware of our mentoring community and started asking us to get more involved with their students. Our mentors are big advocates for our platform and they are based in large companies around the world. So they play a big role in opening doors for us.

Yet another key business learning he has acquired is to always guard against complacency and this knowledge is encapsulated by the following quote that he shared:

“What got you here cannot get you there”

Meaning that the same behaviours and habits that got you to this point will not be enough to move you forward, you have to keep on evolving to remain relevant and successful.

Brian is passionate about FutureLab and business in general and reminds us that:“When you are passionate work is the fun part of the day”. His advice to other entrepreneurs is to truly find a project that you are passionate about and truly believe in. He is most certainly passionate about the future of his projects and wants to build an eco-system that generates high volumes of cash that will empower his company to invest in start-up projects.

In general he wants to invest in entrepreneurs that are solving ‘big problems’ and wants FutureLab to become an innovation company. He poses this challenging question to those thinking on starting their entrepreneurial journey:

‘Are you merely attempting to do what others are already doing or are you really solving a problem?”

He finds that many entrepreneurs overthink and then do little. The more you do and if done at a rapid pace the more you learn to become adaptable and will find that there are many ways to solve a problem.

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Lessons Learnt

6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa

Zero to 100 million in only a few years, we take a look at South Africa’s start-ups that have grown from fledglings to million rand businesses.

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The Business of Iced Tea

bos-tea

Vital Stats

  • Player: Grant Rushmere
  • Brand: Bos Brands
  • Established: 2009
  • Visit: www.bosicetea.com

When Grant Rushmere first envisioned Bos Ice Tea, he did it through the lens of creating a global brand. This wasn’t going to be a small local brand that would grow organically, and maybe enter international markets in the distant future. No. This was a brand engineered for stratospheric growth, which required a ballsy optimism and willingness to go big or go home.

“From the beginning we jumped in with both feet. We approached retailers and secured contracts that we knew we wouldn’t be able to sustain down the line if we didn’t get funders on board, but it was a calculated risk that we were willing to take.”

“I had developed the idea, brand and product, but I didn’t want to be a lone ranger,” says Rushmere. “I was looking for a partner who would co-invest in the business and bring skills to the company. Richard was ideal. He loved rooibos and actually produced it, and he is excellent with contracts and HR matters. Where I think a handshake will suffice, he puts a contract in place that protects everyone’s interests. Together we had the skills this business needed.”

The Top Lesson

Gutsy moves and calculated risks aside, the success of Bos Brands is a lesson in the power of marketing. In their first year, Rushmere and Bowsher spent as much on marketing as their turnover. As their revenue has increased, they haven’t pulled back on marketing spend — they’ve grown it. Rushmere is a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and what he’s been aiming for since the inception of the brand is no-holds-barred growth.

Today Iced Tea has grown from zero to R100 million in under ten years

To read the full Bos Tea story click here.

Next Up > 720% growth in 5 years

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Lessons Learnt

How Kevin Hart Went From Being A Comedian To The Guy Who Owns Comedy

He’s one of America’s most famous funnymen, but here’s what most people don’t see: Kevin Hart is often in his office, running a far more ambitious comedy machine.

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Considering how proud Kevin Hart is of the headquarters of his company, you’d think the place would be downright palatial. But it’s not. It’s simple, almost austere. It’s a series of small offices, a reception area and a conference room, and it takes up a floor of a non­descript building in downtown Encino, Calif., on Ventura Boulevard, across from a Korean BBQ joint.

The rooms are sparsely furnished. There are a lot of photos and posters of Hart, of course, but otherwise there is no expensive art, no designer tchotchkes on the credenzas, no tasteful floor coverings that could fund a motion picture production.

No, the thing about this office that fills Kevin Hart with such pride isn’t its appearance. It’s the fact that it’s still his.

Back in 2009, when he took out a two-year lease on just a small portion of the space to house his startup, HartBeat Productions, Hart was worried he wasn’t going to be able to afford it. This was before his comedy specials became some of the highest-grossing of all time. Before his social media profile grew to near record-­setting proportions. Before Kevin Hart Day was declared in Philadelphia. Before he became one of the biggest stars on Earth.

“When I first got here,” he says, “and this is before the money was where it is now, this was the dream. Every day I get to see this and I get to go, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to do it, man? Shit. I done took out the two-year goddamn lease on this place!’ ’

But he loved the “aspirational” view from what is still his personal office, and he had a plan, drawn from a hard-earned epiphany. Historically, comedians and actors, even very successful ones, are simply cogs in a very large machine.

For all the fame, and the money and the glamour, they are essentially powerless against the whims of that machine. They are the product. They do their best, work their hardest, earn what they can and at the end of the day, they’re left with fading fame and whatever money they were able to bank along the way.

Hart saw this state of affairs early in his stand-up comedy career and decided to try something different. Something risky. The idea was this: Create something lasting. Something that will go on when you’re done. Don’t just show up, do your best and then go away.

Related: 10 Quotes On Following Your Dreams, Having Passion And Showing Hard Work From Tech Guru Michael Dell

Don’t make money mostly for other people. Own what you do. Perfect your craft, of course, but in so doing, create a sustainable, revenue-­generating enterprise that can run profitably long after the world has had enough of seeing your face and hearing your jokes.

In short, the idea Kevin Hart had, as he stood nervously in that office in 2009, was this: Don’t be the cog. Be the machine.

And so he is.

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