- 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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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.
Taking It To The Malaysian Market – Karl van Zyl Of Antipodean Café
Karl van Zyl approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry.
Karl van Zyl has a 17 year history in the food and beverage industry in South-Africa and now applies his skills and knowledge in the extremely vibrant and competitive Malaysian market. I had a very interesting conversation with him to explore both similarities and differences of both markets and to share his accumulative learning of this industry to those entrepreneurs considering to open a restaurant or café.
He has a history working for the Mikes’ kitchen and Fishmonger groups in South-Africa fulfilling a range of roles from being a General Manager to Operational Manager. Currently he both manages an well-known Café called Antipodean and facilitates the opening of new cafes’ in Klang Valley, Malaysia.
Karl shared that his approach has always been logical and that applying sound basics has always served him well. Would you eat the food served at your restaurant and really enjoy it? Posing questions such as the aforementioned to yourself as a restaurant owner or manager helps you to be aware of the quality of your operation and to always keep the customer in mind when making decisions.
One of the key learnings that he shared was to get a very good and experienced team of waiters together that has previous restaurant or hospitality industry experience. He strongly advises quality over quantity when it comes to waiters and fondly remembers one of the waiters that he managed whom could take orders from a group of twenty people and remember each order from the top of his head.
It is not only about quality of service to the customer but also when there is a small but quality team of waiters operating then their earnings are much higher and they will feel valued and happy as opposed to a large group of waiters competing for relatively small rewards.
Karls’ approach has always been logical and simplified and he highlights three principles that he believes to be critical in the food and beverage industry:
- Quality of food
- Quality of service
He adds that in addition to the above principles your location should of course be in area with very good ‘foot traffic’.
When the entrepreneur venturing into the food and beverage market considers the right suppliers it is a critical factor to go and visit their facilities, thoroughly check their quality and enquire which other quality brands they are supplying in addition to buying at good prices.
In his view comparing the Malaysian food and beverage market to the South African market there are a lot more Malaysians eating at restaurants than in South Africa. One of the reasons for this is that there are a lot of ‘street café/restaurant’ options with quality food at a very low price due to the restaurant not being air-conditioned and making use of for example plastic chairs and tables.
Personally the author has found much more twenty four hour food options and countless varieties of food compared to the South African market. If you are awake and hungry at 3 am in the morning in Kuala Lumpur, no problem! You also will not be limited to only 24 hour fast food options, almost any type of food that you desire will be available that is if you know where to go off-course.
As a matter of interest Karl regards the prices of restaurants in general in Kuala Lumpur to be better than in South Africa and holds the service levels in KL in higher esteem due to it being more ‘personal’ and customer orientated. He believes that South African food matches the quality of Malaysian food but that there is however much more variety of food available in Malaysia.
Karl pointed out that it is possible to have people from all five continents represented in one night at a restaurant as the food culture in Malaysia is very diverse and so is the cultural phenomenon in general in Kuala Lumpur.
What Comfort Zones? Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable Says Co-Founder Of Curlec: Zac Liew
Zac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit.
Botanica Deli, Bangsar South, Malaysia a vibrant environment where a number of entrepreneurs and office workers go to meet and have great food and coffee. I walked into the Deli to meet a man that might just possess the ‘entrepreneurial gene’ if indeed that gene exists.
Zac Liew always wanted to venture onto the exciting yet challenging playing field of entrepreneurial ventures having his dad and mother as examples. His father a lawyer, whom ventured into property development and his mother whom started the first chain of liquor stores in Malaysia.
His parents’ ventures interested him from a very young age and helped to ignite the entrepreneurial fire in this very young CEO and co-founder of Curlec. Zac is a qualified lawyer whom also did a stint in the banking industry but at all times he had a burning desire to do something entrepreneurial and always had an interest in tech.
To him tech was always logical and simply made sense within this ever changing business environment within which we as entrepreneurs launch our start-up ventures. He also enjoys the challenging demands that the tech environment places upon his problem solving skills.
The Creation of Curlec
Zac Liew was offered to be CEO and Co-founder of Curlec at the age of twenty six and took up the offer knowing that he would be engaged in a steep learning curve. Curlec is a FinTech company that is redefining the customer experience for Direct Debit. They are the first Malaysian software company to enable online Direct Debit payments in Malaysia. One of the core principles that Curlec was founded upon is to Build great tech that solves a basic need.
Zac together with his co-founders Steve Kucia and Raj Lorenz found a simplified and effective solution to collecting money on a recurring basis. Normally recurring billing and collections is a big issue for SMEs’ and other options were exceptionally costly and timeous.
Zac pointed out that the size of the issue of recurring collections exceeded all expectations and that is one of the reasons that their start-up phase has been successful and gained very good traction in the market.
Curlec has a razor sharp focus on only two products which enables them to focus on giving a great service and customer experience. Curlec cuts through the normal levels of bureaucracy of big companies and has a laser focus on their customers.
How does this apply to start-up entrepreneurs?
Create a product or a system that is simplified, very user friendly, cost and time effective, and more importantly that solves a very challenging issue within the market place that adds great value to customers. Underpin this by being customer centric.
I asked Zac to enlighten me on the key learnings of his journey thus far and also share success principles that has served him well in business and in his life in general. He pointed out that he believes that every entrepreneur should get comfortable with being uncomfortable and venture outside the boundaries of their own comfort zones.
‘Be comfortable with making mistakes’ he says. Get feedback learn from it and integrate the useful feedback in your thinking and in practically applying solutions.’
As business and life has a natural and general ebb and flow to it persistence is a key factor to your success. Accept challenges as they occur and realise that the mind of the entrepreneur should always have a problem solving focus. As a fan of combat sports, Zac shared the following quotes that resonates with him:
“The more you seek the uncomfortable the more you will become comfortable” – Conor McGregor
“I have been training under the dark lights so that I can shine in the bright lights’ – Anthony Joshua
As a writer I have always been fascinated by the wisdom imparted by philosophers and masters of their respective fields. I am even more excited and hopeful for our future when I hear wisdom ‘rolling of the tongue’ of a twenty six year old entrepreneur:
‘Be idealistic in your ideas but be pragmatic in actualising them. If things are not working out do not be stuck in that. Take what you can learn from your experiences and move on.’
Tech has the inherent power to reach the far ends of the world seamlessly and when we have more and more tech entrepreneurs solving big consumer issues and thereby making this world a better place we can be more and more hopeful of a better future.
Don’t Be ‘Outside Standing’ On Your Own Exponential Growth Says Serial Investor, Jimmy Phoon
Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation.
It was a usually warm and humid afternoon in Malaysia as I walked into the foodbar at Fashion library in Kota Damansara, to meet a man who has a deep understanding of leveraging capital mechanisms in order to achieve exponential business growth.
Serial investor Jimmy Phoon is proud of his and his team at Alps Global holdings in achieving a $300 million valuation. He doesn’t speak to the ‘wrongs and rights’ of investments as he believes there are many ways in approaching an investment opportunity. He does however, firmly believe in the MOC (Miracles of Capital) organisations’ (of which he is a senior alumni member) approach to exponentially grow a company and having a clear exit strategy such as selling at a desired price or publically listing the company.
Jimmy enthusiastically highlighted the difference between them, as he names it a ‘feasible’ and a ‘bankable’ business investment. In offering a simple differentiation between the two terms he explained that ‘feasibility’ simply means that the business is making money, whilst ‘bankable’ means that the business is not only making money but that there is a clear succession plan and exit strategy in place.
As an experienced international entrepreneur and investor he recognises that a vast number of entrepreneurs are very well versed in the market mechanisms of their respective industries yet not equally adept at the capital mechanisms that underpins the exponential growth of companies. He points out that when a company has very good management in place, has a clear and attractive dividend policy to its shareholders, and in addition a well-defined and practical exit strategy it will increase the appetite of investors in general.
He describes the MOC to be an international platform to teach the mechanisms of Capital to entrepreneurs and investors. The MOC is the trifecta of business incubation, acceleration, and investment. One of the core principles of business investment that the MOC teaches and which Jimmy firmly believes in is collaboration between companies and entrepreneurs.
This means the willingness and openness to merge your unique skills as an entrepreneur, the unique offering of your company, profit and loss, with the skills, products and offerings of other companies with the end goal of exponential growth of a newly formed company. This approach can create a big win for all involved.
But what is ‘Outside Standing’?
The aforementioned discussion led to Jimmy sharing one of his favourite sayings:
“Be outstanding or outside standing” – a tongue in the cheek way of saying that by truly understanding and applying both the mechanisms of the market and capital you can experience the exponential growth of your company or alternatively by not fully applying both mechanisms it is then highly likely that you will be a witness from the ‘outside’ to the exponential growth of other companies and unfortunately not your own.
Jimmy’s’ accumulated learnings allows him to assist his team in building an ‘IPO’ compliant company that is formed with a collaborative approach towards a planned and well executed exit. That is part of his mind-set which is to do ‘big things’ and keep a distance from ‘small things’ for as an investor this man is always after exponential growth. He fosters a creation mind-set which is to create a bigger picture through leveraging and combining market and capital mechanisms.
One of the key ‘take always’ for me as an entrepreneur is to be much more open to collaboration in order to add value to others and in turn receive value such as exponential growth. Understanding the market mechanisms within your industry is not enough to multiply business performance, taking a keen interest in the capital mechanisms at play will take major strides towards actualising your bigger picture.
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