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Global Speaker John Sanei On ‘What’s Your Moonshot?’

John Sanei is a global speaker, coach, facilitator, trend specialist and author. Entrepreneur spoke to him about his book, What’s Your Moonshot? Here’s what you need to know to drive innovation in your organisation this year.

GG van Rooyen

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Vital Stats

  • Player: John Sanei
  • Claim to fame: Global speaker, coach, facilitator, trend specialist and author.
  • About: In What’s Your Moonshot? John Sanei decodes the mega-trends that are reshaping human behaviour and the way people do business. He also explains how to innovate your business to keep up with an ever-changing environment, and to make a positive impact on millions, if not billions, of people.
  • Visit: www.johnsanei.com

What is a moonshot?

john-saneiIn 1961, US president John F. Kennedy said that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The technology needed to do this didn’t exist, but the goal was still accomplished. Today, a ‘moonshot’ is what companies like Google and Facebook call an absurdly ambitious goal that seems impossible, but can change the world.

Related: Got What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur? International Speaker Justin Cohen Tells You How

Why is the book called What’s Your Moonshot?

The world is changing quickly and people need to innovate and keep up if they want their businesses to survive. However, I want to encourage people to embrace a victor mindset — I want them to stop thinking small. It shouldn’t just be about surviving, it should be about thriving.

The modern business world is complex, but it also offers a lot of opportunities. South African entrepreneurs tend to think too small; they believe that they don’t have the same opportunities and abilities as people in places like London or Silicon Valley. That’s why I want entrepreneurs to find their ‘moonshot’. I want them to find the biggest, most audacious goal they can imagine and go for it.

You say that business seems harder now than before. Why is this the case?

Capitalism, at least in the traditional sense, has come to an end. For decades, the technologies underpinning things like transport, communication and information sharing stayed virtually unchanged. Then, with the creation of the Internet, everything changed. Suddenly, everything is changing and evolving at an incredibly rapid rate, and just about every industry out there is being disrupted.

That’s why business seems so much harder these days — you need to keep up with the pace of innovation, and the difficulty comes when you attempt to stick with business methods of the past. Until a few years ago, having a differentiator was enough to keep you profitable and set you apart from the competition.

This is no longer the case. Things change so quickly these days, that a differentiator is only relevant for a relatively short amount of time. You need to constantly look to the future and anticipate change.

Tell us about the rise of the chief future officer

Because the ability to anticipate the future is so crucial to survival these days, many forward-thinking companies are starting to employ chief future officers who are responsible for tracking trends and identifying how these trends will potentially impact a business.

Now, as a start-up founder or owner of a smaller business, you might not be able to employ a chief future officer, so it’s important to cultivate a future mindset yourself. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer good enough.

Even if your company is doing very well, you need to realise that disruption is a real possibility these days. You need to look at trends and prepare for change.

Related: Should You Hire a Motivational Speaker to Motivate Staff?

Can you explain your ‘Forever Profitable’ methodology?

It’s a methodology that I discuss in the book, and that I use to guide organisations into the future. In order to be ‘forever profitable’, a company needs to keep an eye on the future and be ready for change. Of course, the issue of trends is popular at the moment, and there’s no shortage of books and speakers discussing the topic, but simply looking at trends is not enough.

Companies need something more concrete. As the business owner, you need to understand how trends will impact the future of technology, your industry, your consumer and your employee. Once you understand this, you can prepare for the future in a pragmatic way and prevent disruption.


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Do you have the right mindset to thrive in today’s rapidly changing business world? Are you a victim or an architect of the future?

As the foundations of modern economies — transportation, communication and energy — become free or virtually free, massive transformative ideas can now be driven by individual ambition and determination. No longer the sole domain of nations and global organisations, these pioneering, game-changing missions — or moonshots — are defined by thinking big to drive change and shape the future.

What’s Your Moonshot by John Sanei is available in all good bookstores.

Lessons Learnt

11 Things Very Successful People Do That 99% Of People Don’t

Consistency is a big part of succeeding. The top 1% of performers in the world know this is the secret to their success.

John Rampton

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Becoming wealthy and leaving an impact on the world is not an easy feat. If it were, everyone would go around doing it. At that point, it would not be much of an accomplishment at all.

Rather, being extremely successful requires an extreme amount of work. Especially when there is nobody looking. The best people have developed habits that help them reach their goals. These routines are not necessarily challenging to form, but they take consistent effort over extended periods of time. Creating these tendencies in your own life will propel your success.

Here are 11 things, that 99% of people (myself included) do not do, but really should.

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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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