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Greg Tinkler On Managing Business Breakups

Greg Tinkler from Cre8tive Group learnt the hard way that not all business partnerships are a match made in heaven: Sometimes, you have to call it quits.

Monique Verduyn

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Serial entrepreneur Greg Tinkler has started a number of businesses over the last eight years. Some have failed, others like The Cre8tive Group, one of South Africa’s biggest brand activation agencies in sports supplements and pharmaceuticals, have grown into thriving companies. What all of these ventures had in common is that they were built on partnerships.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Getting Partnerships Right: Lucid Holdings

“I have had some great partners and some who were not so great,” he says. “But I feel there is a place in business for partners. There are those who can inject cash into your business, or bring in skills you don’t have. However, it’s extremely important to choose carefully.”

We asked him to share some candid insights from his most recent foray into a new business venture – one that failed, but gave him some deeper insights into how partnerships should work.

What was the background to the new partnership?

Late last year I started a new business venture in sports management, an industry I know well.

I needed a partner who could inject some cash into the business so that we could compete with more established agencies, and who also had corporate connections so that we could raise sponsorship revenues.

I approached a long-time mentor with the idea and convinced him that it was a winning strategy.

Why did the partnership fold?

Greg-Tinkler-Cre8tive-GroupThe business never took off and it was a trying time for both of us. My partner grew frustrated with the revenue leaking out, and I was disappointed with the lack of support and time he was giving to it.

Basically, we made the mistake of failing to manage expectations from the start.

As a busy man with multiple businesses to run, he was looking for a partner who would manage the business and bring in the revenue and returns; I was looking for someone who would invest sweat and energy.

A valuable lesson learnt is that before you sign off on any business partnership, you need to outline exactly what each party is responsible for and how much time each partner can provide to the business.

I also learnt that mentors do not always make good partners. My mentor is an exceptional business person who is extremely successful, but I was unwise to think that teaming up with him would automatically make my idea a success.

Did you have agreements in place to protect your interests?

Yes. After assessing if a partnership can work and outlining all expectations, it is imperative to have a professional partnership agreement drawn up. I recommend using a legal professional to do this. It can be costly, but it will save you a lot in the long run if there are any issues to resolve.

A partnership agreement should contain the following:

  • Percentage of ownership (who owns what stake in the business)
  • Allocation of profits and losses
  • Expectations, designations and roles
  • A buy/sell agreement to manage what happens in the event of the death of one of the partners
  • A dispute resolution mechanism to manage what happens if you don’t agree on a key business decision (I suggest a mediation clause).

What would you do differently in future?

Don’t get into a business venture purely for profit and do not just take on a partner because they have capital.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Head Honcho Spurred Business Growth with Strategic Partnerships

How did you recover from this setback?

Because it was a mutual decision to part ways, there was no real harm done other than the knock to my ego.

I went back to the drawing board and looked at how and why the partnership did not work, and then set about crafting a new strategy to make the business happen. I have decided to continue on my own.

It will probably take longer to reach the goals I’ve set down, but I am doing it at my own pace, with the right drive – and that’s what counts.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. 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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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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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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