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How Vusi Thembekwayo Keeps His Business Growing

If you always do what you’ve always done, you can’t expect different results. Real growth requires innovative thinking.

Nadine Todd

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Vital Stats

  • Player: Vusi Thembekwayo
  • Company: Motiv8 Advisory
  • EST: 2009
  • Contact: mtv8.co.za

Ask Vusi Thembekwayo about the secret to growth, and he’ll point to a number of key areas that entrepreneurs should focus on. But if you want exponential growth, you need to be disruptive. Safe strategies lead to linear growth, which for many business owners is fine. If you want to shoot the lights out though, you need to be bold.

“By the time you realise your competitor has moved away from you, it’s too late,” he says. “If you want to be a clear industry leader, you need to be the disruptor.”

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Vusi Thembekwayo On How To Be A Jugger-niche

Here are three core areas to focus on:

1. Great leaders live on the edge of chaos

Mediocrity leads to predictability, and no disruptors are ever predictable. They’re pushing boundaries. There’s an element of danger, but the rewards are huge. Think of MotoGP riders. Anyone can go fast on the straights.

Winning bikers go fast in the corners, where the difference between record breaking speeds and crashing is less than a millimetre.

Leaders who live on the edge of chaos are always asking the question: How do we disrupt what we’re doing today? They aren’t complacent, and they aren’t content to take the wins and settle. They know they need to keep pushing the boundaries.

Whitey Basson used to say that strategy is not about what you write down, it’s what you do every day in the trenches. In this context, disruption has to be an organisation-wide philosophy, which means everyone has to understand and embrace your vision, bottom to top, so that it permeates everything you do.

As a leader, ask yourself these questions, but more importantly, make sure your employees are doing the same: Why do I do what I do? Why am I here? To be motivated, you need to believe in what you do. Make sure your team is 100% on board.

2. Innovation promotes imitation

Vusi-Thembekwayo-Motiv8

Innovation is the new black — everyone is doing it; everyone wants it. And because everyone knows that you need to be innovative, there’s a constant drive to keep pushing. New models are quickly old and ubiquitous.

You do need to keep innovating, but remember that everyone else is too, so what sets you apart? Keep this top of mind:

  • What do people say about your brand when you’re not in the room?
  • What sets you apart from everyone else?
  • As brands increasingly imitate each other, how are you changing the market you operate within?

Execution is all about the stuff you can measure, so measure everything, and ensure your execution is flawless — that’s how you differentiate and secure customer loyalty.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Vusi Thembekwayo’s Winning Lessons For Success

Consider these four areas at all times to deliver an amazing customer experience: Ensure what you do is relevant (personalised and meaningful); convenient (offer choice, consistency and timelessness); responsive (listen to understand, and understand to act); and reliable (keep the brand promise, no matter what — even if it costs you money).

3. Create a system of short-term, incremental wins and long-term growth

There are four core areas to focus on if you want to be a market leader. First, remember that your business is made up of people. Encourage collaboration. Work together and you’ll achieve incredible things. Make sure your organisation is a creator, which means you need to do things first — lead, don’t follow or imitate.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Vusi Thembekwayo on The Art of Pursuing Crazy Ideas And Turning Them Into Profit Machines

Have control over what’s happening within your organisation, and make sure that everyone below you has a measure of control as well — that’s how things are done right. And finally, focus on competing. Do things fast.

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

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Lessons Learnt

Successful People Always Chase the Impossible – Here’s Why

Achieving perfection may never happen, but the attempt can lead to results you never imagined.

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Vince Lombardi said it best: “We will chase perfection, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”


Successful people are always in the chase for perfection. As Lombardi knew, however, and as I’ve discovered more than once myself, what we chase is often very different from what we catch.

Early in my career, I planned on being a pharmacist, then making partner at a PR firm. Both goals were within reach, but I never caught them — as they came close I found myself rethinking my ambitions, then changing direction. I had to let go of the goals that had motivated me for years, and find different ones, chasing perfection in new and often unexpected ways.

If you are looking to catch the best in excellence, while not letting yourself get boxed in by chasing perfection, it is important to remember a few key guidelines.

Changing your path isn’t failing

Successful people – and entrepreneurs especially – are driven by their goals. It’s a fine line, though, between goals that inspire and goals that trap. The best stories about entrepreneurs are full of fresh starts and unexpected detours. If you find yourself disliking what you’re doing, or feeling frustrated even when things are going well, think about making a new plan.

Changing your path isn’t bad or wrong or failing – it’s simply a new choice, and often the right one.

Related: 7 Rules To Master Your Start-Up Success This Year

Never perceive anything as a setback

Circumstances can spiral out of control – plans tank, products fail, companies come apart. When something is running off the road you can be consumed by it, or you can realise that what you took to heart before isn’t your reality anymore, and the seeming chaos around you disguises a new reality. Don’t beat yourself up about it, don’t mourn the wasted time and the discarded mission. Negative experiences aren’t a setback, they’re a chance to make new decisions that are right for you.

However bad the situation, there’s always an angle

bad-situationWhen things get rough, take five minutes and give free rein to let it all out. Find a private place, get mad or cry, let whatever’s struggling inside you get out. Then get to work finding the angle. There’s always an angle, and a path forward to success. Usually, it involves getting over yourself. Whatever your emotions, stop thinking it’s about you.

Recognise that you’re in service to something larger than yourself – your company, your staff, the people who depend on you. That’s where you’ll find the angle you need, beyond your emotions, and outside of yourself.

Related: Elon Musk’s Formula For Successfully Growing Companies Faster

Success looks different to different people

We can all relate to the true believer who challenges conventional wisdom and beats the odds. When we make these challenges, our parents, bosses, society at large – insert appropriate authority figure – sometimes just won’t see it our way. But often it’s our own internal schoolmaster that’s the barrier we need to overcome. We persist in judging ourselves by standards that once seemed essential, but have outlived their usefulness. In fact, there are many different ways to succeed. The important thing is being comfortable with knowing there is more than one right answer.

It’s a never-ending experience

Is it ever time to stop chasing perfection? No. Chasing perfection is the opposite of a hamster wheel or rat race. It’s about your never-ending pursuit of happiness. The sooner in life that we master the flexible mindset needed for continuous evolution, the better.

My career has had enough twists and turns all ready to make a running back proud. At those times when I had no control over my external situation, I could see that the one path I thought I would take wasn’t the only path – or even the right path.

Related: To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People

I’ve never come close to attaining perfection, but Mr. Lombardi was right. By chasing it, from my days studying to be a pharmacist to my current role as VP of Marketing and Communications at Intel, I’ve caught excellence again and again along the way.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Why Grit Is The True Determining Factor Of Success

How grit and determination helped Bertus Albertse take control of his destiny and build an award-winning franchise brand.

Body20 franchise

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Vital Stats

  • Player:Bertus Albertse
  • Company: Body20
  • Established:2014
  • Contact:+27 (0)872310359
  • Visit: body20.co.za

What does it take to open a successful business, franchise it, and then take it global? In many instances, the answer is grit, determination and the ability to get back up when life knocks you down.

In fact, Angela Lee Duckworth, an academic and psychologist based at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies concepts such as self-control and grit to determine how they might predict academic and professional success, believes that the single biggest predictor of success isn’t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or even IQ.

The single biggest predictor of success is grit.

According to Duckworth, grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It’s having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week or the month, but for

Years. It’s about working hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Related: The Wolf Within Bertus Albertse: Body20’s CEO

Finding self-worth

To find the epitome of grit, we need look no further than Bertus Albertse, the founder and CEO of Body20 Global, a local franchise that is now making international waves.

As a youngster, Bertus was used to living in the unpredictable. His parents divorced when he was just nine months old and his mother, walking with both him and his sister on her hips, moved from house to house whenever his alcoholic grandfather took to the rod.

He realised early in his life that material things come and go as his mother had to return worn clothes and used toys not long after they have been purchased.

In fact, it happened so often that at some point even Bertus and his sister had to return items at retail stores at a young age in order to have money for food or petrol.

“To this day I’ve never forgotten where I come from and how retailers looked at me and my sister with pity and shame in their eyes,” he recalls.

Going the distance

Instead of letting the experience bow him down, Bertus learnt to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, taking control and responsibility over his own life. As an excelling young sportsman, he soon realised how he could control his own destiny by consistently putting in huge effort.

One of his favourite quotes is “You are what you repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act but rather a habit.”

It’s a mantra he lives by. Through pure grit and determination, he went from a small, skinny kid from the ‘platteland’ in the West Coast to be the first Head Boy of both the school and boy’s residents at the prestigious high school, Jan van Riebeeck, situated in the heart of Cape Town.

Related: From Body20 Member To Franchisee Of The Year 2017

Stay hungry and make a real impact

Bertus also has numerous sports achievements, including national and international Body Building and Fitness titles. With his passionate and optimistic outlook on life, he soon realised that people are drawn to the ideas and things that inspire him and this has given him a flair for business, enabling him to share that passion with his community.

He started his first business in his second year of University in Stellenbosch with a R20 000 loan from his father, which he subsequently paid back three months later.

Today, Bertus is the founder and CEO of the award-winning global fitness franchise network, Body20. He strives to impact those around him by inspiring them to take control of their lives and encourages people to believe in the impossible, but to always remember to take consistent, daily actions to make it possible.

“A rabbit will always outrun the fox, because while the fox runs for its lunch the rabbit runs for its life.” He likes to be reminded of how hungry you have to be to truly make an impact in the world.

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Lessons Learnt

4 Success Lessons From The Entrepreneur Who Quietly Grew Pinterest Into A $12 Billion Company

Ben Silberman left a safe and lucrative job at Google to start a company. When it failed, he started another one that succeeded big time.

John Boitnott

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When Ben Silbermann, CEO and creator of Pinterest speaks at an event, the audience hangs on his every word. Soft-spoken and introverted, Silbermann launched the visual idea sharing service in 2010. Since then it has exploded. It’s currently estimated to be worth more than $12 billion and has more than 200 million users logging in at least once a month.

People who don’t use the platform much often assume Pinterest is, like Twitter or Facebook, a social media service for people to share with their friends what they’re doing. That’s not the case.

Pinterest has morphed into much more of a place for people to find ideas for their life, while brands can insert themselves into that process in a less intrusive way than they do on a Facebook wall. This different approach is proving successful – the company made almost half a billion dollars last year.

Just how did Silbermann become the private holder of one of the most successful social media channels in existence? He has more or less shared his life story over the years, and here’s some of what we can learn from that.

1. Completely commit, even to the unknown, because passion is paramount

ben-silbermann-ceo-and-creator-of-pinterestBefore Silberman went to college, he intended to be a doctor. He studied at MIT’s Research Science Institute, before pursuing a degree in political science. After graduation, Google hired him to produce online advertising.

Related: 6 Essential Criteria Your Pinterest Pins Should Meet

As he worked with his friend, Paul Sciarra, at Google designing iPhone apps, his mind went back to when he was a child. He loved collecting, categorising and organising things. The two partnered with Evan Sharp to use that as inspiration for an online pinboard.

Ben’s girlfriend and later wife encouraged him to go all in. He decided to quit his job at Google and devote himself to building the startup. He said at first it was nerve-wracking to give up Google’s resources and the promise of predictable income for a future that was wholly unknown.

At first, Silbermann and Sciarra raised funds for Tote, a shopping app that never took off. While developing the app, Silbermann noticed people saved photos of items they wanted to purchase so they could return to them later. He connected that idea with his love of collecting.

2. Keep learning, even if you’re the boss

Silbermann tells audiences he reads continually to stay on trend. Every weekend he soaks up information from a book about business, technology or marketing and uses that knowledge to offer added value.

He recommends learning from mistakes too. The Tote app was a failure, but as is so often the case, that failure proved to be a blessing. The creation experience led to the germination of a successful idea.

The entrepreneurs that rise to the top are often the ones who refuse to quit when people tell them “no.” Instead, they patiently listen and sift through situations to find what knowledge they can glean to create a more positive outcome in the future.

If you’re in a situation like this right now with a struggling business, what are the biggest lessons you can learn from it?

3. Surround yourself with talent, even if you don’t quite know their role yet

pinterest-user-experiencePinterest started as an invite-only community. The first users were design bloggers Silbermann recruited. He advised these invitees to only extend admission to people they knew with unique ideas and creative minds. The exclusive community grew slowly until 2012 when the site removed the invitation requirement.

Related: How Your Pinterest Descriptions Can Attract Customers

In the early days of Pinterest’s explosive growth, the company’s CEO hired people for their strengths, even if he didn’t have an immediate role for them. It was more about who they are than completing a specific set of tasks. Those key hires infused the company with innovative thinking and repeatedly found solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable.

4. Prioritise customer experience, even if the metrics don’t agree

Instead of focusing soley on page views and other metrics, Pinterest seeks to enhance the user experience. While the number of clicks or the time each user spends on page provides insight, it doesn’t always give an accurate measure of user engagement.

Pinterest was one of the earliest websites to incorporate infinite scrolling so users could view thousands of ideas without having to navigate to a different page. He stopped caring so much about clicks and ad loads, and concentrated more on what would cause people to fall further in love with the experience he offered.

Silbermann says what users want is always changing. This year users are pinning things like tattoo images, woodworking ideas and classic car photos, subjects that weren’t as popular a year ago. He recently incorporated (AI) to enhance that experience, with people being served up more of what they like after they express preferences.

Silbermann points out how competitors like Amazon are copying successful features Pinterest has been using for a long time and says his success is largely due to offering users a way to pursue their passions.

It looks like Silbermann’s success will continue into the future, especially with talk of an IPO in the coming years. Many of the lessons he has shared are timeless. Applying them to any career or company will probably help yield success.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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