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Bisila Bokoko On Shifting Your Perspective

By reading the right things, really listening and sometimes having a change of perspective, Bisila Bokoko from BBES gets the most out of her day, and out of others’ too.

Tracy Lee Nicol




Vital stats

  • Player: Bisila Bokoko
  • Company: BBES, a business development agency in New York.
  • Claim to fame: Bisila Bokoko is a Spanish-American entrepreneur, speaker and philanthropist. Her business markets and promotes brands internationally.

The value of reading

Reading played a pivotal role in shaping who I am and building my self-confidence. When you read a self-development book, it’s as though the author becomes your best friend and available to you anytime.

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They impart their skills and knowledge to you. There’s so much knowledge out there; when you need something, find the answer in the right book.

Personal philosophy

One of my greatest influences has been Plato’s allegory of the cave: People have been living in a dark cave, chained to the walls all their lives.

They see shadows projected on the wall of things passing in front of a fire, and that’s as close to reality as they come.

Then, a prisoner is freed and learns that the shadows aren’t reality. But when he tries to explain the truth to the other prisoners, they become fearful and try to kill him.

When we’re faced with problems in business, we often look externally for blame when we should be looking internally.

For example, if you’re working for a corporate and find the environment becoming hostile, has it really changed? Or is it you? Do you need to make a change? When I find myself in these situations I ask, ‘Am I doing what I really want to do?’ Then the inner work begins and I usually find the right answer.

Changing perspective with conflict resolution

It’s so important to be able to see things from the other side. Always ask yourself, ‘Does this person seriously want to make my life miserable?’ It’s very unlikely that they do, so with a shift in perspective you might learn they’ve got their own problems and it’s not personal.

I was working with someone and our personalities clashed. I sat her down to have a really hard conversation – always speaking to her like I would want to be spoken to – and focused on finding a way to make things work.

I explained that I understood her point of view, I apologised for not being aware I was upsetting her, I shared my perspective, and we came to a mutual understanding.

The dynamic changed because we were no longer defensive. No one likes conflict, so when you give them the opportunity to resolve it, they’ll go for it.

How perspective can change your business

Bisila-BokokoDuring the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, Spain was in a terrible position. Factories and businesses closed all over. But this was when I chose to start my wine business. People said, ‘You’re crazy!’ and I said ‘Exactly.

Crazy makes you do things.’ When you’re too comfortable, you’re not going to stick your neck out, discover opportunities and turn them into successes. When you’re looking for a reason not to do something, that’s all you’ll see. And that’s why perspective is so important: Focus on the reasons why, not why not.

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Going easy on yourself

Ambitious people have a tendency to be really hard and demanding on themselves.

I try to monitor my self-talk, and that includes what I say and how I say it. That voice is going to sabotage you if you’re not careful.

Balancing the now with the future

I believe it’s really important to have balance between living in the now and working towards your future goals. You can’t focus solely on the objective, you must look at the whole journey.

If you’re only looking for results, or chasing wealth, you’re missing a huge part of living. But don’t live only in the now either.

Each step you take now must help you get to your end goal and that will help you muster through when things are tough.

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




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It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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