- Player: Dawid Mocke
- Company: Mocke Paddling and founder of the Surf Ski School in Cape Town
- Claim to Fame: Creator of the Mocke PFD (personal floatation device) and four times World Surfski Champion
- Road to entrepreneurship: Left a successful corporate career to pursue his love for surfski paddling. At the time, the opportunity to become a professional surfski paddler didn’t exist. He decided to make it happen anyway.
- Visit: mockepaddling.com
Consistency is the essence of progress. If you put in the time, you’ll reach your goals and live your dreams.
Parallels between competitive sport and entrepreneurship
Competitive sport, especially at the high stakes professional level, teaches you very quickly to identify and maximise opportunities while the game is in play.
You must have a game plan and strategy in place, because when the flag drops, all the talking stops and it’s time for action, so you need to know what that action looks like.
But you need to be able to adapt, so that you are ready to utilise all of your skills, and to take chances. This also means identifying which chances are worth the risk, and which are not. At other times, especially if you’re in the lead, it’s better to focus on ‘safety first’ and not take unnecessary risks that could jeopardise your lead. But if you’re coming in second, and you have an opportunity that could get you over the line first, then you need to take it.
In my sport, our main racing is done by paddling downwind, and riding ocean swells and chop. Here, every swell in front of you represents an opportunity — except you can’t catch each one, or you’ll burn yourself out, both physically and strategically. You may even end up going the wrong way.
The same can be said of an entrepreneur faced with a myriad of opportunities — you can do ‘anything’, just not ‘everything’. You have to choose. I’ve learnt — in paddling, business and life — that there’s no use looking back. The opportunities lie ahead, you just need to choose your course of action.
Be competitive, but stay grounded, and keep it real
If you want to reach the highest level in your sport, you have to be fiercely competitive and do everything you can to get ahead of your opponent.
This often breeds huge animosity between competitors. I personally believe that it doesn’t have to be that way, and there are countless examples of the best athletes in the world who are great friends, but able to compete fiercely on the pitch. These are the athletes we should be emulating.
First, because they understand that competition only makes them better; second, because they don’t base their significance on performance alone; and third, because they are able to remain humble despite their success. They know it’s a privilege and can be taken away at any moment.
I have made a personal rule that as soon as my competitive edge impacts how I relate to another person, I’ve lost sight of what’s really important. Relationships always trump results, because relationships are forever and results are temporary.
Your results will always be improved on, your records will be broken and there is always another athlete waiting to take your title; but your relationships with your family, friends and other competitors last forever — good or bad.
I try to be on good terms with all my competitors, whether in sport or in business. Are you in business to win at all costs, or do you actually want to make the world and your customers’ lives better?
Entrepreneurship is about a dream; a dream of what could be possible
Dreams lead to ideas, and ideas are the fuel of creativity. That is the essential process of innovation. Not all entrepreneurs innovate; many (or even most) just spot a gap that needs to be filled and have the gumption to fill it. But that’s the foundation of how we create opportunities — for ourselves and others.
Looking back at my journey, I noticed that there were many people who wanted to learn how to paddle surfskis, but there was no way for them to do it. I saw an opportunity to do what I love and share the love of the sport simultaneously. This has resulted in me making a living by following my passion. I take the time to train, travel and compete in championships; which in turn leads to new opportunities.
Passion precedes purpose
Our talents lie hidden and we need to create opportunities to unearth them. The best place for you to spot opportunities is in the area that you are passionate about, since you’re already living in that space.
But a word of caution — entrepreneurs are naturally optimistic and we often inflate the benefits and opportunities and deflate the risks and drawbacks.
Remember that all success comes with a price tag and knowing exactly what you are paying, either in money, time or relationships, is essential.
Have the guts to go after opportunities
Many gung-ho types promote throwing caution to the wind, and there’s certainly a place for that, especially if you have nothing to lose.
But sometimes you do have things to lose, like your family’s future or a dear friendship, or even a business that is working very well — all these factors need to be evaluated and any strategy for going after an opportunity must make the ‘softer’ considerations as much a priority as the potential opportunity.
There’s no such thing as perfect. Not in competitive sports, life or business. The reality is that it’s never perfect and I think the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who understand that, accept it, and are able to adapt. Personally, my biggest flaw as an entrepreneur is that I get too personally involved in what I’m doing and unable to let go. This has led many times to pushing rocks uphill instead of downhill. But I learn, I adapt, and hopefully I find ways to grow.
Focus on your strengths
There are many things I would change if I could go back. For example, I spent many years in my businesses wasting countless hours on tasks that weren’t my strong point and not asking for the necessary help.
I needed to learn to focus my effort on my strengths and not my weaknesses. But we can’t look back, we must look forward — because that’s where the opportunities lie, and so that’s what I do.
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.
“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:
- I Am Emerge Provides An App For Township Spaza Bulk Purchasing
- Tuluntulu Offers High Quality Video Streaming On Low Data Speeds
- SSG Consulting Developed KEY360: A Cloud-Based And Web-Enabled Platform For Managing Large-Scale Construction Projects
- Pargo Solving Last-Mile Distribution Challenges
- HouseME Is A Digital Real Estate Platform
- Olympic Paints Has Developed A Built-In Paint Tray Causing An Unexpected Industry Shift
- Passion4Performance Developed A Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment Concept
- NewSpace Systems Delivers High Quality Components At Lower Costs
- My Online Presence Creates End-To-End Solutions For Online Brand Presence
- Skynamo Offering Insights To Sales Teams In The Field
- RecruitMyMom Creating A Platform For Job-Seeking Moms
- GAAP Provides A Hardware And Software Point-Of Sale And Enterprise Solution For The Hospitality Industry
- HeroTel Bringing Wi-Fi To Low Income Communities
- Saryx Engineering Offers Digitised Compliance and Safety For Companies
- BrightBlack Is An Energy Providing Innovative Solar Energy Solutions
- Howler Is An Event Technology Platform
- execMobile’s PocketWifi Keeps Business Travellers Connected
- Rhino Africa Provides Online Touring Assistance
- Snapplify Is Offering Students Access To Textbooks
- GoMetro A Commuter-Driven Mobile App
- Domestly Connecting Cleaning Professionals and Homeowners
- NMRQL Using AI To Deliver Consistent Returns
- Colony Live Connecting Users Across Multiple Platforms
- codeX Is Growing The Work Experience Of Coders In Africa
- This Is Me – Disrupting By Offering A Unique Business Model
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.
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.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mergeconnect/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mergeconnect/
- Website: http://www.mergeconnect.co/
- Email: Hello@mergeconnect.co
- Number: 072 458 2182
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.
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.
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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