Instantly Inspired

Inspiration

I find it incredible how spending time with people can evoke such a sense of inspiration that it cannot be ignored.

Tonight was one of those times.

I was privileged enough to have dinner with a successful business man and hear his thoughts on business and life. Listening to his experiences and advice was not only priceless information, but so inspiring and motivating. There is just something about spending time with people who share your view of the world that bridges age and culture gaps like few other things can. We spoke about business, passion, dreams and about what is worth your time and worthy of pursuit.

Here are some of the thoughts/tips/lessons that came from the conversation between Christine Meintjes, Julie Lim, myself and our guests (maybe more about them later)

  • Pursue your Passion. Not Money. 
  • Chasing money will always leave you wanting more. 
  • Pursuing your passion will bring contentment and fulfillment weather the money follows or not.
  • Being rich is relative. Success is relative. You determine your benchmark for both, don’t chase a standard set by someone else.
  • Comparison leads to ungratefulness.
  • To be ungrateful is to be unhappy.
  • Do what you love and share it with people who love what you do

Finding people who can inspire, motivate and encourage you is worth so much more than experience, knowledge and tools. But more on that later…

We have an extra soccer ticket available and am auctioning it off to buy photography equipment for underprivileged photography students!

Get involved ASAP! Not much time left…

This is so obvious, but it is so easy to miss. I love spending time with people who are interested in what i do and who i am - makes me want to spend more time with them, because they seem so interesting! 
The trick is to reciprocate with people i meet and make them feel like the most interesting person you know. This is for business, personal and even online situations.
For more on this - Read “Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders (@sanderssays)

This is so obvious, but it is so easy to miss. I love spending time with people who are interested in what i do and who i am - makes me want to spend more time with them, because they seem so interesting! 

The trick is to reciprocate with people i meet and make them feel like the most interesting person you know. This is for business, personal and even online situations.

For more on this - Read “Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders (@sanderssays)

Berlin is poor, but sexy
Willy Brandt, Former Governing Mayor of West Berlin
adii:

Here are my slides from my talk - Lessons Learnt from WooThemes - at NetProphet yesterday.

I was lucky enough to be in the audience when adii delivered this great talk! Even if you are not into “web/geek” stuff, i still suggest you go through the slides and learn something about business, design and why we should not use powerpoint!

adii:

Here are my slides from my talk - Lessons Learnt from WooThemes - at NetProphet yesterday.

I was lucky enough to be in the audience when adii delivered this great talk! Even if you are not into “web/geek” stuff, i still suggest you go through the slides and learn something about business, design and why we should not use powerpoint!

Why is it easier for most people to follow than it take the road less travelled?
Anonymous

Taking the road less travelled is uncertain, risky, alone and the outcome is many times unsure. 

Following means that you are not alone if you are wrong, scared or lost. 

Most people let the risk of failure prevent them from taking initiative. I believe the inability to take the risk can be a bigger failure in itself!

Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.
Jules de Gaultier (via elrine)

Opportunity Everywhere

It was with great excitement, optimism and chills down my spine that i listened to the annual Budget speech of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) delivered by Deputy Minister Bongi Maria Ntuli to the National Assembly of parliament on Tuesday 4th May 2010.

I managed to obtain a copy of the speech from her office and would like to share parts of it here. This might seem like a boring political transcript, but i trust that you will share in the optimism, hope & opportunity as presented in these excerpts. I am more than ever convinced that South Africa is the place to be for anybody with a hint of entrepreneurship inside of them - in South Africa, opportunity is everywhere!

"Honourable Chairperson, at the Seventh Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in 2009 Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank said, “The responsibility of the State is to create opportunities for people, support them, so that they can stand up for themselves’. I have every reason to agree with Professor Yunus and this is why.

On Friday past together with the Minister of Home Affairs, Minister Dlamini-Zuma, I was in Kokstad in Kwa Zulu Natal. I had the privilege of visiting a bakery run from a container by five enthusiastic young men. Led by Thembelani this group is called the Sakhakulunge Co-op Bakery.

An opportunity was created for them by the Greater Kokstad Municipality, the container was equipped but the energy and the passion to run the operation had to come from the group. The leader of the group explained, that if it was not for this opportunity, all of them may have found themselves as repeat offenders with lengthy jail terms.

Ladies and gentlemen, initiatives such as these need further support from government. The challenge facing this Co-op is what many other similar micro enterprises face. The challenge of increasing market share, the challenge of increasing capacity and the challenge of making this a sustainable enterprise.

None of the Co-op members expressed the wish that this business should make them millionaires, they wanted to use the business as a vehicle to provide their families with an education and improve their own skills, provide a healthy product, prevent other young people from doing crime by being gainfully employed, contribute to the development of this rural area and be economically active.

Ladies and gentlemen, these five young people have expressed more eloquently than any policy could, the five priorities, identified as national priorities, by our government and in our ruling party’s elections manifesto. (These priorities are: decent work, education, health,fight against crime and rural development)

Chairperson, in our pursuit not only to meet but exceed the expectations of the five priorities of government, our department has looked at methods that together with our colleagues at Provincial and to an extent local level, we can initiate during this financial year. I have also had discussions with various people from academic institutions to the private sector who are offering to assist us in meeting our developmental goals.

Ladies and gentleman I started with the story of the bakery co-operative, I said that they still have some challenges. They have received a ‘hand-up’ from the local municipality. What stops us as the DTI, pooling our resources with the Province and other agencies and even the private sector to assist Co-ops such as these and others who need often minimal assistance for example bridging funds to expand and flourish.

As a believer, it is my conviction that the development of our people, no matter how daunting the task may be, can be realized. I believe that our country has the potential we need to eradicate poverty. All we need is a leadership that is ready and capable and equal to the task to respond to the aspirations of the people. We can create a world class economy working together with everyone willing to do this.

Honourable Members, as a popular song goes, “We must make the circle bigger”, we have to broaden economic participation. We have a generation of young people out of work. We have numbers of women who are in informal business who if not provided with opportunities will never enter the economic mainstream. I am inviting young people and women to come to the fore, I am also appealing to Honourable Members to direct us to communities where we can offer support for economic activities.

Twenty years ago when former President Mandela was released from prison he re-iterated the words he said from the dock when convicted and sent to prison, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities”. We need to provide those equal opportunities, we need to act faster, we need to act with “Umlilo”, a greater sense of urgency and passion. We have had sixteen years to practice, we now need to get it right.

If you are thinking to yourself that this is just nice words and words don’t mean much, i want to congratulate you!

You (as the Deputy Minister knows) just realized that the government ultimately will not change South Africa.

It is up to visionary, optimistically tenacious entrepreneurs who accepts the world as it is, as an opportunity to create the world as it should be.

Family, friends & business

There is an old mantra that has been professed as a non negotiable rule to business. “Never do business with family or friends”

I am challenging this mantra with everything inside of me!

RiseUp Bakeries is a business started by myself and my father. We work closely together on a daily basis doing presentations, discussing business models and opportunities, sharing frustrations and celebrating victories.

I also share office space with Christine Meintjes, who is not only a phenomenal photographer, briljant business woman, but also my girlfriend. We are also continually thinking of new business ideas, starting ventures together (watch this space…) and discussing different strategies and solutions to problems.

At PlusPlusMinus I work together with Cindy de Bruyn who has been a close family friend for over 5 years. We code and laugh and get angry every day and eat loads of sushi together. Technically i’m also her boss.

I can continue to mention examples in my life where i have been involved with different business ventures with friends and family. I don’t however think that these examples are relevant without any theoretical backing to my stance of doing business with family and friends.

When looking for potential business partners, i would consider the following as required attributes to be established in the business relationship:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Integrity
  • Sharing a common vision or goal
  • Not only looking to further own intrest
  • Honesty
  • An open relationship

I place such a high priority on these “soft issues”, since i don’t consider business to be about money alone. I believe the money is a result of doing things right. Pursuing profit alone is an empty and endless endeavor not worth the effort.

Considering the above, i see no way how i can involve people in my business i don’t know and get along with very well. In fact, i don’t believe that anyone who is not family or friends can meet the above criteria.

I believe business is about the growth of people and solving problems. It’s about experiencing challenges to build your skills and character. And most of all, it is about relationships - business is a vehicle to strengthen and deepen relationships with everyone involved.

My mantra is then this, “If i can’t do business with family and friends, who can i do business with?”

There is one instance where i would strongly advise against doing business with family and friends - That is when either party is looking to further his own interest and is willing to do so at the expense of someone else. In that case, protect the relationship and rather get strangers to screw over!

**I realize there a loads of exceptions and my view might be very romantic, optimistic and naive. I am o.k. with that and i will hold this view until i have been proven wrong on all instances :)

6 Random “Rules” for Entrepreneurs

entrepreneuradvocate:

Someone asked me earlier today what advice I would give to a new or would be entrepreneur. I couldn’t pick just one so I listed six:

1. Don’t listen to haters. If they don’t get it, they don’t get it. You don’t need them to validate your vision. 

2. An idea is just an idea:  Pride yourself on execution.

3. Support entrepreneurs and they will support you back. 

4. If you don’t love every second of it. Give up now.

5. Put more into it than you expect to get out. 

6. Find your own narrative and own it. 

Top of my head. I’d love hear to all your own personal “rules.”

I love this post! I would add the following “rules” of my own:

  1. It’s not about the money.
  2. Relationships are more important than ideas.
  3. Make sure your definition of success allows you to be happy once you achieve it.
  4. Solving problems qualify you to achieve greatness.
  5. It’s never “only business”.
  6. Surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you.
  7. It’s easy to be negative - challenge yourself to always find the positive.
  8. Never not do something because no one has tried it before.
  9. Never not do something because someone has done it before and failed.
  10. The “ends” or the “means” don’t justify each other. The “means” x time = “ends”

Please leave some comments or questions if you agree or don’t.