EOH: Top five tips for South Africa's young entrepreneurs
JOHANNESBURG - 1. “Solve mindset”: Every young entrepreneur should have a “solve mindset”. The Covid-19 environment has shown that you continually have to recalibrate your mind around the realities and opportunities of the future and importantly what that means for your business. Look at your business now and identify what aspects you can repurpose in a distinctive way to solve challenges within your business and ultimately for your customers. Learn from the future. Don’t get caught up with the past.
2. Find your Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). As Peter Diamandis likes to say, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.” In Salim Ismail’s book, Exponential Organisations, the 100 fastest-growing organisations were analysed and it was discovered that every single company on the list had an MTP. An MTP is your business’s higher, aspirational purpose and goes beyond a vision and mission – it’s about creating a deep-seated desire within yourself and your employees to wake up with pride, passion and excitement about coming to work. A great example is Google’s MTP of “organising all of the world’s information”. The more you organise around MTP, the more dedicated you will be and the faster you will be able to solve complex problems. Most importantly, your MTP needs to be based upon your own passion and beliefs.
3. Adopt radical transparency and open communication in your business. About 95 percent of problems come from a lack of communication – so it is important to create the space for open and transparent conversations with opportunities for everyone to provide feedback and to feel they have contributed to solving problems together. This will allow the creation of a culture where the team is not afraid to experiment and is in fact rewarded for consistently trying to innovate regardless of whether they fail or succeed. Communication creates the ability to SOLVE together. Two brains are always better than one.
4. Focus on impact first – profits will come later. Make sure, as you build your business, that you combine smart and diverse people and encourage them to experiment. Constantly challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zones as the best ideas sometimes originate from using unconventional methods. Anything you create must be solving a problem or friction in the system, as I call it.
5. Be a courageous leader. Courage is defined by doing the right thing even when the decision might be unpopular or come at a price. By building this ethos into your business, you can lead your chosen industry by example, create a deeply responsible and ethical consciousness within your business, attract the best talent and ultimately create a company that is highly sought after by prospective employees. Being courageous is a differentiator. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.
Stephen van Coller is EOH Holdings's chief executive.