In a crisis, be fast and be ruthless

In this new world of instant trials in the court of public opinion, you don’t have the luxury of slowly resolving crises being closed doors, hiding the truth, letting offenders off the hook. When you’ve done wrong, you can’t escape the baying crowd. All you can do is move fast in giving them blood. Err…

Read More

Never say “if only”

If only you could sign up ABSA as a client, then you’d be profitable. If only your product was ready for the Christmas rush, then you’ll make your sales targets. If only you had enough capital, then you’d start your own business. If only, if only, if only. If only your aunt was a man, then she’d…

Read More

Don’t hunt elephants

“If I could just get General Motors and Ford to sign up.” “If I could just get ABSA and Standard Bank to sign up.” “If I could just get Unilever and P&G to sign up.” Big companies are elephants. Silver bullets to solve your cashflow woes. Don’t build a business that needs an elephant to…

Read More

If you can sell your first business, sell it

Your first business is full of lessons learnt. Wrong shareholders. Too much overhead. Too little focus. Weak product. It’s unlikely you won’t make any mistakes. Most people pay for those mistakes by losing their money, but at least they have lessons learnt. If you can learn those lessons and get paid, take the money and run….

Read More

Forget about being the best. Just do better.

What is your mission? To be the best? Or to be better? If it’s to “be the best”, you’re on the wrong path. “Best” is by definition an absolute term. It means there is a point at which you stop improving. You can never stop improving. If you do, you’ll fail. Rather than chasing “be…

Read More

Sit outside your client’s office

Forget phone calls and emails. Forget appointments. If you really want something, go to your client’s office. Politely and firmly tell the receptionist that you will not be leaving until you’re seen the boss. Sit in reception for as long as it takes to see the boss. Hours, days, weeks, it doesn’t matter. She can’t ignore…

Read More

Don’t justify yourself

Never justify yourself. If you’ve delivered the goods, there’s nothing to justify. You’re a success. If you haven’t delivered the goods, there’s nothing to justify. You’re a failure. Spend no time or energy justifying yourself. Spend all your time and energy delivering the goods.

Read More

Don’t fall for the delusion of reprieve

In psychology, there is the condition of The Delusion of Reprieve. Example: The man on deathrow that  believes he will be pardoned up until the very last minute before he is hanged. Another example: The entrepreneur that believes his business will succeed up until the very last minute before it fails. We all look for signs confirming things will…

Read More

Plans follow deadlines, not the other way round

Startups are about speed. That’s why deadlines come before plans. If you start with a plan, the timeline (and deadline) will drag on for infinity. If you start with a plan, you’ll slow down. If you start with a plan, you’ll fail. Start with a deadline. Plans follow.

Read More

Keep the ball moving

Don’t be the bottleneck. If an email lands in your inbox, respond. If someone’s waiting for your call, call. If you are the final signature for a resolution, sign. Never be the guy that holds up the process. Never be the guy that slows things down. Don’t be the bottleneck.

Read More

Sometimes you have to trade values

What are your values? Loyalty? Honesty? Respect? Most times you can tick all your values when making decisions But sometimes you have to choose. Sometimes a decision is not compliant with all your values. You have to choose loyalty over honesty, or respect over loyalty. That’s when you need to be clear on the rankings. What is…

Read More

When times are good, keep a warm heart

When times are tough, you need to keep a cool mind. Stay rational, don’t panic. When times are good, the hard part is not a cool mind. The hard part is keeping a warm heart. Don’t get arrogant. Don’t forget how lucky you got. Don’t ignore the folks behind you. When times are good, keep a warm…

Read More