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The glass is always half-full

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This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 21-Aug-2014 issue

Winston Churchill famously said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” We’ve all been through tough times at some point in our lives. We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t. For the more resilient ones among us, it is our ability to see the positive in negative situations that helps us get through challenges and to overcome adversity.

I’m a strong believer that things happen because we’re meant to learn from them. If we didn’t have that negative hump to climb over, we wouldn’t recognise the positive staring us right in the face. I like to think of it as the universe (or G-d, depending on your beliefs) throwing you a curveball to test your bounce-back ability and how you can grow from it. And if that setback didn’t happen now, it would have to happen sooner or later, because it was placed in our path so that we could learn from it.

So the big question is: in tough times, instead of dwelling on the negative, shouldn’t we concentrate on how our setbacks transform us and transform our lives for the better? Shouldn’t we seek out the positive and what we’re meant to learn from difficult situations? Continue reading


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Welcome your bigger competitors

big dog vs little dog

This article was published in the 11-September-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

When small businesses take on their bigger competitors, the larger companies usually win, right? In many cases, yes, but there are important exceptions. New research reveals that sometimes it helps, rather than hurts, a smaller firm if consumers see that it is competing against a larger company. In this article, we unpack why and look at the positive implications for small businesses everywhere.

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Business is changing for good

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This article was published in the 4-September-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

Business is changing for good. The days of companies existing only to make money are dying. You don’t have to look far to see the devastating impact that unchecked greed and lust for profit has had on our planet and our lives. From global warming to the financial crisis, it’s everywhere. And so today’s generation are growing up with a conscience, far more aware than their predecessors that they need to look after what we have, to preserve it for their children and their children’s children. Call it conscious capitalism, social good or conscious business. Today’s social entrepreneurs maximise value for all the stakeholders in a business – not only for the shareholders, but also for the bigger community, the employees, suppliers, partners and the environment. Although non-profits and charities have a vital role to play, these 21st century entrepreneurs want to use for-profit business to change the world for the better. Running a profitable, sustainable company and doing good don’t have to fight against each other in business. With conscious capitalism, a profitable business has a purpose far higher than maximizing profits and shareholder value. Continue reading


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Yes, your team can have too much talent

This article was published in the 28-August-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

We’ve all heard the catchphrases thrown around the workplace: the war for talent, managers needing to be talent magnets that attract A-players, and so on. Attracting top talent should be a top priority for competitive companies, because the more talented your team, the better the results you’ll get, right? Wrong. Ground-breaking new research indicates that there is a limit as to how much talent is good for your team. Too much talent can actually hurt, rather than help, you. Here’s why. Continue reading


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Don’t sell to me, solve my problem

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This article was published in the 14-August-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine.

A big bugbear of mine is that most MBA degrees don’t have a component to teach you how to sell. In my work I’ve also met many MBAs who think they are above selling, that it is only the domain of sleazy carsalesmen.

In fact, the opposite is true. You don’t have to be a salesman to be selling. Every day you are selling yourself in some way. Whether you are convincing your boss to give you a raise, your potential client to accept your business proposal, a potential employer to hire you, your spouse to change the TV channel, or your child to do their homework. Effective selling is one of the most vital skills you need to achieve your goals in life and your career. The key is not to call it selling. In the words of Dale Carnegie, rather think of it as “winning people to your way of thinking.”

Here are some useful tips to help you be more effective at persuading customers or clients: Continue reading


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Can you grow a global business from South Africa?

global-business-globe-in-handThis article was published in the 31-July-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

It is widely believed that koi and goldfish can only grow as large as the enclosure they are in. Some grow big and others stay small, it’s all about the size of the pond or bowl.

This got me thinking about businesses in South Africa and the constraints posed by our environment here. Your business can only grow as big as the environment it is in. So if you want to scale, can you do it from South Africa? Continue reading