On Thursday 4th June Creative Zone organised a power-packed session with Vusi Thembekwayo, a Globally known speaker, Venture Capitalist, and author of his bestselling autobiography ‘Vusi: Business Life Lessons from a Black Dragon’. The webinar was one of the most successful ones the company has ever hosted, the spectacular turnout of over 300 attendees was highly encouraging.
Highlights of The Session
Vusi began by sharing some key lessons that are relevant to everybody involved in some kind of business dealings. Number one is to realise the importance of your word, if you give your word to someone, stand by it no matter what. One’s reputation and credibility always precede them. He went on to answer questions on how to start, build, and scale a business together with addressing the propelling question of how can we move past from the COVID-19 impact on businesses.
“The most important thing to do right now is to just be Human, accept that there is nothing anyone can do to change the situation we all are in, it is a winter season that will pass and no one is immune to it”. He gave example of the iconic Richard Branson who is also facing the same hardships as his aviation empire is in a distressful situation. Companies need to focus on the next steps and prepare well to deal with some institutional changes that undoubtedly will be installed post-COVID. It is surely time to make hard choices but right-size the company, take salary cuts first yourself if you are the owner. But the most important advice that Vusi gave was that most of the businesses are right now playing in defense by protecting the current client base, shielding revenues and the core of the business, but what one must also do right now is to work on the offense and figure out how can they capture more market share in the coming months. For a company to thrive all the functions must be well regulated.
How do companies of a size of 3-4 people scale up to becoming a 50 or 100+ team asked one attendee. To this he very intelligently answered, “be clear on what you want to measure, what is the parameter of success, the number of employees or the revenue number and this is a developing mindset, having more people in a factory does not necessarily mean more revenue, the company WhatsApp was less than 50 people when they started, the measure of success has to be how much impact are you having, it can’t be things that are attached to ego”. Where is the office located, how are the interiors, a chauffeur-driven car all these things are superfluous. People only care about the bottom line- What are the numbers you are doing?
So one needs to first spend time assessing what is the right way to scale the business and what to measure. Measure customer satisfaction, measure market penetration, and more importantly customer’s share of wallet, which essentially means upselling your product to the existing customer. This according to him should become the measure of success instead of how many people are working for the company or how many offices do they have, if we measure the wrong stuff, we will do the wrong stuff. If we measure the real things they will give us the correct action.
What is the difference between the self-employed, business owner, and entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is someone who can disappear from work for 90 days and things will continue to move. A business owner or a self-employed person cannot do that because they need to be there to manage their teams. A true entrepreneur accepts that mistakes will be made and invests in making effective processes and systems that manage people and creating that is probably one the most difficult thing to do.
The session also touched on the current political scenario in the US and rest of the world, and where are we headed, Vusi opined that people now want to be seen and recognised as who they are not as they had to be, people want a slice of the pie and rightfully so. He does expect similar risings in the time to come and businesses should be ready to deal with it and invest in building processes and systems NOW.