Influence, Collaborate and Lead a Community: A TEDx talk

We are sold this idea that our story is not worth telling, that there is something more important than our personal accounts and experiences. When the TEDx Vanderbijlpark team called on me to share my story, that notion is precisely what dawned on me, that I haven’t lived or experienced enough to tell anyone about myself.

 

I know, I know, it could be flawed on many levels.

 

In this talk below, I share experiences of stories that changed me. Turning points that continue what the idea of self-organising and leading.

Thanks to Mpho Mojapelo, the rock-legend at Dungbeetle for designing my slides.

Get Your Business Featured SABC 1’s on Making Moves

Last week I was contacted by the Making Moves team about entrepreneurs who would be interested in getting featured. Since I’ve got nothing but love for you, I thought you might be interested. Or least know someone who would benefit from the TV appearance.

Your Business on TV

About Making Moves

 

Making Moves, is an award winning SABC 1 television show that profiles young entrepreneurs in South Africa. The show is on its sixth season and will air on SABC 1 to a million loyal viewers on Monday 5th May 2014 at 13:30.

It offers you the opportunity to be featured on national television, gives you a profiling opportunity to potential new customers and it’s targeted at a 18 – 35 year old audience. Your story is an inspirational one and we hope that through sharing the steps you’ve taken to create jobs in South Africa, viewers will be inspired to do the same.  

We invite you to participate and show the nation the great work you are doing in your business and on your journey as a leader in South Africa.

Is this you or someone you know?

Should you make it through the selection and interviews, you’ll also receive; a business coaching session and up to R20 000 worth of business support. The appearance will reportedly give you exposure to a million viewers and radio interviews with some SABC run radio station.

Submit your company profile to makingmoves@bonngoe.tv or call 010 590 3108 and press 1 for production.

Does it sound like something that you or someone in your network would would want to participate in? Share this post with them, they may end up being that friend in high places. And we all need that friend. Plus, you don’t even need to send me shout out, unless you do.

YOU are Your First Client

In the never ending chase for new business, proposals that fall by the wayside and delivering our best work – I tend to neglect the business. This is not in the ‘I spend more time in bed’ neglect, ain’t nobody got time fo dat. It’s in doing less of the things that we are likely to deliver for clients.

 

Clients look at what you are doing for yourself, as a business and an individual, whilst on course to making a decision about whether to buy from you or the next guy. This certainly doesn’t speak to all industries, it’s largely applicable for creative work. Not that many people care how one shop owner likes to have fish and chips in comparison to their the competitors.

 

The more time we spend pitching and writing up proposals, we leave the business to fend for itself. Blogs posts become less and less. Facebook updates decrease and we drop balls. What if those interactions, like the next client meeting, were taken as seriously because they are part of your marketing?

 

As I meet with more clients and would-be clients, I realise how they look more into our work than what we do for other clients. They are more interested in how our work achieves what we aim for. If what you do is a labour of love, schedule it and commit as you would for a client deadline. That’s what the first few weeks of 2014 have taught me, again.

Tools to Spread Word of Mouth

This was originally posted on the WordStart blog.

In October, the Enterprise Technology Show Africa organisers invited us to share some ways to spread the word. There are many tools on offer in the market and here, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we share three of our favorite ones.

When working on building buzz for your product or organisation, you have to be clear on what the objective is. You may want to generate the word on mouth on your Facebook page, through contact with bloggers or by understanding customer conversations and sentiment, then contributing.

The tools in a nutshell:

  1. Shortstack is an easy-to-use Facebook application tool. It allows to run competitions with user-generated voting and content. We regularly use it for various purposes. Create a free account and try it out.
  2. Grouphigh combines SEO and social search to enable you to engage with the blogger community that you are interested in interacting with. You are then able to think through how you would like to position your content on various platforms and you understand what those blogs are interested in. Have a look at the 30-day free trial or request a demo to engage blogs for you PR and Marketing.
  3. Traackr takes influence beyond blogs and helps you find brand advocates by topic of interest and helps you build your influencer engagement efforts. Have a look at their plan options

Below, have a look at the presentation.

What are some of the tools that you use?

How ‘NOT TO’ maintain customer relationships: Featuring MTN

A little before midnight I went onto Facebook, in case the world had radically changed again, and I wasn’t there to witness it. Richard Mulholland had just shared a post which was one of those ‘MTN dun’did it now‘ and – if anything – this is a lesson about how ‘Not To’ engage with your customers.
Richard's Facebook post
Here is a guide to how you can lose customers:

1. Set up the obstacle course

Naturally, you would think he took to social media without exploring all the possible avenues with the company. In this case, Richard went through all the excruciating obstacles and nothing helped. He made contact with them – in search of a solution  – for eight months and no one tried to resolve it.

Had they assisted or resolved the issue, and left a remarkable impression, this would have been a completely different post. As you might have seen in the image above, when I started writing this post, there were 11 retweets, now look below.

25 Retweets later

 2. When in doubt, point to Terms and Conditions

Following the lengthy and painful correspondence, MTN told him about their Ts & Cs, and it seem even they didn’t follow them. This was another opportunity to salvage the 18-year relationship they had with him. Yes, 18 whole years have gone up in smoke.

3. Watch the connection implode

All of this began with an unsolicited loyalty offer made by MTN, which included an iPhone 5s, and following the agreement they turned tables. By now you are probably wondering is the iPhone 5s had already been ordered and as it turns out, this was right after Richard had ordered the phone.

Follow the correspondence on Richard Mulholland’s blog here.

Exposure: paying bills since…….

….the first person offered it, the other one accepted and a store owner took it as currency for products and services.

It seems exposure is increasingly becoming the new currency, or an old one, depending on which side of the fence you are. Let’s face it, the work you do – and get paid for – gives you the same amount of exposure that non-paid work gives you.

No one ever thinks ‘that Maserati Gran Turismo Mc Stradale,  I drooled over, I wonder how much exposure they’ll accept for it’. All this exposure cannot be quantified and the Maserati Mc Stradale won’t make you happy forever. Okay, it might.

In a world where currency is made of exposure, we’re all rich and everyone high-fives everyone else for all those non-paying gigs we had. The ones where people get awards because everyone talks about all those appearances they made. One where we celebrate how much the stock market has improved and you can buy a stake in some of the top performing Fortune 100 companies using an estimate of all the eyeballs that have seen you.

Man cannot live on exposure alone.

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Photo by Cédric JANODET on Flickr

Entrepreneur on the move: WordStart on KayaFM with Stevie B

Following an interview on Entrepreneur Magazine, I got a surprise call from KayaFm about a chat with Stevie B. When we do the work we love, we rarely document the process and this interview was one of those wake up calls for me. Stevie B asked questions about building a startup based on what we did at WordStart, whether we have a team and how we market. Here are some hacks I suggest you use for your business:

  • Build thought leadership into your marketing model.
  • Search for places online and offline with people who want the content you find useful. This shouldn’t be limited to Twitter and Facebook.
  • Create original content to share exclusively on certain platforms and be consistent enough to cause a dent.

Have a quick listen to the interview I had on KayaFM with Stevie B.   If you have any feedback, please share it in the comments below.

Hire like Instagram, Facebook and Dropbox

Apart from the businesses they are in; Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox and Zappos know how to source and retain talent. Online MBA sent me this video below, which in less than 2-minutes, gives you the lowdown into how successful startups hire.

Company culture is what makes them common and, if anything, we all want to work with people who are similar – in some way – to us.

Have a look and share the love with your friends as well.

Which startups do you think hire and retain talent in a way that is worth following for inspiration?

Letting go of passion projects that turn into monsters

Did you ever start something that was exciting at first, something you thought ‘well this is it’? That something, that project, then started eating away at your time. Or, you just downright avoid it because you’ve inadvertently fed it with expectations that turned it into an obese monster that foams at the mouth for more.

That is what I have been experiencing lately. I avoided writing on this blog because everything had to be perfect. The stars needed to align and inspiration? Well….when the stars align inspiration comes by default. In another post I wrote about how overrated inspiration is vs. being consistent. Raise your hand if you find it hard to take your own advice.

Let go

Letting go of the monstrous expectations we have of ourselves and the “projects” we dream up is akin to losing a great friendship that no longer serves its purpose. In the long term, you later realize that it was the best decision you ever made.

A friend recently posted something on Facebook about giving yourself permission to walk away from things that creep you out. Walking away seems simple enough, the challenge is walking away from the things you started. The ideas you breathed in to. Those are near impossible to let go of, but we should.

Be the villain

In Batman, we know who the hero is and the villain is the guy who reeks havoc on Gotham City. Bane, my favourite character in The Dark Knight Rises, is not Batman and in the end you want the hero to win.

What if the hero and the villain are both the same person? What happens when you have to cut ties with that small community project down the road, which helps cute little kids when your fledgling business suffers because of the time you spend there? The roles have suddenly changed, Bane is no longer someone external. It’s your turn to be Batman and save the day, but that might mean you may soon be unable to make a living.

Slay your monsters and get to work

Instead of my writing being the fun pastime it once was, it became a painstaking chore that had to be perfect every time. The more things compete for limited time, the less likely we are to do the ones we are not passionate about.

In ‘Do The Work’, Steven Pressfield talks about the resistance and refers to it as all the things we experience which prevent us from producing our art. That resistance for me was perfecting every post, it’s not putting something out there ‘til everything is perfect. That was my monster and I’m going out to slay it every single day going forward.

Do The Work is a book that shows you what resistance is and how to overcome it. Read a quick review here and go slay those dragons.

What are your monsters? What resistance are you grappling with and how are you dealing with it to keep your passion projects alive? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.