THE TOP BUSINESS SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR
I am both humbled and proud to say that since its inception over a decade ago, BWD Advertising has grown exponentially. It has evolved from a one-man website design company that operated from a flat on Johannesburg cbd, to a fully fledged integrated digital agency that offers turnkey digital and communication services – and that has a specialist animation and video division.
Our client portfolio has expanded from one single law firm to a multitude of blue chip brands including the likes of Thebe Investment, aha Hotels, T-Systems, Nedbank, NLC and EOH, to mention but a few. From learning by trial and error, we’ve elevated to the stage where we’re valuable partners in our clients’ businesses, that creates award-winning work. In spite of the highly competitive space that we play in, we’ve also been included in the Memeburn Guide to the SA digital agency landscape – one of the most credible indexes of digital agencies that are making waves in the design space in our country.
As a result, I often get asked: “How did you do it?” The secret is… There IS no secret. There is a reason why business clichés became clichés in the first place, because they work. Allow me to share some of the top phrases that I personally apply to stay on top of my business game.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get”
There is no short-cut to success, it requires a constant hunger and hunt for greatness, and total dedication to do whatever it takes. I can assure you, success didn’t come to me by chance; I worked for it. If you’re the kind of person who wishes to put his pen down by 16h00 and relax every weekend, then best you go back to a cushy job. Business is most definitely not for you. Prepare yourself to put in the time and make sure your family is on board with the compromises you will have to make.
It’s not about how often you fail; it’s about how often you get up
Very few business owners made it the first time around. Personally, I am a walking testimony of exactly that. In fact, I failed twice and got close to bankruptcy before I finally aced it. So if your business dream gets shattered – just get up and use the lessons that you learnt to start reconstructing it all over again. Do research, speak to experts; find a mentor; get more training. Just DON’T. GIVE. UP.
Work smarter, not harder
This cliché is generally hugely misinterpreted as many believe it means you should work less. On the contrary, it actually just means you should be more efficient. As soon as I stopped trying to be everything in my business and appointed fundi’s to fulfil specialist functions – I was able to expand our capacity substantially. Plus I invested in business process improvement consultants whose insights helped us to accomplish a notable increase in productivity and profitability.
There is only one boss, the customer
Regardless of how innovative and creative you are, unless you supply products and services that customers want, your business idea will be of no value. By listening to customers, I learnt that the digital business landscape is exploding and that graphic and website design is only a portion of the digital tools and material needed.
This led us to develop a complete spectrum of advertising services, including digital marketing, strategy, tv, print, outdoor, social media, public relations, animated video explainers and copywriting of content, etc. Naturally, this increases clients’ spend with us and we now get repeat business.
The business that is only about making money, is a poor business
Some call it the law of attraction, but it’s been proven that if you pay it forward, more good things come to you. I’m also chairman of a non-profit organisation called “Each One Teach One” that offers mentorship to help fast-track the growth and success of new entrepreneurs.
Here’s the interesting thing: as you listen to the business issues that these industrialists-in-the-making are experiencing and you brainstorm solutions with them – you learn and grow in the process too. This leads me to our own quote, the creed that we at BWD live, work and breathe: “We grow, by growing others.” Unless there is greater purpose and meaning behind what you do, you will often get to a point where you ask yourself: “why am I even doing this??”