Business : It’s not IN it’s ON.

By Business Coaching Mentoring Motivation No Comments

How much time are you spending working IN your business rather than ON your business?

Art installations in Paccar Hall, Foster School of Business

Over the past few years whilst helping small and medium sized businesses run smarter and more efficiently, trying to increase their cash flow positively and understand their margins, the same thing has cropped up over and over in every company: All the owners of these companies work long hours and are dedicated to making their venture a success, but lack doing one vital thing; working ON their business rather than IN it.


By this, I mean the owner runs the operation and is constantly fighting fires but never takes time to step out of his office environment and look at the business objectively analysing what he can do to improve where he is taking his business and how is going to get there.


In my opinion it is essential to take time out and re-evaluate what is happening from ‘inside’ the company at least every 90 days. With almost 90% of new businesses failing in the first 5 years, it is clear that the basics of understanding a business are lacking.


The obvious mistake most start-up business owners make is think that because they have the technical skills of making a product or delivering a service, they assume that he/she can make a success out of running an organisation that delivers this product or service. The technical work of a business and a business that does the technical work is vastly different.


Being “just” an entrepreneur is not enough. The entrepreneur needs to be a salesman, the product technician, the general manager, the accountant and the visionary leader. Without wearing all these hats in the beginning stages, the company will more than likely fail.


While working ON your business you should create a working manual that would in theory allow you to sell or franchise your business without you, the owner having to remain involved. This would then cover every aspect of your business, allowing the systems and procedures to make up for any skills lacking in the business and “fool-proofing” poor service and product delivery.


80% of your business is the same as every other business – why re-invent the wheel? Measure, improve and repeat your successes.


By Coaching Lifestyle Mentoring Motivation No Comments

Tel Aviv promenade

I recently spent three days in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a good friend of mine. It was a short, spur-of-the-moment, holiday trip combined with 3 days in Istanbul. I was last in Tel Aviv in 1994 when I was 19 years old. Israel was the first country I ever visited outside my home country, South Africa. I hated it.


I was never keen on going back to Israel and particularly Tel Aviv, as I just remember it being a dusty, dirty old city with run down buildings and possibly the worst architecture I had ever seen. I discovered that the style of architecture is now called “Brutalism” – a word that accurately describes the ugliness of the block-like buildings. Tel Aviv was a brutal place to see from the inexperienced eyes of a 19-year-old boy, who had only seen the best of South Africa during the dark apartheid years.


Nineteen years later and I arrived in a city that was going to be severely criticized by my jaded views and me. I was more than pleasantly surprised of what I found. Tel Aviv is a thriving multi-cultural city with an amazing beach and café culture. The buildings are mostly as I remember them, but having studied and experienced the world in greater detail since my last visit, I appreciated the intricate history of the Bauhaus movement and the move toward the Brutalistic era. I saw people, who are mostly middle class, enjoying a very pedestrian city filled with quaint streets, restaurants and multi-level retail spaces. The sea winds and the large trees that have been imported from Australia nearly 100 years ago cool the epic heat on the streets.


The public transport systems work efficiently but even more satisfying was renting a bicycle and cycling the streets with no fear or apparent danger. It’s a very livable city with a very non-religious feel, which again, surprised me.


The city had certainly changed a fortune in the gap between visits. Or had it?


I’m starting to think that the city today was actually very similar to what it is was twenty years ago. I’m starting to think that what has changed the most, was in fact, myself. Ones outlook on the environment will determine the experience they have and the level they enjoy it. My life has changed radically in the last twenty years and the cities I have visited, in many countries, have changed the way I saw Tel Aviv. It’s no longer a shit hole, but that’s because I was not looking at it in a comparative negative light.


We view our lives the way we want to see our lives. Looking at it from a positive and favourable standpoint makes all the difference. You can read this in any light you wish.

Reincarnate yourself while you are alive.

By Business Coaching Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

On the 22nd May 2012 I walked out my office, which I had occupied as the ‘boss’ for 17 years, never to return. It was a moment that took about 5 long years of mental abuse; jaw clenching sleep and exhaustion, to reach.


My business was all I knew. It was an integral part of who I was in my life and how people portrayed me. After a few months of insomnia, tears shared in sadness and pain it was finally over and I packed my car with what little trinkets I wanted to take with as a reminder of what was, and drove off.


I was petrified of unemployment and finding a “Job” and starting again. I had lost millions of Rands, a large part of my ego and friends. For the first few weeks I could not sleep through the night and even though my 5:30am alarm had been turned off, the seventeen-year cycle, of waking up in the dark, could not be broken. I would wake up and look for something to do; anything would do, as long as it took my mind off what was. I avoided all phone calls as the liquidated company owed money’s and old customers demanded services that were no longer deliverable.


I found myself pulling out weeds in my driveway, drinking coffee alone at the local roaster or sitting in friends’ offices using their free Wi-Fi just so I could get out the house. I dabbled in a few small businesses and helped out people who needed help – no matter what it was they needed. I was fighting depression, guilt and loneliness. All my friends were trying to cheer me up with the fact I was free to do what I wanted – something I wanted for many years, but freedom is not what you think it is. Freedom for me is being able to make a difference in my life at my own pace and having an impact on people around me that I cared about. I was not any freer than I was in the business I hated being in.


I committed to holidays I could not afford and bought clothing I did not need in order to fill the gaping void in my empty existence outside my business. My true friends and family in their wisdom kept reminding me that all would work out, that I was a bright young man that could start again and would find my feet and hit the ground running. In hindsight they were right. It just took me a few months to realize this for myself.


I am now working for someone in his business. I picked a new career that makes sense to me, that fits in with my life requirements of time, flexibility, answerability and creativity. You may think I am lucky now, but it’s a decision I made. I took the time to find what gave me pleasure and allowed me to wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose. I never understood how people could love their job or how they could work for other people and not be the owner or leader, until now.


I am not a religious man but I believe I have been re-born, re-incarnated, rejuvenated and re-invented in the past twelve months and I love the new me. I am not a motivational speaker or preacher but I have seen that at any stage of your life you can step away from whatever you feel is shackling you and start again. It’s nerve-racking and breathtaking but wholly worth the risk.


Risk everything for your happiness, I did, and now for the first time in years I’m a toddler looking into my future with new eyes, scared of nothing, ecstatic with all the newness and change in the world.



Thanks to Mom, Kim, Hammies, Jo, Mark P, Don & Rich, Spratty, Rodders, Shpronkles and the Bermans. You saw me through the worst and I love you all in my own way.





Stokefest | The Moments

By Lifestyle Motivation Photography Surfing No Comments

I like holidays. Who doesn’t, right? But why do you like going away, putting up with travel arrangements and leaving the comforts of home?

I travel for one purpose and one purpose only: The hope of having a “Moment.”

A moment when life slows down, you are clear and living in the moment. A few seconds in time when life has meaning, the daily stress is vacant and a serene bliss settles in my soul. I’m not a religious man at all, but every once in while, a feeling will come over me, giving me clarity of thought, and for me – this is my discovery of God. My Moment.

A few weeks ago, a group of mates and strangers (who have since become mates) embarked on a week long surf trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town arranged and co-ordinated by Stoked Surf school . In this week I was fortunate to experience several moments as described above. It wasn’t that I discovered the Zen of surfing and my inner hippy. It was the relaxation of a sporting holiday followed by more childish giggles that I care to remember. It was as some may say an EPIC week that I will with out doubt try replicate in the months of 2013.

Here is the Video that Craig put together. Its not a surfing video. Its a video about friends enjoying the most beautiful country in the world. Its a video about life and our need for escapism. Its a video that will allow me to re-live some of those “Moments” that give me cold shivers.

Hope you enjoy.


It took me 17 years to conquer my fear.

By Lifestyle Motivation Photography Skateboarding No Comments

A few months ago I wrote this post on my lost love for skateboarding and how I rediscovered it.

Yesterday I managed to complete my dream and pull off a pretty basic trick (with not much style) that had eluded me my entire life.

I just want to reiterate the fact that at no point in your life should you give up your dreams and ambitions. There are few feelings as pleasurable as completing a goal that is only for yourself and not being done to prove anything to another person.

This is a backside 5-O grind on the quarter pipe at Stoneridge. Again I want to thank Tim Moolman for the encouragement & patience of God.

My knee is blue but it was totally worth it!




> image taken by Phil. follow him on twitter.<

Spilllage presentation to SuperSport, 22 Aug 2012

By Motivation Public Speaking Social Media Twitter No Comments

Thanks to Jamie Frank & Clinton van der Berg and the team at SuperSportTV for an awesome opportunity to share my marketing experiences and Twitter lifestyle with you and your people. Its was a Joy to collaborate with Roy Blumenthal on this gig too.

Here are some of the images form the mornings talk.


One in, (2) One out.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

I have been financially fortunate over the past 17 years. I have really not wanted for much from as early as my late teens. Clothing, fast cars and brands have come & gone with my disposable income, but throughout this period of my life, I have maintained one rule:

With every piece of clothing I buy, I must give one away. I call this the “ONE IN, ONE OUT” rule.

This rule has always kept my sneaker & t-shirt fetish in check. The rule has now started rolling over into every aspect of my life when it comes to my worldly possessions. Its nice to know that someone else, who really needs a pair of shoes, will appreciate them more than the bottom of my cupboard will. Its a simple structure that also makes me question myself when buying an item, as I need to know that I’m ready to part with an older item, before I can commit to the new purchase.

BUT something has started to happen. It relates back to this blog post which I wrote a while back. I have started giving TWO items away with every new one I purchase. I know that its not a sustainable system as eventually I will be left with nothing, but as a long term “un-cluttering mechanism” it works very well.

I will slowly eradicate the things I don’t use or need and slow down my incessant need to but new unneeded things. It also leads to me the discussion that I have briefly had with my mother, who lives alone. I joke that when she passes away, I don’t want to spend weeks sifting through the hundreds of random items and old clothes and deal with getting rid of all the junk she is unwillingly collecting. With my ONE IN, TWO OUT method, my life will be cleaner, greener and far less entangled and I love that. I figure everyone should go through cycles in their lives of over-consumption, excessive shopping followed by a slow down and eventual thinning out of goods.

Its possibly an age thing, or a wage thing, but none the less I’m at the point in my life where simpler is better and less is very, very, much more.



its. ok. (Writers Vs Bloggers Vs Content Vs Delivery)

By Motivation Social Media Twitter No Comments

Being a ginger, you may be surprised that I even have friends, but I do. Some of these friends are well educated “journo” types and either make a living writing or editing the written word.

As my confidence has increased with writing on my blog, the more criticism I have received for my poor grammar, spelling and layout. I have no formal training and barely passed my matric English writing exam, but I enjoy sharing my thoughts with the few people that read my scribbles. My grammar leaves a lot to be desired. I have never claimed the title of writer, or blogger for that matter, and recognize the art of writing when I see it done well and substantially better than I could do. The amount of time & dedication that professional writers put into all their work is admirable but here is where I want to make my point…

The average literate person, who reads all levels of written content, does not appreciate the subtleties that are woven into the work they read. They, like myself, don’t necessarily see the grammatical errors or note the missed apostrophe every now and then and most importantly, they don’t really care.

Now I’m not saying for a second, that the work isn’t better and easier to read if its done by the book, but I do believe that sometimes the story is more important than the way it’s delivered.

I write the way I talk. Short bullet points of content. My brain farts out ideas and I type them furiously. When I have something to say, I want to say it now and not let it stew while I rework it, day after day, before pushing the send button.

Thanks for taking two minutes, but if you want to help, maybe point out the mistakes I have made above and comment below.

Love, light & punctuation.

The pool I never wanted.

By Lifestyle Motivation No Comments

Eight years ago, I built a house with my ex-girlfriend. I was living in an architecturally wonderful Parkhurst home, at the time that I bought when I was 20 years old. My Parkhurst pad had a pool, which was amazing for a 21 year old who was all about partying. But when we were in the process of design and building the new house, I never wanted a pool, but my ex-girlfriend did as she was the sun worshiper and I was & still am, a ginger. There was no compromise, even on the size, and the pool was dug and filled.

To this day, I hate the pool. It costs me money, takes up space and is never used. And by never, I mean never. It’s the symbol of my excessive lifestyle from 8 years ago. I look at it and just want to fill it in and cover it with Grass. Pools are unnecessary and are only good for “property resale” as far as I’m concerned.

I want to eliminate all the assets that cause me headache and cost, from my life. I want to return to what core things I need to survive and keep me happy and comfortable. After mentioning this to a few friends and colleges it’s become clear I am not the only one who feels this way at the moment. Its become apparent that my generations over-consumption and lack of inner peace is bubbling to the surface of our consciousness’.

Now, I’m no way saying that everything you do must be green (even though it should be) and I’m certainly not saying that you should become a hippy and grow your own vegetables. What I am saying is you should start questioning what & how much you consume, what you think you want to keep yourself & family content & how much chaos you have in your life. I’m saying it’s time to unclutter your existance. From the car you drive to the body lotions you apply, all should be simple, economical, friendly to the environment, not flashy and not an eye-sore to your neighbours and fellow country men around you. You don’t have to consume less, just consume quality & consume art. Always consume art.

Replace your clutter with space. Cut back on advertising exposure and listen to more music, more often. Spend time alone. Spend time with friends that enrich your mind and make you think and laugh. Spend time outdoors. Spend time with your five senses. Cut back on your commitments to unnecessary events and meaningless chatter. Say no. Sit down & eat slower.

I now ask myself “will this bring a smile to my face?” before committing to anything. It may seem selfish at first, but sometimes doing something I don’t want will lead to someone close to me smiling & that in turn will bring a smile to my face.

With physics, every action as an opposite and equal reaction. But with life-simplification, every action will have a larger more positive reaction in your life & those important to you. Swap Chaos for peace, one step at a time. Eliminate Brands, eliminate world news, eliminate ego. Add exercise, add greens, add family & friends.

While studying architecture, 20 years ago, the most important lesson I learned was based on Ludwig Mies vanser Rohe’s quote “Less is more.” This is on what the basis of life should be structured. In all aspects, less is always more. I drive a Vespa scooter. Its small and considered dangerous, but it cuts out traffic (less) and makes me smile (more). It costs me a lot less in petrol, insurance and parking money (less) and saves me time (more).


I am not religious, I’m not a hippy & I’m not into saving the environment or sustainable living. I just want my life to be simpler, more user-friendly & kinder to the people who are important to me. I want a smaller home, smaller car, smaller circle of quality friends. I want a bigger music collection, a bigger impact on people, a bigger smile.

Is that too much to ask ourselves?


ps. I now want drain my pool, curve the corners and make a skateboarding pool. I will never grow up & You cant make me.