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Mr Justin Drennan
6 February 2015
Justin’s talk was enjoyed by the audience as he was blunt, truthful and rather inspiring.
Here are some of the motivational take aways:
• Every day you have to educate yourself and spend an hour or two reading up on your field of work.
• Your work has to be your hobby – work/life balance is a myth.
• Become the expert in your industry.
• Not every product is suitable for online selling and marketing e-commerce sites.
• Employees would never really mind working for below industry averages, as long as they get recognition for their hard work.
• What’s most important to an employee is being told that they’re work is appreciated and that they are genuinely doing a great job.
• If an employee has been asked to perform a specific task and the end result is not needed anymore I.e asked to write an article which they have put so much effort into, but then the article is no longer needed-all employer needs to do is have a talk with the employee to just ‘put them down gently.’ Never just discard their work without a fair explanation or just a heads up.
• As a boss, you can be good at a lot of things, but you need someone, as a supplier / provider who specializes or can do certain tasks that you don’t NEED / HAVE to do so that you can focus your energies and time to attend to what you NEED / HAVE to do.
• Your role as a boss is not to always be the solution finder. Train your employees to come up with solutions for their own mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but they must come up with a solution and present options to you.
• Employ people that think for themselves
• Employ people that will grow without being told to do so.
• Employ people that will get sh*t done!
Mrs Marzenna Almendro
Psychometrist at Psychmatters
7 November 2014
Marzenna spent time with our group explaining the three main personality tests that she does for corporates. These tests are designed locally for local talent and measure candidates cognitive skills as well as points out when interviewees tell “Bullshit“ stories. Marzenna highlighted the importance of hiring the right person the first time and the return on investment when business owners use psychometric testing as part of the interview process. We also had fun watching Erik De Jager trying to be a dolphin!
Contact Marzenna on 072 434 8244 or on Facebook now!
Mr Dean Oelschig
Founder of Halo
7 November 2014
Dean spoke on creativity and what creativity is for brands. His talk was full of insight and cute baby pictures. Dean has a theory that there are still millions of new ideas out there which are created when you take two existing ideas that have never been linked together before, and join them in a new “obvious” way.
Mr Jonathan Bain
Co-founder of Bain&Bunkell
26 September 2014
Jonathan, joined by Simon Bunkell, spoke on “writing for brands.” The points raised and the case studies were smart, entertaining and gave a fascinating insight into how best copywriters should behave in this digital era.
These are the take-home lessons we all could benefit from:
- Writing for a brand is not a science.
- Trust your gut more – if you feel a little uneasy and your client feels the same then you are most likely succeeding.
- Embrace the insane.
- Be authentic.
- Writers used to simply supply information (Logos) but now seem to only talk about emotion (pathos). Jonathan thinks its time writers start being more believable and with character (Ethos).
- The Bloomingdales ethos: Unforced. A friend who knows stuff. Utterly believable. Totally consistent.
- Writers should be “A reporter with castanets!”
- Avoid cliches – they are not your friend.
- Surprise and simplify.
- Learn from those who are getting it right.
and lets not forget the wonderful word of the day “Meretricious!”
Mr Kevin Welman
MD and Senior Partner at Fleishman-Hillard South Africa
21 August 2014
Kevin’s presentation was entitled ‘Importance of storytelling and authentic leadership’ and covered the importance of good storytelling in your business and the duties that MD’s and business owners have to become authentic story tellers.
Kevin Shared this video with us from Simon Sinek which was a turning point in his life and work:
The overriding theme that Kevin shared was as follows:
- Be as you wish to be seen and be authentic
- Be available and have an opinion
- Your reputation is all you have
Mr Nic Haralambous
Founder of NicSocks.com
24 July 2014
Grab a pen and paper and take some notes! You don’t want to miss this talk.
Mrs Denese Zaslansky
CEO and founder of Firzt Realty Company.
26 June 2014
Im not sure if I wanted to hug Denese after her talk or buy a house from her. A professional sales lady who understands what makes people buy, Denese was engaging, human and clearly explained what makes her a successful business woman. These are the take-home lessons we all could benefit from:
- Recognise everyone in your company from the cleaner to the MD. Know their names and greet them when you see them. (Denese remembered all our names – its a skill worth practising!)
- Earn loyalty.
- Have a clear purpose and always be enthusiastic
- Keep learning and be open minded.
- Set goals, write them down, plan for them and never give up.
- Nothing beats ticking off a task on your to do list.
- The more “No’s” you get when selling, the closer you are to a sale.
- Lead generation is the basis of success.
- Acknowledge your customers and always do business the moral way.
- “Eat the frog” – don’t procrastinate
- “The real secret of success is enthusiasm. Yes, more than enthusiasm, I would say excitement. I like to see men get excited. When they get excited, they make a success of their lives.” – Walter Chrysler
- Writing down your ideas actualises them
- “Control your cross” – the 4 year old who explains you must manage your anger.
- Goals must be realistic, attainable and must be put to a timeline.
- You need to set goals in life – both work and personal
- The 3D’s – do I Do it – do I Delegate it – do I Dump it ?
- Plan your day the night before and leave space because “Life gets in the way!”
- When dealing with Clients and staff look at which psyche they are playing – the Parent (acknowledge them), the Adult (be mature and logical) or the Child (sympathise with them). Deal with them accordingly
- What is inspected is respected. Inspect what you delegate but learn to trust your employees too
- People need to know that you genuinely care about them.
- Save yourself opportunity costs. Dont chase money that isn’t there.
- Dont employ sale people based on their CV. Base it on feeling and whether you would buy from them.
- When marketing your brand, be an irritation to the market and do things that others are not doing. The “Z” in Firzt is an irritation that has worked as a recognised logo.
- Always base decisions on “whats best for the business?”
- Never be too busy for your staff. Always have an “open door” policy.
Mr Colin Chapman
Head of business development at Missing Link.
16 April 2014
Colin (The Hitman) is a practical salesman and practical speaker. I loved how he made his talk personal and the way it resonated with the Growing Pains members. Make no mistake, Colin understands his art and has taken the time and effort to perfect it. Here are the important points from his presentation called “Services and how to sell them…”
- Selling a product and selling a service is the same thing. Its understanding how sales works that makes the difference.
- Colin now loves Cold Calling but he never used to. Understand that when a client says “no” they are saying no to what you are offering and not to you.
- Sales and business development must not be under-appreciated in a company. They are the most important parts
- Colin learned a lot from the “sales round-up” podcast.
- LinkedIn and Twitter are the most powerful tools to research and find potential clients
- Find out and use the name of the person you want to speak to, to get round the PA / receptionist (gatekeepers)
- HOPE is NOT a sales strategy
- ASK for referrals. Referrals are the easiest way to start a cold call. (Colin said I should give you a call…)
- Believe in word of mouth referrals. Use them wherever possible
- Keep your CRM in the cloud. (Colin uses GetBase.com)
- Get as much face time as possible. Don’t email your proposal.
- If you can’t measure it you cant manage it. Your CRM must produce metrics.
- Learn to deal with rejection
- “No” means the client never heard you say the right thing.
- The Objective of every cold call is to get a meeting, not to hard sell.
- Never sound like you are reading a script. You can use a script but learn it – sound authentic
- Avoid having a long conversation over the phone. Keep it short, simple, direct and get a meeting.
- Don’t annoy over the phone.
- Don’t give up. Keep trying even if you got a “no” last time
- Research the client’s needs before making the call. Understand the clients business.
- Always apologize when calling a cell phone.
- Never leave messages at a clients work when you cold call.
- The clients PA can be your biggest assets. Make friends with them.
- Stop being a cold caller and become a person
- Afternoons are the best time to cold call and Thursdays are the best time to get people and get meetings booked.
- Never stop selling.
- Keep new “logo’s” coming through the door. (New business)
- Push the client to say NO and then move on to the next.
- Will they buy from you and will they buy from you NOW? Qualify the clients.
- Keep your sales pipeline full of quality clients. Actively manage your pipeline and lose those deals that are never going to happen – sanitize the pipeline.
- Show the perceived value to clients.
- Add “fake” expenses to quotes to add margin and leave space to negotiate.
- Never discount your price. (Never lift your skirt)
- Ask the client what their budget is.
- Never stop building capacity in your business.
- Colin showed us the value Potential VS likelihood to buy Axis. Spend time chasing clients that are likely to buy and have the biggest potential.
Mr Michael Gullan
Managing Director of Gullan and Gullan.
28 March 2014
Michael is a man that has learned his lessons the hard way, with what sounded like lots of ups and downs. He stressed the importance of Company culture over and over. Here are the highlights from his insightful talk:
- LOVE WHAT YOU DO.
- Be accountable to your business and staff (he doesn’t employ staff – he employs people!)
- Values and principles stand for something but don’t count unless it costs you something.
- Hire staff that align with your company values
- Don’t chase money. Money will come if you create value for your clients
- Partner with your clients. You should not be a “cost center” to your clients.
- Have a clear sense of what your competitive advantage is.
- Find your niche and don’t be afraid to evolve
- Experiment outside your business. Don’t let this impact your clients negatively
- Hire slow, fire fast.
- Culture fit is more important than skill.
- Value your people as people who are fueled by different interests and passions
- Understand that not every person’s career path is the same and should not be determined by the employer. Every person has different needs
- Encourage diversity
- Hire people not staff
- The business owner should shoulder adversity and share success
- The value of a good business partner is immeasurable
- Cash flow is king – don’t finance your clients’ businesses
- Find balance in work and life outside work
- Read, Read, Read – fill yourself with books
- Success is not what you show but what you do
- When your business is service orientated – don’t sell but consult. Make sure you define and deliver the value
- LOVE WHAT YOU DO. (again and again)
Mr Howard Sackstein
Executive Director of Saicom Voice Services.
28 February 2014
Howard is such a great storyteller and gives such depth to his stories. Here are the salient points I took out from his talk:
- Say “NO” to good Ideas and “YES” to great ideas. The same goes for people.
- Be very selective whom you hire into your business. Would you go into war with them?
- Hire aptitude and not skills. Skills can be trained.
- Look for the greater good in everything you do in your company. You survive in an ecosystem than needs to be treated fairly
- Entrepreneurs “Make a plan.” It’s in their nature.
- Business depends on two things: WOW your clients & Make them pay
- When you aren’t getting paid by customers put to them onto “30 days from summons”
- Force the culture you want in your business. Remember: Suit and tie would get you fired!
- Live and believe your company values.
- Culture starts with the boss. Reflect what you want to exist in your Company. If you work late, your staff will work late with you.
- Share information with your staff. Keep the information honest.
- Share the wealth. When you are doing well as an organization make sure your staff feel the financial benefits
- Life is too short for mediocrity
- Create cool stuff and people will come to you. Just keep putting it out there.
- I loved the “annual paint day” where all the staff creates art that reflects the Co culture and beliefs.
Mr Don Packett
MD of 21 Tanks
29 January 2014
I like the way Don delivers the message. He is a great storyteller and makes light of some tough choices he has made. I also like that he doesn’t “regret” his past – it has got him to where he is today! This is what he reminded us of:
- Don defines his company’s growth in terms of profit – not the number of staff he has.
- Most of his customers were mined from existing customers in Missing link
- His business was built on the premise of “Find a problem and sell a solution”
- Partners are sometimes tough but when you find the right one to lean on its great. His partner pushes him and restrains him at different times and vice versa
- PR work: public speaking gets clients.
- Perception of his business and culture sells. They deliberately look different and flaunt it to make an impression.
- Its time to “Grow up!” Face facts and take them on. When its time to be hard be hard.
- Don’t sell hours – sell outputs.
- Productize your services that you can scale and sell the business.
Mr Michael Renzon
CEO of InQuba
29 November 2013
It’s not impossible to grow your business into a business that’s sold for hundreds of millions of Rands – if that is really what you want. The most important points of his insightful talk were:
- Always reflect on your past successes and failures.
- Mike hates Corporates yet has instated corporate like systems in InQuba from the START.
- Entrepreneurs are never happy with what they have created and always want to build something new, better and bigger.
- Timing is essential in business success. “Spot the wave early”
- Innovators are always ahead of the wave. (Moores adoption curve)
- Take chances
- Always align yourself with incredible people.
- Negotiate hard for what you believe in.
- Have rigid integrity
- Throw yourself in the deep end whenever possible
- If the market you are playing in is buoyant, your mistakes will not be noticed as much
- Mikes success was due working with the brightest people
- First to market (product/service) usually wins
- If you cant dominate the market you are in, get out that market
- Mike plans 12 months ahead and reviews this every quarter (3 months). “What will we be in 12 months time?”
Mr Gil Oved
CEO of The Creative Counsel
25 October 2013
Our guest speaker was honest and very clear on what got him and his business to the levels they are at today! (R500 million – can you imagine?! – it’s not impossible, IF you want it.) The salient points of his insightful talk were:
- One on one contact is still the most important form of sales.
- The owner is always the head of client services.
- Implement systems early in the business. It is very hard to do once the business is established.
- Hire the right people.
- Get the best financial man by your side.
- Chase profit first then sales.
- Relationships are your biggest IP. (Intellectual property)
- Titles are important to people that are important to you.
- Mystery leads to margin.
- Always be friendly with the people at the front desk – they hold the diary of the boss.
- Luck is an important part of success
- Always measure ROI (Return on investment).
- If you share your passion it will lead to success.
- Culture in an organization is important. Lead by example.
- Keep re-inventing yourself. Re-invention will keep your business ahead of the competition.