Start a delivery company

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There comes a point in the life cycle of a project when you just have to bite the bullet.

It can be frightening and it is definitely a questioning time.

  • Did we do everything we could to make this perfect?
  • Is the homepage the right color?
  • Are we even sure if this is a good idea or not?

The questions never seem to end.

That is when we start a delivery company.

Call it what you want, but we literally have a delivery company.

It is not logistics in terms of DHL, FedEx, UberEats or Mr Delivery, but we deliver and we deliver consistently and efficiently.

You can be the best graphic designer who comes up with amazing brands and concepts, but if all you have is a portfolio of unseen ideas, it is fun to look at, but that is all you do.

You can have the greatest ideas, and I have friends who literally have a filling cabinet of ideas and sketches. And they keep having more, I have stopped listening to most of their ideas, because they never see the light of day.

What do you want to be known for?

Do you want to have perfect ideas that are polished and sit in a secret folder on your hard drive?

Or do you want to be the CEO of a delivery company and live the adventure of the quest between success and failure?

One is an entrepreneur.

The other is an inventor.

Both are important, but the risk of shipping is what takes an idea to the next level.

Deliver more.

It is scary, you risk being involved in accidents or hijacked.

But overall, delivering your idea is more fulfilling and a lot more fun.

When you deliver, you learn.

You learn about everything from what coffee your clients like to what people really like to buy (sometimes it’s your product).

If you fall in love with delivering and learning, your idea gets refined and grows.

Eventually, those ideas start to arrive at their destination.

Start a delivery company.

LORA Centre Peter Mamabolo Scholarships available to 10 entrepreneurs: APPLY NOW.

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Start-ups drive the economy, providing jobs and consuming goods and services offered by other companies, so entrepreneurs are vital components of healthy economies.

As a result, we at LORA Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship are excited to announce that through the Peter Mamabolo Scholarship Fund, we have set aside financial aid aimed directly at entrepreneurs who want to acquire and improve their business skills.

Scholarship Award

LORA Centre will award scholarships worth R2,000.00 to 10 entrepreneurs for the 2019 year [Co-hort 4].

The scholarships will be awarded in the form of covering tuition for the 5 months New Venture Creation program which commences in January 2018. The entrepreneur covers the balance of the tuition.

Scholarship Deadline

The deadline for the 2019 scholarship is: Friday, 07 December 2018.

Due to the selective and competitive nature of the program, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early in the recruiting process.

Space is really limited.

Eligibility Requirements

You must be running your business full time to be eligible for the scholarship.

The LORA Centre classes are in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Class attendance is compulsory.

Preference will be given to students who demonstrate that they will attend the classes and those who apply early.

Program

LORA Centre is an entrepreneurship environment that nurtures and inspires great entrepreneurs to think creatively and create innovative solutions.

For more information on the program, visit: LORA Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Attending students at LORA include freelancers, independent professionals, entrepreneurs and corporate employees.

What does the R2,000 scholarship mean?

The 5 months course fee for the program is R7,000.

The Peter Mamabolo Scholarship Fund will cover R2,000.00 to entrepreneurs and they will cover the balance of R5,000.

Payment arrangements may be made to pay R5,000 over 4 months, however registration of R1,000.00 is payable on registration on 18 January 2019]

To apply:

Send an email requesting application forms to: roche@loracentre.com

Closing date: Monday, 18 January 2019. 

Successful applicants will be notified within 2 days of submitting their applications.

Classes resume on  Saturday, 26 January 2019.

Only 10 scholarships are available, you are highly encouraged to apply early in the recruiting process.

Very important note

We give priority to early applicants who know they want to do the program and take the leap.

If you are eager to secure a spot in an upcoming session, the benefit for applying the first priority round is that:

(a) we give priority to applicants who apply early; and

(b) you get to find out your admissions decision within one week, earlier than everyone else.

We may fill up the 10 scholarship spots before the closing date. Apply early.

Again, the sooner you apply, the sooner we can review your application and see how it fits into our overall class.

What does LORA stand for?

Besides standing for a dream [lora]

It might stand for alternative method for becoming amazing…

But what we truly stand for is the posture of taking responsibility for creating work that matters.

We stand for speaking up, speaking out and listening, too.

We stand for embracing an informal process for growth instead of needing an authorized, accredited piece of paper to prove that you’ve somehow absorbed a bunch of data.

We stand for you, in the future, making a difference.

See you in class.

 

Teaching bravery

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What does it take to motivate a student to put their best self forward?

I believe teaching them bravery is the first step.

Without bravery you are not going to challenge the status, or be creative and innovation.

At LORA Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship we challenge our entrepreneurs to be brave, to question the why that informs why’s, to say “here, I made this, what do you think?”

Some people see a struggling person and turn away. Others see a human being and work to open a door or lend a hand.

There are possiblities all around us. Not just the clicks of recycling a tired cliche, but the opportunity to be brave. If we only had the guts.

In our best possible future together, I hope we will do a better job of learning to see one another and be brave enough to do work that matters.

At LORA we teach bravery.

Apply for 2018 programme and be challenged, grow, be innovative and entrepreneurial.

When you are scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.

Be brave

The new definition of being smart

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Imagine you were living during the days of Thomas Edison.

He invents the light bulb, then electrical currents are installed in streets, then into businesses, then homes. Now you can have light in your home.

Can you imagine walking into a house that had electricity for the very first time?

The hum and the whir of the transistors. The crackle of the lighting flying through the wires to ignite an incandescent light bulb.

It would have been exhilarating. And you would have been scared to death.

Apply this same thought process to what’s happening with computer [machine] learning today. It is commonly known as AI [artificial intelligence.]

Robots, computers, machines will be taking all of the routine, autonomous jobs and more in the coming era. In fact they have already started. The 4th Industrial Revolution is here.

If you have seen the movie I, Robot, then you will have a good idea of what this may look like.

Being smart will no longer mean what it means today.

Being smart will not be memorising facts and being able to sort through knowledge and data faster than your classmates.

A computer will obliterate any patterns or algorithms your mind could process.

But, AI cannot do the intangibles, emotional intelligence. [Have had interesting dialogues with my leader Rre Mokgoro, and I suspect he might hold a different view :)]

Ed Hess wrote in Harvard Business Review:

“The new smart will be about trying to overcome the two big inhibitors of critical thinking and team collaboration: our ego and our fears. Doing so will make it easier to perceive reality as it is, rather than as we wish it to be. In short, we will embrace humility. That is how we humans will add value in a world of smart technology.”

Humility is challenging because it is not something you can just assume or put on. That’s called false humility, when you give the appearance of being humble, but for an underlying motive.

True humility comes from who you are, what you believe, and what your purpose is in life.

There is a popular proverb that says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Is it not ironic that all these years later and the AI revolution is showcasing the value of humility.

We write about this a lot, but it is valuable to ask yourself regularly:

Who are you and who are you becoming?

Smart does not mean what it used to.

(photo via Loving AI)

Dodge vs Ford: What is the Purpose of Business?

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Recently I gave a talk about how Henry Ford used disruptive innovation to democratized and made accessible to millions of people what used to be an elite product for an elite few.

Before Henry Ford’s Model T, cars were toys for the rich.

They were only accessible to the rich, kings and queens. Henry Ford revolutionized the ownership of cars by millions of people who could not access or afford them before.

My talk was but one side of the equation. Here is another equation, more interesting angle.

By 1916, the Ford Motor Company had accumulated a cash surplus of $60 million (the modern day equivalent of $1.35 billion).

The price of the Model T, Ford’s signature product, had been cut over the years, yet the wages of the employees had increased dramatically, and these generous investments had been publicized.

Two brothers, John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge, owned 10% of Ford’s company.

They had been the manufacturers of the main chassis for the Model T for a dozen years.

Henry Ford to clash the prize of Model T so that it was affordable and accessible to thousands of people who couldn’t afford them.

But more than that, he took one of the most controversial decisions at the time.

In 1914, Henry Ford made a big announcement that shocked the country. It caused the financial editor at The New York Times to stagger into the newsroom and ask his staff in a stunned whisper, “He’s crazy, isn’t he? Don’t you think he’s crazy?”

That morning, Ford would begin paying his employees $5.00 a day, over twice the average wage for automakers in 1914.

In addition, he was reducing the work day from 9 hours to 8 hours, a significant drop from the 60-hour work week that was the standard in American manufacturing.

Henry Ford understood that paying his employees would do two things:

  • It will encourage worker to remain in their jobs and continue to do monotonous work that the assembly line required. You see, when the industrial revolution started, people left their jobs within two months because they couldn’t mean doing the same thing over and over again. It was boring, dispiriting and inhuman to work in a factory. A $5 wage per day was a good incentive to keep them working.
  • Lowering prices of the car made is affordable and accessible to normal customers.
  • A $5 wage per day meant that they can afford to buy the very same cars they are producing. This is good for Ford because it increases his sales revenue.

The Dodge brothers saw this and they were not happy.

They decided to challenge Ford’s idea of investing these surplus funds into the infrastructure of the company and giving raises to the employees.

They argued, it is a business, not a charity.

“The Michigan Supreme Court held that Henry Ford could not lower consumer prices and raise employee salaries.”

The court ruled that the primary focus of a for-profit business is to profit the shareholders first. However, this has been extrapolated as a case that is the rule for profit maximisation and wealth creation. Rather than a single case that was ruled on over 100 years..

This true story is where we get the idea that business profits are for the shareholders first, not the partners, not the customers, not the employees, not the community. But solely for the shareholders.

“The myth that profit maximization is the sole purpose of business has done enormous damage to the reputation of capitalism and the legitimacy of business in society,” wrote John Mackey, founder and president of Whole Foods Market.

“We need to recapture the narrative and restore it to its true essence: that the purpose of business is to improve our lives and to create value for stakeholders.”

The end of the story is interesting.

Ford threatened to start a rival competitor to be able to obtain complete ownership. But ended up, the Dodge brothers used their $1.9 million [$42.5 million today] earnings from the settlement to continue to fund their own booming business, Dodge Brothers Company.

This case is only one. Contrary to myth, it is not the rule.

Boards, committees, executives, and managers have to make decisions that favor the stakeholders, but that does not mean their decisions have to slight employees and communities in return.

There can be a double-bottom line more often than not.

There can be many roles of great business. What is yours?

  • Create value for stakeholders.
  • Create meaningful employment for thousands.
  • Provide healthy and high-quality food for customers.
  • Serve communities.
  • Make lots of money for yourself.
  • Solve local problems.
  • Change the world.

Be very selective when you choose partners.

Know your roles.

Recruit the right partners.

And go change your part of the world.

Henry Ford made “taking a Sunday afternoon drive” or “taking a road trip” possible for common people.

Enjoy your ride.

Doers: Kamau Gachigi

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Often we are told that many successful startups started from humble beginnings by starting a in a garage such Apple, Microsoft, Google.

In Africa, where having a house with a garage is a luxury.

In Nairobi, a garage is something most entrepreneurs don’t have.

Meet Dr Kamau Gachigi. He has spent a number of his years in Engineering working towards, not only having more engineers through lecturing, but also having engineers who make stuff.

He is the founder of Gearbox, a non-profit organization that provides members with access to modern machines for prototying and low volume manufacture.

Gearbox also does training and incubation and acceleration services in order to broaden access to manufacturing in Kenya.

I met Dr Gachigi recently at a TED conference. He was doing his talk there. Such an amazingly unassuming remarkably humble man.

Despite all his achievements, successes and after giving a great talk, what made an impression on me was his humility.

It is important to practice humility.

Good behavior flows naturally from humility.

Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too.

When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.

You can be humble only if you feel good about yourself.

Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved, worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.

 

Doers: Gossy Ukanwoke

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Access to quality education in Africa is expensive.

The FeesMustFall movement is an example of the frustration students have about high university fees.

Meet Gossy Ukanwoke from Nigeria.

Gossy runs Beni American University, Nigeria’s first online university.

BAU provides cost effective high quality online courses to thousands of student by connecting Technology and Education.

In Nigeria, nearly 2 million students try to gain admission into about half a million spots available about 141 accredited universities.

Due to the lack of space and affordable quality education, offering online courses will unlock and give access to thousands of students who cannot afford or access university education.

Since 2014, BAU has graduated over 8000 graduates, currently has 2000 students enrolled and it boasts a 70% completion rate.

The thing with doers is that they do, even if they risk failing, they just do.

Most of the things that we do have two possible outcomes. They might work or they might not. Being able to live with the possibility of either is essential if we are going to move forward.

Make something great. Not because it’s your job. Not because it will sell. Merely because you can. Rossy did.

An alternative to believing in yourself

Forget-all-the-reasons-why-it-won_t-work-and-believe-the-one-reason-why-it-will.

Of course, self-belief is more than just common advice. It is at the heart of selling, of creating, of presenting, of leadership, of delivering…

Telling someone, “believe in yourself,” is often worthless, though, because it is easier said than done.

Perhaps the alternative is: “Do work you can believe in.”

Not trust, verification. Not believing that one day you will do worthwhile work. Instead, do worthwhile work, look at it, then believe that you can do it again.

Step by step, small to large, easy to difficult.

Do work you can believe in.

Most popular

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Popular is not the same as important.

Popular is not the same as profound.

Popular is not even the same as useful.

Popularity does not mean ‘best’. It merely means popular.

Thank you in a thankless world

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Less then 10 percent of people write thank you cards.

If you don’t believe me, think of how many people have written you a thank you card.

Is it more than 10 percent of the people you know?

How many have you written?

I recently received a small handwritten note of well-done and thank you. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive but something very compassionate and memorable.

“Thank you” is a common phrase, it can even have an impact when used in a futile verbal state, but can often lose its genuine strands of fiber.

“Thank you for making me tea, thank you for washing my car, thank you for upgrading me to business class, thank you for giving me half a million rands for my startup.”

All worthy of some form of thanks.

A thank you “note” however, bleeds your feelings onto paper and transforms your gratitude into a physical script of substance which can be cherished and appreciated for years beyond it is creation.

A good thank you is an art, not a phrase.

Write a small note, a thank you note. Make it personal, make it real. Make it count.

Desks and mailboxes are filled with bills, receipts, court orders, hate mail and spam.

The world could use a little more gratitude, a few more “letters worth framing.”

Give a “thank you” that pops, sets you apart, and affirms the people who give of themselves in your life.

If only 10 percent of people write thank you notes, and you are one of them, the chances of differentiating yourself are high, especially when it is written with style and from the heart.

Thank you for reading. I wish you an awesome day and wonderful week. Continue doing work that matters. You matter.

Solve the pain…

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Opportunity is where problems are.

Sometimes there are many problems. Don’t try solve them all.

Pick the problem that is causing the most pain, solve it.

People will pay for pain to go away.

Don’t pain attention to any other problems until you have solved the most painful one.

[Photo via undp]

All great entrepreneurs have this

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What makes an entrepreneur successful?

Some people believe it is the ability to innovate.

However, many startups are refinements of existing business models or improvements on how everyday products and services are delivered.

How about access to capital?

[But] there are plenty of successful startups that survived on the thinnest of shoestrings for their first few years.

Management skill?

No ways. Entrepreneurs are famously short-tempered and few have the patience to coach employees.

There is one thing and one thing alone that every great entrepreneur absolutely must possess: courage.

It takes courage to forego the predictability and security of a corporate job.

It takes courage to let go of your comfortable monthly salary into something that you don’t know sure will work out as expected.

It takes courage to sacrifice your nest egg to your startup.

It takes courage to take the risk of failure.

It takes courage to venture into the unknown when everyone thinks you are insane.

It takes courage to start over again after you have been bankrupt and lost everything.

And it takes courage, lots of it, to hand over the reins when your startup grows beyond your ability to manage it.

[photo via undp]