StartUp Tip #56: It’s okay to hold on, to hold on tight


Samson can no longer count on himself.

His eyes are gone, his body is bruised, his strength is abated, his confidence is wrecked, his mind is perplexed, his heart is broken, his peace is destroyed.

There are no friends with him grinding at the mill, because people only love you when you are going up.

When you are on your way down, even those who said I will never leave you, watch how they run.

When the going gets tough, business is slow, and your support structure has collapsed and it’s easy to throw in the towel than to hold on.

Just hold on, hold on tight and don’t let go.

As former President Mbeki said during his farewell speech:

“Gloom and despondency have never defeated adversity. Trying times need courage and resilience. Our strength as a people is not tested during the best of times. As we said before, we should never become despondent because the weather is bad nor should we turn triumphalist because the sun shines.”

Using the analogy of a comrade runner, he futher-more said:

“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.”

For as long as you breathe, hold on.

What’s broken, can be mended.

What hurts can be healed.

No matter what, as the darkest days of grief, and suffering starts to get less, even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise again for you. 

Joy comes in the morning.

In the meantime, hold on and hold on tight.


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StartUp Tip #55: It’s okay to quit, sometimes


It is okay to quit, sometimes.

In fact, it is okay to quit often.

You should quit if you are on a dead-end path.

You should quit if you are facing a cliff.

You should quit if the project you are working on has a dip that is not worth the reward in the end.

Quitting the projects that do not go anywhere is essential if you want to stake out the right ones.

Quitting the projects you do not have the time or the passion or the resources to be the best in the world at both.


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How To Quit Your Job & Start A Business [One Day Course]

LORA Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Starting a business can be an exciting, soul-fulfilling endeavor providing entrepreneurs the means to center their lives around their dreams, talents and passions. But quitting a steady job to pursue a risky venture can be daunting.

LORA Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship presents a one day course on: How To Quit Your Job & Start A Business

This course will chart a map for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to begin their journey.

What Will I Learn?

  • Determine if entrepreneurship is right for you and how to prepare for your journey;
  • What to do before you leave your job;
  • How to transition from your job to entrepreneurship;
  • Select the right options for funding your business and taking money out;
  • How to manage personal finances as an entrepreneur;
  • How to deal with entrepreneurship challenges;
  • Increase your odds for success by understanding, managing and mitigating the risks involved;
  • Develop a 10 steps action plan for quitting your job and starting a business.


The cost of this programme is R1, 500.00.


1 day [Saturday, 16 September 2017]


09:00 – 17:00

The fee covers the following

  • Access to lectures
  • Refreshments
  • Course notes and textbook


To apply send an email to:

Lecture Venue:

3 Tybalt Place, Waterfall Office Park, Bekker Road, Vorna Valley, Midrand.

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StartUp Tip #54: Obsess about your customers…


… not your competitors.

You can be customer-focused or competitor-focused or internal-focused.

Often entrepreneurs are inward looking, they obsess about themselves, how they look, their brands, and cosmetics.

Spending more time obsessing about yourself means less time listening to others.

If you don’t love your customers enough to try and keep them, your competitor will be more than happy to do that for you.

Your customers will be able to tell you more than your competitors ever will.

Spend time talking to your customers, discussing how to help them better reach their goals.

Know your customers, as intimately as possible. In fact, obsess over them.

Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself and your customers:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What drives their behavior?
  • What are they doing?
  • What are they saying?
  • What are they already telling me?
  • What else can they tell me?
  • Most importantly what are they doing?

You have to stay transparent and committed to understanding what makes them tick [and ticked-off].

It does not have to take a lot of money or a large staff, genuine interest and investment will always come through no matter how small the gesture.

Treat your customers like they own you, because they do.

Determine what your customers need, and work backwards.

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Care for your customers, they will care for you.



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StartUp Tip #53: Show me, don’t tell me


At first, it seems as though the things you declare, espouse and promise matter a lot.

And they do. For a while.

But in the end, we will judge you on what you do.

When the gap between what you say and what you do gets big enough, people stop listening.

The compromises we make, the clients we take on, the things we do when we think no one is watching… this is how people measure us.

It seems as though the amount of time it takes for the gap to catch up with marketers/leaders/humans is getting shorter and shorter.

What people do says a lot more than what they say. 

Watch more their actions, than their words.

Show your customers, what you can do for them, don’t tell them.

It’s not about saying the right things, it’s about doing the right things.

Are you a talker or a doer?

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StartUp Tip #52: Two kinds of friends


No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life.

The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you.

Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement.

You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him.

The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong, when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call.


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StartUp Tip #51: Do the hard things


The entrepreneurship journey is not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Value lies in the fact that it is not easy and not everyone is doing it.

Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.”

The hard thing is not having an amazing idea. The hard thing is making that idea happen.

The hard thing is not looking for fancy offices and cosmetics. The hard thing is making rent money at the a slow month.

The hard thing is not going on a strategic session and conceptualise amazing plans, the hard thing is implementing those plans, consistently, slowly, drip by drip.

The hard thing is not writing up a fancy proposal. The hard thing is taking the pain of rejection and picking yourself up and move on.

The hard thing is not setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal.

The hard thing is not hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things.

The hard thing is not setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed.

The hard thing is not dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.

As Denzel Washington has said “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.”

“If it were easy, there wouldn’t be successful people.

Success comes from breakthroughs in doing the hard things.

How many easy things do you do in a day versus the hard things?

If you do the easy things, you are not progressing much.

Doing the hard things is when you dig deep and do the hard part of:

  • Calling a client who has not paid you in a long time and having the difficult conversation;
  • Motivating your staff just after losing a big proposal;
  • Having the courage to keep on keeping on even when it is easy to throw in the towel;
  • Walking away from temptation that will compromise you morally, even if no one will find out;
  • Doing the emotional work of looking at your staff in the eyes and telling them that you won’t be able to pay their salary this month because business is slow.

Competition is in doing the hard parts, not the easy part. The easy part can easily be outsourced.

If you can’t take pain, maybe entrepreneurship is not for you.

What is the hard thing in your business or at work? Spend more time doing it.

Specialise in doing the hard, difficult things.

Keep moving, Keep growing, Keep learning.

See you at work.


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StartUp Tip #50: What if Gutenberg didn’t invent the printing press?


When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, 93% of people could not read.

He created the printing press when only 7% of people knew how to read.

“Not a good time to invent the book!” would be typical response.

Gutenberg should’ve waited until Exclusive Books was up and running to launch the book!” would be another typical response.

Gutenberg could have easily said, people can’t read and therefore there is no need to invent a printing press to unleash the mass production of books.

David Kau could have easily said comedy is not something that appeals to South Africans, so there is no need to do comedy.

Today, books make it easy to learn to read, write, share ideas, storytelling and creating cultures.

Each of the Blacks Only Comedy shows are sold-out events each year.

Creating an industry means seeing things that the masses don’t see.

Are you creating an industry or are you following?

Are you fitting in or standing out?

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StartUp Tip #49: What are you competing on?


It is easy to work out what you are competing forattention, a new gig, a promotion, a sale…

But what is your focus?

What is your edge?

In a hyper-competitive world, whatever you are competing on is going to become your focus.

If you are competing on being the cheapest, you will spend most of your time counting cents.

If you are competing on noise, you will spend most of your time yelling, posting, tweeting, instagramming, updating, publishing and announcing.

If you are competing on trust, you will spend most of your time keeping the promises that make you trustworthy.

If you are competing on smarts, you will spend most of your time getting smarter.

If you are competing on who you know, you will spend most of the time networking.

If you are competing by having true fans, you will spend most of your time earning the trust and attention of those that care about your work.

If you are competing on credentials, you will spend most of your time getting more accredited and certified.

If you are competing by hustling, you will spend most of your time looking for shortcuts and cutting corners.

If you are competing on getting picked, you will spend most of your day auditioning and attending interviews.

If you are competing on being innovative, you will spend your time being curious, asking questions, initiating, testing, failing and doing things that might not work.

If you are competing on generosity and mattering, you will look for ever more ways to be generous with your time, your insights and your work.

In any competitive market, be prepared to invest your heart and soul and focus on the thing you compete on.

Might as well choose something you can live with, a practice that allows you to thrive.

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StartUp Tip #48: The paralysis of too many opportunities


One of the characteristics of a startup is that it tends to do anything and everything that brings in money.

There more opportunities you see and want to explore, you are likely to end up spreading yourself too thin.

Spreading yourself too thin results in you doing too many things in a mediocre way, instead of doing few things and doing deeper.

In today’s connected world, opportunities are mushrooming everywhere.

There are not just a few options open to you, there are thousands (or more).

As a customer, you can spend your money in more ways than ever, live in more places while still working electronically, contact different people, launch different initiatives, hire different freelancers…

You can post your ideas in dozens of ways on various platform, interact with millions of people, launch any sort of product or service without a permit or factory.

Too many choices.

If it is thrilling to imagine the wide open spaces, go for it.

If it is slowing you down and keeping you up at night, consider artificially limiting your choices.

Don’t get on planes. Don’t do spec work. Don’t work for intelligent jerks.

Work on paper, not on film.

Work on film, not on video.

Don’t work weekends.

Whatever rule you want…

But no matter what, don’t do nothing.


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