Cre­at­ing busi­ness suc­cess in an un­fair world

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE - BY SAM HA­ZLE­DINE ed­i­to­rial@finweek.co.za

When I set up my f irst busi­ness, MedRe­cruit, I had no busi­ness or re­cruit­ment ex­pe­ri­ence. I hadn’t stud­ied busi­ness, and I was en­ter­ing a mar­ket where one com­pany had a to­tal mo­nop­oly.

We are a re­cruit­ment com­pany that places doc­tors in hos­pi­tals through­out Australia and New Zealand, but at the start we had nei­ther hos­pi­tals nor doc­tors. Not a great po­si­tion for a re­cruit­ment com­pany.

It was an un­fair f ight and by all ac­counts I should have failed. I would have if I’d played by t he r ules of tra­di­tional busi­ness teach­ing. But be­cause I was smaller, I needed to be smarter: I learnt that my ad­van­tage over the big­ger com­pe­ti­tion lay in be­ing nim­ble; I learnt that I could study and ap­ply knowl­edge faster than any­one else; and I learnt that I could de­velop a suc­cess mind­set that al­most guar­an­teed re­sults – I de­vel­oped the art of the un­fair fight.

THE UN­FAIR FIGHT TURNS PER­CEIVED WEAK­NESSES INTO STRENGTHS.

Over a si x-year pe­riod I grew my com­pany to be t he mar­ket leader. We fea­tured in the Deloitte Fast 50 for four con­sec­u­tive years, and in 2012 I be­came the Ernst & Young Young En­tre­pre­neur of t he Year. Peo­ple con­stantly ask me if I’m sur­prised at my level of suc­cess and my an­swer is al­ways no, be­cause I know that the art of the un­fair f ight means I have a mas­sive ad­van­tage.

Great en­trepreneurs know they are on an un­fair play­ing field, so they fo­cus on to­day and have a road map for to­mor­row. They an­swer the ques­tion ‘How can I meet a need right now?’ while keep­ing in

mind what the in­dus­try is go­ing to look like 10 years from now, and pre­par­ing for that change.

Many busi­ness own­ers think busi­ness suc­cess is com­pli­cated; it is not, but it is also not easy. Busi­ness suc­cess takes a com­mit­ment to re­lent­lessly fo­cus on what mat­ters, and that’s ex­actly what this book is about. It shows you ex­actly what you need to fo­cus on so that the deck is stacked in your favour.

BUSI­NESS SUC­CESS LIES AT THE IN­TER­SEC­TION OF MIND­SET AND AC­TION

This busi­ness book is dif­fer­ent from most busi­ness books.

Al­most all busi­ness books fo­cus 100% on what to do to be suc­cess­ful in busi­ness. Very few busi­ness books fo­cus on how to think to be suc­cess­ful in busi­ness. Al­most no busi­ness books cover both.

The Pareto Prin­ci­ple states that for many events, roughly 80% of the ef­fects come from 20% of the causes. It is a com­mon rule of thumb in busi­ness, but it fo­cuses solely on what you do to get the re­sults.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, the 80: 20 rule of busi­ness suc­cess is that only 20% of your suc­cess comes from what you do, and a mas­sive 80% of your suc­cess comes f rom how you t hink – your per­sonal psy­chol­ogy.

To be ex t remely s uc­cessf ul i n busi­ness, you need both parts work­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well to­gether; you need a pow­er­ful per­sonal psy­chol­ogy com­bined with tak­ing the right ac­tions.

Win­ning the Un­fair Fight is unique in that it fo­cuses on both im­por­tant fac­tors to cre­ate busi­ness suc­cess.

If you are some­one who prefers one to the other, ac­tions or mind­set, then you are read­ing the right book, be­cause it’s likely that the part you are cur­rently miss­ing is the part you don’t em­brace to the same ex­tent. Lean into it dur­ing this book and lift the lid on what’s pos­si­ble for you and your busi­ness.

Your com­mit­ment to both is crit­i­cal to your suc­cess, be­cause true suc­cess lies at the in­ter­sec­tion.

YOU’RE GO­ING TO HAVE TO DO THE PUSH-UPS

As the late per­sonal devel­op­ment ex­pert Jim Rohn said, “You can’t hire some­one else to do your push-ups for you.” Your suc­cess is your re­spon­si­bil­ity, and if you want to make your busi­ness ex­tremely suc­cess­ful, you’re go­ing to have to do the push-ups. You need to take 100% re­spon­si­bil­ity for your re­sults and give up blame, com­plain­ing, jus­tif ica­tion, de­fen­sive­ness and mak­ing ex­cuses.

In busi­ness there are many mov­ing parts and it can be chal­leng­ing to be ex­tremely suc­cess­ful. I think of busi­ness as be­ing like ski rac­ing: you have to learn how to turn quickly and pow­er­fully but, ev­ery time you race, the course has changed and the gates are in dif­fer­ent places. You may be able to make per­fect turns, but mak­ing the same t urn over and over again will mean you might miss the gates and be dis­qual­i­fied.

With t he rate of change i n t he world, and in busi­ness, hav­ing a threeto f ive-year busi­ness plan locked in is like ski rac­ing, where you ex­pect the gates to stay in the same place ev­ery time – it’s a joke, be­cause the world will have changed by the time you press ‘print’ on your per­fectly for­mat­ted plan. What you need are prin­ci­ples to ap­ply so you can con­tin­u­ally ad­just your turns to con­tin­u­ally adapt to the chang­ing course.

GREAT EN­TREPRENEURS KNOW THEY ARE ON AN UN­FAIR PLAY­ING FIELD, SO THEY FO­CUS ON TO­DAY AND HAVE A ROAD MAP FOR TO­MOR­ROW.

This is an ex­tract f rom Win­ning the Un­fair Fight − How your small busi­ness can take on, and beat, the gi­ants. The

rec­om­mended re­tail price is R200.

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