Busi­ness dreams

Grocott's Mail - - ECONOMIX - RON WEISSENBERG

There are those who seek self-im­prove­ment and those who live it. Odd as it may seem, most highly suc­cess­ful peo­ple don’t make spe­cial New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. It may stem from some Eastern be­lief sys­tems which sug­gest what you con­cen­trate on is what you ex­pe­ri­ence. Could that be the key? If you con­tin­u­ously want to win the Lotto, that’s ex­actly what you will get - a con­tin­u­ous yearn­ing to win the Lotto. If, how­ever, you con­cen­trate on do­ing the best you can at a task, you have to ac­tu­ally do the work in or­der to reach your pur­pose.

It is a sub­tle, yet crit­i­cal dif­fer­ence.

Re­search car­ried out at the Univer­sity of Scran­ton in Penn­syl­va­nia sug­gests that only 8 per­cent of peo­ple achieve their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Are you one of the re­main­ing 92% who suc­ceed at con­firm­ing Scran­ton’s find­ings, or are you in the 8% mi­nor­ity who fail to be un­suc­cess­ful? Do we need self­help books or the ter­abytes of avail­able self-im­prove­ment in­for­ma­tion from ev­ery pos­si­ble ex­pert?

Just like Napoleon Hill, Walt Dis­ney and many oth­ers, Oprah Win­frey, one of the world’s best known self­im­prove­ment megas­tars pro­moted the con­cept of “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Ev­ery week, TV au­di­ences in their mil­lions wit­nessed the Queen-of-Dream weave her magic.

If you were for­tu­nate to be an au­di­ence par­tic­i­pant, you left with some­thing - some­times even a paid-off house. But that was luck, not achieve­ment.

As a con­cept, “If you can dream it, you can do it” is non­sense and even hor­ri­bly mis­lead­ing. Who ex­actly be­came the bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropists – the au­di­ence of a bil­lion dream­ers, or Messrs. Win­frey, Dis­ney and Hill?

Did they dream a bil­lion dol­lars into ex­is­tence, or did they do the hard work of sell­ing peo­ple the dream of bil­lions?

So in ad­di­tion to imag­in­ing and dream­ing about per­sonal goals, what about gift­ing your newly awak­ened busi­ness with A New Year’s present and some task-ori­en­tated com­mit­ments? A lit­tle like a ‘from dad, to dad’ gift for your en­ter­prise with an en­tire year (or more) to do it rather than to dream it?

Shortly af­ter the 1994 tran­si­tion to ma­jor­ity rule, busi­nesses could con­sider longterm goals, an­tic­i­pat­ing a fu­ture for the Na­tion with the prover­bial pot of gold at the end of a Rain­bow.

Un­for­tu­nately, South Africa’s cur­rent topsy-turvy in­dus­trial poli­cies and un­cer­tain reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment makes most tra­di­tional strat­egy plans for busi­nesses fall flat. Many en­ter­prises would do well to sim­ply plan for the year ahead (I hope some of our elected pol­icy-mak­ers are read­ing this).

So in a cel­e­bra­tory spirit, here are three sug­gested time­less gifts from you to your en­ter­prise: First – to seek wis­dom. Sec­ond, keep it sim­ple. Third, main­tain a learn­ing spirit. In the 1840s, Bri­tish pub­lisher T. Pet­tit, said, “There are but two things re­quired to en­able you to learn to profit or learn prof­itably… first, a heart to re­ceive in­struc­tion, and sec­ond, a great teacher for your in­struc­tion.”

To con­clude, I’d like to share my three busi­ness res­o­lu­tions for 2017:

First, dur­ing pro­duc­tive hours busi­ness comes first. Look af­ter your busi­ness and re­strict your char­i­ta­ble en­deav­ours to your own avail­able re­sources.

Sec­ond, wher­ever pos­si­ble avoid do­ing busi­ness with the govern­ment.

Third, never do busi­ness or part­ner with some­one who re­lies on po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions and in­flu­ence to make a liv­ing.

All three of the above have some­thing in com­mon: they do not spend an un­earned wealth or re­source. Nor do they rely on re­sources begged, bor­rowed or stolen from some­one else and they are easy to im­ple­ment and main­tain.

Of in­ter­est is that these res­o­lu­tions were orig­i­nally made some years be­fore the cur­rent regime was voted into power.

Party pol­i­tics are tem­po­rary, prin­ci­ples are not. I re­peat them ev­ery year be­cause I find them a great antidote to stress and un­met ex­pec­ta­tions. They can also serve to pre­vent bank­ruptcy or even a jail term.

As for per­sonal New Year’s res­o­lu­tions, think of dis­card­ing them to­day and sub­sti­tut­ing for some age­less guid­ance in­stead: If it is im­por­tant enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an ex­cuse.

* Ron Weissenberg is a Gra­ham­stown res­i­dent who started his first (un­suc­cess­ful) busi­ness at the age of 7. Ron sits on the Boards of var­i­ous com­pa­nies and is a recog­nised or­a­tor on en­trepreneur­ship, eco­nomics, com­mer­cial law

and gov­er­nance.

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