StartUp Tip #61: Don’t drink your own kool-aid

Startups, entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity are hot again. I have friends and family members asking what is the next wave, where is the money, if they can “get in on some deals.” Every town is launching an incubator (or 3) and the papers are filled with stories of fund raisings, product launches & new innovations. If…

StartUp Tip #58: Scars don’t make us failures

Maanda Tshifularo said something very profound at the recent Takalani Foundation Fundraising Galla Dinner organized by Rendani Mamphiswana and his team. I paraphrase what he said: "Don't take failure personally, and also don't take success personally. When you take success personally, you become arrogant and when you take failure personally, you become depressed. Instead look…

StartUp Tip #57: Understanding poverty

Starting your business is doing work that matters. Doing work that matters entails going beyond the call of duty to empowering and uplifting people. Doing work that matters entails understanding poverty. Poverty is not just real life but without money. Not if you define “real life” as the life you live right now. The non-poverty life…

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…

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,…

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…