The Book of Brands

Ideas And Perspectives You Won't Find Anywhere Else. Presented by Nelson Moropana

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Lessons I Learnt When I Ventured Full Time Into Business | The Brand Studio

There’s plenty of us entrepreneurs out there with little to no information as to how we should approach the business landscape, especially at your youth or early stages. There is so much we don’t know just as there is so much to know. Top this with having a family that has no business interests, dash it with friends who understands no value in business, you are set for an epic drill of a lifetime.

Welcome to my world.

After all my experiences, the struggle and everything, I do feel entitled to share a few of what I know from the whereabouts’ of the journey I had but it can only get as far as to how you take what I share as a fellow entrepreneur. The rest is truly up to you — you owe it to yourself to own to the self, the odds of running a business in this world. The world is your oyster.

What I’m really saying is, when you get a punch in the face, suck it up get back on your feet because let’s be honest, there is no value, leisure and nobility in giving up when the tough gets going.

In this publication I’d like to address what I call the 3 fundamental and perhaps the most critical things when venturing into the business fraternity. To start off, I’ll do a brief introduction on where I have been, which by the way is where I noticed how critical these 3 things are. So I am not making anything up.

Those 3 things are:

1. A structured support system (Family and Friends)

2. A proper board of guidance (Mentorship and Training)

3. A rock solid business foundation

First thing first off, I wasn’t born an entrepreneur or raised in a business family or anything like that, No! I am just an average guy, perhaps with a high level of curiosity, ambition and an overall liker of things who doesn’t I really want to get left behind, be it in almost anything. Secondly I’m not perfect, or bad at what I do, I do share what I know.

My business or my story since I did not know it was a business then pretty started when I was 12 after I got 35mm Kodak camera as a gift just after I entered high school. The mandate was pretty simple, to document my family and create photographic memories, during events, family gatherings, birthdays and all things. This was until the neighbours started taking interest in the photographic memories (Photo Albums), and they too also happened to want the very same thing and boom, I had a client list. Basically by the time I turned 13, I was in business — graduations, kids, school and all. This was cool, I was just making money, and it was that simple. Time passed, and I grew up, pubic hair and adolescent kicked in and careers had to be chosen and I went into film and TV.

Fast forward that to my 3rd year of Film and TV, I founded and served as chair of UJ Campus Media, as now called, which was originally Campus Film Makers, a student film society that extended the film and TV interests further to Accounting & engineering students. UJ Campus Film Makers was a major success at own rights, and still running to this day.

Fast forward again, having worked on a number of productions including Mzansi Insider & Strictly Come Dancing, I co-founded yet another company, Motion In Time (MIT), the company’s set up was well sort after, having been supported and ran through Shanduka Black Umbrella, a business incubator. MIT was cool until business partnerships started getting sour. I ended up leaving MIT and cofounded yet another company DT & Co., which was more into the construction sector, powered by my Uncle’s major construction business. DT & Co was money machine and exposed me to what I call operating at optimum level that led to a turn over close to half a million in the first 6 months. Later on, I left it all to The Brand Studio which I currently run, on my own.

The moral of the story here, besides my credible insight knowledge in business, is that most fundamental factors that played to the failure and success of these businesses are what I have summarised below.

Let’s get to it:

  1. A structured support system (family and friends)

When we talk about a structured support system we’re talking about your closest people. Unfortunately as is it, we can’t choose family or friends (well sometimes). This of this is because even though you can run at optimum level, as a social being you also need to a bit of support, and would probably want to confide in someone because we are social beings like that. Now — trust me the last thing you need as a business owner is an influx of negative and unsupportive energy from family members and friends.
They will damage your business intelligence and bury your ambition six feet down.

The reason behind this is probably because first off, they have not run a business — or even a spaza shop and because of this they won’t be in possession of credible things to say let alone some compassion, which by the way, is what you need. The same goes with your friends, and extended friends (Boyfriends and Girlfriends). Listen to their words, watch their actions and you will know who belongs.

If your girlfriend/boyfriend does not support you, your mission or always negative, she needs to go or simply find ways to convince her otherwise, the same is with friends and certain family members, they need to fly, unless your venture truly sucks — then you need to change.

2) A proper board of guidance (Mentorship and Training)

Mentorship is also critical. I personally don’t like the word mentorship I think it has been overused and is now worn out. A mentor is your guide, a helper. This a leader to a business person as it is the same with a soccer team having a coach. This is an exercise to a body as it is with a book to your mind. You exercise you stay in fit. You read a book you stay smart. And the fitter and the smarter you are the better because the last thing you need is losing your touch. You can’t afford to become irrelevant, as we’ll forget you and your business’s existence.

Mentorship comes in many ways. It could be your aunt, your lecture etc. I personally prefer books — all the time. They seem to work well for an individual whose interest are in research and development. Others prefer one on one coaching, and it’s all good. A proper board of guidance will educate you on how to best conduct yourself and optimise your business in the most effective way possible.

3) A rock solid business foundation

A business foundation here in refers to an essence of your business. This is the foundation, a basic premise of your business — the why was your biz ‘founded’ in the bloody first place. A super business idea that lacks substance is likely to fail than a basic simple business concepts. Usually the substance of what a business is found in the problem it tries to solve. Yes, cliché, I know — wait till you get there. I failed this test many times. A business needs to be dedicated to its cause in every respect of its founding proposition as articulated in your, values, mission statements and strategic marketing objectives.

To explain what I mean here, think of journalists. Journos don’t really value writing. Though writing is what they do. Their substance as professionals is in digging up stories. That’s what fuels their writing. If you can’t dig, you can’t be a journalist, even though you can write. In business the logic is the same. Solve your client’s problem, end of the story. Can your business solve an issue at hand no matter how skilled you are? Can you actually meet your client’s expected return on investment and can you actually boast about it?

A lot of us go all about in trying so much and we miss the point of it all, the foundation — solving a problem. Then we struggle with clients — and then we wonder why and then ask; what happened?

We never got the basics right. That’s what happened.

Ignoring the tiny little details that contribute heavily to success can cost you big time. I was always told that in order for you to succeed you need to ensure that you don’t fail, but how do you ensure that you don’t fail?

let’s get the most basic things right.

In any case you will fail here and there, you will still lose money and make more, assets and a couple of friends will fly off your shelves and if that was not enough, you will also upset family members.

“May the odds always be against you. May you work intelligently and vigorously to find the calling and journey you’re meant to take.” The Mission

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