Five kick-start factors for Entrepreneurs

In today’s world of ever-changing technology, I committed myself to the goal of writing at least one blog a month where I could comment on content and topics that would inspire my audience and give some insight into my journey as CEO and Founder of ITArmi. I aim to provide inspiration, belief, understanding and motivation to fellow, current and future leaders. Lately, I have failed this goal as truth be told my desktop is littered with half-completed articles that have not materialised into their true potential. Like my unfinished articles, many ideas never make it to final print, and now I want to inspire you to make your half-finished ideas become a reality by sharing my advice on how I came to be where I stand today.

I have made plenty monumental mistakes in my first year of leading this company, from which I have learned, persevered and overcome. I have been to the ends of the earth and back trying new ideas, climbing out of craters that have opened up before me, and combatted obstacles I could have never have imagined experiencing. We have survived our first year and are starting to tick off some milestones, but we are only just beginning. In my journey, I have found five valuable pieces of advice I would like to share as the key in my success.

1: Build yourself on a foundation of your core morals and values.

One Saturday I tuned into the Springboks vs All Blacks rugby game, a game of rugby that potentially had all the hallmarks of a classic, and oh boy, did it deliver! The Springboks were playing like a team possessed. They were annihilating the All Blacks — dominating collisions, utilising control and possession and presiding over their territory. With four minutes left on the clock, the Springboks were twelve points up and the All Blacks seemed destroyed. But herein comes the rub, and a small piece of advice: never count out the best sporting team in the history of team sport until the clock strikes zero. The All Blacks pushed back at the 11th hour and won, and as a true South African, I was disappointed. How did my beloved ‘Boks’ lose?

To try and understand this defeat, I remembered a message I drew from the book, “Legacy”, by Alan Judd. What is amazing about supreme athletes is the code of conduct that they live by, and the attributes that they exercise, in- and outside the arena, making them great. It is a unique blend of personal respect, sacrifice, humility, and a deep belief that they are the lucky few chosen to wear the All Blacks Rugby jersey. They have built a culture on the foundation of a solid value system that they can replicate with ease for the next generation. The goal for the All Blacks is not simply to stay the number one team in the world and to win as many victories as possible, but they are also obsessed with personal improvement and constantly focused on improving their percentages, and each team member makes this commitment and owns their outcome.

2: Trust yourself.

As a major part of your drive to be successful, you have to explore what has made individuals, companies, sports teams and other inspirational figures, great. Attributes such as motivation, process, discipline and inspiration are fundamental, and in the same way that you would work to build a body muscle, the more you work at these fundamentals, the stronger they will become. Ultimately, you will be learning from those that have achieved and those that understand what it takes to become successful. Without a doubt, there are certain aspects that you must emulate as a person to become a successful leader in business. These traits are different for every person, company and career path, but what you have to remember is that as a leader of your business, you have to go with your gut and trust your instinct.

3: ‘Each to their own’.

Everyone is their own person. People respond to information differently. There are various triggers and situations that might resonate or kick-start what might be life-defining for you. You, as an individual, must try and find exactly what it is that can kick-start your life and then immediately start doing whatever it takes to get it done. I gravitate towards the Springboks

due to my upbringing, but I admire what the All Blacks achieved on that day, and every match they play, and what they have done to make their goals achievable.

4: Inspiration can come from anyone, so grab it.

I fundamentally believe that everyone needs help somewhere in life — personal or professional. Individuals need inspiration that will give them the drive to make a change and push them towards the choice that will change their lives forever. Advice only becomes a heavy-weight contender when the person delivering the message has bounced off the ropes, stood toe-to-toe with the best of the best, and has had a chin made of iron. So, pick your champion, pick your hero and learn from what they have gone through to reach their goal/s.

Reading ‘Legacy’ was my life-defining trigger, so in a way I guess Alan Judd is my hero. This book resulted in me re-evaluating myself and deciding what it really means to be a leader. The values of strength, honour and respect are all attributes that I grew up believing, and they have fundamentally formed the foundations of who I am today. I seized my inspiration from a novel, and have transcribed it into my business. That bullet turned my world on its head and started me on this journey of self-evaluation, improvement, humility and ultimately sparked my start-up global enterprise.

5: Build your (IT)Armi.

It is easy to get lost in the world of big businesses and to allow your moral compass to go astray. Even worse, you can start confining yourself to the box that society has placed you in. Although there have been times in my professional career when I felt that my values had dissipated to an extent of self-destruction, I am beginning to understand that to be successful and attract the right people to build a company, you must practice what you preach, as you cannot run a business on your own. If I did not have the support system that I do, the carnage of ITArmi would have been unprecedented.

So, ensure that you find like-minded people who share and support your vision. Bring on people that are smarter than you and who can challenge you. Involve people who push your boundaries and make you explore worlds you would have never previously dreamed about. There is a famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” and I would like to carry that adage into the business world. It takes a village to run a business. No man can stand alone and conquer the world. William Ernest Henley eloquently said, “[You] are the master of [your] fate [and] the captain of [your] soul”, so make sure you have a team that can make your ship sail smoothly while you steer from the captains wheel.

Individually, these five pieces of advice are small, but when you combine them in a wider context, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. I have been building my core values since I was a child, and with these I have been able to trust myself and my instinct in moments when logic escapes me. I have broken away from the mould of society and proven that I am my own person in an ever-changing world. I have grabbed my inspiration from a novel and used it to create a new life for myself. I have utilised my core fundamental values and ‘Legacy’ to have the courage and strength to build my Armi, and if I can do it, so can you.