Business

Surprising truth about what motivates us

This is a short but very insightful video on what drives and motivates people. Guess what, mostly NOT money. The animation is amazing. This video is by Daniel Pink, based on his book: Drive. See for yourself.

 

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Beyond Strategy

Beyond438 exists to translate the passion we have for solving business problems into profits for our clients. We do this in a thoughtful, “been-there-done-that,”  and “as-if-it-is-my-company” kind of way with our company principles guiding all our interactions.

We have a passion for business – for solving difficult business problems.

We have a passion for building world class companies – to grow beyond their current potential.

We have a passion for business leaders – to help them do the right thing in the jungle called the business world.

Our ultimate goal is to Wow! our clients and to take them to places where they’ve not been before. Places, such as, new revenue streams, South Africa and America.

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Best iPhone App ever – Consulting Rate Calculator

OK, I’m bias. I’m so excited about this that I’m giving away 2 $10 iTunes vouchers. See below.I spent most of my professional career calculating margins on consulting rates, including doing conversions between different currencies, calculating hourly, daily and monthly rates. Well, now I have a handy little iPhone App, called Consulting Rate Calculator that can do all this for me and more. Here is a screen shot:

Consulting Rate Calculator

Consulting Rate Calculator

There are 2 versions: A 2-buck version that you can find here, and a and a free or lite version that you can find here. Here is the description from the App Store: Consulting Rate Calculator enables you to quickly and easily calculate your hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rates and profit. The app offers an intuitive and simple interface with the ability to view, edit, save and email your rate sheets. Switch currencies with ease or updating any charge out rate or cost rate cell in the sheet to assist in determining the optimal rate structure for your next project.Key Features:>> Hourly, daily, weekly and monthly values all editable and visible in a single sheet.>> Multiple currencies with selectable base and comparable currencies (Limited currencies available in lite version).>> Exchange rates updated in realtime.>> Save rate sheets for later viewing/editing (Full version only).>> E-mail rate sheets in CSV format (Full version only).>> Configurable hours per day, week and month.Usage Examples:1. A consulting manager can save his/her team’s rates for quick lookup. Quickly lookup a consultant’s rate structure when getting a call at the airport for a specific position.2. The manager of a multinational consulting firm can enter the charge out rate in GBP and the cost rate in USD to review the profit of a US-based consultant working in the UK.The guys at Cobi Interactive in Cape Town, South Africa did an awesome job with these apps. They develop mobile apps for almost any mobile device, including: iPhone, iPad, Android, Nokia, Blackberry, Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc. Post a comment and I’ll put you in touch with them.

Give-away

I have 2 iTunes $10 vouchers to give away. Here’s how it will work. Download the app, write a review on the AppStore and re-post that review in the comments below (including your email address as the contributor) and I will pick 2 random posts** and email you the $10 iTunes voucher.

iTunes giftcard

iTunes $10 giftcard

**Small print: I need at least 20 reviews to make the math work. I’m sure you’ll understand.
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It’s dangerous to walk on the pavement in America!

In a recent post I gave you some business words that have a different meaning in America. Below is a table with some common everyday words with different meanings. You can find many more in this blog: US2UK.

South African termAmerican equivalentExplanation
PetrolGasYou fill up at a gas station.
RobotTraffic lightTurn left at the second traffic light.
RoadPavementIn the US it is dangerous to walk on the pavement (in the road).
PavementSide walkUS equivalent is side walk
CrashCar wreckThe wreck on the 75 caused a traffic jam.
ManualStick shiftStick shift car.
License plateTagYou have to renew your car's tag every year.
BootTrunkI need to get something out of my car's trunk.
ChipsFriesHamburger and fries. Chips are called crisps.
CooldrinkSodaMy also be called pop in some US states.
Do you know of any other words or funny stories?

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Why you shouldn’t brag about your turnover!

Many South African businesspeople make the following common mistakes regarding US business English. I always enjoy seeing the reaction of Americans when a South African brags about their company’s turnover!

South African termAmerican equivalentExplanation
TurnoverRevenue or SalesTurnover in the US refers to employee attrition (not a good thing :-)).
SurnameLast nameFamily name
NameFirst nameIn the US most people have a middle name. So first name to distinguish from middle name.
LoanNoteA note is a loan agreement.
CA or AccountantCPACertified Public Accountant.
Managing Director (MD)CEO or PresidentBetter to refer to yourself as CEO if you are an MD in SA.
DirectorBoard MemberA director is usually a mid-level manager in the US.
Share SchemeShare PlanIn the US a scheme usually refers to something unsavory (even illegal).
RetrenchRIF (reduction in force) or Lay offLay offs are very common in the US as most states are work-at-wil states.
Diary (Schedule)CalendarIn the US a diary is a ladies' journal. You would typically say: "can we put something on the calendar".
PostMailIn the US: "I'll put the check in the mail".
Can you add to this list?

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Pingo – new way to make cheap calls via your iPhone to anywhere in the world

I’ve been using a great new service to make very inexpensive international calls from my iPhone. You can make calls from any phone. I’ve written about this before. Check this out. Pingo.com is the cheapest way to make international. A native iPhone app uses your iPhone contact database — very cool! Pingo EZ Dial also work on Andriod and Blackberry.pingoezdailYou can find all the rates here, e.g. 2cents p/m to call to UK landlines from the US.Do you know of another cheaper way to make international calls from your iPhone?

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When Google Runs your life OR maybe not

A recent Forbes article on Google is a very interesting read. Here is an extract:

Your day begins with a wake-up call from your Google Android phone. As you run to the shower, you hit Google News and check headlines, then Gmail. Your first appointment of the day has been moved to a new location; Google Maps will direct you there. Quickly update your expense report–including the printout of that sales presentation using, say, Google Template–and shoot them to the back office in India (in Hindi, if you prefer, with Google Translate). Your boss wants to discuss your group’s contributions to some marketing documents? Lean on Google Groups. You’re not even out the door yet. You have the rest of the day to search for work-critical information on the Web while you’re at the office–to say nothing of snatching a few moments to download a game, check stock prices, organize your medical records, share photos and pick a restaurant and movie for the evening. How convenient. And a little creepy, perhaps.

Here is the full Dec 10, 2009 Forbes article.

If you don’t like this then you can decide to opted-out of Google and go and live in the Google Opt-out Village. Sounds like fun 🙂

Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To Remote Village

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10 Free (or Cheap) Tools for Start-ups

Inc. magazine recently published this list of 10 free or cheap tools for Start-ups. I use Skype, Zoho and Google Docs. I would add TaDaList from 37signals and Evernote. Easy to use free software.Did they miss any good ones?

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Do you work in sales? Thank you.

I’ve known Mark Lange for awhile and he writes excellent opinion pieces in the Christian Science Monitor. This one on sales is concise, but to the point — great stuff!

Do you work in sales? Thank you.

By Mark Lange

from the September 9, 2009 editionSAN FRANCISCO – Had enough of the recession? Next time somebody pitches you something – whether or not you open your wallet – at least say thanks.Because economic growth is a story we tell one another. Transactions are its dialogue. And the authors of both are the master storytellers: salespeople.Before you tune out, consider this: Nothing happens until somebody sells someone something. And no matter what the rest of us do all day, our paychecks and prosperity rely on their efforts.At some level, of course, everyone sells. Authors and academics (if they hope to have impact), the yard guy across the street, the young woman shilling for Greenpeace in front of Target, even President Obama. None of us succeeds without applying the art of influence, in the best sense.But front-line, all-day salespeople are the connective tissue between what we have and what we need. Their work demands a rare mix of audacity and humility, hope and realism. They take rejection and abuse that would crush the spirits of most. Yet they bounce back with the resilience of Tigger and the patience of Job.Especially in harder times, selling compels tremendous creativity and a humble heroism. This isn’t to say all salespeople are heroes. Some get a bit too creative, while a (very) few are desperately dishonest. But that’s not sales. It’s fraud.While political campaigns come and go, salespeople practice the politics of hope every day. They live by faith – faith that someone, somewhere needs what they have.Critics accuse politicians of being salespeople. If only that were true: Good salespeople can actually explain what they’re trying to sell.Everyone else in an organization can grumble and grouse, play office politics, soak in a bath of righteous cynicism. Salespeople don’t have time for that. They only get paid when somebody outside the cubicle cocoon is moved to act and demonstrate one of the truest measures of trust – parting with their money.The good ones, along with intellect, have impressive integrity. They focus on your interests, not theirs, because they know that if they’re clear about yours, their own will follow.Rather than spray you with words, they ask you questions, and listen carefully to what you’re really saying. They bring your authentic interests into sharper focus.They really don’t want to waste your time, because they make a living on theirs.Not buying? Try just saying “No thanks – but keep honing that pitch.” Better yet, offer a pointer to raise the level of their game. And if something about their approach annoys you, coach the manager who set both of you up for frustration. That’s a public service.If the world is divided between builders and complainers, there’s no doubt that salespeople build – confidence, companies, and gross domestic product. They make the potential, actual. They move minds. Build trust. And motivate the transactions that keep us all fed.Don’t be too hard on them, especially now.

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Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa’s portfolio of companies

Hasso Plattner’s African Venture fund was launched in early 2008. In February 2009 I attended the fund’s Emerging Market Africa conference in South Africa. HPVA has invested ZAR80mm of ZAR350mm in 5 companies to date and expect to invest in at least 5 more. HPVA doesn’t disclose investments and shareholding, although they did indicate that they only take minority shareholding.You can find Hasso Plattner Venture Europe’s investments here.Recently the African fund disclosed some of the investments it has made so far:

  1. Cibecs: Enterprise backup solutions. According to some articles, HPVA invested ZAR8mm for a 25% stake in the company (HPVA indicated that these numbers aren’t correct. They didn’t say what the correct numbers are.) Cibecs was formed in 2004 by Richard Dewing, and its software has been sold to more than 30,000 users in South Africa.
  2. Inala operates in the fields of telecommunications and broadcasting in South Africa.
  3. Global Vision specializes in marketing automation software.
  4. KnowledgeTree is an open source document management system. KnowledgeTree uses a number of social media technologies to promote its products, including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs…very progressive!
  5. Dabba Telecom: Low-cost telecoms in South Africa. Dabba’s CEO Real Lissoos was voted Social Entrepreneur of the year in 2008.

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