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Updated 30 Sep 2020

Vusi Thembekwayo on why what got you here, won’t get you there

Innovator and founder of Motiv8, Vusi Thembekwayo shares his core tips on moving your business forward in a competitive market space. 

Nadine Todd, 19 November 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Vusi Thembekwayo isn’t just an entrepreneur; he’s a student of great entrepreneurship as well. One of his mantras is advice from Whitey Basson: Strategy is not about what you write down, it’s what you do every day in the trenches.

According to Thembekwayo, if you understand this simple fact, everything you do in your business will change. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the curve:

Related: Vusi Thembekwayo's lessons learnt on practising the skill of management


You can’t stay a market leader if you aren’t constantly disrupting your business model, assumptions and operations.

Vusi -Thembekwayo -successful -businessman

1. Lead from the front

For your staff, management and even you to be motivated, you need to believe in what you do, and share that across the organisation. You and everyone at the organisation needs to be able to answer these two simple questions: Why do we do what we do? Why am I here? Live these values as the leader of the organisation, and your staff will follow.

2. Provide context

Ask your leadership and management team this simple question: Why are we here in the first place? You’ll be surprised how difficult it is to answer such a simple question. Everyone in your organisation has to come in every morning and serve customers. In order to do this at a deeper level to your competitors, they need a deeper meaning.  Help them find it.

3. Innovation is a journey

Innovation will promote imitation.  New models quickly become old and ubiquitous. You can’t simply be satisfied with one great innovative idea. You need to keep pushing the boundaries.

4. Live on the edge of chaos

Mediocrity is predictable. Markets change, and great businesses don’t change with them, but just ahead of them. Continuously ask yourself the question: How do we disrupt what we’re doing today?

Related: Vusi Thembekwayo’s lessons in disruption

5. Put customer service at the centre of your business

If you want to create an amazing customer experience, you need four core pillars to be present at all times:

  • Relevant: Is the product or service personalised and meaningful?
  • Convenient: You must be brutal on the consistency test. Be amazing all of the time, or not at all. There’s no middle ground. Either you make you customers’ lives easier, or you don’t.
  • Responsive: Listen to understand, and understand to act.
  • Reliable: Keep the brand promise, no matter what - even if it costs you money


Ask yourself these questions: Why do we do what we do? Why am I here?

Now ask them of your staff.

Next, create a culture that asks this questions each and every day: How do we disrupt what we’re doing today?

Finally, build a customer experiences based on the four pillars of relevance, convenience, responsiveness and reliability.


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About the author

Nadine Todd

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