- Gareth Cotten
Gareth Cotten is a South African serial Entrepreneur. He has set up a number of businesses, sold quite a few and bought over a number of them, which he runs in line with his own set of rules, hardly in tune with the norm. Constantly thinking outside the box, running affairs on terms he has carefully drawn up over time, Gareth manages to run many businesses at once, while still finding time for leisure, even as he pays little attention to the use of modern communication tools, such as e-mail and social media platforms, we have all become accustomed to.
At ilovemylaundry, a laundry business he recently took over in Cape Town, South Africa, turning the space into a multi-functional hub, with four income streams, Gareth, who believes that working for somebody else is the riskier than running one’s own business, shares with us tips on how to do ten things at the same time:
1. DON'T FIGHT NATURE
Understand yourself and work with your strengths in mind. If you can only do one thing, don't do a variety, as you always need passion to do well at anything.
2. DON'T ALWAYS BE CONNECTED
To maintain focus, it helps to stay off the internet, except for a designated period only. Don't check e-mail all the time. Discard e-mail and push notifications. Leave a very strong voice-mail. Let your network know that you respond to voice-mails. It saves you from distractions.
3. SET UP SYSTEMS AND CONTROL FROM INCEPTION OF BUSINESS
This helps to clarify the process and reduce headache. The point of starting a business is the best point for setting up systems and control. This helps to reduce mistakes. Should things go wrong, there is a procedure to follow. Always ensure that there is in place a management manual.
4. EMPOWER YOUR TEAM
Be specific with instructions and set limits. Always give credit to members of your team in public and criticise them in private. Doing otherwise brings down their confidence and that of their peers and make them lose initiative.
Take things learnt from one business to the other. Also, take opportunities and resources from one business to the other, capitalising on your footprints to sell in other locations.
6. NETWORK LIKE IT'S YOUR JOB
Your job, as the face of the company, is to be its Chief Marketing Officer, utilising every opportunity to network.
7. RESPOND TO REQUEST ON TIME
Always respond to all requests, see and seize them as instant selling opportunities for the business.
8. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
Always know why you are communicating. There is always a point to every conversation, be mindful of it. Communication with partners, customers and suppliers should be clear. Always take into account the culture of the people you are dealing with, in your communication, to be able to achieve the set objective. Be respectful of other people’s culture.
9. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK
Profit is good. It is not evil. Jobs get created in the course of doing business. The important thing is to ensure there is a fair Recognise the fair value and don't be afraid to ask for it. Money is only a tool. Creating it and getting value from it is not a bad thing.
10. NEVER BE AFRAID TO TAKE HOLIDAYS
Shut down. Shut down your phones. Get off the internet. Always take regular breaks. Remember that, in everything, the moment you realise when it will end, it becomes easier to bear the immediate challenge. Truth is, 80% of fires put themselves out, there is no point burning yourself out, trying to resolve every situation. Getting away forces your business to run by itself.
(CC simbo olorunfemi)