Finance Indaba hears that to forge ahead, question the rules - and break them, if necessary

Some rules are obstacles to success, said Marnus Broodryk in his opening keynote at the Finance Indaba.

Many of the business rules we cling to are serving as barriers to success. That was the very clear message from sme.africa founder, Marnus Broodryk, during his keynote address at the opening of Finance Indaba 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. 


Not all rules are bad – some were guides, serving to protect and help you. But many were gates, obstacles to success. He proceeded to outline six commonly considered rules he declared to be “bullshit”, urging the audience to think about whether the rules they believed in were acting as guides or gates.


The rules just asking to be broken were:


1. Play the hand you are dealt. Marnus said we are not a product of our environment, only of the way we look at things. “We need to be able to reframe situations very quickly and see the opportunities,” he said. 


2. You can be anything you set your mind to. “We were born with dumb monkey brains,” said Marnus. “It’s not about mindset – it’s about recoding yourself by changing your environment. It’s not easy, but you can do it if you are consistent.”

 


3. Always keep an eye out for opportunity. “All the greatest entrepreneurs chose one thing and chased it relentlessly,” said Marnus, pointing out that we’re bombarded with opportunities and we think the more we do, the more we can achieve, but the opposite was true. Focus was the key to success, he said.


4. Businesses are built online. He challenged this misconception by pointing out the distraction factor of technology. “I don’t have a problem with technology, I have a problem with the way we use it,” he explained. “It’s the biggest thief of our time. Also, we believe everything should be online when we build businesses, and many people sit behind computer screens, and refuse to make calls or meet people face to face.” Business is built on human interaction, he emphasised.

“In our effort to be everywhere, we end up nowhere.”

5. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. Perfectionism was a major stumbling block, he said. “The business world is super fast-paced. The best businesses will not be built by the guys who do things perfectly. The smartest and fastest will win.”


6. Get a mentor. “Why are we so obsessed with mentors when we can get better information elsewhere?” asked Marnus. “That’s why we built sme.africa – and interestingly, the people who have joined us are the successful people who are building things, hustling, making it. The guys starting out in their garages and complaining about not making progress, are on WhatsApp trying to find a mentor.”


Marnus concluded: 


“I’m actually a friendly accountant, but today I’m irritated. We need to assess whether those rules are guides or gates, and we need to ask questions and challenge things. Those are the true characteristics of someone who is successful.”