The makings of a good build strategy for your business – or bike


Brad Wentzel reveals his strategy for restoring a motorcycle, and how businesses can do the same to ensure success.

The motorcycle is disassembled, the parts are all neatly labelled, and any issues have been identified. Now, the strategy comes in.

Before we can formulate a strategy for our build or business, however, we have to establish a vision statement. This is the reason why we got our hands lathered in grease and why a collection of ziplock bags full of parts adorn the workbench – the value statement of your organisation.

My vision is to build a Restomod, an updated, styled restoration of arguably the most powerful dirt bike engine per cubic centimetre ever made. And, as you can imagine, this is no easy task.

The best way to tackle this elephant-sized problem? One bite at a time… for a long time.

When he was still in office, I had the privilege of meeting the now-ousted André de Ruyter at a South African manufacturers’ business dinner to discuss some of the challenges we are all facing. I was flabbergasted to hear that our parastatal power provider had never implemented a 10-year strategy.

It seems quite obvious when you think about it, but surely a player of such significance to the country’s fiscal success would have thought about its deliverables in the medium and long term?

It got me thinking: What is my long-term plan?

Consider all your options

First, I had to think about which direction I was going in with the build, and who I would be taking with me on the journey.

I decided on the Restomod approach after much research, debate and online arguments around their place in the bike rebuild landscape. Because they are not true to the original intentions, other bike build enthusiasts didn’t believe it was the right way to go, but I ultimately went with Restomod because the modder aesthetics are just so much better for the bike’s overall performance.

In leadership, the same applies. In order to build a good strategy, you have to be prepared to take counsel and different opinions from the experts in your field. If your retinue is worth their salt, you will be well-challenged. That is the cornerstone of thought leadership, so revel in it and come out of it more resolute.

Use the right tool for the job

Often we think we have the right resources to achieve the task laid out before us, but try as we might, the bolt won’t go in the screw hole. I was faced with a similar conundrum when trying to rebuild the suspension forks of the bike, a task not particularly suited to a Leatherman army knife. Eventually I had to relent on my cost-saving exercises and procure the right spanner for the job at hand.

The task was simple after that, and that same spanner will now remain in my toolbox permanently, as I’m sure I’ll be using it again.

In business, getting the right person (or system) for the job is imperative for the success of the endeavour. In the words of my father: “You can never have too many tools.” So I try to surround myself with the best people.

Get up if you fall

Things go wrong. Life and the challenges it presents create unforeseen events every year. In this build, things have gone wrong more times than I can count, from incorrectly ordered parts, to broken bolts, or having delays in shipping. In each case, I have to adjust my strategy, but the goal remains the same.

Grit is now widely considered to be a better definition of success than natural-born intelligence, and it’s a person’s ability to fall and get back up again which is the true measurement of their mettle in business. Even if that means falling down seven times, and getting up again after each fall.

I’ve found that reframing the problem into an opportunity helps, as well as learning how not to repeat it.

Reassess your priorities and refocus your efforts on your vision. Then repeat the process.

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