500 NEWS

Describe your leadership style.
Good question actually. My leadership style is probably a more laissez faire, “gentle hands-off” approach. I don’t think I’m autocratic. I tend to rather build a relationship than use command or control. I’d rather let people do things because they understand why they’re doing it than be doing it because they’re being told to do it. I want people to take responsibility for themselves and their output and if I feel that they’re not coping, I’ll get involved.

Top tip to beat procrastination?
I don’t have one because I am a procrastinator. I tend to procrastinate when I’m not sure about what I want the outcome of the process to be.

I try to process stuff in my head so that I won’t tackle something until I’m clear about what I want to achieve with it. For instance, if I go for a run in the forest, I start processing a whole lot of things that are bothering me subconsciously so that by the end of the run I often have solutions or at least an approach. Once you have the approach, then you could beat procrastination.

If I know I’m about to go into an important discussion or presentation, I can forget about it for weeks and then on the day I feel like I need to deal with it, it pops out into my conscious and I’ll deal with it so it’s like trusting yourself and your methodology.

Favorite getaway destination?
I love the mountains, so I would say a mountain retreat with trails for running and exploring. I love skiing when I get the chance – it is so peaceful and serene. I also enjoy being in places known for good food and wine, from Europe to South America.

Who or what inspires you?
People who take ownership of causes. Someone who has the means to make a difference and uses those means. Noble people who take on causes at their own expense.

For example, Bono. He created an international platform for himself through his music and then went on to try and solve a myriad of issues in Africa with his Red campaign. It was a noble effort as opposed to a PR effort. I’m inspired by people who have put their ego in their pocket to make a difference.

Your one wish for South Africa?
Mutual respect. It will solve all the miscommunications. Those who have means should be making an effort to build and support the less fortunate. We come from an unfair playing field with most South Africans and it is the duty of the beneficiaries to create opportunities for others.

If you can have any three people over for dinner who would they be. And what meal would you serve?
Bono, Mandela and Jeff Bezos.

Bono is an inspiration in the work he’s done to support Africa, to the point where he worked with a professor to understand the real issues facing the continent. I would love to understand what drove him to choose this cause.

Nelson Mandela is a once in a lifetime inspirational leader who managed to put his personal suffering aside to build a future for a whole nation, regardless of colour or status in society. It would be amazing to understand how he could be so selfless and self-assured.

Jeff Bezos has built the most valuable business in the world by solving societal needs and wants and he continues to push the organisation to innovate. The future of the world will to some extent be led by Amazon and their innovations. He could share incredible insights into the new world of work and play and society at large.

I would probably serve a vegetarian meal because of my commitment to sustainability.

Starters would be crispy pastry tomato tartlets with a balsamic glaze. For the main course, it would be a mushroom risotto paired with a local Pinot Noir from Paul Cluver. We’re heading into winter in Cape Town and risotto is always a great homely dish. Dessert would be chocolate fondant with a melted centre. Rich and delicious. We would then finish off with a Boplaas Port to showcase our locals.

What five pieces of advice would you give to aspiring young business starters?

  • There is never a perfect time or a perfect plan to start a business. People wait for these moments. It’s like having a child, you’re never ready for it. So when you decide you want to do something, you need an 80 percent plan because you’ll never have the perfect plan.
  • The second is the most powerful thing you have as an entrepreneur is your survival instinct. So my advice to them is once you decide what to do, put money into a bank account and start spending it. Because once you do, there’s no turning back and any problem you hit, you’ll find a solution as your survival instinct kicks in. And it’s amazing how much you can solve that you never thought you could solve.
  • The third piece of advice I give is that you cannot be an entrepreneur part-time. It’s 24/7 living in a dream or survival mode. All third parties also need to be 100% committed to the cause.
  • The fourth part is passion. You inspire other people to support you so if you’re solving problems, it’s your passion that brings people in. If you’re an inspiring entrepreneur with a decent plan, you will find the money you need.
  • And fifth is there’s no such thing as an overnight success. The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is they think short-term. You need to be looking at a minimum of three to five years before you’ve got a sustainable business. You need to ensure you have enough capital to tide you over. Keep your cost structure down and spread it as long as you can.


  • What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
    Sometimes I can be fun. I think in businesses and in life in general, you put your responsibility mask on. So you tend to do things that are required to ensure your family and business is taken care of. Entrepreneurs tend to have this mask of responsibility and take life very seriously. Everything is planned and organised because we don’t want to have or create uncertainty. Our fellow colleagues look to the leader for direction and inspiration and the weight of responsibility can weigh heavily, especially when you have challenging times. There are times when you need a bit of humour and perspective and to “let down your hair”.

    What would you do with an extra hour in your day.
    I think I’d probably be doing more reflection, whether it’s yoga, meditation or even just reading to help reflect on things. Perspective is sometimes the most important thing you can have – it also determines your attitude.

    Find premium experiences right on your doorstep

    By Jenna Berndt


    Seville

    Lonely Planet’s Best City to Visit in 2018, ratings for Seville, Spain, show no signs of dimming. A city characterised by warm, honey-hued buildings that are intricately detailed and dusted in gold, Seville’s architecture is breathtaking, impressing even the most well-heeled traveller.

    “Seville is a beautiful destination, home to the flamenco and Seville orange,” says Natalia Rosa, Director of Big Ambitions, a specialist travel content marketing agency.

    “Plaza de Espana, one of Spain’s most spectacular squares renowned for its mix of Renaissance and Moorish style of Spanish architecture, is remarkable; as is the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world,” says Rosa.

    The most leisurely way to experience the beauty of Seville is with a horse-drawn carriage ride. Carriage drivers will pick visitors up at their hotel and visit notable sites such as the Plaza de Espana, the Cathedral and along the wide avenues and grand plazas of Parque Maria Luisa, and the lush María Luisa Park.

    Seville, Spain at Spanish Square (Plaza de Espana).




    Abu Dhabi

    Expect big, bigger and ‘wow’ from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. “The attractions are all very easily accessible,” says Robin Hilton of Development Promotions, who has explored the capital many times, often with family in tow.

    Hilton recommends family-friendly YAS Island, where travellers can test sports cars on the circuit, visit Ferrari World and ride the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa.

    Younger visitors will love the recently opened Warner Bro’s World indoor theme park, and shoppers can indulge themselves at the Yas Mall.

    Johnathan Hollard, another frequent traveller to Abu Dhabi, recommends at least a one night’s stay at the five-star Yas Viceroy Hotel on Yas Island, where guests can watch sports cars roaring past the track from their balcony.

    Hollard also recommends a speedboat tour of the Abu Dhabi cityscape, and a visit to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, which houses high-profile pieces such as Van Gogh’s self-portraits, which are currently on display.

    “My family and I also enjoyed a traditional desert safari experience, complete with dune bashing in a 4×4, camel trekking and a traditional meal and show,” adds Hilton.

    Don’t leave without sipping a gold flake cappuccino or marvelling at the gold bar vending machine at the uber-opulent Emirates Palace.

    Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirate




    St. Petersburg

    St. Petersburg can only be described as opulent. Be impressed by the glittering gold interior of the Hermitage Museum, or the fountains and gardens of the Peterhof Palace.

    “We saw a definite spike in bookings for travel to Russia in 2018,” says Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa, which includes travel companies Trafalgar, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and Insight Vacations.

    “Our Trafalgar Wonders of St. Petersburg and Moscow itinerary is very popular and for travellers looking for an ultimate luxury experience, I recommend Uniworld Boutique River Cruise’s Imperial Waterways of Russia, or a Luxury Gold guided land-based holiday.”

    “Luxury Gold offers exclusive VIP experiences in St. Petersburg, including a private, after-hours visit to the Hermitage Museum guided by a local expert, champagne in hand. Coupled with a hydrofoil boat ride to the Peterhof Palace, sunset cruises and a journey on the Trans-Siberian Express, visitors will be transported back to the golden era of travel.”



    Istanbul

    “Istanbul has become increasingly popular for South African travellers in these last few years,” says Sue Garrett, GM of Marketing and Product at Flight Centre. “Cosmopolitan Istanbul, with its diverse neighbourhoods and mix of Eastern and Western influences, old and new, is fascinating.”

    “To miss some of the crowds, Turkey makes a great off-season destination,” adds Garrett, who advises you not to discount visiting in the winter months of November to March. Just pack a warm jacket, she says.

    Other unforgettable experiences are hiring a gulet, a traditional sailboat, to sail along the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, and hot-air balloon rides above Cappadocia.

    The beautiful Süleymaniye mosque in Istanbul, Turkey




    Mozambique

    Mozambique is the epitome of barefoot luxury. With around 2,500 kilometres of pristine coastline, beach and bush breaks are ideal, with lodges so luxurious that Robinson Crusoe would never want to leave. Hotfoot it to Mozambique for an easy-to-reach long weekend away or book a longer stay.

    “Enjoy sundowner dhow cruises, romantic beach picnics on deserted archipelagos and kayak trips through the mangrove forests of the Quirimbas National Park,” recommends Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Dana Tours, a Maputo-based tour operator and Destination Management Company. “Then there’s birding, snorkelling, diving and horse riding on the beach in the Bazaruto Archipelago. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to unforgettable experiences in Mozambique.”

    The country’s multicultural cuisine is another drawcard. Feast like royalty on fresh seafood, such as Mozambican speciality, juicy prawns slathered in garlic or peri-peri sauce, and mangoes by the bucketload.



    Vietnam

    Vietnam is quickly becoming 2019’s favourite hideaway in South East Asia. From the motorcycle-thronged streets of Hanoi to the quiet of the Mekong Delta and the rural Ninh Binh province, Vietnam’s mix of chaos and calm is intoxicating.

    Described as extremely affordable, the type of experiences available in Vietnam are worth much more than what you’ll pay. Take to the waters of Bai Tu Long Bay on a luxury cruise. The bay is right next to the more famous Halong Bay, but with only a few luxury vessels allowed to cruise here – and perhaps even more beautiful. Beat the heat sipping copious amounts of the various iced coffees in Hanoi and get dresses and suits tailored for next to nothing in the colourful lantern-strung streets of Hoi An.

    Outdoor park landscape with lake and stone bridge. Gate entrance to ancient Bich Dong pagoda complex. Ninh Binh, Vietnam travel destination



    With the world calling your name and a host of new and favourite destinations to discover, make this your year to travel. What are you waiting for?

    By Dr John Demartini, business and human behavioural expert

    Whether you’re a small business owner or CEO of a large enterprise, the ability to build a team of experienced and skilled individuals is essential to your success. Often, though, we forget one crucial element central to establishing a productive work environment: trust. Without it, your team will lack cohesion, and effectiveness will be compromised.

    Creating a high trust team isn’t difficult; nor is establishing trust. It’s simply the by-product of honouring your team members’ highest values; that which is most important to them. Take the first step towards building trust by exhibiting an understanding your staff’s highest values; then show each staff member how they can contribute to their own wellbeing and development as well as that of the team as a whole.


    Stop fearing failure

    The long-standing belief that failure should be avoided at all costs often works against us. Allowing your team to make so-called ‘mistakes’ gives them room to learn and grow, so they’ll be less likely to ‘fail’ in the future. This benefits your staff as well as your business, because they trust that you’ll give them the freedom to challenge themselves, be creative and pick themselves up after experiencing the feedback we perceive as ‘failure’.


    Avoid micromanaging

    Loosening the reigns will quell your team’s anxieties and show that you trust their abilities. Give your staff more responsibility and delegate tasks that exceed their current skillset or knowledge, and they’ll be encouraged to step outside their comfort zone in their efforts to prove their potential and keep your trust. In doing so, they’ll achieve things they never thought possible.


    Encourage debate

    Surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive employees who agree with your ideas may provide a great (fake) self-esteem boost, but it’s also counterproductive. You will quickly find yourself leading a team of blind followers, rather than innovative individuals. This will hinder the progression and growth of your business and stifle your staff’s potential and creativity. Allow your staff to respectfully disagree with you. This shows you trust their opinions and insights. Encouraging lively debate will spark new ideas and fresh innovation that may yield outstanding results.


    Provide regular feedback

    Don’t wait until formal reviews to offer feedback. This deprives your staff of the opportunity to improve and develop their areas of weakness; it also creates fear and distrust and can put a damper on employee morale and productivity. Your staff will appreciate your timeous constructive criticism, and will be encouraged to seek your guidance and help in the future. The ultimate result? An environment with less stress and conflict.


    Get personal

    Allowing your team a glimpse into your personal life – and encouraging them to offer the same – creates a more relaxed, comfortable work environment that naturally coaxes the best from your employees. Trust not only gives rise to strong teams; it also cultivates a cooperative, productive work environment that allows your business to grow and prosper.

    By Grant Hesse, Chief Technology Officer of North Wind Digital

    What a great time to be a customer or a vendor as the technology to automate processes has really evolved to make it very economically viable to implement. This combined with the current drive to digitise infrastructure and operations, affirms that there is no better time to start on the automation journey.

    There are different ways to approach your automation roadmap all of which may hold elements of value, but they do not always factor in the big picture. Often solutions overcomplicate the process to be automated and do not yield results in a timely manner. So, what is the answer? There is a simple 4-step approach that depending on the size of your organisation and the complexity of your processes can be scaled accordingly.

    Step 1: Process Selection
    There will be many processes that can be considered for automation and it may not be apparent at first glance which one will yield the best results. It is therefore important to list all the key processes while gathering basic process metrics to assist in the final prioritised ordering.
    The following metrics can be used to help qualify a process:

    • RPA automation percentage – Low percentage chance for automation requires either a lot of development work, possibly AI integration, or a high level of manual intervention and so the cost and time investment will be higher
    • Complexity – Defined as low, medium, high and based on input methods, application type and number of, free text and environment
    • Direct quantifiable savings – Time based on how many FTEs are required for the process; Volume and frequency of transactions to be processed; Cost saving. Mostly related to time saving and the automation percentage
    • Indirect/unquantifiable savings: Level of frustration and tedium that leads to low staff morale and poor results; Compliance in providing automatic audit trails; Automating high risk processes can remove human error

    These metrics can then be equated into a monetary value to assist in the prioritisation of the processes. Depending on the overall company strategy it may still mean that certain processes are deemed more important even though they may not be at the top of the list. A method to assist in this decision-making process is to further split the processes list into four quadrants: low hanging fruit, quick wins, long term improvements and must do improvements.

    Once this exercise is completed the process most suited to be automated is selected and moved onto the next stage.

    Step 2: Process Optimisation
    Often it is at this point that developers are eager to get started but no automation should begin at this stage until the process is fully reviewed and optimised. As Bill Gates said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

    This process of optimisation may be painful as it will potentially challenge the organisational culture, especially one that has not fully begun their digitisation journey. Comments such as “we have been doing it like that for years” and “why do we need to change something that is already working” can be expected. Having a trusted technology partner to assist at this stage is critical to provide a level of objectivity to the exercise. The results of the optimisation process may even mean that the process is no longer required or that it is amalgamated into another more suitable process. In this case return to step 1 and select the next process on the list to automate followed once again by optimisation. There are no hard and fast rules to optimisation, but this step should not be rushed and should be done in conjunction with the team that will automate the process in the end.

    Step 3: Process Automation
    When you reach step 3 in the process, it should be well-defined what process is being automated and why. It is often easy to now rush straight into the development process to deliver results as soon as possible but this is unlikely to yield the right kind of results. For instance, it is often a mistake to tackle medium to large processes in one go. It is much easier, yields better results, with greater end user buy-in to rather split the process into smaller logical sections and then automate these.

    To still achieve a quick return and to ensure that the process is manageable the following project phases are recommended: Proof of Concept (3-6 weeks), Pilot (10-12 weeks) followed up the final Rollout phase.

    Within each of the phases the same set of development steps are performed (to a greater or lesser degree depending on the phase) combining a waterfall and agile iterative methodology as follows:
    • Requirements gathering and production of Process Definition Document (PDD)
    • Iterative Agile development cycles consisting of: Development planning meeting (project team and end users); Implementation and testing; Demonstration and sign off (project team and end users)
    • Implementation

    Step 4: User Acceptance
    The last step (and one that is often neglected) is absolutely vital, as without continuous end user involvement the automation process may be set to fail from the start. Getting users onboard as soon as possible in the process selection, optimisation and automation will ensure greater uptake at the end. It will also ensure that what is being done as an optimised manual process will be replicated and possibly exceeded using the automated process.

    The ideal end user representatives are those that understand the process to be automated and are familiar with the technology used to develop the solution. It is not always the case that the end user has a grasp on the technology being used so it is important to have the right materials to assist and guide them through the process. The key elements to ultimate user acceptance is to deliver high-quality usage instructions, provide an intuitive easy process, good training and ongoing support.

    Following this 4-step approach should ensure an incremental and successful delivery of your automation goals. It worth taking the time before starting any operation to make sure that there is a good fit between the customer and vendor providing the services. Having a partnership based on trust ensures that the best results are achieved and everyone in the relationship feels they are getting good value. Happy automating!

    Michael Zahariev, Co-owner and CFO of Luxity

    In the USA, bricks-and-mortar retailers have had a bad 2018. As we head into the ninth year of what’s dramatically been dubbed ‘the retail apocalypse’, local retailers are starting to feel the same pinch. In order to survive, businesses can no longer follow a purely traditional retail model and will have to seek the perfect online-offline fit for their market. With Luxity, the largest retailer of pre-owned luxury goods, we started our journey as a purely online offering to cut down on the overhead expenses. But eventually, it became apparent that there was value in leveraging the benefits of a brick-and-mortar store to enhance the online experience.

    Although our move into retail may seem more traditional, our execution has been more modern in its approach. We see our retail expansion as purely a marketing expenditure, each store being carefully selected and positioned in shopping centres to get the most exposure for our brand, and primarily, draw in new customers. Once a customer is acquired, our goal would be to encourage repeat sales through online as far as possible.

    Our core belief is that brick-and-mortar is required to establish trust at a scalable level, especially in a market such as South Africa. Once you have established this trust well enough, customers become happier to shop via the online store, which in turn has the benefit that it scales much better cost-wise (e.g., customers have access to more stock).

    In the US we’ve seen Amazon close all 87 of their pop-up stores in favour of niche, experiential retail experiences, like the cashierless convenience stores. These experiences allow Amazon to engage traditional customers who may be wary of moving online, while at the same time experimenting with new cutting-edge technologies. Because these stores are fewer and act more as a marketing vessel, they very rarely need to justify their revenue as their benefits are experienced elsewhere.

    Using this online-offline model has been a huge success. According to key findings in the World Wide Worx study, Online Retail in South Africa 2019, online retail sales make up only 1.4% of total sales in the sector. With our model, we generate over 60% of our sales online with the remainder coming through walk-ins into our brick-and-mortar stores. This statistic is especially telling when you consider that our average customer is over the age of 35 and our average sale value is over R10 000.

    By keeping our overheads low and our margins high we can invest in creating an experience both online and offline that establishes trust in the online model as well as the second-hand luxury industry. By focusing on building this relationship, we have been able to become the dominant player in an industry that is just starting to take-off in South Africa; an industry estimated to be worth $25 billion internationally according to Reuters.

    With a weak retail climate and more prime retail space becoming available at lower costs, we believe there will be an insurgence of the larger online players experimenting in brick-and-mortar. The key, however, is to ensure you are converting your sales in-store to online ones – not the other way around. A balance that often is easier said than done.

    In the end, only those retailers who have a true online-first strategy and understand the modern-day climate will survive.

    By Lara-Anne Derbyshire, Brand Strategist, Boomtown

    While personality has indeed always been a consideration in consumer profiling when trying to segment and reach your ideal target audience, so much has changed in terms of how we can connect with our audiences via digital advertising platforms. The targeting options are becoming more and more granular, and we have the opportunity to serve our consumers’ needs more directly, efficiently and authentically. But, are we?

    If we are not getting to grips with really understanding our consumers as an “audience of one”, as we so often hear, we are running the risk of missing a significant shift or transition that is taking place in consumer behaviours and processes. Our approach needs to shift.

    Personalities represent characteristics that determine and reflect how an individual responds to their environment. These characteristics are attributes, traits, qualities, factors and mannerisms that distinguish one individual from another. In other words, the inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to their environment.

    However, the defining difference here is that we live in a digitally social world, and it’s affecting and exposing our personalities like never before, brands and consumers alike. It’s a value exchange of mass proportion! Not only are brands becoming even more aware of these idiosyncrasies, but consumers are becoming more interested and informed about the discovery of self, the value of introspection, how they portray themselves to the world, the brands they choose to align with their concept of self, and the portrayal thereof. Never before have brands, personal lives, or selves been more exposed. In our digitally social world, even the slightest deviation or show of incongruence in personality is detected immediately.

    We cannot change consumers’ personalities to conform to brands or products, but if we know which characteristics influence specific responses, we can better adapt and engage with consumers by aligning with relevant and inherent traits. An individual’s personality tends to be both consistent and enduring, but the environment has changed drastically, we need to anticipate how various personalities would respond in these digital environments.

    So, we shouldn’t stop at focusing on generating insight into personality, in terms of product usage. Rather we should look at how we can expand on this by applying deeper personality understanding in the digital context, and form predictions around their responses and behaviour in the digital space? How do we offer intrinsic value to these personality types?

    Understand personality and various theories
    • Research, connect and engage with consumers online and offline, across platforms
    • Capture and analyse the data around personality and the linked behaviour
    • Create digital specific audience segmentation personas
    • Devise and tailor a range of communication frameworks or approaches around persona types
    • Remember you can’t change their personality, but you can engage it
    • Build this into your strategy

    The three main theories of personality are: Freudian theory, Neo-Freudian personality theory and trait theory.
    • Freudian Theory is based on the premise that unconscious needs or drivers are at the centre of our human motivation
    • Neo-Freudian focuses on the social relationships being fundamental to the formation and development of personality
    • Trait theory is more of a quantitative approach to personality as a set of psychological traits

    These psychological foundations form the basis of the many current day approaches and models of personality profiling. How we apply this knowledge to our audiences online, acknowledging who and how a consumer behaved traditionally, will not be the same way they present themselves in the online world. This is what will set brands apart.

    Beyond demographic, geographic, psychographics and behavioural segmentation, it is vital to gain deeper insight into personalities given the increasingly granular nature available through digital targeting, AI capabilities and data-driven strategy. The brands that get this right will undoubtedly have a leading edge in the minds of consumers, and the virtual real estate we need to occupy every day.

    Entrepreneur and CEO of Decision Inc., Nicholas Bell, dreamt of building a billion-rand business from a young age. He launched Decision Inc. in 2008 and by the age of 30, he was running a R100-million business. Nicholas is responsible for driving the strategic and operational vision of the company.

    Describe your leadership style.
    I think it’s quite visionary and direct. I like to lead from the front and work with my team.

    Your top tip to beat procrastination?
    Set yourself deadlines and tell someone – forces you to stick to it.

    Favourite getaway destination?
    Kruger National Park or anywhere in the bush.

    Who or what inspires you?
    My son is phenomenally good at connecting to and making people happy. He inspires me to be more focused and aware of the power of connecting personally to everyone.

    Your one wish for South Africa?
    That we develop an accountability in our leaders for our people.

    If you could have any 3 people over for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve?
    Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods and Richard Branson. I would serve a lekker potjie.

    What five pieces of advice would you give to aspiring young business starters?

  • Don’t be afraid to give your idea a chance to succeed.
  • You have to be the hardest worker in your business, especially in the beginning.
  • Surround yourself with people that are excited about the idea of your business.
  • Focus on understanding your customer deeply.
  • Stay out in the front line for as long as is possible.


  • What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
    I have played lead guitar since I was 7.

    What would you do with an extra hour in your day?
    Read.

    India as we know it, is a land full of cultural richness, ancient wisdom and teachings that have penetrated today’s pop culture and celebrations that breathe life into your world.

    Luxury Gold offers travellers the opportunity to experience the wonderland of the exotic and enigmatic with journeys that take guests beyond the ordinary. All journeys include exclusive VIP experiences, exceptional dining, sustainable travel opportunities, small group travel and even more personalized service from a travelling concierge.

    From the ultimate luxury of self-actualisation to stays in some of the most incredible hotels, here’s how you can experience India in true luxury and expect the journey of a lifetime.

    Relax and restore at The Leela Palace in Udaipur

    Named Udaipur’s only modern palace hotel, The Leela Palace is an exquisite stop on Luxury Gold’s 13-day Imperial Rajasthan journey. The 5-star accommodation is set amidst 12 acres of beautiful gardens, surrounded by the magnificent Aravalli mountains. Considered a fine example of royal Rajput architecture and grandeur, guests will take in the enduring allure of Jaipur’s glorious past and live like a modern maharaja in the Palace as they get a taste of royal therapy.

    Explore local wildlife and take an unexpected Jeep Safari in Jaipur


    Give back to a local community via sustainable travel in Rajasthan

    Reports show that the definition of luxury travel is being reshaped by changing consumer behaviour. It’s now becoming a way of being as guests are looking for self-actualisation, which is the new ultimate luxury. Transformative and sustainable travel with the opportunity to give back is in high demand and travellers can look no further than the Imperial Rajasthan with ME to WE extension 16-day journey. The ME to WE Culturally Immersive Experience extension begins with guests journeying to the Aravalli Mountains. Over three days, guests will interact with locals to learn about daily life in rural India, contribute to a sustainability project in a local village and have the option to participate in a sunrise nature walk or yoga sessions.

    Indulge the senses at the Fairmont Jaipur

    The 5-star luxury Fairmont Jaipur has a wide range of experiences to offer from hot air balloon rides to hiking through the famous Aravalli hills, any experience is attainable at the opulent hotel. The jewel of the Fairmont is said to be the spa, with 12 treatment rooms designed to create a beautiful sanctuary. Guests can indulge in a range of therapeutic and rejuvenating massages including traditional Indian and international treatments. Everything at the Fairmont Jaipur from the rooms and food to the excursions and wellness offerings will truly amaze guests on the Essence of India with Ranthambore 8-day journey.

    Drift through tropical backwaters on a deluxe houseboat in Kerala

    Exploring the narrow canals of Vaikom village has never been easier in deluxe houseboats. Many areas have been left untouched by modernity and travellers will drift around in comfort plus experience life as a local in the village as they try their skills at weaving pineapple leaves or coconut husks. In Alleppey, guests cruise the glorious backwaters and spend the night on a traditional houseboat whilst on the 16-day Spirit of North and South India journey.

    Enjoy royal treatment at an elegant High Tea tasting in Jaipur

    On Luxury Gold’s Imperial Rajasthan 16-day journey, travellers will journey to the Amber Fort to relish in the exquisiteness of its royal halls, before returning to Jaipur to see the Hawa Mahal, visit the royal observatory and Sukh Niwas, Jaipur’s City Palace. At the City Palace, travellers will indulge in an elegant High Tea fit for royalty as a VIP experience available exclusively to Luxury Gold guests.

    Experience exceptional dining at Baradari Restaurant in Rajasthan

    A sought-after restaurant that offers contemporary Rajasthani cuisine alongside continental dishes inspired by the region, Baradari is a creative union of old world with new. The restaurant has only been open for three years but has already amassed a reputation for traditional and authentic cuisine that delights the palate. Travellers experience the exceptional cuisine on the Essence of India with Ranthambore 8-day journey.

    By Andries du Preez, Country Manager, San Miguel

    We live in turbulent times. Poverty, inequality, unemployment and climate change are among the challenges South Africa faces. And leaders in business are being asked questions about the impact their companies have on society. Trust has become the ultimate currency.

    Millennials are driving this trend; 40% of those polled in the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 believe the goal of businesses should be to ‘improve society’. This is seriously worth pondering.

    Profit with purpose is set to become the new norm. Up to this point, social enterprise and impact investment have been driving this concept, which has somehow remained confined to ticking B-BEEE boxes. Not anymore. Now, it’s all set to change: the world’s future leaders will want their companies to be recognised as forces for good.

    San Miguel is one such organisation that has developed a purpose-led strategy. I believe San Miguel’s operation in South Africa is among the first businesses to give a new, more profound meaning to the word ‘sustainability’, regarding it not just as the right thing to do, but an essential component of growth.

    Have we revolutionised the sector? Not quite, but there is undoubtedly an emerging trend for more corporates to take empowerment and sustainability issues seriously. As an example we have changed our business strategies accordingly and launched Thudana Citrus Trust. A B-BEEE ownership scheme, a select number of employees have a 30% ownership of the company. Thudana Citrus Trust aims to play a constructive role in empowering black people in the Eastern Cape citrus industry by facilitating participation in the citrus value chain.

    We, South Africa and the wider world, are at a critical juncture. According to last year’s Edelman Trust Barometer, 64% of people globally expect CEOs to lead social change rather than waiting for government intervention. And a significant 84% expect CEOs to influence policy debates on social issues.

    Corporate responsibility is going mainstream
    Increasingly, companies are going beyond compliance. Nearly 90% of the world’s biggest companies are reporting on their sustainability performance, using metrics established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and almost 9 933 companies from 160 countries are members of the UN Global Compact; an initiative that aligns businesses’ strategy with social goals to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

    So will the future of big business be modelled on social enterprise?
    Investors are signalling a desire for social impact alongside a financial return, so it’s not unrealistic. A survey of high-net-worth millennials found 69% placed greater importance in investing in companies showing a high level of corporate social responsibility. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, responsible investing is up 25% globally over the past two years.

    So it’s evident that governments or civil society alone cannot solve the world’s most pressing problems. It’s time for business to pitch in. From reducing environmental impact to contributing to healthier communities and fighting forced labour, companies can achieve tremendous results if they balance profit and purpose.

    With the growing trend for investors and consumers to buy into companies that deliver positive social change alongside financial returns, the trend for big business to adopt impactful social missions looks set to continue. The question is: how many business leaders will have the courage to step up to the plate?

    By Adriaan Pask, CIO, PSG Wealth

    Investors generally view geopolitical events, currency volatility and concerns around slowing global growth as the main enemies to wealth creation, but these should be the least of their worries. While these events can cause short-term volatility and uncertainty, there are bigger enemies to be aware of.


    Saving too little, especially for retirement

    The number one mistake people make remains not saving enough, and the pain is primarily felt in the retirement space. This retirement shortfall gap currently sits at around $70-trillion and continues to grow at around $28-billion every 24 hours. When you consider that the 2008 Global Financial Crisis caused $2.8-trillion in stock market losses, you realise that those losses were less than 1% of the total retirement income shortfall. We tend to become obsessive about market events because media reports keep them top of mind and because they confront us with a loss right now, rather than because of the severity of their impact.

    South Africa is no exception to global experience. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), South Africa has one of the lowest gross replacement rates in the world. OECD countries have a projected future gross replacement rate (GRR) of 70%, while South Africa’s is only 12%. This means that on a current monthly salary of R10 000, South Africans have only saved enough to draw an income of R1 200 in retirement.




    Emotional reactions to market events

    The above graphic highlights that we tend to focus on the wrong things when assessing their impact: short term factors often carry more weight than they rightfully should. Market volatility can be unsettling, but it should not deter you from saving. Yet we find many people postpone saving, believing volatile markets won’t reward them, or opt to save in cash instead of investing in stock markets. Being swayed by recent market volatility often leads to poor financial decisions based on emotions, rather than facts. It’s critical to keep your eye on the long-term horizon of your investment and filter out the noise. You want to be invested in funds that offer a smoother return over time and consistently stay above the benchmark, rather than jumping from one best performing fund to another, trying to time the market and getting it wrong.


    Ignoring inflation and opting for cash

    While inflation does not reduce the money you have saved up, it manifests itself through reduced spending power. Its impact is negligible in the short run but profound in the long run. It is crucial to price inflation into your wealth plan. If your returns don’t beat inflation, you’ll never achieve your financial goals. Investments in cash do not help you to grow your wealth in real terms.


    Beware the real enemies of wealth

    Market volatility can slow down wealth creation in the short term, but saving too little, together with emotional decision-making and inflation are by far the biggest enemies of wealth. Speaking to an experienced financial adviser can help you decide on, and stick to, a suitable investment strategy that will optimise your desired outcomes and help curb emotional decisions during turbulent times. Provided that you are guided by an expert and invest in quality shares, equities are well worth the wait and risk, as they have been proven to beat inflation by a wide margin over time.

    It’s clear that even a modest switch to renewable power could take a big step in achieving the National Development Plan that calls for the procurement of “at least 20 000 MW of renewable electricity by 2030”. And doing so could be very good for business.

    Switching to renewable power is the quickest and most cost-effective way for most organisations to cut their carbon footprint, but what about profits? Here, Genergy outline the key reasons why considering renewables makes sense.

    It reduces your carbon footprint
    Thanks to a change in government guidelines, switching to renewable power can very quickly reduce a firm’s carbon footprint and its energy bills. Businesses generating renewable power may offset it against the number of allowances including section 12B of the Income Tax Act, which allows for accelerated asset depreciation for renewable energy generating equipment, and the allowances in the new Carbon Tax Bill which is coming into effect in June 2019.

    It costs less than you think and returns outweigh costs
    The switch to renewables is relatively inexpensive, and it’s an investment that brings far more in benefits than it costs. It demonstrates that a business is engaged in good environmental practice, something which is at the heart of all good CSR and employee engagement campaigns.

    Energy-saving and renewable energy campaigns have an increasing resonance among staff and customers, and a sustainable energy supply often forms the basis of a company-wide energy saving programme. According to the UK’s Carbon Trust, investing 1-2% of your energy spend on an employee energy-saving campaign can save up to 10% of your energy bill.

    It ensures energy security
    A major contributing factor to energy security for any country is the understanding of the relationship between economic growth and energy consumption. Much of the worlds’, including South Africa, energy generation fleet is reaching the end of life and is standing at a pivotal point having to decide on the appropriate energy mix that allows transitioning to an environmentally friendly generation fleet.

    Until a mix is decided upon and plans actioned, load-shedding is here to stay. According to Stats SA, it one of the biggest reasons the South African economy is struggling with more and more companies turning to alternative power production to keep them afloat during load-shedding.

    It could make energy a profit centre
    A business can now be an energy generator as well as a consumer. Self-generation of renewable power to cover a firm’s own needs and feeding the surplus into the grid can in effect make energy a profit centre rather than a cost.

    While the equipment to tap into solar, wind or other alternative energy sources isn’t free to install, prices are falling quickly, and the potential contribution towards shrinking energy bills and even profitability makes renewable power an attractive proposition that ticks all the boxes of corporate, social and civic responsibilities.

    It helps with corporate social responsibility
    Indeed, being seen to be environmentally friendly yields commercial benefits.

    Companies that invest in renewable power demonstrate to stakeholders that they support regulatory and public policy initiatives towards a low-carbon economy.

    Being seen to invest and use renewable energy enhances corporate reputations and may save money by opening access to energy subsidies such as feed-in-tariffs.

    Francois Portier joined Bacardi’s global team in August 2004, as the Commercial Director of Bacardi France, where he worked to develop their portfolio and market share in various channels. In 2011 he led the Danish market, before joining the Middle East and Africa team, where he successfully launched Bacardi’s Customer Marketing Department in Dubai. Portier headed the development of the Bacardi business in South Africa and Kenya, and recently took on the responsibility of leading the Sub-Saharan African markets. Francois is also leading the South & East Africa Bacardi Martini, from the Johannesburg head office in South Africa.

    Describe your leadership style?
    I always put the team first before individuals, as decisions and actions have to be decided by the team. My role is to assist my team and encourage then to consider all options and make decisions. To prepare for this, I encourage all our staff to listen, simplify, and take considerd and measured approaches to any decision making.

    Your top tip to beat procrastination?
    I always give myself and the team a clear deadline for any tasks, so procrastination is kept to a minimum. And I’m constantly promoting that ‘the worst decision is one not taken’ which includes the fact that inevitably we will make mistakes, but the most important thing is that we learn from these mistakes.

    Favorite getaway destination?
    I feel most content sailing in the middle of the ocean – especially sailing at night when it is most peaceful. European destinations like Greece are spectacular, but now that I live in South Africa there are so many places of natural beauty to explore. My family and I recently went on holiday to Mozambique – it’s simple, wild and the seafood was incredible.

    Who or what inspires you?
    Some of my best inspiration comes from the sea, so in terms of adventures that inspire me, it would have to be the Vendee Globe Challenge Race – which is an individual boat race around the world. When it comes to people who have inspired me, Skippers like Bernard Moitessier and Francois Gabart definitely come to mind for their tenacity and resilliance.

    What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
    I meditate in the morning. I started few years ago and even though it can be difficult to set time aside, I do find that it sets me up for the day.

    What would you do with an extra hour in your day?
    I would spend this extra time with family and friends celebrating life.