Skip to content


Gavin Moffat’s 5 Tips for Spotting the Potholes as a Business Owner

During our Durban edition of Dinner with INN8, hosted at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, local wealth managers were treated to an evening of taste bud disruption and stimulating conversation with Gavin Moffat. Author, motivational speaker, and full-time pothole spotter, Gavin shared his experiences as a business owner and the importance of having a clear vision.
4 min read

Over a delicious starter, Gavin kicked off the discussion by asking, “What keeps you awake at night?” – a question that had many considering the answer for the first time.

Figure out your “why” from day one

Mickey Gambale, CEO of INN8, offered that “…the human element, finding the right people…” was what kept him awake, while others were concerned about competition, succession planning, and ethics in the industry, making it clear that today’s advisers have many issues competing for their attention.

Although it can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day concerns of running a business, Gavin believes entrepreneurs should always start by looking at the bigger picture – it all starts with understanding your “why”.

This concept has been explored by many business leaders and philosophers – and, to Gavin, it’s simple: Figure out the purpose of your organisation. Is it simply to make money? Almost everyone around the table answered “no” because it’s not just about money, it’s something deeper than that: some want to leave a legacy, or better serve their clients and fellow human beings, or influence the industry and so on.

Only once you define this “why” are you able to see the wood for the trees. It then follows that every business decision you make should be measured against the question: “Will this serve my “why”?”

Only worry about what you can control

Even once the “why” has been established, business owners will still face an almost impossible array of potholes, explained Gavin, who calls himself an expert pothole spotter. But even with this foresight, it’s important to realise you cannot control everything.

For example, business owners cannot directly control the current economic or political situation; all they can control is their response to it. Gavin’s advice? Let it go. Rather focus on where you are able to make an impact and roll with the punches everywhere else.

Learn from clever people

Another concern for wealth managers is having the right people on board – and keeping them.

Gavin reminded those in attendance that we don’t know everything and we don’t need to. The trick is to hire the people who can do things you can’t, whether that’s client service, exceptional admin, or business development.

All you can do is recognise your own weaknesses and hire to mitigate for them.

Create a business that is capable of running without you

Gavin views entrepreneurs as being sort of like the Pied Piper, the evangelist in your business who gets others to buy into the dream and go along with it. Retaining staff means building a place they want to keep returning to every day and that serves their own personal “why”.

Gavin cautions against building a brand or a business that is entirely based on you. To build a sustainable legacy, your business has to be bigger than you, it has to run and grow without you.

While the role of ever-evolving technology has some people feeling nervous that their roles will become obsolete, Gavin suggests viewing tech as merely a tool to improve your service offering and make your life easier: you shouldn’t be working around the tech, the tech should be working for you. Be selective about the kind of tech you employ and only choose what truly serves you, not simply because it’s the latest thing.

Take time to invest in yourself

Finally, invest in yourself. Continuous learning is more vital than ever so you can stay on top and remain competitive. It’s also important for business owners to take time regularly to re-evaluate their position and if they’re still aligned to that Day One purpose.

So set aside a regular morning to read, to study, to reflect, and look forward.

Lively debate interspersed with delicious food made for another great success. We’ve been honoured to host a variety of speakers offering diverse and stimulating insight – it’s just another way in which INN8 is becoming the partner our wealth managers need in their business. We look forward to what the next Dinner with INN8 holds. Keep an eye on your inbox for the next event in your city!

About Dinner with INN8

INN8 is adviser inspired – we ensure that the adviser is always the centre of our universe and everything we do is created with them in mind. Our Dinner with INN8 series is one offering of our Practice Development Hub, created to assist wealth managers in building their practice, going further than usual to bring real value to the wealth manager. The dinner series aims to create a peer-learning environment in a relaxed atmosphere, enabling wealth managers to connect with each other, learn from insightful speakers and share knowledge and insights with each other.

Stay Updated

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about our articles, events, videos, webinars and downloads.

Explore More