Your journey matters, more than you think
I am truly fascinated by what is going on around me in the world of SMEs’ in South Africa. When I was brainstorming topics for this article, all my top three topics related to small business development. I guess when you are on journey that you had never thought you’d find yourself in, you have a keen interest in what transpires around it.
If anyone had asked me whether I thought the entrepreneurial route was for me four years ago, I have no doubt of the resounding NO that would have tumbled out my mouth. Come 2015 and I’m singing a different tune! Not only am I an entrepreneur but I’ve also taken up the role of working with others in the same boat by introducing coaching methodologies that not only help in creating well rounded entrepreneurs but also entrepreneurs with a heart!
Two months ago I attended the Women’s Leadership Conference in Johannesburg and one of the sessions I looked forward to the most was a panel discussion on ‘How South Africa can ensure that more women build their own businesses’. My interest was twofold; first, the panel was comprised of respectable women leaders in the SA business landscape and it’s always a treat to hear from people you respect. Secondly, I know a few women who would like to take the plunge but they are not there yet, so I was hoping for a step-by-step guide on how to be one of the custodians of ‘WomanEntrepreneur’ drive.
Something even better happened. One of the participants could not make it on the last minute and me being so open and talkative during discussions, attracted the attention of the organizer. I joined the panel and shared my journey with the audience. Unlike some of the other panelists, I was new to this world and yet I had just as much insights to share as the ‘veterans’. When I remarked to my mother about this turn of events, her sentiments also alluded to the fact that I was a ‘newbie’ and I might not have the kind of advice people there were seeking. WRONG! Not only was I more than equipped for the task but I was also driven by passion that transcends everything else.
It took me FOUR years! Yes FOUR years to decide to go this route. In those four years, there was a significant amount of soul searching, up skilling and owning up to my inner obstacles (number one culprit being FEAR)! So, four years of hard personal work is definitely something that warrants a seat at a panel discussion, albeit filling in!
I’m learning everyday as I make my way to various incubation hubs around Gauteng. What I’m learning as I interact with fellow business owners, be it small, micro and medium (SMMEs), is that we all have our unique journeys that we travelled to be where we are today. We’ve all learned some lessons, some more important than others; but lessons nonetheless!
So what, you may be asking? Well, if South Africa is to achieve its ambitious goals of job creation through supporting business, we all have a role to play. Whether you’re a newbie like myself or a seasoned successful business owner, we need to share our experiences! How?
- Mentor someone;
- Volunteer your time at an incubation centre (or anywhere you find entrepreneurs) and share your experiences;
- Pen an article
Anything really! But don’t sit back and do nothing!