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Being friends with stress as an entrepreneur

Written by Staff Writer

August 23, 2022

By Sinazo Mkoko

The first instalment of the Standard Bank Top Women ‘Empow(Her)’ Entrepreneurs Development series focused on financial wellness, with an aim to empower entrepreneurs to manage their finances and grow their businesses. Financial experts, Natalie Kolbe, Managing Partner at Norrsken22 and Money Coach, Busi Selesho were panellists and gave their insights on the matter. 

Missed it? Here a full video to the masterclass:

Here’s just some of what was covered:

Entrepreneur qualities: An entrepreneur is someone who is daring, someone who is ready to say: ‘I have a dream, I have a goal, I have a mission, or I have a calling or a purpose and I want to share who I am with the world’. It needs passion and someone who’s ready to pour their soul into their business.

Entrepreneurs are the creators of their own destinies as they can often run their business by themselves and it gives them flexibility. You can decide how busy or not you want to be. 

Going solo: You’re in complete control of your business and you can do as you please, work your own hours and determine the pace you want to accelerate your growth. However, often you need to bring in external capital because the business can’t necessarily grow on their own. The cash flows coming out of the business can’t necessarily sustain the growth that you’re looking for.

The benefits of going externally: You get a fresh injection of cash into your business and you can hit the road and hit the deck running and accelerate your growth. However, that comes with responsibility. You are taking money. You’re taking capital from an investor and an investor will want a return. 

What are investors looking for? 

Investors look at the entrepreneur – the person that they are going to be investing behind. That passion has to shine in a conversation between the entrepreneur and the (potential) investor. As part of your business plan, the main thing that you want to be looking for is what is the problem that you’re looking to solve, or what is the gap in the market that you’re looking for? 

“It’s particularly attractive if you’re solving a real problem, whether it’s a problem around access to education for students or money skills, etc. if you’re solving a problem that there is in the community and you can see that there’s demand for it. And, you know, that certainly needs to come through in your business plan. So setting the environment, what is the environment that you’re operating in? What is the competitive landscape? Who else is doing this? How big is the market opportunity? And is there a whitespace for you to be able to grow into you? So, when you’ve got the market, contextualise what the competitive situation is, what your target market is. A very important part is then the actual business plan, putting out what your forecasts are. What are you? What’s your revenue growth? What is the capital that I’m putting in, what are you going to do with that capital?” – Natalie Kolbe

 The Standard Bank Top Women awards entries are open

Shifting your mind from being an employee to being an entrepreneur: 

Be ready, but do not let that fear stop you from achieving dreams. So one of the things that are very important when you are about to start a business is to make sure that you have support. Other things that you have to look into include your own mental health, your own financial stability at home. 

“You need to have a plan on how you are going to cope with that,  So it’s important for someone who wants to go into partnership to start preparing themselves to say, ‘do I really know how much I need to be able to have every month for me to survive when this business is still small, when I haven’t found enough clients, when I haven’t found people who will support the business investors and can I be able to have a life my life sustained?’ Because that is where a lot of things go wrong for individuals,” said Busi Selesho. 

Busi added that entrepreneurs need to be friends with stress. “Your ability to deal with stress has to be at a level where you know that there’s no way you’re going to fail. And if you are failing, it’s not because you’re doing something wrong, it’s because you are learning. So if you’re going to look at stress as something you want to avoid, it’s never going to be avoidable.”

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