By Janine Lloyd, personal branding coach, founder of the Lloyd Brand Agency and PR Expert
A growing and successful SME sector is known to play a key role in emerging economies like ours, and women can play a pivotal part when rebuilding our economy. Do we have the will to do so? Do we believe we can? Do we have a vision – individually and collectively?
I believe that if one woman in each family has a business that employs one to two people then the saying “the little things make big things happen”, will come true.
Imagine a South Africa, where a large majority of the female working age population – around 51% – operate a business that employs one person? Ok, so let’s be conservative. Since only 45% of women are employed in the formal labour force, what if half of the other 51% – that is approximately 15 million women – started a formal business that employs at least one person?
You might say I am being overly optimistic. And yes, I am a very optimistic person which is one of the qualities that makes me successful in business; no matter what happens I know there will always be opportunity, growth and learning on how to do things differently to get a good outcome.
Let’s continue then: if we halve the above number of potential working women this would be 7.5 million women that are currently not part of the formal labour force1.
If these women had a formal business employing just one person, that would create jobs for 7.5 Million people. Did you know that Statistics South Africa put the number of unemployed at 7.9 million people in the three months to the end of March 2023?
Women could potentially employ the number of people contributing to our 34.5% unemployment rate. Say what?
Now, what if they employed two or three people or what about ten? This is the potential that women have. This is what is meant by “the little things make great things happen”.
How do we as women do this?
Let’s start with what not to do – decide how much you want to earn and the car you want to buy or the Jimmy Choos you just have to have. You do not focus on the big bucks and then reverse engineer how to get there. That is what we are told by motivational millionaires, who give you a step-by-step approach of how to make it; which usually makes them richer, not you. As if the end goal is only to be a millionaire or billionaire where you live the high life free from stress and worries!
The reality is there will always be events that cause stress or concern, there will always be times of oversupply and undersupply of money. The truth is that money is just a by-product of your efforts, it does not define who you are. Money is just the fair exchange for the value (product or service) you provide to someone else.
As a woman entrepreneur, I have always had the freedom to set my own vision and agenda; and while it may not have made me a millionaire, it has served me and others very well. My purpose – and I believe yours – is to serve humanity with our unique personality, skills and talents.
How can you serve others?
This is where vision comes in. I believe every businesswoman should set their vision based on one question, “How can I serve others?” This does not mean giving away money, nor does it mean being in servitude or slavery. It means, how do you create a business that helps other people in a positive way for which you are fairly rewarded monetarily?
The conversation becomes about how we as women build on our intrinsic nature to serve, to make our businesses about the other person (our customers, employees and communities) and not only ourselves?
In my own experience I have had the most impact on people and financial reward when I ran a small independent agency with six employees compared to when I joined a large corporate concern where profit sat clearly in the centre of everything. I was promised “a smaller stake in a bigger pie”, which really meant nothing in the end.
I know through experience that embracing a serving attitude – and this is a mindset as well as a vision – should be the foundation of your business.
We all need something to believe in – this is one of the intrinsic human desires that motivates us through life. Your vision, what you focus on and how you live your life, is what defines you when things get tough, and I believe that by being tuned in to how we can give to others versus how much we can take, new opportunities come our way. New doors open up, new revenue streams, new like-minded people and renewed vision.
As women we have the power to change how business is done, but let’s not try to change a system that is based on chasing profit with corporate structures in a male dominated hegemony which is at its very core is mostly based around taking not giving.
Let’s create a new WOMENpreneurship that is built on serving and by doing so taking responsibility for the positive impact we have on our customers, employees and communities.
We can change our country, by starting a little business that serves others, bringing in an income for you and one other person, which will lead to bigger things…
Janine Lloyd is an award-winning entrepreneur, Marketing and PR expert and personal branding coach. She has spent over 30 years building businesses and brands; accelerating them and their leaders to the next level. She founded award-winning strategic communications agency, PR Expert, which focuses on helping business owners better position and brand their company for success. She recently founded a personal branding company, the Lloyd Brand Agency, to help individuals unlock their brand genius and give them a competitive advantage that will accelerate their career and/or launch their business for success.
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