MALEBO NGOPE | AUGUST 14, 2020
Today’s marketplace presents many difficulties for us as entrepreneurs, this reality is even harsher for me as a female entrepreneur trying to make an impact in my industry. From having to juggle multiple responsibilities daily while getting the business to scale- to dealing with the lack of access to resources and funds to grow my business. However, these are not the only pillars of a successful business.
You will need capital, support, confidence, industry experience, and knowledge; being the only Founder/Director in the company, it has taken me years to be a serial entrepreneur and master a lot of the aspects of the business world.
I also find myself struggling to focus on several aspects of the business, whether it’s marketing or sales, one of them suffers when I focus on the other which is why it is important to delegate and build a strong team of people who share the same vision as I do. A strong team needs to be remunerated accordingly therefore I still need to navigate through late payments and securing a consistent income to maintain the business. As a start-up, I need to play aggressively and punch above my weight to gain the access to market in ever-challenging and expanding markets.
Taking risks, being a powerful leader, and diversifying as a businesswoman- this also comes with the plight to success and building a strong business. Calculated risks are necessary, I have made many mistakes which I now see as lessons, I have also taken many risks which have proven to be successful-the ability to point out key factors which could help me grow has been a strong point of mine. A visionary attracts visionaries and that is how I have led my team and everybody who works with me, managing freelancers and employees positively has played a great role in getting to scale the business. Diversification is the key, I aim to diversify internally by adding new services in the company which relates to new sources of revenue. Depending on one source of revenue for too long is not a good thing for any entrepreneur.
The only real way to deal with all the above challenges is to love what you are doing. I have found purpose in being a business owner and changing how people see their businesses. Being an entrepreneur is exciting, having the ability to look at a problem and be determined to find a solution takes a lot of grit and craziness. Only crazy people change the world, you indeed need to be a little bit crazy to make it in this cut-throat, dog-eat-dog world.
There will be sleepless nights, there will be tears and it is getting tougher with the current pandemic and constant fight for gender equality and lots of other speed bumps we face daily as women. The future lies in collaboration and relentlessly moving with the times, enhancing the value proposition to clients, delegating the daily duties, and increasing the potential to get new and different kinds of work. The world is changing and so should we and our businesses.
The current global pandemic has proven now more than ever that the South African government needs to recognize entrepreneurship as something necessary to boost economic growth, create jobs in a country with record-high unemployment, and make (especially) women-owned companies globally competitive. We need to be taken seriously and we need to see the real impact of government institutions that have been put in place to support entrepreneurs.
These are some of the immediate things that come to mind in my own experience and entrepreneurship journey. I found myself learning how to manage projects by being thrown into the deep end. I do not fear these common challenges. Almost all successful entrepreneurs have overcome them at some point, and I can too.
“A smooth sea never makes good sailors”- Malebo Ngope (Founder MLB Digital)
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22 On Sloane is the largest startup campus in Africa. The campus offers disruptive startups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale, from the initial idea all the way to commercialisation, funding opportunities and access to markets. Its aim is to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, ensure their sustainability, and explore development of new industries and contribute towards job creation in Africa.
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