By Khaya Dondolo

According to the World Bank, Africa boasts the highest growth rate of women-run businesses in the world. However, in Southern Africa men outnumber women when it comes to owning their own business. Apart from this reflection on our gender empowerment trajectory, this impacts negatively on the economy, especially when you consider the findings by McKinsey which stipulate that if women started businesses at the same rate as men, global GDP might increase by $28 trillion by 2025.

 Power of association

If “birds of a feather flock together” then your clients will be judging your business by each one of your staff members. If you were to do a SWOT analysis of your employees would they all fall within the “S” column – i.e. do the people you have chosen to employ/partner with represent your core values and reflect your vision and mission? Do they add value to the organisation? Do they reflect who you are and where you want to be? Are you confident they are powerful ambassadors for your business? If your analysis has some “Ws” in it, who should you be looking for?

Which personality types will add value to you and your business?

Here are 5 suggestions:

  • People who are curious will bring with them a constant supply of new ideas and solutions
  • Agile minded associates will ensure you are able to pivot when necessary – crucial in the COVID economy
  • Decisive decision makers will not get overwhelmed by options and fail fast if necessary
  • Life-long learners have an abundant mind set and constantly self-improve
  • Crazies/dreamers – the people Steve Jobs looked for – the ones who see things differently and will keep you on your toes

How do you find these value adders? You may already know them. If not, use your networks and social media to look for the right people. Set up meetings out of the office so that you get to know them personally and ensure they are the people you want to be with on your entrepreneurial journey.

Increased level of self-awareness

But it is not only about your associates – performing a personal internal stock take to ensure your business is getting the best out of you is an important exercise. Do you believe that you are worthy of success? Do you have a scarcity or abundance mindset? What does wealth mean to you? What are your goals? Does being an entrepreneur mean creating a business that you will be able to sell one day, so that you can pursue other passions that might involve art, family or travel? Alternatively, will you build a business as a legacy for your family? All these questions require a high level of self-awareness so that you know which door to knock on first.

5 Tips to ensure you are surrounded by the right people

Network with others in your sector

Associating with people who share the same business models provides opportunities to network and share information and resources.

Socially involvement

Be in a community where small business owners know one another both formally and informally

Engage

Reach out. Ensure your clients and competitors feel your presence

WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn

We live in a social media era – use Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp to start creating go-to contacts. Twitter also provides easy and quick access to entrepreneurs.

Connect

Great business connectivity is a recipe for a successful business – Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities – Michele Jennae

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