South Africa, like the rest of the world, has entered into a Coronavirus lockdown, yet the measures taken in our country have severely shocked the economy. With recovery tipped to be slow, this can be dispiriting, especially for businesses that have already been adversely impacted.
Yet there are ways to mitigate this. Catherine Wijnberg, the founder of Fetola, a national leader in the business growth sector, specialises in assisting SMEs with their growth trajectory. Lean startup and turnaround strategies are her specialty.
Wijnberg is convinced that there is an opportunity in every challenge. She should know: she has experience in starting, growing and operating businesses in five different sectors across three countries. In 2006, she started Fetola with the aim of transforming the local SME sector.
“It’s simple really,” explains Wijnberg, “we build businesses that last.” This has become even more critical for South Africa now, in the light of post-lockdown economic realities.
The expert insights in this book have inspired the entrepreneurs on Wijnberg’s business programmes to reach their full potential. Fetola runs Enterprise Development programmes for clients such as SAB Foundation, FNB, Sappi, Old Mutual and the EU.
Collated into a collection of 100 wisdoms under the provocative title of Sheep Will Never Rule the World, Wijnberg’s new book goes on sale in South Africa from 01 August 2020. Its release is timed to offer assistance to businesses needing to recover and reassess.
“One has to be slightly mad to own and run your own business,” she states, “but it’s an exciting, challenging and growing experience. I would like this book to provide inspiration in those moments when it all feels too much.”
Wijberg offers compelling advice to help business owners find their focus as they forge new pathways to success. Here are just 3 of the many useful take-outs you’ll benefit from in Sheep Will Never Rule the World:
- UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL OF YOUR PEOPLE AND REAP THE REWARDS OF EXCELLENCE
Firstly, build loyalty by engaging with your team as individuals. Let them know how important they are to the success of the company. Ask how they are doing – and listen to their response. Your personal interest builds trust and a sense of belonging.
- Secondly, get closer to the problem so you know the actual skill levels and potential of your team. We all thrive on praise so give it frequently, along with clear guidance on how they can improve.
- Lastly, improve your recruitment process to ensure that you get the best person for the job – not the cheapest, or the easiest, but the best! This way you will have quality people to work with, which will inspire you to take time to build their skills.
- WEALTH, LIKE SUCCESS, STARTS IN YOUR OWN HEART AND MIND
In our finance workshops, we speak about how money can affect our emotions, controlling our inner sense of deserving. We reflect on how one person who believes they deserve wealth becomes wealthy, whilst another who denies themselves this belief stays poor.
Mastering our emotions around money is vital – for us as individuals and for our business. The starting point is an awareness of your own relationship with money and its effect on you. I have found that the action point for changing this belief system is to learn and apply some simple skills, such as:
- reading inspirational books about money;
- honouring your need to earn an income;
- activating a savings plan;
- managing a healthy cash flow; and
- creating a vision to help others as you succeed.
The magical thing is: when you start looking after your money, it starts looking after you!
- LEADERSHIP IS MOST IMPORTANT WHEN IT IS MOST SCARY TO BE THE LEADER
As a leader, one must lead. There comes a time when every leader must speak up, sending a clear, strong and uniting message; communicating clearly and confidently that they have a direction, and a plan, that inspires others to follow. In this ongoing quest for leadership mastery, my own six steps are to:
- Invite comment – and listen with respect.
- Acknowledge input by thanking those who have shared their opinion.
- Develop a solution.
- Clearly communicate this solution, in a manner that unites and builds confidence in my leadership.
- Accept that I won’t always be liked. If all my people agree with me, chances are I have surrounded myself with weak ‘yes men’.
- Lead by example and show personal commitment to my plan.
The greatest challenge of leadership is knowing when to step in to take control of the circle of comment. Do it too soon and people feel unheard; do it too late and they feel leaderless. The beauty of leadership, however, is that you have the choice.
Proudly South African in concept and execution and tailored for our context, Sheep Will Never Rule the World empowers people with practical skills and valuable resources. Sheep Will Never Rule the World is published and distributed by Quivertree Publications and will be available at leading local bookstores and online.