By Amanda Khoza, Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion, Liberty Group
What I’m about to say may seem bizarre, but next time you order your grilled or fried salmon, think for a moment about its biology. Thing is, salmon swim upstream, purposefully, willfully; they are the natural essence of being disruptors. They don’t go with the flow, the norm, the usual, the easy – they are focused and passionate in pushing boundaries. They swim upstream to reach fresh water that they were born into; some make it, some remain in the ocean unable to fulfill their innate biology to go upstream.
A friend of mine, whose brother’s name is Will, used to fondly say of her brother: “Where there’s Will there’s a way”. Such trust and love in that he would come through no matter what, is sweet, but it takes more than having the will to do things that ends in success. It starts with the will and passion but it is important to sustain it to reach your desired outcomes. That is why it is important for an entrepreneur to pause and measure and assess if they are on the right track and if they have the right resources to accomplish their goals. It is necessary to take stock and ensure that they equip their passion so that it can be realized. Passion is a verb.
As mid-year fast approaches, all forms of measurements bombard our lives: mid-year fiscal outlook, economic fundamentals data, interim business results, mid-year exams, health-checks, stock taking and taking stock. As a business-owner, do you have a clear road map with performance objectives that you revisit and evaluate for relevance and continuity? As you face upstream, do you have the ability to go all the way or are you pushed down and don’t have enough in you or around you to make it? What is your capital outlay and access – do you have sufficient capital to win it and equip your passion?
A well-functioning business is said to be efficient in its cost, time and response management. By assessing its capital, usually measured in its financial and tangible assets, a business can determine whether there is efficiency in its processes. I would like to propose that your capital stock take, broaden this definition to include 3 types: business, human and personal. Firstly, you need to take stock of business working capital and having a real understanding of your assets and liabilities. This will tell you how financially healthy your company is and that you are efficiently managing your business. Coupled to this, do you know the value of your human capital? Having the right resources and measuring productivity levels will help ensure that you don’t have unused ‘stock’ that is not adding value. As an entrepreneur, it is on you to make the right and tough decisions in your business and sometimes you need to move to a more reasonably priced office block, get a smaller financing option or reduce the team - if you’re not getting commensurate cost-benefit.
The most important stock take is that on personal capital. Whilst they are energised by their passion and driving and doing business, entrepreneurs are prone to neglecting their own stock take. Remember you are the back-bone of your business and skipping simple things like making sure you schedule regular health checks and following your doctor’s orders, can cripple your business. Also, making sure that you have life outside the office box is a form of rejuvenation as this can assistyou to get help, draw support and learn new and interesting things about life that can feed into your business. Doing this, is a practical way of thinking outside the box to re-energize you or to take some time out and help you consciously reflect on the strength of your capital. Business continuity and success is thus more holistically about taking stock and taking care of all three types of capital before you capitulate from pressure and not from passion or purpose.
Remember the salmon: do you have the courage (read, ability and capability) to swim upstream? Knowing what you have to employ and deploy and having decided to follow your passion, remember to constantly check in, understand your access to capital, take stock and equip your passion, after all - you did…
“Choose the life that is yours, the life that is seducing your lungs, that is dripping down your chin” -- Nayyirah Waheed, njema
Amanda Khoza is the Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion at Liberty Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a passionate advocate for economic empowerment, financial literacy, and believes in the power of entrepreneurship to make real and lasting societal change happen on the African continent. Amanda is championing a host of initiatives for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, including partnering with Lionesses of Africa on the Lioness Lean In Liberty Sessions programme for intrapreneurs at Liberty, supporting The Mix newsletter each month as an impact partner, and joining with Standard Bank as the impact partners for the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator programme series in Johannesburg.
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