"It's better to be a lioness for a day than a sheep all your life!"
The Edit is the blog of LoA founder and editor-in-chief, Melanie Hawken. Featuring opinion, commentary and analysis on a wide range of topics of interest to today’s women entrepreneurs on the African continent. It’s your daily must-read for relevant, thought-provoking entrepreneur news, with the occasional irreverent moment thrown in for good measure.
It’s still early in the new year but do you find you are still in vacation mode, not quite on your game yet and inevitably thinking you can put off fulfilling certain key tasks until tomorrow, or next week, or next month? Procrastination really is a negative hurdle that gets in the way of achieving success, so to start this new year in the right spirit, it’s better to get focused on the doing, not the excuse making. And let’s face it, procrastinating always takes more effort, particularly as it makes us feel guilty about what we should be doing. The well known US motivational speaker and writer, Denis Waitley, said: “Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, it carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.” Wise words, but have you also noticed that when you focus and you are very near to completing a particular task, you are motivated to reach the finish line? So what are you waiting for, stop procrastinating, just do it!
As entrepreneurs, we have probably all been there at some time or another - that point where our creativity in business seems to hit a roadblock and we are devoid of new ideas or new ways of doing things. However, there is no need to panic in these situations. One of the best ways of giving your creativity a real boost is through collaboration and bouncing ideas off other people who each bring something different to the table - and then it’s amazing how often new ideas emerge. As the hugely creative musician and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams says: “Collaborate with people you can learn from.” If you can open your mind and embrace the power of collaboration and being open to continually learning from others, then great things can be achieved. Collaboration is the spark which ignites innovative, out of the box thinking as a result of being surrounded with like-minded people who constantly push the envelope.
At the start of a new year it seems like there is all the time in the world to get things done, to create the next product, to build a brand, etc. But it’s easy to lose sight of what you are working towards with so much going on - it’s essential to keep the big picture in focus at all times. So do what the most successful entrepreneurs around the world do - check your day to day tasks and how you prioritize them by allocating them to a key goal you have to achieve as part of your big picture thinking. This requires discipline, but your business will thank you for it, as you will be constantly checking your actions in line with what the business needs you to achieve in order to thrive and grow. As Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group says, “Keep your eye on the bigger picture, but don't slip on attention to detail.”
How often do you hear people say “it’s impossible” when faced with a difficulty in life or a hurdle in business? Probably more often than you would like, but in the world of entrepreneurship, nothing is impossible. It might be hard (very hard at times), it will often be challenging, it will possibly test your willpower to the limits, but the chances are it won’t be impossible. It’s all a matter of how you look at life and how you approach it. The legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali, had an inspirational take on the subject, and was definitely an example of someone who defied the notion of impossible. He famously said: “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Words to inspire the next time you think something on your entrepreneurial journey is impossible.
If there is one thing we can never take for granted, it’s our customers. They are hard won, valued and hard to get back if we lose them. We need to take great care of the customers we have, and we constantly need to be on the lookout for our next customers who might be interested in what we have to sell. But we can’t just expect them to come and find us, just because we think we have great products or services to offer - it takes work, hard work, and constant work. Think about it - in our personal lives, we wouldn’t spend huge amounts of time, effort and money organizing the most wonderful party, and then not actively invite people to attend, instead just expecting them to hear about it by word of mouth and then come along. But often entrepreneurs underestimate the amount of time required to market to customers each and every day, in order to ensure the pipeline of orders and work continues to flow, and the company grows as a result. Consistent marketing to customers is an important habit to create, and like most habits, it needs to happen each and every day without fail in order to make the biggest impact. The marketplace is full of sales noise, competitors vying for ears, eyes and attention, and its essential that we ensure our brands, products and services are kept top of mind amongst the existing customers we are trying to keep or the new ones we are trying to win over. Make customer marketing your daily habit - your business will thank you for it.
One of the topics that comes up perhaps most often at our monthly Lioness Lean In Breakfast events around the continent is the fear experienced by startups that someone will come along and steal your idea. And yet as I often share in these conversations, this should not be your biggest worry as a startup. In fact, how to practically turn your idea into a viable business proposition, and getting it launched quickly into the marketplace, should be your real concern. I was reminded of this fact when I was reading an article which featured a quote by Sean Parker, the founder of Napster. He said: “Your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is not concealing your idea from others or keeping your idea a secret, it is actually convincing people that you’re not crazy and that you can pull this off.” He’s so right - this is the real challenge to be overcome. So, stop worrying that someone is going to steal your idea and instead, build it, launch it, and refine it once it is out there - after all, the biggest advantage comes from being first to market.
How many times are we asked by people questions such as: so what’s next?; where to now?; what’s your next big plan/project?; how do you top what you achieved last year? It seems as there is never a time to actually enjoy the moment we are in, the current stage we have reached on our entrepreneurial journeys. But the point is, our lives do not have to be about constantly chasing the next goal, or the next seemingly out of reach target. We can take the time to simply enjoy where we are right now. As the internationally renowned author and speaker, Dr Wayne Dyer, said on the subject: “Present-moment living, getting in touch with your now, is at the heart of effective living. When you think about it, there really is no other moment you can live. Now is all there is, and the future is just another present moment to live when it arrives.” Something to think about as we journey through our own entrepreneurial lives. Enjoy living in the moment!
At a human level, we all know how wonderful it makes us feel to receive a compliment about our businesses, our brands and the products and services we are creating and delivering. And as entrepreneurs, we know how much hard work goes into building a successful business, or developing and launching a new product. Therefore, it’s great to receive recognition and appreciation for what we are doing. But it is particularly rewarding when our fellow entrepreneurs give us feedback and positively comment on our businesses, or the innovations behind our new products and services. After all, they know only too well the trials and tribulations, the tears shed, the hours and hours of sheer hard graft behind the scenes to get to that point. That’s why it’s important to take time to compliment and appreciate our fellow women entrepreneurs. Not only that, did you know that when you give a genuine and heartfelt compliment to someone, your body experiences a biochemical reaction of so called ‘happy chemicals’, such as oxytocin and serotonin, and that’s why it feels great to give a compliment, as well as receive one. So, go ahead and make another woman entrepreneur’s day today!
Do you remember the days when the job of building a brand for a business was the sole responsibility of external consultants and specialists, together with a small number of executives in the boardroom? If you have ever worked inside a big corporate, then this will undoubtedly resonate. However, for the entrepreneur, particularly the startup busy building a brand from the ground up, usually with a small budget but big ideas, this is no longer the case. Today, it’s the responsibility of everyone in the business, from the founders to the employees who are along for the exciting startup ride. It’s still great to have expert input and advice from the brand specialists, particularly if they are also startups and know only too well how to maximize creative ideas and equally creativebudget conscious spend and are prepared to walk-the-walk with you. But gone are the days of remote branding experts controlling a company’s brand-building efforts from behind closed doors - today, successful brand-building is the responsibility of everybody in the business - from the CEO to the sales team. It’s all about creating the best customer experience, making every brand touchpoint count, and everyone inside the company or contributing to it, has a key role to play.
I don’t know about you, but I am the ultimate list-maker - I love writing them and fastidiously ticking off the actions, one by one as they are completed. It not only makes me feel better, particularly on those days where there just seem to be too many things to be achieved in an impossibly small amount of time, but it also increases my productivity. However, as an entrepreneur, there is always a danger with list-making that they never actually get completed, just added to constantly, and therefore they become more of a burden than a help. So, here are some tips to help you get those to-do lists completed. Firstly, break large tasks into smaller pieces, thereby making them easier to complete on deadline. Secondly, prioritize all the actions on the list - use the 80/20 principle - work out what is going to deliver 80% of the impact for 20% of the effort. Thirdly, plan ahead to maximize your efficiency and that of your teams. Finally, keep your to-do lists realistic and achievable. Ultimately, it’s all about the planning and the prioritizing - happy list-making!
I was walking through Manhattan during the holidays and seeing the vast numbers of shoppers on the streets, all proudly carrying their branded store tote bags giving a hint of the good things contained inside. But it’s so much more than that. The way these brands create a story through their tote bags and generate real customer loyalty along the way is really interesting. Take for example the hugely successful Toms shoe brand, which has built a huge customer following as a result of its strong philanthropic messaging and its sincere goodwill. It’s branded tote bags over the holidays carried the ethos of the company through its messaging - ‘for one, another’. Toms donates a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair purchased by a customer. The donation scheme is not a publicity stunt; it’s the solid foundation of the company and the brand, its at the heart of its personality. Customers identify with that ethos and want to feel part of it, hence their pride at carrying the brand and messaging on the tote bags that accompany their purchases. Building brand loyalty is hard, but if there is a key take-out from the Toms and other brand tote stories, it’s that customers want to identify with and support brands that reflect their own personalities, desires and concerns. Tapping into that customer consciousness with real sincerity is key in a highly competitive and often cynical brand environment.
Watching the political shifts currently underway in the US, post election, and hearing all the commentary and analysis of Barack Obama’s presidency now that it is coming to an end, serves up some interesting lessons that can be applied to the world of entrepreneurship. One of those lessons is about the power of perseverance, and having the ability to pursue a dream, no matter how hard the journey, how many obstacles and challenges are put in the way, or how many failures are experienced in pursuit of success. In the words of Barack Obama, he said on the subject: "The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” In business, just as in politics, perseverance is an essential part of the journey, and it’s important to remember that there are very few instances of ‘instant success’ - it is usually hard earned over a long period of time.
Steve Jobs once said: “My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” How true, and as entrepreneurs we know just how precious time is and how we need to maximize our time and effort to make the biggest difference in our lives and businesses. Yet it’s not all about imposing impossible deadlines on ourselves - it’s more about how we manage our time more effectively. It’s human nature to adjust our efforts to fit the parameters and deadlines we set for ourselves, which can sometimes mean that we procrastinate and take the maximum time we have allowed for us to complete set tasks, instead of just getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. So if we are genuinely going to make the most of our precious time as entrepreneurs, perhaps we should concentrate more on completing tasks as they arise, getting them out of the way, and then freeing up our time to do things that we really enjoy and which contribute to our quality of life and the future growth and development of our businesses.
I am a great believer that, as an entrepreneur, if you do something you love and have a passion for, then success in business and in life has a much better chance of following. I was reminded of this when I read a great quote by Oprah Winfrey on this subject, who said: “What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow… If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. Would you do your job and not be paid for it? I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That’s how you know you are doing the right thing.” Great words to inspire!
Today, consumers are becoming much more aware of value driven business and make conscious purchasing decisions based on their sharing of key values. Therefore, in an increasingly competitive world where so many brands and businesses are competing for marketshare and share of voice, it’s becoming more important than ever to tell the world what you and your brand stand for. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, nicely summarized the connection when he said: “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”The question is, are you ready and on-script with your story? Your brand’s story has to resonate with consumers in a way that creates a tangible and emotional connection. Your brand needs to demonstrate and communicate that it really “gets” who they are and what they need, that the values underpinning your brand resonate with the consumers you are looking to get on side. So, if you haven’t articulated your own brand values, then now is a good time to do just that.
Have you asked yourself recently why you became an entrepreneur? Do you remember that lightbulb moment, the one that switched on your business idea and turned you into the entrepreneur you are today? Do you remind yourself why you are actually working all these hours when perhaps your friends and family are doubting your life choices? It’s good to keep reflecting on this journey we are on as entrepreneurs, particularly on the tough days. We all know that entrepreneurship isn’t easy and certainly not for sissies - and there are arguably lots of easier ways to earn a living (as perhaps your friends and relatives will tell you on a regular basis!). But let’s face it, there is nothing quite as empowering or life affirming than to be your own boss, to build that successful business or brand, to create an exciting new product or concept and launch it out into the world. Something to keep reminding yourself about!
Success is all about having the right mindset and if you listen to those entrepreneurs who have made it in life and in entrepreneurship, they share a really positive attitude to their lives and business building ventures. But it all starts with mindset. They will tell you that the road to success starts with being in the right headspace, knowing how to master their minds first and foremost to prepare themselves for what lies ahead, good and bad. They start with learning how to appreciate where they are right now on their entrepreneurial journeys and what it has taken to get there. They have realized that the best place to start on the next leg is exactly where they are today. They also know that it’s essential to have end goals and aspirations, but to be truly successful and to adopt an ‘anything’s possible’ approach, it starts by taking the time to appreciate the road already travelled. It’s a good lesson to learn.
I was reading a really interesting social media post earlier today which I am sure will make lots of sense to all those entrepreneurs, particularly startups, who have to get the art of daily time management right in business. The article looked at entrenching good habits, particularly around making the most of creative time - the notion of being a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon. It makes sense if you think about it. As your own boss and manager of your time, you have to maximize your most creative hours when you are at your freshest, usually the morning when your energy levels are at their height. It then makes sense to tackle the more menial, administrative tasks in the business in the latter part of the day in the afternoon and early evening. However, this approach does take a certain amount of self discipline. For example, making it a rule not to constantly monitor your smartphone for messages or social media activity, and to ignore emails or restrict them appearing on your screens and mobile devices by restricting internet access or through apps like SelfControl. Learning the art of self management is one of the keys to success as entrepreneurs, but it is worth all the effort when you see the results.
At some point, given the busy lives we all lead, the chances are we all knowing what we should be doing to maximize our productivity each day, but we can’t help putting things off. We tell ourselves we can do it later, tomorrow, next week, and we add it to our ever growing ‘to do’ list - but the problem is the list keeps getting longer and some things just never get done. The fact is that procrastination is a real productivity killer, and to be successful, we need to be as productive as we can during the time we allocate each day to our businesses. Instead of creating ‘to do’ lists that never actually get done because we simply tick off a few easy quick wins from the list and never get around to doing the tough stuff, we should instead start tackling the important and difficult tasks first. By taking this approach, we are being super productive, we are learning the art of prioritisation, we are freeing up both time and mind space to allow us to concentrate on doing the things that will have the biggest impact. So, if you want to become super productive, stop procrastinating and just get the ‘to do’ list done!
As entrepreneurs we constantly deal with just about every type of challenge that life throws at us, and we usually find solutions - eventually. What we perhaps forget as we are battling those challenges is that we will inevitably make mistakes along the way - it’s part of the journey. The trick is to learn from every mistake, to find a positive take-out from every experience, and most importantly, to learn to let go. Making mistakes are hard enough to take on any set day, but when we let those mistakes creep into the next day when we should be starting out with renewed energy, that’s when it becomes an issue. The thing to remember is that when mistakes are made, acknowledge them, learn from them, and then move on. Don’t let yourself relive them as soon as you open your open your eyes in the morning. It’s a new day with new opportunities and new things to learn - leave your baggage behind and embrace the new.
As part of sponsorship of this year’s Lionesses of Africa 2016 Annual Conference, GE Africa Innovation Centre, General Electric’s newly launched Innovation Centre, based in Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, and serving Sub-Saharan Africa, sponsored an Open Challenge for Women Entrepreneurs. Key qualification criteria for entrants included “a sustainable digital solution to a pressing challenge – or opportunity - ideally focusing on the sectors, and businesses, that GE SSA serves.”
The winner of the USD 1 500.00 prize, which includes the opportunity to work with the GE AIC team on developing the proposed project, is Vere Shaba, the owner and managing director of Shaba Green Building Solutions. Vere’s renewable energy project presents a potentially sustainable opportunity for Africa and leveragesthe piezoelectric effect (the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress) produced by human footsteps - African footsteps!
In nominating Vere, the GE judges noted that: “Vere’s entry took the Challenge into a truly innovative dimension. Her entry and background assured us that she has the skills, knowledge, drive and insight to take her project well beyond concept to a primary testing and piloting phase. We look forward to working with her on this challenge.”
At Lionesses of Africa, we are delighted to see Vere Shaba winning this inaugural Challenge. Her innovative work in the field of green buildings and sustainable energy solutions within the built environment has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives here in Africa. She is a worthy winner and an inspiration to others that will follow in her footsteps.
If there is one thing that entrepreneurs in Africa can learn from global big business, it’s that there’s nothing more important than building and retaining trust in your brand. How many times in recent years have we seen negative market responses and even greater negative media coverage around those big companies and brands that lose trust amongst their customers and stakeholders due to their actions, and as a result, collapse or shrink their marketshare. In today’s highly competitive and transparent marketplace, trust is a brand’s license to operate, and there has been a growing distrust of big business by consumers. When Edelman published its 2016 Trust Barometer, it found that 80% of consumers felt that businesses must lead the way in contributing to the solving of social problems, becoming caring and responsible entities, committed to playing their part. Some of the most successful businesses and brands today are building trust with authentic and transparent attempts to do so. It’s something for all entrepreneurs to think about as they go about the business of building caring, responsible brands to be trusted.
There is one recurring challenge for women entrepreneurs that we hear a lot about at our regular Lioness Lean In Breakfast events, and that is how to work more on the business, rather than in it. It’s so easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day issues, the fire-fighting, the administration and the general minutiae of running a business that it’s easy to lose the big picture and maintain perspective. Although it’s part of the overall challenge of being an entrepreneur, its essential to be able to take a step back on a regular basis and see what you need to do to keep making positive changes to the business that will keep it on track and growing. So, here are 10 useful tips to ensure you keep working on your business, not continually in it.
- Delegate or shop-out mundane activities that are a drain on your time
- Increase your brand’s visibility by harnessing the power of social media - in other words, get people talking about it for you
- Research why customers buy your products and services and use that insight to better hone your marketing activities
- Step back and look at your website through the eyes of a new customer, and fine-tune it
- Prioritise and focus on the 80/20 - work on what will deliver 80% of the results, for 20% of the effort
- Get on top of your on-line metrics - understand who’s visiting your website and social media platforms, what are they buying, how are they connecting?
- Take better care of your customers - improve your after-sales service and communication
- Improve your sales conversion rates - look at how to turn your website hits into downloads, CRM opportunities and sales
- Congratulate yourself and your employees on work well done and celebrate the small wins, not just the big ones!
- Keep the big vision for the business constantly in sight, and ensure employees are also focused on making it a reality.
There’s no doubt about it, the journey of building a business is easier when travelled with the ones you love and who care for you, alongside you for support. You know the saying “if you want to go far go alone, if you want to go further travel together”. There is nothing more rewarding than celebrating our first business successes than with friends, colleagues and family, or leaning on those very same people when the inevitable hardships and disappointments hit. I was reading an extract from a really useful book this weekend that reminded me of all these things and the importance of building a great support system as entrepreneurs. Meg Hirshberg, author of For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families, suggests having discussions around the three principle areas before you actually launch your business as part of your preparation process. Firstly, get your family members around the table to discuss how your family life will change once you have launched your business and embarked on your entrepreneurial journey. Secondly, give them all a heads-up on how finances might get tight in the early days of launching the business and explain the need for possible compromise and understanding around lifestyle. Finally, make sure that everyone grasps the big picture and supports where you are going with your business vision. Having everyone on the same page will help from an emotional and practical perspective in the early days of launching your business.
Markets may change, business models may be tweaked, but the one consistent factor in business is the need to maintain a laser focus on the things that are important to you and the future success of your business and brand. That laser focus also extends to keeping a watchful eye on developments and opportunities in the markets in which youoperate, constantly talking to current and potential customers about their needs, and being ready to respond with products and solutions that can fill a gap. A laser focus also means doing the basics right, day in day out, whilst at the same time staying connected with everyone who is part of your value chain, from your employees to your suppliers. After all, a company is only as good as its weakest link, so ensuring that everyone who is a part of your entrepreneurial journey is fully committed to the brand and the business goals, and understands their part in the company’s future success, is critical. So, no matter how many other things may have to change and pivot as your business grows, one thing that needs to remain consistent is your laser focus on the things that matter.
How many times do you hear people talking about all their ideas for new businesses, new projects, new innovations? As the old saying goes, ”Ideas are a dime a dozen," but the real trick is taking that idea and turning it into something tangible and viable. It’s all about execution, and that’s where the hard work comes in. What separates entrepreneurs and innovators from those who simply talk about ideas they have is that they take action. They know that an idea without execution remains simply that—an idea, a paper exercise or a passing thought. For most people that is where the thought process begins and ends. What makes the difference is that entrepreneurs are those that go the extra mile, they look at what it takes to turn that idea into a product, or a business, or a solution to a key challenge - they execute, one step at a time. They don’t allow themselves to get bogged down by focusing too much on the big picture in the early days of the process, they simply build that idea one practical block at a time until it becomes something tangible. It’s all about the execution and that’s what matters.
Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being a professional sportsperson in many ways. If you want to run a successful business, it’s essential to understand the mental, psychological and behavioral characteristics that are the key building blocks for success. It starts with having a positive mental attitude. The indomitable US entrepreneur and retail brand building legend, Debbi Fields, Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, said: “The one thing that I think is critical in the entrepreneurial spirit is that it’s all attitude. If you think you can, then you’re half way there. If you say, ‘I can’t,’ then you’re defeated.” Its hard to be a successful entrepreneur without a positive attitude because you are certain to experience difficult times along your business journey and your success or failure will be determined at these times. So there are a couple of key questions to ask yourself when starting out in business to test your positive attitude. Firstly, are you confident you can build a successful business, even when things might not go according to the original plan or take far longer than you could have thought possible? Secondly, do you feel good about your chances for success as an entrepreneur despite all the challenges that life might throw at you? If you can positively answer yes to both of these questions, then as Debbi Fields says: “You’re half way there.” It’s all about starting with a positive mental attitude.
As entrepreneurs we get excited when we create a new product or service that we think is revolutionary or will take our customers by storm. But the thing to remember is that the most powerful way to reach and connect those customers to our new offerings is to tap into their real needs, their challenges that need solutions, their business pain points that need new ways of doing things. It’s about creating an opportunity to add real value to their personal or business journeys. Often the best way of making this connection with customers is to create a real and meaningful experience with your product or service, to get them to feel what their lives would be like and how they could be improved by using that product or service. It’s why homeware and furniture designers create stylized room sets that hint at a lifestyle to come with the purchase of a new table or crockery set; or why computer software or hardware designers create and market solutions that are geared towards lifestyle (think IPod, Apple Watch, fitness wristbands etc) and create customer experiences to connect aspirational lifestyle to product. So, when launching and marketing your new product or service, ask yourself the question ‘are you giving your identified customer an experience as well as a solution?’
We have all heard the saying “Courage is having the heart and roar of a lion” - but for women entrepreneurs, courage comes in different forms and not necessarily with the same amount of noise. If you watch a lioness on the plains of Africa, she is quietly confident, always watching and monitoring what is happening around her, choosing her moments to hunt and strike, and her moments to nurture and inspire, having the courage to deal with adversity. It is the same with women entrepreneurs on the continent - there are often many challenges to overcome when creating businesses, or trying to break into tough markets, or dealing with entrenched attitudes towards women in society and business. Yet what is inspirational is how Africa’s women entrepreneurs demonstrate courage and a confidence each and every day - as they build their companies, create their products and service offerings, launch their brands, and find ways to positively impact society through their social entrepreneurship solutions to major challenges. Women entrepreneurs here in Africa understand that courage is not the absence of fear on our business building journeys - rather it is feeling fear, facing it, and doing it anyway.
How many times as entrepreneurs do we know what our big dream or goal to be reached is, and we think we know what needs to be done to get there, but we just don’t do it regularly enough to make it happen - we are not consistent? We get caught up with the day-to-day challenges, stresses and strains of running our businesses that we forget the big picture. Yet, if we look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs and their businesses, consistency is what leads to success. They get the basic things right with the running of their businesses, but they also remain open to ideas and opportunities, and importantly, remain focused on the end goal and how they are going to get there. Ultimately, what makes the difference is that they are consistent in taking the dream and making it a reality, whilst doing the basics right day in, day out. Something we all need to think about as entrepreneurs as we chase our dreams.