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Stamina: An Entrepreneur’s Most Underrated Trait

If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the most important ingredients you’ll need to succeed isn’t lots of money or even luck, as many would have you believe – it’s stamina.

Fedhealth

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Running your own business can be exhilarating and rewarding, but also exhausting. Too often, we see the shiny end result of a successful start up without seeing the years of hard work that went into it. If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the most important ingredients you’ll need to succeed isn’t lots of money or even luck, as many would have you believe – it’s stamina. 

Many of us look at successful entrepreneurs and attribute their success to a single brilliant idea, or to their social connections. While these can be important ingredients to success, the actual backbone of “making it” as an entrepreneur is something different altogether: it’s having both physical and mental stamina.

Physical stamina means having enough energy to apply yourself and work hard through long workdays, late nights and even weekends. Mental stamina is possibly even more important though, as it’s essential for dealing with the stress of not earning a salary, the inevitable setbacks you’ll face as a business owner, and an ever-changing world where you need to be highly adaptable.

Related: Fedhealth Brings Healthy Benefits to your Staff

So as a small business owner, how do you make sure you build the mental and physical stamina to keep going?

1. Create work boundaries

Speak to any small business owner and they’ll tell you that it’s very difficult to switch off from thinking about their business, so they put in long hours of work every day and night. But if you do this, you’ll burn out very quickly and run out of the energy you need to keep going in the long run.

To prevent this, set firm boundaries for yourself for when you work and when you don’t (for example never past 6pm on a weekday). It’s also a good idea to take a holiday once or twice a year where you completely switch off for a longer period of time.

2. Cultivate balance

It seems counter-intuitive, but the more your life contains things other than work, the more energy you’ll have when it comes to work. Things like a regular exercise routine, having hobbies outside of work and carving out time to relax can all help you do this.

Marc Levi, co-founder of Tarloy Properties, prioritises personal engagements first before work meetings to make sure he fits them in to his week.

“By diarising personal commitments first, you make sure that they don’t take a back seat to work and never happen,” he says.

3. Do what you enjoy

If you get up everyday to do what you love to do, you’ll naturally have more motivation to keep going, which in turn will increase your chances of success. In other words, start a business in an industry you feel passionate about, rather than one you’re ambivalent about but that seems lucrative.

Simon Black, Managing Director of Black Pepper Properties agrees, saying that stamina as an entrepreneur is best gained by focusing on delivering to your customers, rather than simply concentrating on the money you’re trying to make.

4. Surround yourself with a good support network

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A good support network can include friends or family you can relax with, business partners who share a common vision, and professional mentors who can guide you strategically. Gary Keizan, director of guided tour company SafariScapes & Aviation, says that finding other entrepreneurs in non-competing businesses is also an invaluable support.

“By meeting up with other people in the same boat as you, you can share your learnings, stresses and challenges to help you along the way,” he says.

Related: Corporate Wellness Doesn’t Have To Break Your (Small Business) Bank Account

5. See the bigger picture

Seeing the bigger picture means knowing that failures are inevitable but that they can actually help you get to your end goal. Maybe investor funding falls through, or you get a bad product review, or you don’t hit the sales targets you projected.

Whatever happens, failure is a great teacher and can propel you further along your path than if everything goes perfectly. A crucial part of this is focus: Keizan says that many entrepreneurs suffer from what he calls “shiny penny syndrome”, where they’re distracted by every shiny opportunity or “penny” they come across. Rather, successful business owners who go the distance are ones who harness the power of focus to move in one purposeful direction.

Having the stamina to keep going as an entrepreneur takes work, and it’s something we don’t often think we need when starting our own business.

Success rarely happens overnight – in fact, it’s usually the result of a long road of continued determination to reach your goal. Building in ways to ensure you nurture both mental and physical stamina means you’re more likely to get there.

When it comes to corporate wellness programmes, most medical schemes only offer wellness services to companies of 100 people or more. In contrast, Fedhealth’s Corporate Wellness programme focuses on small to medium enterprises too. No matter what your company size, their programme helps you promote healthy employees, reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity and reduce absenteeism, ultimately contributing to the growth of your business.

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Building Customer Relationships

Are you working in a retail environment? Explore the Wits Plus online short course in Customer Relationship Building through the DigitalCampus.

Wits Plus

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Most retail businesses agree that providing excellent customer experience is imperative for a retail store to be successful.

But what is customer experience?  According to Forrester, an independent market research company, customer experience is “How customers perceive their interactions with your company”.

They explain that good customer experiences have three relevant characteristics for the customer:

  1. They are useful, thus deliver value and meet customer needs.
  2. They are usable, so the value is easy to find and engage with.
  3. They are enjoyable, and emotionally engaging so people want to use them.

The customer ‘interactions’ are the two-way exchanges that customers have with the company. A customer will make a judgement as to whether the company meets their needs, is easy to use and enjoyable to do business with. These judgements happen every single time the customer interacts with the company: when they navigate the company website, call the contact centre, enter the retail store, buy company products, talk to an employee, respond to an advert and so forth.

Providing excellent customer experience is challenging. The systems and processes required for excellent customer experience include understanding your customers, building a positive emotional connection with them, capturing and acting on feedback, developing and training everyone in the company and measuring the return on investment. All this is difficult enough to manage in a national company but what does it mean in this age of international and multinational companies?

Related: Customer Control For Entrepreneurs

Providing a superb customer experience is first underpinned by understanding the cultures, history, experiences and sensibilities of customers and then respecting them. Again, this is more manageable if your company is national and its cultural values are aligned with the national values and history. However, achieving this in a multi-national organisation where the historical experience and cultural values of the organisation may not be aligned with the country they are operating in, can be a real challenge.  A diverse workforce is also imperative to providing an outstanding customer experience and the importance of diversity is magnified in a multinational organisation.

This is demonstrated by the infamous ‘H&M hoodie incident’ that happened early this year. In Sweden the only jungle is urban, there are no wild monkeys and the black population is relatively small. As one would expect in a Scandinavian organisation, the H&M group board has good male-female diversity, but there are few black Swedes in senior decision-making positions. Few Swedes have experienced how skin colour can provide an all-pervasive feeling of difference, of ‘us and them’, and they have little, if any, understanding of these issues on a personal level.

However, H&M is a global organisation and therefore needs to have an intimate understanding of the different cultures and sensibilities of their customers in the different countries where they have a footprint; and respect them. The simple expedient of introducing a process whereby a local executive ensures that a new product is culturally sensitive could have demonstrated some organisational understanding of this issue.

The H&M hoodie debacle is an excellent example of how not understanding the customer can negatively impact on customer experience; how it can break the emotional engagement with customers and lose their trust. This incident has made it difficult for South African customers to engage positively with H&M. The importance of diversity in the senior teams throughout a multinational can directly impact the customer experience and the bottom line. In short, one picture and a hoodie nearly undermined the reputation of the organisation in South Africa!

Are you working in a retail environment? Explore the Wits Plus online short course in Customer Relationship Building through the DigitalCampus.

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Company Posts

Entrepreneurs Can Explore Opportunities In Growing Digital Textile And Interior Décor Markets

Those wanting to explore opportunities in digital textile printing can speak to experts at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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According to Mark Sollman, application manager at Mimaki, ‘Digital printing technologies are revolutionising the interior décor business. Not only can these items be produced more rapidly and with less waste than with traditional manufacturing processes, digital printing offers the ability to customise – or even personalise – interior décor.’

The global printed textile market is huge, estimated at over 32 billion square metres of output annually. Print is widely used to decorate the surface appearance of furniture and surfaces. Digital textile printing is ideal for customisation – allowing consumers to print unique products for their homes or businesses.

There are also emerging niche opportunities. For example, with the wide use of online travel review sites, hotels are increasingly keen to deliver a fresh experience. A ‘TripAdvisor effect’ has been identified, with the claim it reduces the hotel renovation cycle from every seven years to every five years, consequently boosting the market for printed décor.

There are many T-shirt printers offering a web-to-shirt service, where the buyer uploads their own unique image to be printed on to a garment on demand. The printing takes a large part of the value and will be done close to the buyer. For a fashion collection, stock-outs may be avoided by printing and making popular sizes and styles locally in small quantities.

Related: Explore Business Opportunities In Print At The Sign Africa And FESPA Africa Expo

This makes higher manufacturing cost less of a problem, and internet retailers can extend this with only commissioning the product after a sale has been completed online. Increasingly, supply chains are being pressured to provide greater flexibility, which inkjet textile printing is able to provide.

Applications with interior décor include; customised wall coverings and photo wall murals; window coverings and wall decals; curtains and blinds, cushions, lampshades and bags.

Those wanting to explore opportunities in digital textile printing can speak to experts at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre. There are also a range of educational features, including: 

Textile Experience

Visit this hands-on workshop where printers can learn different techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb, who has been in the screen printing industry since 1976, and heads up Taublieb Consulting in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a company specialising in technical screen printing consulting for textile printers. This takes place from 12-14 September, in hall 1 on the Rexx Screen & Digital Supplies stand.

T-Shirt and Bag Printing Workshop

Free demonstrations by local experts on T-shirts and bags with speciality printing techniques, direct to transfer and screen printing. For more info visit http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSignAfrica5

Related: Considerations For Signage And Printing Industry Start-Ups

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Explore Business Opportunities In Print At The Sign Africa And FESPA Africa Expo

Business opportunities will be showcased on various exhibitor stands at the upcoming Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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Opportunities for start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses will be showcased in daily 30 minute sessions on the hour. These sessions are free of charge. A range of topics relating to T-shirt printing, signage, branding, working with acrylic, doming and wide format printing will be covered.
TIME WED 12 SEP TIME THURS 13 SEP TIME FRI 14 SEP
09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems. 09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems 09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems
10H30 Midcomp hall 3: Work smarter with the HP R2000 10H30 Midcomp hall 3: Business opportunities in branding bottles and more. 10H30 Midcomp hall 3: T-shirt printing on the DCS 1800 mini Flatbed printer.

 

11h30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: T-shirt graphics using Poli-flex Turboflex Heat Transfers. 11H30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: Working with Plexiglas – A variety of tools will be onsite to demonstrate correct working techniques. 11H30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: Doming using UltraDome
12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Start or expand your own corporate gift branding  business 12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Investigate adding white toner T-shirt printing vs traditional printing. 12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Investigate adding white toner T-shirt printing vs traditional printing.
13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown. 13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown. 13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown.
14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb 14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb 14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb

For more information, and to pre-register online, please visit http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSignAfrica4.

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Related: Business Opportunities In Printing And Signage

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