Top female entrepreneurs share what it takes to succeed

Nothando Tembe

21 August is World Entrepreneurs’ Day and we look at some of the most important lessons successful entrepreneurs have shared about what it takes to succeed in business.

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you are a woman.

A report by StatsSA states that despite women making up just over half of the South African population, they remain relatively unrepresented in positions of authority and power.

“If we take a brief look at the Top 40 JSE listed companies, only one company had a female CEO,” StatsSA reports.

Apart from having to deal with stereotypes, women often have to go the extra mile to prove that they are just as capable as men.

Some women who are breaking barriers and leading in their fields of business have shared with us the most important lessons they have learned over the years as leading female entrepreneurs.

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Be consistent and in competition with yourself
World’s Best Female Chef, Chantel Dartnall, who owns Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria says the most important business lesson she has learned is to never reach your comfort zone.

“Never be content with what you have achieved today. Be constantly in competition with yourself and always push to go that extra step further every day. Only then will you reach great heights,” advises the world-renowned chef.

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Work hard
Author, philanthropist‚ and businesswoman Dr Judy Dlamini says to succeed in business one “needs hard work, focus, and resilience. Learn from people around you, and never give up on yourself and your dreams.”

Keep going
“No matter what happens you keep getting up because I can assure you it’s not going to be glitz and glam, but your heart, determination, and passion will keep you going,” says Boitumelo Selepe, founder of Royal Wardrobe Designs.

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Don’t get into debt you can’t handle
“Don’t get into more debt than you can handle. I believe strongly in the saying “fail fast, fail small” meaning that you try out your idea and learn your lessons as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. Lack of funding is likely to be your biggest problem, so really focus on the money and making best use of your resources,” entrepreneur and founder of Khanyisa Real Systems (KRS), Lorraine Steyn told LoA.

Be versatile
“You will need to develop emotional intelligence, leadership qualities, and abilities to collaborate and communicate across different cultures, religions, and personalities in the future. Learning these softer skills is what will separate high performers from laggers in an ever more technical and automated, location independent future of work,” advises Annette Muller, the Founder and CEO of DOTNXT and Flexy.

Love what you do
Nothando Tembe who runs a creative lifestyle agency which helps build successful brands online for clients in Durban and Johannesburg adds that you have to have “love and passion” for what you do. “This usually makes it easy for you to be consistent.”

Melanie Groenewald, a Field guide says, “always remember what Albert Einstein said: ‘do something you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’. It’s simple, if you love what you do, everything falls into place.”

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