Kenton small business workshop inspires entrepreneurs

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ASPIRING small business entrepreneurs in the Kenton-on-Sea area received tips and tools on how to start and grow their businesses from Ziglar-certified coach Shona Bell recently.

About a dozen small businesspeople took advantage of the free workshop offered by Bell, who has experience in starting her own small businesses and recently took up business coaching and development training.

“For every corporate workshop I do, I want to do one of these community workshops,” she told TotT. “I have a passion for helping develop businesses in this area.”

Among the participants were fashion designers, DJs and people in the tourism industry.

MOTIVATING ENTREPRENEURS: Business coach Shona Bell held a small business workshop in Kenton-on-Sea recently Picture: JON HOUZET
MOTIVATING ENTREPRENEURS: Business coach Shona Bell held a small business workshop in Kenton-on-Sea recently Picture: JON HOUZET

Participants first brainstormed on challenges that face people who want to start their own businesses, including cashflow, the need for equipment, time management and fear of the unknown.

Bell urged the entrepreneurs to focus on what people want.

“Consider the Apple iPhone,” she said. “Twenty years ago cellphones were bricks. Nokia were making them smaller, now smartphones are bricks again, but they’re beautiful. Steve Jobs sold your desire for beauty. People will spend money on something beautiful.

“You have to find where your passion and the money meet,” she added.

Sinethemba Mapapu, who makes his own music, felt that focusing on what people want only applied to certain businesses.

“But if you just pleased yourself, you’d make no money,” Bell replied.

Mapapu was concerned it would mean settling for mediocrity by producing music for the masses.

“Is Adele mediocre?” Bell asked. “Who is your biggest selling artist today?”

FUN IN LEARNING: Makhi Mtshotane in one of the ice-breaker games at the small business workshop in Kenton-on-Sea Picture: JON HOUZET
FUN IN LEARNING: Makhi Mtshotane in one of the ice-breaker games at the small business workshop in Kenton-on-Sea Picture: JON HOUZET

Another important aspect of business was communication, Bell said. She encouraged all participants to have an e-mail address and learn to write letters.

“Online today there are incredible apps and templates. The biggest growth in online marketing today is e-mailed newsletters . I would have thought it was Facebook, but it’s not,” Bell said. “But social media is also great – keep that Facebook page going.”

Another challenge mentioned was disappointment.

“Sometimes people disappoint you and you don’t want to try again,” said Khanya Matolengwe.

“Disappointment is not failure,” Bell replied. “It’s only failure when you stop trying. Just realise you will disappoint people along the way.”

Success factors include passion, self-motivation, optimism, integrity, maintaining focus, attending to customer complaints, hard work, “enjoying the journey”, trusting your gut, being flexible but persistent, and relying on your team.

Bell had participants take part in a few ice-breaking games to illustrate the message.

Using workbooks, she helped the entrepreneurs develop their own goals programme. “A goal is a dream with a deadline,” she said.

Bell said SA Breweries would soon hold an entrepreneurship course in Kenton and she had been asked to identify people who would benefit from such a course.

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