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Most challenges around small business tend to revolve around figuring out the technical dynamics of the company or the market it’s operating in, but too often than not, is the understanding of one’s own character put under the microscope. Self-awareness — a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires — contributes extensively to the success of an entrepreneurial business, says Busi Raphekwane who’s a senior business mentor at South Africa-based incubator The Hope Factory.
Founded in 2001, The Hope Factory is an established enterprise and supplier development, non-profit organisation. It’s driven to develop black business owners, with its strategic mentorship programme to help entrepreneurs.
“The question on every entrepreneur’s mind is: how do I ensure that my business succeeds? One of the challenges in South Africa that leads to business failure is the lack of information, knowledge and skills,” argues Raphekwane “This often leads to the mismanagement of the business, poor decision making and ultimately the inability to keep the business sustainable.”
The mentor stresses that while the lack of business knowledge and skill are some of the factors to SME failures, another contributing element that is seldom discussed is the lack of self-knowledge and development.
Raphekwane says that conversation around challenges such as these are very important to find the formula for success. Having a good understanding of who you are is the first step in developing yourself as an entrepreneur.
He highlights some of the reasons why it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on self-awareness:
- The business depends on you as the entrepreneur – a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will assist you leverage the key strengths and to align them to the businesses’ core competencies.
- Entrepreneurs who are self-aware have the ability to perceive others accurately and will help them to align their team’s strengths to the business.
- Successful entrepreneurs know how to harness their inner strength
- Self-awareness enables you to develop an authentic personal brand
- Decision-making is improved through the better understanding of oneself
“The business resembles the character of the entrepreneur therefore if you would like to succeed; the journey starts with you,” she concludes.