Daily Lessons from a Small Business Owner

Daily Lessons from a Small Business Owner

We read a lot about the rewards of entrepreneurship and the astonishing success of people in business. The reality is more complex than a Thought Leadership article or a glamorous PR profile. Sometimes business is messy, with no hard and fast rules and its difficult work making entrepreneurial decisions. Here are some daily “lessons” from my own personal experience with my business Matoyana and other projects I work on.

Lesson One

Online presence equals international presence.

Today we got our first international Small Business Handbook order and instead of instantly feeling excited, we panicked. Why you may ask? We didn’t think the publicity would go international. Which is not strategic thinking, because we live in a global world. We’re excited now though.

Lesson Two

You already have informal business partners; it’s just about how you view the relationship.

I’m an advocate of business partners, although I don’t have one as yet. The reality is, finding the right partner is tough. I’ve been on the lookout, but haven’t found someone who really compliments my skills. During this “look out” phase, I’ve come to realise that a partner doesn’t have to be an official business shareholder. Just by considering my team of suppliers, clients and stakeholders as partners I get partnership value. So I guess I do have a few partners in my business.

Lesson Three


Be patient, work hard, focus… It takes time.

I was recently introduced to a young, very successful entrepreneur. He’s about 35 years old, judging from when he started university. He’s a serial entrepreneur and has done fantastically well. I asked him what he does and his answer was very interesting. But what reallycaught my attention was this – he started business 17 years ago! Yup! 17 years ago! As much as we’d love to be successful tomorrow, chatting to this guy reminded me that business is a journey.

Lesson Four

When you’re not being valued by a client, try to make them realise it. If that’s not successful, devise an exit strategy.

I have a client with whom I believe I have a one-sided value based relationship. . I only want to work with those whom I share mutual values. Where we value each other! I think it’s time for me to rethink this relationship.

Lesson Five

People will mess up, rather than getting upset, take control and be solution driven.

I had an incident where I relied on a third party to deliver on part of a project. They were unable to deliver to the expected level expected despite us sticking to the follow-up and feedback procedures.

I was a justifiably irritated that after weeks of planning, they still weren’t able to meet the agreed expectations. I found myself getting more and more upset but I stopped myself, took a break and thought, “How can I fix this?” I had two hours to turn it around. And I did. The 2.0 version we delivered made quite an impact.

Lesson Six

Find a mentor to help you define your journey.

I had the opportunity to meet Johanna Mukoki, a successful South African Entrepreneur at an intimate networking event. I chatted with her and told her what I did. She asked me one question, “Who is providing you with the support The Business Case for Crowdsourcingyou are giving others?” My answer was, “No one.”

A few months later I changed this and found a coach who is now pushing my boundaries; helping me become more assertive and confident in my business and assisting me to define my personal and business journey.

Nokwazi Mzobe, Founder of Matoyana

Email: nokwazi@matoyana.co.za

Matoyana is passionate about creating and supporting sustainable entrepreneurs on the African continent. Since 2013 Matoyana has interacted with over 1000 entrepreneurs though various projects and initiatives. We provide personalised support which is tailored to meet our client’s business needs.


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