The biggest obstacles that stop women from starting their own businesses are fear and self-doubt.
Entrepreneurs, women especially, need to overcome the self-doubt that stops them from pursuing their dreams, conference attendees heard at the Finance Indaba held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 3 October.
The dialogue took place between Nonkululeko Gobodo, founder of Nonkululeko Leadership Consulting, and Marnus Broodyk, author of 90 Rules for Entrepreners and founder of The Beancounter.
“Women usually say they’re not ready to do something because someone said they can’t do it,” says Nonkululeko. “You can’t afford to be listening to that tiny voice that says you can’t do it. You can be anything you want.”
Gobodo, who was the first black woman CA in South Africa during apartheid times, admits that when she was growing up she didn’t always know what she wanted to be. Aspiring entrepreneurs listened to her speak candidly about how she fell in love with accounting when she used to help her father with the books in his panel-beating shop.
Gobodo practiced as a CA for years until she decided it was time to start her own business, Nonkululeko Leadership Consulting. But this wasn’t an easy road for her.
“People always want to discourage you from starting a business, even my own father discouraged me. He told me I have a good job and I must just stick to it and stop complicating my life.”
Gobodo advised conference attendees to create and form their own lives and not be afraid to follow their dreams.
Marnus Broodyk, who started The Beancounter with just R37, 000, concurred saying that entrepreneurs should take the plunge and just do it.
“If you want an excuse to not do something you will find it. If you are a black person, you’ll blame apartheid and if you are white you’ll blame BEE.”
Broodyk believes that there will always be challenges. He urged entrepreneurs to not be disheartened by the plummeting rand or the bad economy or the fact that they are still lagging behind technologically. “Don’t think that you can’t do your business now because you’re not ready for the future. Technology is moving slower than we think,” he said.
In his view, it is important for entrepreneurs to focus on one service or product and become really good at it instead of trying to do everything all at once.