www.colettesymanowitz.com

Perspectives on entrepreneurship, MBA-related issues, networking, personal branding, technology, investing, education and more…


Leave a comment

The glass is always half-full

Glass-half-full-blue-red

 

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 21-Aug-2014 issue

Winston Churchill famously said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” We’ve all been through tough times at some point in our lives. We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t. For the more resilient ones among us, it is our ability to see the positive in negative situations that helps us get through challenges and to overcome adversity.

I’m a strong believer that things happen because we’re meant to learn from them. If we didn’t have that negative hump to climb over, we wouldn’t recognise the positive staring us right in the face. I like to think of it as the universe (or G-d, depending on your beliefs) throwing you a curveball to test your bounce-back ability and how you can grow from it. And if that setback didn’t happen now, it would have to happen sooner or later, because it was placed in our path so that we could learn from it.

So the big question is: in tough times, instead of dwelling on the negative, shouldn’t we concentrate on how our setbacks transform us and transform our lives for the better? Shouldn’t we seek out the positive and what we’re meant to learn from difficult situations? Continue reading

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Welcome your bigger competitors

big dog vs little dog

This article was published in the 11-September-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

When small businesses take on their bigger competitors, the larger companies usually win, right? In many cases, yes, but there are important exceptions. New research reveals that sometimes it helps, rather than hurts, a smaller firm if consumers see that it is competing against a larger company. In this article, we unpack why and look at the positive implications for small businesses everywhere.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Business is changing for good

social_good-hands-earth-leaves

This article was published in the 4-September-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

Business is changing for good. The days of companies existing only to make money are dying. You don’t have to look far to see the devastating impact that unchecked greed and lust for profit has had on our planet and our lives. From global warming to the financial crisis, it’s everywhere. And so today’s generation are growing up with a conscience, far more aware than their predecessors that they need to look after what we have, to preserve it for their children and their children’s children. Call it conscious capitalism, social good or conscious business. Today’s social entrepreneurs maximise value for all the stakeholders in a business – not only for the shareholders, but also for the bigger community, the employees, suppliers, partners and the environment. Although non-profits and charities have a vital role to play, these 21st century entrepreneurs want to use for-profit business to change the world for the better. Running a profitable, sustainable company and doing good don’t have to fight against each other in business. With conscious capitalism, a profitable business has a purpose far higher than maximizing profits and shareholder value. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Can you grow a global business from South Africa?

global-business-globe-in-handThis article was published in the 31-July-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

It is widely believed that koi and goldfish can only grow as large as the enclosure they are in. Some grow big and others stay small, it’s all about the size of the pond or bowl.

This got me thinking about businesses in South Africa and the constraints posed by our environment here. Your business can only grow as big as the environment it is in. So if you want to scale, can you do it from South Africa? Continue reading


Leave a comment

Start-up versus corporate: which one’s for you?

startup-vs-corp-shoes

This article was published in the 10-July-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

My former boss Kabelo ran his own business before moving into the corporate world. So he had a valuable perspective on both the corporate and the entrepreneurial “be your own boss” environments. At that time I had only ever worked for a large company. One day in the car park we were both admiring a sleek, red Aston Martin convertible. Kabelo roused my interest in the start-up world when he said, “Want to own that car? You won’t do it working here. But you might if you start your own company, because you’ll write your own paycheque. Think about it.” Of course, he hadn’t quite cracked it himself, but his words made a lot of sense.

In this article, we unpack the pros and cons of working in a start-up versus a corporate. Hopefully this will help you decide whether you should work for someone else or start your own business. Continue reading


Leave a comment

What makes you stand out from the crowd?

stand-out-red-apple5This article was published in the 26-June-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

Picture yourself in a client meeting selling your product or service. “What makes you special? Why should we buy from you and not from your competitors?” If you were asked these questions, how would you answer? In a nutshell, this is your Unique Selling Proposition or USP, your stand-out factor. It’s the reason that your product or service is different from and stands out from the competition. In his book “What to do when you want to give up”, South African entrepreneurship guru Allon Raiz describes it as your secret sauce. The question is: so what? In this article, we unpack why you need a secret sauce and how you can find yours. Continue reading


2 Comments

Starting up: Online or old school?

Start-website

This article was published in the 19-June-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine.

If you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and are deciding to start your own business, one of the key factors you need to consider is whether it should be an online business (website) or a physical bricks and mortar business, and why. What makes online such an attractive option compared to bricks and mortar? In this article, we build a strong business case for an online venture. Continue reading