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

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


2 Comments

Don’t sell to me, solve my problem

biz-mtg

This article was published in the 14-August-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine.

A big bugbear of mine is that most MBA degrees don’t have a component to teach you how to sell. In my work I’ve also met many MBAs who think they are above selling, that it is only the domain of sleazy carsalesmen.

In fact, the opposite is true. You don’t have to be a salesman to be selling. Every day you are selling yourself in some way. Whether you are convincing your boss to give you a raise, your potential client to accept your business proposal, a potential employer to hire you, your spouse to change the TV channel, or your child to do their homework. Effective selling is one of the most vital skills you need to achieve your goals in life and your career. The key is not to call it selling. In the words of Dale Carnegie, rather think of it as “winning people to your way of thinking.”

Here are some useful tips to help you be more effective at persuading customers or clients: Continue reading


Leave a comment

African Women Chartered Accountants: a growing force in South Africa

african-female-CA-sits-desk

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

Chartered Accountancy has long been a male-dominated profession. But that is slowly changing, with the help of the AWCA (African Women Chartered Accountants) forum. In this article we explore the impact this organisation is making on the rise of African women CAs in South Africa. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Can social entrepreneurs make money and do good at the same time?

social-entrepreneurship-hand-globe

This article was published in the 29-May-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

When you hear the words “social entrepreneur”, what image comes to mind? For many of us, it’s the founder of a non-profit organisation (NPO) trying to do good but each month battling to raise enough money to cover their costs, relying on volunteers and unable to pay anyone a salary, including themselves. These untenable organisations hang on precariously from month to month. However, social entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be unprofitable or unsustainable. Author Thomas L. Friedman summed it up brilliantly when he said that social entrepreneurs should  “combine a business school brain with a social worker’s heart.” We unpack some of the misconceptions in this space and speak to two inspiring social entrepreneurs who are running impactful businesses sustainably. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Courageous leaders face the heat

courageous-leaders-lion
This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 8-May-2014 issue

Management super-guru Peter Drucker said: “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Good leaders aren’t afraid to make tough, unpopular and often counter-intuitive decisions. The decisions that prompt their critics to ask: “What were they thinking?” It is their courage in the face of criticism that makes them the leaders of their organisations, while others aren’t. Continue reading