www.colettesymanowitz.com

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


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Running a school like it’s a business

Elandspark school pic

This article was published in the 09-October-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

As tech entrepreneurs, my husband and I are passionate about raising our two kids to be entrepreneurs. So we grab every opportunity we find to teach them about business. Sadly, however, the creators of South Africa’s school curricula don’t share our passion for entrepreneurship. Other than theoretical business subjects like Business Studies, Accounting, Consumer Studies, Economics, and Economic Management Studies, there is hardly any entrepreneurial training happening in most of South Africa’s schools. Elandspark School is a refreshing exception and a shining example of how to run a school like a business. Continue reading


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Go big or go home: lessons for entrepreneurs

go-big-or-go-home-kid-pram

This article was published in the 01-May-2014 issue of Finweek Magazine

All entrepreneurs start their businesses dreaming of mega success. But can moderate success lead to a slow, painful death for your start-up? If you achieve some success but don’t fail outright, at what point should you turn around and start again? Finweek unpacks the issues around entrepreneurial turning points and the important lessons they hold for entrepreneurs. Continue reading


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Start-up versus a corporate: unpacking the pros and cons

corporate-vs-startup

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 aroused 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 sense.

In a previous article, we examined the traits you need to cut it in a start-up. 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


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When winners are losers: lessons for entrepreneurs

Chris-Poole

This article also appeared in Finweek on 27-Feb-2014

Investors often look at early-stage traction as a key indicator of a start-up’s potential to succeed. Yet despite their sizeable user numbers, success didn’t happen for US start-up Drawquest. Would Drawquest’s impressive stats have translated into success if they had started up in South Africa? And what are the valuable lessons here for entrepreneurs? Continue reading


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6 Ways to raise our kids to be entrepreneurs

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 20-Feb-2014 issue

flops-teen-entrep

Our generation, our parents’ generation and generations before that, were raised to go to school, get a grade 12, and get a degree in order to get a job. But the world has changed. Job security and certainty about tomorrow, no longer exist. We cannot depend on anyone else but ourselves for financial and career security. We as parents and our educational system should be training our kids to be entrepreneurs, so that they can create jobs instead of working in jobs for someone else. We should be teaching them to be resourceful, resilient and creative, so that they can create their own successful tomorrow and don’t depend on someone else for their future. Continue reading


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Growing from your career mistakes


This article also appeared in
Finweek Magazine in their 26-Sep-2013 issue

Singer Eddie Cantor once said: “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success”.  Behind every seemingly instant success, are years of slog work, learning, experimenting, and many failures along the journey. What differentiates great business people, however, is their very unique view on failure. Unlike most ordinary individuals, they are not afraid to fail. They see failure as a necessary part of the path to success, and an opportunity to learn and grow and do things differently.

So if success is a long and winding road of trial and error and iteration, are there any lessons we can learn along the way from successful leadership icons who’ve been there? Finweek asked South African business icons Alan Knott-Craig Sr., Kumaran Padayachee and Tony Leon what they regretted most about their careers, and what they have learnt or done differently as  a result.
Continue reading


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Too young to start a business? Think again

This article was also published in Finweek on 19-Sep-13

Meet some of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs.

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Face head-on what you fear most

This article also appeared on Finweek on 28-Aug-2013

We all have fears and doubts. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However the big difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how we deal with and conquer those fears. As Oprah Winfrey said: “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” Continue reading


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Tooth fairy pay-outs: how does South Africa compare?

This article also appeared in Finweek Magazine in their 19-Sep-2013 issue

toothless-boys

A few days ago, my 8-year-old son Jayden asked me the dreaded question that makes every parent cringe. No, not that one. The other one – about the tooth fairy. It went something like this: “Ma, why does the tooth fairy only pay me R10 per tooth, while all my friends get R100, R50 or R20?” They had obviously been comparing their pay-outs in the school playground. In my scramble to change the subject, I joked about trading in our current tooth fairy for a new one who paid private school rates. But his question prompted me to do some research on the subject. Is there an average tooth price that the tooth fairy pays in South Africa? How do we compare to other countries? Based on my informal research, some interesting results emerged. Continue reading


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Want to be part of a dynamic co-working space in Sandton, Johannesburg?

If you’re a consultant, entrepreneur, working in a start-up, a student, a freelancer, or a creative, you’ll know what it’s like to feel isolated, unproductive or demotivated in a home-office environment.

A co-working space solves all of these issues. It’s a shared office space where people can work independently but not alone, share ideas, collaborate and work productively while growing our businesses and business networks.

Despite the recent explosion of co-working spaces in South Africa, there just aren’t any in the Sandton, Johannesburg area currently. I’ve approached a number of co-working space operators around South Africa and a few are keen to start one in Sandton, provided there is enough demand here.

If you’re keen to join a co-working space in Sandton (or know someone who is), please let me know by email (colette@mbaconnect.net) by Wed 14-Aug-2013. This will give us a better idea of the demand and how many people a Sandton co-working space would need to accommodate.

What are the benefits of a co-working space?

1. Dynamic, vibey, motivating environment where you can work independently but not alone
2. Network and collaborate with smart, like-minded people
3. Bounce ideas off other people
4. No need to work alone from home anymore
5. Close to home, but not at home
6. Flexible short-term leases (e.g. month-to-month)
7. Low rental costs per month, no long-term commitments that your business cannot afford
8. Rent more or less space as your company grows or downsizes
9. Ideal for consultants, entrepreneurs, MBA students looking for a private space to study, startups, freelancers, creatives, etc.
10. Has all the facilities you need like meeting rooms, wireless hi-speed internet, security, printing, copying, etc.

Thanks for your help. Looking forward to your feedback.
All the best

Colette Symanowitz
colette@mbaconnect.net