Are you investing in the most important asset in your business?

Kobus Engelbrecht
With the many assets and resources required to run a successful business, entrepreneurs are often distracted from attending to their business’ most valuable asset – themselves.

This is according to Kobus Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS who says that business owners are often so focussed on investing everything into the success of their business and their staff members, that they easily forget about the crucial element at the helm. “As a result of the total concentration on upskilling and training staff, or on the hands-on operational management of day-to-day activities, self-investment finds itself at the bottom of many entrepreneurs’ to-do lists.”

However, Engelbrecht stresses the importance of a continued focus on self-improvement. “Upskilling yourself through online courses, internships, or tapping into a mentorship opportunity can be extremely beneficial. As an entrepreneur you need to stay abreast of changes in your industry and the broader space in which you operate to ensure you – and your product – remain relevant and competitive,” he says.

He cautions that investing too little time into personal growth, can be detrimental to both your own health as well as the future health of your business. He/she offers the following tips on how entrepreneurs can invest in themselves:

1. You can never learn enough
“There is no surer way to succeed than to keep abreast of market trends,” says Engelbrecht, who encourages entrepreneurs to prioritise daily leaning. “This does not only mean formal education. Many successful entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time reading, whether for work or for leisure.” He/she explains that while reading about your own business industry and others helps to keep your mind sharp, setting aside time to escape with a good fictional book is just as important to maintain a work-life balance.

2. Trust your team
“You are the driving force of your business and if you crumble, your business can suffer. Surround yourself with people you can trust with your business. This is not only applicable for when you are away from your business (on holiday or study leave) – but is an important factor for day-to-day operations. Engelbrecht says that having a reliable team to take care of the tasks you can’t get to is important to taking your business forward, as you can’t always do everything as the business owner.

3. Find a mentor
It has often been said that business mentors are worth their weight in gold. Seeking out opportunities for learning from a trusted business mentor, or various internship opportunities are some of the easiest, yet most valuable steps to take in furthering your own career. “Spending time talking to and asking questions of someone who has walked a successful entrepreneurial path can add extra value and training, customised to your unique business – which is something not often attainable through an online course or through standardised reading material,” says Engelbrecht.

4. Include downtime as a part of the process
Having a healthy work-life balance is essential to ensuring your continued creativity and ability to contribute innovative ideas to your company. While working longer hours may be necessary every once in a while, getting into the habit of ‘all work and no play’ can often result in the quality of your work slipping.