This month we discuss how training and experience can help you achieve a work-life balance; we feature Louise Robinson and Rajna Towers in our success stories; and we offer some advice on successful networking.
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August 2013   |   Volume 5.8

Finding freedom through training and experience

When she thinks of the work-life balance of business owners, the image that comes to mind for Gugu Mjadu, executive general manager: marketing at Business Partners, is of her mother on holiday with her family with the phone stuck to her ear - constantly talking to her staff at the office.

Her mom had started an events-planning company when she left teaching at the age of 50. The business was young, she had put all of her life savings into the venture, and was gripped by an unrelenting anxiety to make it work - a situation that most business owners have experienced to some extent.

But Mjadu’s mother also taught her, by way of example, that a business owner can get a handle on it and build a much better balance between her business and home life. “She can now easily be (on holiday in Johannesburg) while an event is taking place in Durban,” says Mjadu.

Success story:
Long haul pays off
– in more than just money

Looking back on her career as a business owner, Louise Robinson admits, only partly in jest, that there would have been many easier ways to make money. “By marrying somebody very rich” for instance, she jokes.

But like many other business owners, she was never really in it only for the money. She loves what she has managed to do in fifteen years, and she still loves what she is doing. Her business has allowed her to indulge her passion for travelling. The days are still often long, “but I can choose my own hours,” she says.

Success story:
On the forefront of a pioneering industry

Every entrepreneur is a pioneer in their own way by creating a business where there was none before, but if a business finds itself in a pioneering industry as well, the frontier experience becomes so much more intense.

Rajna (pronounced ray-nah) Towers, a 56-year-old biochemistry entrepreneur in Johannesburg, has been a pioneer virtually all her life. Born in Croatia, she grew up travelling with her family all over Africa and the Middle East where her father worked as engineer. They settled in Johannesburg when she was 12.

Any business owner can master successful networking

Here is some good news for business owners who are more comfortable with machines and production processes than with people:  successful networking with people is every bit as systematic as networking with computers.

“You don’t have to be Miss Congeniality to network successfully with potential clients, suppliers and business associates,” says Corene Marx, marketing manager at Business Partners. All that is required is a strategy, some dedication, order and maintenance. In short, networking is a business process like any other that even the most unsociable techie can master.

This insight carries a message also for the sociable type of business owner for whom networking comes naturally: no matter with how much flair you are able to conduct your business relationships, you will do even better if you build a bit of a system around it.

Business premises for rent

KwaZulu- Natal


2 units available of 150m2 each
Contact:  Nicolene Booyens
Tel: 031 240 7700 or 072 981 8082

Springhawk Industrial Park

403m2 & 341m2 available
Contact: Nicolene Booyens
Tel:  031 240 7700 or 072 981 8082
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Business Plan competition for young aspiring entrepreneurs

Calling all aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35!
If you are dreaming of starting your own business, and don't know where to begin, enter the Business Partners Limited / SME Toolkit SA Business Plan Competition and stand a chance of winning a seat at a one-day workshop learning the intricacies of compiling a business plan and a marketing plan, how to manage a business’s finances, how to network and more; access to a mentorship programme (regional and national winners) and a notebook computer/tablet (national winner).

Who should enter?
- Young graduates considering owning and running a business as a career option
- Employed young persons with a good business idea, dreaming to start their own
- Unemployed youth with the potential of starting and running a business
Click here to enter

Closing date: 23 August 2013
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37 West Street, Houghton Estate
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