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“I’ve always had a passion for fixing what’s broken, and mechanical engineering seemed like the most practical way to do that.”

Phumzile Skosana pays attention to the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship and is helping others do the same.

As a mechanical engineer and founder of Balleo Engineering, Skosana is adamant that good financial health provides the foundation for personal growth and entrepreneurial success.

A teacher at heart, she is passionate about helping other upcoming entrepreneurs grow their businesses through mentorship and coaching. Her websiteYouTube channel, and blog all focus on personal and small business finance and address common pitfalls such as negative cash flow and debt.

“An entrepreneur can only prepare their business for the next level of growth if they understand its current financial position. This is the knowledge that will help them chart the best course forward for their business.”

Rebooting our entrepreneurial wellbeing

The need to ‘reboot’ was central to this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW2021), which took place from 8 to 14 November. In response to the damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global communities and economies, the GEW2021 campaign emphasised the urgent need to reboot our approach to economic development for a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. Key to this is sharing knowledge and networks that support confident, empowered, and financially healthy entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs play a critical role in their countries and their communities,” says Skosana. “Building and growing new businesses require innovative thinking that pushes whole industries forward, creates much-needed jobs, and strengthens the economy.”

Skosana is no stranger to the importance of rebooting. Over the years, she has started many businesses. Some failed; others succeeded. Each experience encouraged her to learn from where she went wrong, what she did right, and how to improve on what worked.

“Every business needs regular health checks to identify its strengths and weaknesses, to determine what it’s doing well, and where it needs to improve.”

Given the impact of the pandemic on South Africa’s small business sector, Skosana’s determination to help other entrepreneurs achieve their dreams is more vital than ever.

Chart your course

“Anyone who wants to succeed in life must have a vision to work towards,” says Skosana. “I believe the universe reserves opportunities, resources, and support for those who are clear about what they want.”

Based on her own experiences, Skosana offers the following advice to her fellow entrepreneurs:

  • Keep an eye on your rands and cents. “My entrepreneurial experience so far has taught me, again and again, the importance of knowing exactly where my money is at all times and building a buffer for unforeseen events.”
  • Choose positive change. “We often think we are the victims of our circumstances and undermine the power we have to change what does not serve us. ‘The power of your subconscious mind’ by Dr Joseph Murphy changed my thinking from negative to positive; from self-doubt to self-confidence. It helped me believe in myself.”
  • Schedule your time. “Allocate time for important tasks and stick to your schedule as best as you can. I do this on Google Calendar, and it really boosts my productivity.”
  • Use tech to keep moving. “Cloud-based accounting software is a game-changer as I can stay on top of my business’s day-to-day operations from anywhere.”
  • Stay on track with your business taxes. “Save a portion of every paid invoice for tax purposes and submit tax returns on time. If you default on tax payments, contact SARS to request payment arrangements – do not avoid or ignore the situation as it will catch up to you!”
  • Listen. “Communication is a top business skill, but it involves more than just talking. Listening is crucial and helps me respond to people and situations with empathy, assertion, and speed.”
  • Take care of you. “I have learned the hard way that if I’m not in good shape mentally and physically, then my business suffers. Pay attention to your health by eating well, exercising, and getting good quality sleep.”
  • Reach out. “Investigate relevant initiatives and organisations that offer entrepreneurs small business support through enterprise development programmes. This has been enormously beneficial for me and my business.”
  • Invest. “Wealth creation is not only about making money but also about growing it through carefully managed investments.”
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