Are you interested in starting your own business? Here are some tips from South African women who did it for themselves…

Virginia Morule, MD of Agro Tractor, suggests these tips:

1. Make sure you have the right knowledge to run your business. Everything in business is about learning and knowledge. And remember learning is ongoing – technology is changing all the time and you have to keep up with it.
2. Cherish your brand and reputation. Word-of-mouth marketing is more powerful than any advert in any magazine.
3. Be passionate about what you do – you will need that to sustain you. Make sure that your business is not only about making money, you also need to love what you do in order to be able to help other people when they need advice from you.
4. Keep your business and personal finances separate. If you mix the two things it can get messy and you can end up not running the business properly. Business money is there to make the business grow not to buy you personal things like a fancy car.
5. When you have a business you must not be discouraged by problems. You must be courageous and fearless as setbacks can be turned into opportunities.

Basetsane Khumalo, co-founder and co-owner of Tswelopele Productions, advises people to:

1. Never let people’s perception of who you are determine your destiny or determine who you are. Let people see your true value.
2. Be fearless – what have you got to lose? If you don’t give it a shot you will regret it and you don’t want to live a life of regret.
3. Surround yourself with wise, fabulous people – who know more than you. My mother always used to say that you are a product of the people you hang around with. I am a product of mentoring. Be willing to admit that you don’t know it all and then open yourself to the wisdom of others and learn from them.
4. Write down your goals – so you have something to shoot for. I always had a vague desire to be successful and not to lack, but after winning Miss South Africa I sat down and wrote our my short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.
5. Live your life with honesty and integrity and do not conform. When the curtain draws on my life I want to be able to say good or bad, right or wrong I did it my way…
6. Don’t be afraid of hard work. My father always used to say if you can conceive it you can achieve it and hard work ‘baby girl’ has never killed anybody. He was right.

While Gloria Serobe, founding member of WIPHOLD and CEO of Wipcapital, says:

1. Don’t be afraid to try.
2. Believe in yourself. Without being arrogant it is necessary to believe that you can do it no matter what. This belief will always have to come from somewhere, in my case, I always talk about my grandfather who was so eager for our success that we grew up thinking we could do anything.
3. Treat every opportunity like it won’t be there tomorrow. Every opportunity I have had in my life I have grabbed with both hands.
4. Have fun. It’s a big part of business, you cannot carry your sadness into your workplace and hope to make it. Celebrate every little achievement – there is nothing wrong with champagne really! Find the opportunity to pick out the most positive and best things about your colleagues and celebrate those.
5. Let people know where you stand. Your principles have to be clear at all times. That’s the only way people get comfortable working with you. You may lose business as a result of taking a principled stand, but then it was probably not worth having in the first place.
6. Learn how to be tough! It’s not easy out there and you will be on your own.
7. Look out for and encourage other women – without scaring them – you have got to make them believe that they can do it too.
8. Open yourself to criticism, as that is how you will learn.

To get more insights into these three women and their journeys to success read an abridged version of My Success Your Success: Top tips from South African women entrepreneurs.

Tell us: What tips do you have for those who wish to start their own business?