Nichole Yembra is Founder & MD of the Chrysalis Capital, which houses an emerging market focused tech fund, the Chrysalis Capital, and a financial investment and strategy firm, the Chrysalis Advisors. She is also a member of the SVAI Council of Eight, which collaborates to advocate for shared value. She delivered a keynote at the recent SVAI African Entrepreneurship Forum, focusing on three core principles that will help entrepreneurs succeed – integrity, discipline and mutual respect.
Johannesburg, 23 February – The key to success for any entrepreneur is having a value system grounded in integrity, discipline and mutual respect. For me, the values you hold dear is basis from which you will create both economic value and value for society, ensuring that profit AND purpose work hand in hand.
Integrity in business is everything; this does not mean that doing good will immediately benefit you in the short term. In fact, it most often does not. However, your name and your brand is all you really have and, eventually, integrity will help you win.
From day one, it is important that you are able to be open and disclose anything that may call your integrity into question – openness is what will make people want to grow with you.
Having integrity means that you can say things and stand proud. It means that if people know that you are honest and you always paint the true picture, they are willing to support you. Your team must believe that you are willing to do good for them and your partners must trust that you will not screw them over.
The second principle is discipline – seeing things through to the end, no matter how arduous and doing the boring things that are super necessary to thrive
It is not easy to push through when others drop the ball and you are just one cog in the wheel. Discipline is what gets you through challenging situations and what pushes you to find new ways to achieve your chosen path to success. My advice to entrepreneurs is to stick to your values and not only assess how something that happened will affect your bottom line, but also to be able to help others and be disciplined to see it through.
In the final instance, it is about mutual respect. Whether you are a one-woman shop or have employees, you are impacting a community – your employees, customers, suppliers or investors. How do you get people to buy into your vision? How do you get people to continue to support you and your growth? You have to make them feel valued as human beings – that is what will contribute to their growth.
When we go to investors and present a company to them, they trust us. Many of them have put money into companies simply because we brought it to the table. Investors know that we have done the work – we are disciplined – and that everything will be well vetted, in other words they trust our integrity. They also know that we are invested in their success too – mutual respect.
I believe that if we all have a mindset that we are doing good and doing our best, we will definitely build companies that can grow.
In the final instance, it is not only about making money. The numbers show that over 50% of entrepreneurs will fail within the first five years. If you do not think about profit and purpose, it will be tough to unlock growth. However, by focusing on your value system, you will be able to unlock both profit and purpose for your business.