As a young girl growing up in the island of Jamaica, I can still remember some of the games my friends and I used to play during the summer time, like ‘Chinese skip’, ‘Stucky’ and the ‘Ant Game’. Playing the silly ‘Ant Game’ never got old for me. We would put objects in the path of the ants to see how they would get around them. Without fail, on every occasion, the ants would find a way around the obstacle and lead other ants to the food supply or the safety of the nest.
Today, in my work as a life and business coach, I have come to the realisation that for an entrepreneur to succeed there is a lot to learn from the ants. Just like the ants in our game, entrepreneurs encounter numerous challenges that we need to overcome, including but not limited to competition, bureaucratic red tape, difficulties in securing funding, finding the right support team or maximising the potential of the internet and social media.
Our challenges are real and each day brings a modern reality. This is why through my company Transformational Life Solutions (TLS), my team and I are teaching Caribbean entrepreneurs how to get ‘REAL’ about their situation in order to rise to become the modern day leaders in their respective industry. Through our products, services, events and projects we inspire and empower entrepreneurs to get R-E-A-L:
Clients are taught to take their cue from socially and environmentally responsible entrepreneurs like Richard Branson. By investing in entities like the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Richard pursues business ventures that positively impact young people and create equal opportunities for entrepreneurs throughout the world. With the acquisition of entities like the BMR Jamaica Wind Limited, this modern day leader also ensures that his business decisions contribute to the sustainability of the environment which fosters the long term profitability of his businesses.
Following on Richard’s example, the triple bottom line of people, profit and planet has now become the life blood of my business. In fact, TLS pursues no profit making initiatives unless there is a clear indication of how they will positively impact the environment or empower others. To complement our profit making endeavors, TLS also leads a deliberate corporate social responsibility project, the ‘My Dream Initiative’, which is geared towards using art and music to help at risk youth set goals and access opportunities to achieve them.
Modern day leaders like Oprah Winfrey provide a great example of what it means to be enterprising. With the launch of the O Magazine, the Oprah Winfrey Network and the global repositioning of the Oprah Winfrey show, she has managed to exploit the competitive strengths of her brand to consistently create added value for her stakeholders.
Through our Wealth Creation program, my team and I teach entrepreneurs to be equally enterprising by creating a global vision and business strategy with a focus on long term market ‘ends’ rather than present day trends. This empowers them to select the right enterprise and goals and remain committed to the hidden potential of their business in the face of inevitable uncertainties or setbacks.
During our business coaching sessions, we encourage entrepreneurs to remain accessible to all stakeholders by leveraging modern day communication tools such as social media to complement one-on-one engagement. This simple but effective strategy allows open access for new ideas and growth opportunities to flow into any business and creates value for all stakeholders in the long run.
I have found that remaining accessible by simply answering your phone or responding to emails can become a key competitive advantage for a small business. In fact, being accessible has helped me in the past to attract the clients of much larger and more established competitors who failed to leverage the amazing power of accessibility.
4. Learning and Leading
In order to become a modern day business leader, clients are also encouraged to make learning a top priority by consistently acquiring new skills and knowledge. At TLS our knowledge exchange sessions provide opportunities for consistent learning and development. This has empowered my team with the capacity, innovation and creativity that it takes to consistently create more value for our clients.
On a personal note, learning empowers me to be like the ant. Keeping abreast of new knowledge reveals strategies necessary for overcoming the obstacles of each business day and ultimately helps me beat new paths that lead my team and clients to the achievement of their highest potential and purpose.