George Ross, vice-president in the Trump Organisation said: “To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust.”
Life has taught us that to be successful in life or in business it’s not how much you know but how much you have managed to relate to other people. God has made us in such a way that we need to lean on each other. You can’t live like a hermit.
We have seen the most educated people dying as derelicts and we have also seen the less educated but the connected making it in life. Making connections and maintaining relationships with the people who support you throughout your career can be the key to success for most individuals.
You need to build a network of friends, colleagues, business associates whom you can call upon for help or as a supplier or a customer. We are often reminded that we should not burn bridges. Maintain your contacts with your friends, school mates and business associates; you don’t know when you will need them.
Mike Davidson once said: “It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges.”
Wherever you are, the advice is network, network and build relationships. We usually talk of helpers in life, they might come from your previous relationships at work, from a conference or from a business dinner.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a network as, “a group of people who exchange information, contacts, and experience for professional or social purposes.” So networking is a building of relationships as nicely explained by Diane Darling, an expert on the topic of networking and the founder and CEO of Effective Networking, Inc.
“The real definition of networking to me is building relationships before you need them.” The relationships you build now can usher you to greater heights in the future. In our journey in life, we have built a lot of contacts.
Some of these contacts we never get to really link them, but there are others whom we develop relationships with. Diane Darling recommends that you can break your network into five different subgroups as below:
Database: Everyone in your contacts that you’ve interfaced with (email, phone, speaking engagements, Twitter etc). This forms the largest group.
Network: Your friends and family network, alumni network, or business network. These are specific sub-groups of people you trust. These usually are not more than 200 contacts. They are in constant contact with you.
Inner Circle: Ideally about 50 people who can rotate annually and give you candid feedback about your career. These people can give you honest thoughts about you without fear of offending you.
Personal Board of Advisers (PBA): 5-6 individuals you are particularly close with and whom you go to for advice that not only touch on your career, but your whole you.
Friends, Family and Fools (FFF): The most obvious group, these are people who probably like you because they either have to, or they just do.
You need to interact with these subgroups to benefit from your network.
These days it’s very easy to build networks because of the digital age we are living in. There are a lot of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and many others and also business networks like LinkedIn. One can use these to build networks. However the most trusted and tested way of building relationships is face to face networking.
The most obvious places you can network face-to-face is at “networking” events, conferences and many more social gatherings. At most conferences we tend to view these conferences as an opportunity to learn about new products, technologies or companies, but we tend to ignore that it’s also a great networking opportunity.
It’s important to spend some time before attending a conference to be able to research the speakers and attendees online and see those who you will be most interested in talking to or listening to. Make sure you build productive relationships. At the conference itself make sure you get business cards from those you have targeted to talk to and follow up with emails after the event to start a relationship.
Specialists in networking have said that effective networking is all about the people you know and meeting new people through other people. Your network is only as strong as the way you manage it. If you need to grow your business and be successful in life you need to build lasting relationships.
Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
You are not an island; you need others. As we network, we need to bear in mind the objective of networking, which is to help you make new contacts, build effective business relationships and build awareness of your business’ products and services.
Networking can take place anywhere, at business events, social gatherings, conferences or on the online social media forums. One needs to exploit these encounters to the fullest.
Since networking opportunities do appear everywhere, you need to be prepared for business networking at all times. Carry business cards and develop a succinct, brief introduction of yourself and your company that summarizes who you are and what you do.
This brief presentation is commonly referred to as an ‘elevator speech’ or ‘elevator pitch.’ If you were to meet a potentially important contact for the first time in an elevator at a conference and he/she asks you: “What do you do?” You have no more than 20 seconds or less between floors to explain, and to make such an impressive impact that the person asks for your contact details.
One other way you can establish networks is for you to attend some business events especially those that pertain to your industry or that pertains to other industries that you would like to network within your community. You need to consider such events as conferences, trade shows, seminars and chamber of commerce events.
When you attend these events, even if you go with a friend, don’t go into your corner with your friend but instead separate yourself from your friend or colleague.
Move around and mix with other participants and introduce yourself, but avoid spending too much time with any single person. But make sure each encounter is productive and beneficial to both of you.
For such an encounter to be beneficial you need be paying attention to what the other person is saying. Don’t be distracted by other people you would like to see. Make your “elevator pitch”, that is, introduce yourself and your company. It’s important to encourage the other person to talk as well.
You need to use listening skills. Give the other person your full focus until you have finished discussion then you move to your next contact.
The key to a fruitful networking encounter is to ask questions. By so doing, you can learn valuable information you can use to help build your business. Questions can range from what challenges your contact’s business or industry is facing and you can offer solutions.
Doing this will make them open up and they will begin to discuss their business and this gives you the opportunity to learn about potential partnership avenues you can approach in the future.
At these networking functions, ensure that you carry business cards and make sure you always exchange business cards with the people you meet. Take notes about the person giving you business cards so that you are able to contact them back. You need to take a few seconds to jot down a few points about your new contact so that this will trigger your memory about your discussion topics when you follow up later.
It is imperative that you always follow up on your new business contacts with a phone call, an email or a letter. Make sure that you do personalise your communication and refer to the event you met so that it’s a reminder to the other person.
You can use this opportunity to invite the person for lunch, a social meeting or a business meeting. The whole idea is to reconnect with previous contacts.
Networking is very important. Adam Small said, “NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organisation!” This statement is so true. People who have succeeded in life will bear witness to this statement.
Networking helps you to learn the dynamics within your industry much faster by relating with new established contacts. You can easily get connected to your community. Networking will open one door to new career opportunities and can also accelerate your professional development and above all can open up a customer base for your business.
Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy, advanced performance management and entrepreneurship. He is the Managing Consultant of Shekina Consulting (Pty) Ltd and provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans, tender documents and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.
For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: email@example.com, call on +266 58881062 or WhatsApp +266 62110062 .
All set for Lesotho Tourism Festival
STANDARD Lesotho Bank, in collaboration with Alliance Insurance, on Tuesday launched Lesotho Tourism Festival (LETOFE) Lifestyle Experience.
The launch was meant to lighten up the festive mood in preparation for the LETOFE event to be held in Thaba-Bosiu on December 23.
LETOFE is an annual event that takes place at the Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village, which has since been transformed from a mere jazz affair to a lifestyle event.
Speaking at the launch, Standard Lesotho Bank CEO Anton Nicolaisen said he was pleased to launch the LETOFE lifestyle experience.
“This festival is arguably one of the biggest music festivals that Lesotho holds and we are pleased to continue as the headline sponsor of this event that brings moments of jubilation and friendship,” Nicolaisen said.
He said since the arts industry should be guarded jealously, the bank will continue bringing joy to Basotho as a means to promote artistes.
“As patron of arts, we have jealously guarded the creative industry. The SLB is still here to promote the arts and bring happiness to Basotho,” he said.
He said the bank has been sponsoring the festival for the past 18 years.
“We are now 18 years on the trot and I am proud that we have been a significant contributor to the growth of this festival.”
He said this festival has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the biggest features of their entertainment calendar during the festive season, attracting multitudes within Lesotho, Basotho in diaspora and tourists from neighbouring countries.
“We have benchmarked on the successes of these festivals and we will improve our offering every year to the level of a full lifestyle event.”
He said the event is a way of acknowledging the talent that Basotho have as well as the avenue for cross-fertilization of local artists to experience and present their craft.
He added that the bank had made an arrangement for their customers to enjoy a six percent discount when they buy festival tickets using Standard Lesotho Bank cards at any Computicket in Lesotho or other countries.
The promoter of the LETOFE Lifestyle event said they are transforming the event from a jazz festival to a lifestyle event.
“We are introducing young stars to the concepts hence our event is composed of the upcoming stars.”
The co-sponsor from Alliance Insurance, ’Makearabetsoe Mabaleha, said as sponsors they sponsor the LETOFE Lifestyle experience because they are also benefiting from the event.
“Our benefaction is seeing the event creating jobs for Basotho and attracting foreigners in order to improve the economy,” Mabaleha said.
Joang locked in rentals row with tenants
FORMER Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is in a nasty fight with tenants over rentals at a shopping complex in Maputsoe which he is managing.
The main tenant, Ha Seotsanyana managed by Jaan Mahomad Suleman, says Molapo does not have authority to demand monthly rentals from him as he does not legally represent the company owning the property.
The property belongs to Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd. The owners of the mall are however locked in a fight for its control.
In April this year, the High Court issued an order giving Molapo power to manage the mall pending finalisation of the case.
The tenants have however refused to pay rentals to Molapo. Molapo then filed an urgent application in the Northern Region High Court seeking intervention.
The Deputy Sheriff Mpho Maphiri padlocked the shopping complex last week executing an order sought by Molapo in the property dispute.
Molapo, who is a former deputy leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), claims that the tenants owed him rentals for 10 years.
He has sought to terminate the sublease agreement entered between the company and the tenants.
The High Court’s deputy sheriff closed down the shops on Monday last week amid resistance by the tenants. The police told the tenants that they would be arrested for contempt of court if they continued to resist the order.
Six businesses trading there were closed.
However, before the end of the day, Maphiri was sent back to open the pharmacy under condition that the owner was still paying directly to Molapo and did not owe any rentals.
Suleman told thepost that his company, Barakah (Pty) Ltd trading as Ha Seotsanyana, was in agreement with Molapo to use the property but “we are surprised to find a court order without notice”.
He said even in that order they inserted wrong company details.
“I find it illegal that they are closing me down,” he said.
He said Molapo’s company, Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd, had entered into an agreement with him through lawyers that there was a new board of directors.
He said Molapo illegally kicked out the other shareholders from the company and they have a pending case in the High Court.
“Molapo acts as a secretary and does not have any decision-making powers alone,” Suleman said.
He said Molapo’s actions should be directed by the board.
He said Molapo does not want to discuss the agreement he had entered into with the former board of directors.
“He must honour the previous agreement on the sublease,” he said.
Suleman said what pains him is that they have made a lot of developments on the property under the previous agreement with Litjotjela, which Molapo is now ignoring.
“We have made developments worth over M4 million, constructed a garage and other buildings,” he said, adding that it is odd that Molapo wants him to pay rentals to use them.
“This cannot happen under my watch,” he said.
Suleman said it is either they take all their investments away or Molapo has to compensate them for all the developments on the site.
Molapo told the court in an affidavit that he is the one who was put in charge of collecting rentals from all tenants.
“They have failed to pay rentals to me without any justification and have refused to comply even after the demand had been made,” Molapo said.
He said the tenants owe him about M110 400.
He said he is a director, shareholder and board secretary of Litjotjela Mall (Pty) Ltd.
He said in June 2013 Litjotjela Mall and Ha Seotsanyane concluded a sublease agreement of 10 years.
He said it was agreed that Litjotjela was going to develop the site and was to collect all the rentals to be generated from the development site in order to recoup its expenses.
He said the 10 year period expired in May 2023.
“Prior to the expiry of the sublease agreement we engaged with Litjotjela (Pty) Ltd on the possibility of extending the sublease agreement,” he said.
He said after a lengthy deliberation, it became evident that they could not reach an agreement on the terms of the extension of the sublease agreement.
“It was at that time that we instructed our legal representatives to write to Litjotjela on September 20, 2023 that if the parties cannot agree on the extension of the sublease agreement the sublease shall be given a period not less than a year to find a market price to sell (the) business,” he said.
He said Suleman was informed that he was going to vacate the premises in a period of a year from June 2023 and that he had to pay rentals for that period at the rate of the rental payment immediately before the expiry of the sublease agreement.
He said other cited parties were further informed that they should no longer pay rentals to Ha Seotsanyane (Pty) Ltd.
He said to his surprise Suleman responded that Molapo does not have any authority to represent Litjotjela.
He said there is a court order issued on April 27, 2023 that he together with ’Mamphaphathi Katiso and Mpeuoa Mafike will remain in control and administration of Litjotjela Mall until the dispute has been resolved by the court.
He said Suleman is now benefiting from occupying the premises of Litjotjela without paying anything to him.
He said he has a right to receive rentals from its premises from the tenants occupying the premises.
He emphasised that his authority to represent Litjotjela in this matter cannot be questioned.
The lawyer who designs wedding dresses
Fikile ’Makhang Khang has always loved working with her hands, designing and producing fabulous patterns of knitwear.
“The sewing has always been something I have always liked to do,” Khang says.
“While I was still at the NUL (National University of Lesotho), I would crochet and sew my own skirts and even for others. It was common practice that I would be seen walking around working with a crotchet.”
Years after graduating with a degree in law from the university, Khang has now transformed her hobby into a booming business. She now designs wedding outfits for lovebirds.
She told thepost this week that for one to thrive in business, they must follow their passion.
Khang says although she graduated as a law student, she just could not fathom spending the rest of her life in the courtroom and in her chambers drafting legal documents.
It was for that reason that she decided to follow her passion by designing wedding gowns.
Khang was admitted as an advocate in the High Court of Lesotho in 2007.
Although the financial rewards as a lawyer aren’t satisfactory, it is a job she says she finds really fulfilling.
“In October 2010, I needed to be more focused in my craft and therefore abandoned practising as an advocate and concentrated on the bridal boutique business full time,” she says.
In an effort to meet the high standards for her clients, she would travel abroad in search of the most impressive wedding gowns she could lay her eyes on.
She would travel as far as China searching the best bridal collection.
She says her husband, who has been very supportive, has always advised her to search for other ventures to supplement the family’s income.
It was against that background that she thought of venturing into the sewing business.
Each and every generation has a way of conducting a wedding ceremony and the question of fashion is always pinned to it.
At some point in the past, shiny apparels were considered to be eye-catching.
Today, when people plan a wedding, Khang suggests that brides should go for heavy bead work, melano draped gowns with exaggerated shoulders, side trains and corsets.
On the other hand, grooms should go for a tuxedo, army green and wine coloured three piece suits.
Khang has not refuted the fact that, although vintage, there are timeless designs out there which remain relevant to this day.
A dent of cultural taste is also acceptable, she says.
It is undeniable that anyone can have a nuptial anytime of the year but for many they consider certain aspects which might impact on their occasion.
For instance, some people may prefer to host a wedding when it is warm so that everyone can showcase and flaunt their fashionable looks.
Moreover, other people can opt for end of year weddings when the majority of people are on holidays so it wouldn’t interfere with their schedules.
This explains the reason why spring marks the beginning of the wedding season.
“September to April is the best time to set a date for a wedding because it is warmer and people are at liberty to sew any design they desire,” Khang says.
Currently, it has proved that a lot of people are discouraged and shying away from having wedding ceremonies for different reasons.
Among them, others feel it is a waste of money as it is costly while others are appalled by alarming divorce rates which have nothing to do with whether one had a wedding ceremony or not.
Khang has however spoken highly of the need to normalise having wedding ceremonies in celebration of matrimony which unifies two devoted hearts in love.
“The celebration of a union between two people is very important,” she says.
“It brings the two families together. It makes everyone in attendance feel included and honoured to be part of the beginning of the union.”
Due to frustrations that often come up on the wedding day, many people are now resorting and adopting to outsourcing the services of wedding planners.
This gives opportunity to the bride and the groom to have a moment of their lives without having to be bothered to attend to the hurdles that are presented by the occasion.
“In the past, this was the role reserved for cousins or any immediate family members but I’m not sure if they are still willing to carry it out,” she says.
With a wedding planner in place, a space for calmness by the bride and the groom is at least guaranteed to a larger extent as there is someone overseeing that all is in order.
Although it’s optional, Khang says everyone can do with some help.
Organising a wedding can be tedious and stressful, a lot of brides never get to enjoy their special day.
If one can afford the services of a wedding planner, then they can go for it.
Khang has also highlighted that from the outlook many people believe that nuptials are for the sophisticated people due to their demands.
For ease of presentation, she has outlined necessities of a wedding: officiator, rings, music, cake, décor, photographer and refreshments.
In a nutshell, Khang is of the opinion that people should make wise decisions when planning for their weddings.
“The wedding day is a joyous day for everyone involved from the couple to their friends, family and colleagues,” she says.
“Everyone anxiously anticipates the day. The mood is always blissful and peaceful. The only thing that could go wrong is when couples fail to celebrate within their means and make ridiculous and unnecessary decisions.”
She says lately, anything seems to go when it comes fashion.
A lot of couples are breaking traditions and doing what best represents their style and preferences.
“Brides have been seen wearing coloured gowns for instance,” she says.
Khang now designs and makes wedding gowns, thanks to the skills she learned at the Bloemfontein Fashion Academy in 2016 which has beefed up her art.
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