No lim­its to PE woman’s vi­sion

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Odette Parfitt parfitto@ti­soblack­

IN eight years she has moved from sell­ing print­ers to build­ing an em­pire of com­pa­nies – a move that will now see Port El­iz­a­beth busi­ness­woman Erna Bas­son rub shoul­ders with Char­lie Sheen, Al Pa­cino and Ap­ple co-founder Steve Woz­niak.

Bas­son, 29, has been in­vited to speak at the Mega Suc­cess con­fer­ence in Los An­ge­les.

Court­ney El­ston, spe­cial events di­rec­tor for JT Foxx Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the com­pany be­hind the event, con­firmed Bas­son was listed as a speaker, but said her time slot would be con­firmed only later.

Bas­son said her se­cret to suc­cess was sim­ple: hard work and dis­com­fort.

“You have to get com­fort­able with be­ing un­com­fort­able,” the mother of two and busi­ness coach said.

“As an en­tre­pre­neur, you will never grow if you stay com­fort­able; you have to live in your un­com­fort­able zone and act like you be­long.”

Brand­ing is a cor­ner­stone of her suc­cess as an en­tre­pre­neur.

“I work hard, be­cause what you put in is what you get out, and you have to work to im­prove your brand ev­ery day.

“How­ever, busi­ness is not about you. If you lis­ten to your clients and their needs, you will au­to­mat­i­cally in­crease your prof­its.

“You also have to know how you can solve prob­lems, what value you can bring to peo­ple and how you will wow them with your ser­vice.”

She has used this ap­proach since start­ing an events and pro­mo­tions com­pany at the age of 21.

“I had been sell­ing of­fice print­ers for a few months af­ter mov­ing to PE from Bloem­fontein,” she said.

“In a meet­ing with Peter Thompson from Dis­tell, [he said he had a prob­lem] with a pro­mo­tions agency, and I asked if he would sup­port me if I could have a com­pany up and run­ning in three months.

“Dis­tell was my first client, and I am so grate­ful to him, be­cause he believed in me when I was young and said I could [start my own busi­ness].”

Bas­son said be­ing young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced counted in her favour.

“It meant that I was hard­work­ing, full of en­ergy and able to adapt.”

She sold this com­pany, Pink Brand Man­age­ment, in Novem­ber last year, and an­other com­pany, Ma­jes­tic Wed­dings, in April.

Bas­son still runs eight ac­tive com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing the New African En­tre- preneurs project with Nd­aba Man­dela, and Era­bella, which sells hair ex­ten­sions from branches in South Africa, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Hong Kong.

She will be in New Zealand next week to at­tend to her busi­ness in­ter­ests.

“South African en­trepreneurs of­ten [make the mis­take of hav­ing] tun­nel vi­sion, but the world is so con­nected. I have a busi­ness part­ner and we can work to­gether when he is in Atlanta and I am here.

“It’s im­por­tant to be able to make de­ci­sions quickly, though. I al­ways think about what the best, worst and most likely out­come is, and then I de­cide. I am more of an ‘oh well’ girl than a ‘what if’ girl.”

Her next goal is to be in­cluded in the Forbes list of the 100 most in­flu­en­tial women in the world be­fore she turns 35.

“To me, suc­cess is when I can do what I want, when I want and with whom I want. By the age of 35 I want to be se­lec­tive about what I do, so that I will be able to spend time with my sons and at­tend their rugby matches. I’m mak­ing short-term sac­ri­fices now for long-term ben­e­fits.”

Sarah Gib­son, a sales con­sul­tant from Dis­tell who worked with her in 2013, de­scribed Bas­son as an “ef­fi­cient and driven” per­son.

“She al­ways gave 120% and was pas­sion­ate about her job,” Gib­son, who also nom­i­nated Bas­son for the Busi­ness­woman’s As­so­ci­a­tion’s re­gional awards the same year, said.


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