Be the best you that you can be
Nozibele Sogoni whose first name means 'be kind' is the founder and managing director of Nozibele Solutions which was launched in 2013. She is a motivational speaker, SETA accredited mentor and coach as well as a trainer.
Nozi launched her women owned level 1 BBEE company in 2013. Her goal is to offer solutions to entrepreneurs in the South African marketplace. Nozie says, "I believe that entrepreneurship has the power to change the economic landscape of the country."
Nozie motivates entrepreneurs to develop their internal muscles while focusing on self-development to be "the best you that you can be". Through attending her three-month self-mastery course, entrepreneurs are encouraged to find their gifts and set goals for themselves and their businesses aligned to their passions.
"By asking the question, 'What is it that I was born to do with my life?', I see people's lives change in a dramatic way," explains Nozie. "I emphasize that we have an internal muscle called relevance; we need to learn to be relevant in both the global and our local economies. We also have a muscle of authenticity - it is up to you as to how you sleep at the end of the day."
Her professional journey has been prompted by her own desire to excel and to produce quality work. This journey started in primary school where she felt compelled to be one of the top five students in her class. Nozie reflected that she grew up having a mom who pushed her to achieve by comparing her to her three sisters. "Having this motivation pushed me to be hard working and to develop an internal muscle of excellence but I had to overcome the obstacle of not finding myself significant enough in both my appearance and abilities."
Nozie's first job was as a stock replenisher at Woolworths, Pavilion where her desire to achieve soon saw her knowing where to find each item of clothing on the shop floor. She then worked as a receptionist at the Tower Group. Here Nozie realised that it was the little things that she did that made a difference to contributing to the company's annual profit of over one and a half million rand.
Her next job was at Conlog where she started as a receptionist. While Nozie could have remained as such, she chose to grow and after ten years left the company in charge of business and customer relations for the whole of South Africa.
Her promotion within the company was a consequence of her developing herself in local and international tenders and pricing. Her success in negotiating tenders and contracts, which was above and beyond her job description, saw her travelling with the company's directors throughout the country.
"I enjoyed interacting with customers so I decided to demote myself to do internal sales so that I could purse my dream of being a sales consultant for the company," explained Nozie. Five months later she was appointed sales manager for KwaZulu-Natal and by the end of the year had done R15 million worth of business.
As a reward for increasing sales, Nozie was sent to Paris to participate in a women's empowerment programme. This enabled her to see her career beyond an eight to five job as well as to see time in 24-hour slots. "Time is precious, and we have to push for passion," she explained. "I had to convince myself that I was limitless and that I had the tenacity to continue to achieve my vision which motivated me to open my own business. The approach that I bring to entrepreneurs is that it is important to not look at what we need but what we have."
"I also stress the importance of building relationships with clients, while winning tenders is important for business growth the value of having a customer cannot be overemphasized and is key to success. In assisting business to grow, writing proposals and applying for tenders are important processes that I am able to train companies to do."
However, as a woman in business, Nozie agrees that there are many challenges to face. "It is very difficult when married to take care of one's husband and extended family. A man doesn't have to think about who is collecting the children or what's for dinner. As a woman I have had to sort out situations on the home front while the pressure on the work front has been intense."
"My appeal to women is that you should just know that you are significant; you are worthy. Your work and all that you do, despite having the challenges at home and family behind you is enough - don't second guess yourselves."
Nozie states that she has been inspired by various members of the community who are doing amazing things that are bigger and better than the norm at various stages of her life. She has a special attraction for the life stories of billionaires such as Vivian Reddy, Dr Anna Mokgokong and Ashok Sewnarain. "One day I will get there, and I am grateful for relationships that I have with many of these people," she commented.
Her mentor Goodnews Cadogan is also a source of inspiration and is someone Nozie can call when she is at her best or at her worst.
"If I could go back and give advice to that little Nozie that I have inside me I would say value time. I would also say find out as much information as you can. The next thing would be to say be significant, you are worthwhile - be the best you that you can be," concluded Nozie.
Nozibele Sogoni whose first name means 'be kind' is the founder and managing director of Nozibele Solutions which was launched in 2013. She is a motivational speaker, SETA accredited mentor and coach as well as a trainer