People are the Most Important Ingredient

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After 30 years in business I would go so far as to say that people are the most important ingredient in determining long-term business success, especially in a small business. For this reason, mastering the art of recruiting and retaining good people is essential.

I have discovered that an excellent way to find good people is to “try before you buy”. Internship is a great way to try out young blood, especially if you can source capable local interns with potential and if you have the patience to support them as they acquire the skills you need in your team.

The downside is that many youngsters are still searching for their place in life, and often move on to greener pastures. For example we recently said farewell to a hugely talented youngster who arrived at Fetola early in November 2015. Melissa impressed us from day one, asking intelligent questions and going beyond our expectations, making her an ideal Fetola team member.

Sadly for us she recently accepted a great offer at a big bank, but my door will remain open to her as I hope she will realise that the personal interaction in a small dynamic and innovative company such as Fetola is what makes work worthwhile!

Personally I love the fresh energy and innovation that comes from hiring young interns, and have adapted our HR processes to allow for these comings and goings. In fact I love this model so much that Fetola has hosted more than 50 local and international interns in the past eight years!

Catherine WijnbeCatherine Wjinbergrg is CEO and Founder of Fetola, Enterprise Development professionals and SME growth specialists. She has owned and operated small businesses in three countries across five different sectors, and has successfully conceptualised, designed and implemented several award-winning community and business development programmes, including the Legends Incubator.

Her most recent initiative, the #JustAddGreen programme aims at facilitating partnerships between sustainable business and Government, corporate and international donor organisations.