#Walking4Women 5th July 2020

During 2019 I took up the challenge to venture further afield than my usual walking routes. Thanks to KZN Trail Running I discovered some unique and varied places to walk and within a hour or twos drive from my home. Places that were previously unavailable to the public in general were now open to me via KZN Trail Running. Approximately 50% of my 2019 mileage was through this organisation. What fun I had. Meeting new people, chatting, learning about different places and spaces and the variety of people, their professions, their family, their love of the outdoors.

Of course a far amount of mileage also took place in my favourite valley WESSA Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve. As I child I grew up walking this valley as it was part of my dad’s farm. My dad being the original founder of Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve. I have walked this valley for most of my life and there is always something new to discover and see. This is my happy contented space. The place I love to be, the place that calms me, the place that sets everything in the world right, the place where my dad has his final resting place.

Other mileage during 2019 was through various formally organised races. SPAR Ladies, Deloittes, ECR Long Walk, Mandela, Rhino Run, Martizburg Marathon, to mention a few, and a couple of virtual races thrown in. I attempted the Longest Day for my 60th birthday, with the aim of completing 60 kms in 12 hours. Just made it but did it.

Walking has taught me a lot about determination. Set your sites on a goal and achieve it. Doesn’t matter how long it takes you, some days the mileage takes longer than others, but the journey is to be enjoyed. I never look for personal best times, it never concerns me how long it takes me. I set out with an idea in mind of how far I want to go. Usually I end up walking further as I get so engrossed in the scenery and the surroundings, that I forget how far I have walked. Walking has also allowed me to unlearn the planning of every journey. Just go out there and enjoy and who cares where you end up. One day I got so engrossed in the beauty of the forests that I landed up getting lost and having to walk a far longer distance than anticipated. Thank goodness for tracking devices as I was able to back track using my tracker.

There have been some days where I just felt that I couldn’t go another kilometre. There have been days when I just haven’t had the energy to go out and walk. There have been days when I have had to resort to the dreadmill to keep up with mileage. Days when I question my sanity in getting myself involved in various races, virtual and actual. 2019 did teach me that every day is to be enjoyed. Hitting the age of 60 somehow brings a certain realisation that you are not invincible, but you can finish what you started.

#Walking4Women 4th July

Let me start off by introducing myself and the reason for #Walking4Women. My name is Ali Engelbrecht. I am the voluntary CEO of a non profit organisation know as Women In Business, which is a social networking platform for entrepreneurial women.

At the end of November 2018 Facebook had a pop up advert for a group of virtual walkers. The challenge was 1,200 miles in 2019, called the Invincible Challenge. I had just finished a couple of years of studying part time and I needed something useful to fill my time, but something that wouldn’t be indoors. Having grown up on a farm and been an avid walker all my life, I decided I would take on this challenge.

During the course of 2019 I virtually met my other Invincibles. We interacted on a closed Facebook group. As the year progressed friendships were formed and a spin off was I became a virtual traveler and I became an informal ambassador for tourism in South Africa. We shared photos and personal trivia, laughed and encouraged one another and as we each reached the target of 1,200 miles, we celebrated. By the end of 2019 we decided that we needed to do another event so that we could maintain the common thread and stay in touch.

2020 brought many many challenges. The first one being 2,020 kilometres in 2020. The second one being the Lock Down due to COVID. Being in lock down and trapped within one’s own home and property created challenges but not insurmountable ones. I am very fortunate to live on a small holding. Mowed a maze of paths around the property and was able to enter many other virtual challenges and keep up my mileage for the 2,020 km challenge. The big bonus was to be able to work from home. Instead of spending two hours a day on the road to and from work, I used that time to walk. The mileage added up very quickly. We are now half way through the year, my mileage is 1,586 kms completed to-date.

A group of us girls, who are now firm virtual friends, decided to join as a team the Big Canada Race. 8,000 kms across Canada to be completed within a year. We agreed to our team name #BerniesBitches (story for another posting) setting off on 1st July to cross Canada virtually. Our Team Captain Bernie (a dog) and her mum Team Leader Janet have been instrumental in getting us organised and running (well in my case walking).

Throughout the 1,200 mile challenge in 2019 I came across other walkers on the road or on trails and just chatted in general. As a walker you are generally at the back of the pack and a lot slower than the majority. But you do get to talk to some amazing people who have such interesting lives. On the roads I chatted to many women walking to and from work. As the months progressed I realised that what I thought was invincible and fantastic was actually not. Many women (and men) who only have access to public transport to get to and from work, walk at least 1,200 miles in a year. The #Walking4Women awareness campaign was born. Through this #Walking4Women campaign I want to create awareness around how far women have to walk to and from work, and for employers to be empathetic towards these ladies. Often they have to stand for long hours at work making them leg weary. Creating awareness hopefully will make employers more understanding and supportive.

Having had many adventures over the last 18 months with the long distance walking, creating a following on social media and sharing the insights of the gorgeous places I get to walk, its now time to start recording these adventures.

More posts to follow. Explanation of Team Bernie Bitches also to follow in future posts.

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New World Business

21st century business requires more than product and services. 21st century business requires problem solving skills, agility and offering of product and services which are on the go and will make an already busy customer happy.

How to attract this social creature who is the 21st century consumer? The changes in the market demands are fluid, rapid and swayed by ‘likes’. However these ‘likes’ do not necessarily mean business. You could have millions of ‘likes’ and no interactions. Social media sites offer statistics that an entrepreneur can follow and analyse. Do this! These stats are useful. What you have to look at is the interactions because these are your interested customers. What are they looking for? Which posts did they interact with vs those they didn’t interact with. Are you using the # effectively and efficiently.

The 21st century customer is also looking for accountability and reliability. With the vast reach of social media it is not a good idea to offer shoddy service and then fob off poor service with excuses. That’s trouble asking to be taken up.

Look at adding value to your clients/customers. Offer them more than just your product or service. Women In Business is offering a free virtual race in November. Why are we doing this? We want to encourage healthy work life balance and we are wanting to introduce our members to new world thinking for Business.

Join #WomenInBusiness for a FREE virtual race from the 10th November 2019 until the 15th November. Yes you have 5 full days to complete this event or you can do it one day. Its absolutely up to you. Any where, any time at your own pace. Walk/run/cycle whatever turns your toes back 🙂
As its our first virtual race ever, its free. All you need to do is get off the couch, put on your walking shoes and walk or run for 12 miles (19 kilometers) wherever you are. That’s the joy of virtual walking – you don’t actually physically have to be where the virtual walk is.
Here’s how it works:
o Sign up by submitting your name and email.
o Run anywhere (seriously, anywhere).
o You track your activity by a GPS watch, app, sundial, change in the tides, or any other means.
o Reply to a daily email with your activity (yea! you’re smokin’ fast!).
o Your place on a map is plotted instantly (you get a really cool avatar!).
o Your total mileage will be tracked.
Sign up and get your friends to sign up! It’s always more fun when you’re running with friends.
https://womeninbusines.racery.com/r/women-in-business-virtual-walk/

Women In Business Virtual Walk

Invincible 1,200 miles in 2019

A VIRTUAL RACE

Running 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) is possibly a normal distance for most long distance runners. However for a walker, walking at an average pace of 5 kms an hour that is a lot of mileage and hours on your feet. This is the story of my 1,200 miles and why I participated.

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In December 2018 the algorithm of Facebook linked me to the site by Run Motivators called Invincible 1,200 miles in 2019. I dwelt on the distance and the fact that it was a virtual race. Something I had never done before and the challenge of a minimum of 100 miles (161 kms) a month for 12 months intrigued me. So I signed up with the kind help of Run Motivators based in the USA.

virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, or walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the track (or even at another race). You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.

On the 7th January 2019 I started on my 1,200 mile journey. I walked formal events. I walked trails. I walked road races. I walked up and down roads, valleys, mountains, beaches and anywhere I possibly could. I met people on these walks who have varied and interesting lives. Walking gives you time to talk, interact and share. My routine was usually to walk five days of the week with Monday’s and Friday’s being my off days. But soon it became an addiction. If I didn’t get my daily ‘fix’ I was grumpy and irritable. A pattern started to emerge from the people I chatted to on my various walks (formal and informal) and I started doing the math. The average South African women, who has no transport of her own, who is reliant on taxis and public transport walks this mileage every single year. She walks to catch the taxi/public transport. She has to walk from where the taxi/public transport stops to her place of work and then the reverse takes place at the end of the work day. In addition she has to carry every packet/parcel/sack of food which she will purchase for her family. In addition she doesn’t have the walking shoes that I was privileged to wear. She has to walk with her work shoes and work clothes. This is a woman to be admired. So it became my mission, that with every mile completed I would ensure that I spoke out about these amazing, uncomplaining women who walk to work and back every day. Making employers aware that they need to be empathetic and offer support to these ladies. When they sit down for a cup of tea with their breakfast, don’t berate them, celebrate them.

I completed my target of 1,200 miles on the 29th September, way ahead of schedule in position 80 of 480 participants from 53 countries across the world. This way of life has become a habit. Time out, time for reflection, time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. We have a beautiful country and through this walking challenge I have participated in events that have taken me to places, on my door step, that I didn’t know existed nor would ever have visited. An absolute privilege and blessing to be able to walk and enjoy my surroundings. I have never once felt unsafe or threatened on my walks. I have truly been blessed.

My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured. My journey continues and I will continue to log the miles for the rest of 2019. I have signed up for 2020 to walk 2,020 kms. I will again use this platform to raise awareness of the strength, tenacity and determination of our women. The walks have been a true test of determination for me. Nothing is achievable without determination and dedication. A soft lesson learnt and treasured.

Business Plan vs sport training

Writing a business plan and training for sport require very much the same actions. Both require planning, time lines, visions and goals. Without these your business plan nor your training plan will work.

Karkloof Valley

Today I went out on a Trail Walk (I don’t run) and my plan did not work. I had not done enough preparation to achieve my goal of completing 10 kms in under 3 hours. I was not fit enough, as I had not done enough of the correct training. I had not researched the terrain sufficiently to understand the physical and mental energy required. I had my goal – to finish the course. I had my mission – another trail walk to add to my list of events done. BUT I had not planned nor had the correct foresight.

However I did enjoy the trail walk. I met some amazing people on the way who taught me lessons and enabled me to think differently. All of this is very similar to planning and setting up a business plan. Next weekend my plan may be different as the terrain will be different, the weather will be different. Not unlike a business plan where the economy changes or the market changes.

What did I learn? Both in business and in physical activity it is not good enough to have a vision and a mission. There is planning (short, medium and long term) that needs to be done and there has to be flexibility to change.

Bring on the next event.

Increasing Competitiveness of Business

Often entrepreneurs get ‘tetchy’ at the thought of competition.  This should not be the case.  Competition makes you get to the top of your game and if you, as an entrepreneur are threatened by competition, you need to rethink your dream to be an entrepreneur.

Competition is challenging, through provoking, creative and most of all creating that edge that your business needs to stay ahead of the competitive pack.  If you are Continue reading “Increasing Competitiveness of Business”

The Rhino Run 2018

My 2nd Rhino Run was extra special as my daughter walked with me.  This event continues to be a wonderful outdoor experience. Sadly not as well supported as it should be.  We enjoyed the walk and the magnificent views around iNanda Dam.   We decided to make a weekend of it and enjoy the pleasures of being in the outdoors.  As a country South Africa has so much to offer to the outdoor enthusiast. Any reason to drive my #LadyMavis #LandRover is a good excuse.  We booked into the Msinzi Tented accommodation and had a wonderful afternoon and evening outdoors and in touch with nature.  Being with nature truly grounds you and makes your realise all the dramatic drama of the work week is sometimes in our heads.  Being in the quiet stillness of nature brings everything into perspective.  Well worth the visit and the stay at Msinzi iNanada DamiNanda Dam41876527_10158612398544572_3488708454577602560_nPIC_7566.jpg

Entrepreneurial Women – diversification of products/services

On a daily basis I get numerous inquiries from our #WomenInBusiness website regarding help/guidance needed for business ideas.  http://www.womeninbusiness.org.za

One of the issues that is raised consistently is the fact that the enquirer is ‘not making money’ and they need help with marketing their product.  In discussions with the entrepreneur I generally discover that they have taken the focus of their core business  and diversified into a number of other unrelated products/services.  This diversification is particularly onerous when the range of products/services is from health care, through to construction to catering.  Such a wide variety of offerings can only be detrimental to the entity.  No entrepreneur, especially a small emerging business, can cope with this kind of diversification.  Through the interactions and mentoring process it becomes clear that the entrepreneur in question has been given unsound advice by friends and family.  They have often invested large sums of money registering a company.  They have not taken into consideration the onerous reporting procedures required of a company nor the accountancy costs.  The entrepreneur is under the impression that if they are a registered company they can obtain finance and are eligible for tenders.  Then they offer every single service they can think of without proper planning, testing the market, assessing their customers, no business plan or financial plan.  No vision or mission.  When questioned as to why they are not trading as a sole trader business, which is less onerous, they are ill informed as to the benefits of being a small business to start off with.

It is so sad that many aspiring entrepreneurs do not seek advice from reputable organisations or service providers.  In the long run it would have saved them large amounts of money, time and disappointment.

On our website is a link whereby members of the public are able to contact us and we will assist and start the mentoring for free (limited number of sessions).  We will also direct genuine entrepreneurs to reputable service providers who can assist them in their entrepreneurial journey.

Women Effect

Capital Climb 02.09.2018 vs Entrepreneurial Climb.

Today I set out on an event that I have never participated in before.  Purely because I have always had something else on at the time.  However this weekend was the right weekend and I set out on the Capital Climb event in Pietermaritzburg.  15 kms of grueling testing of the legs on a pure uphill climb to World’s View and a pure downhill back to Voortrekker School.  The event was a test of determination.  The hill climb started on the tar road, led into a dirt road and then a slippy track which was extremely steep.  Once at the top we could not see the view due to the mist, but just the sheer delight in having conquered the muscle stretching climb to the top was enough.

This event made me think of how entrepreneurs have to climb many hills of various challenges in order to make it to the top of their game.  If you give up you have achieved nothing, but if you keep going and continually encourage yourself you can do anything you set your mind to.  The event required training and preparation, as does a business.  You have to be mentally and physically fit to be in business.  You need to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to ensure your success.  BUT you cannot have immediate success without having to slowly find your way to the top.  Quick success leads to quick failures.  Rather slow and sure to be able to manage and plan the business path.

Today’s event taught me a lot about tenacity.  In one’s own life, private and business, this tenacity will go a long way to ensuring success.  Don’t give up because you can do it.
Capital Climb 2018

#Mandela Legacy lives on

Today I am feeling my age and my body agrees.  Two days participating in the #Mandela Legacy events has taken its toll, BUT it has been such fun and I have loved every minute of it.  Yesterday I participated in the 8 kms Trail Run from the #Mandela Capture site up through the hills and back down again.  Beautiful private farmlands that we were privileged to be able to walk through.  Today was the #Mandela Marathon.  I participated in the 21 kms.  A hard hot walk, but well worth the effort.   Continue reading “#Mandela Legacy lives on”