An Interview with the Authors of ‘Entrepreneur’s Playbook: Going From Rookie To Rainmaker Explained’

Starting a business is simple. You take a great idea and a passionate drive to see it come to life, combine it with a fantastic Go-To-Market Strategy and the rest is history, right? Unfortunately, not.

“Approximately 50% of all start-up businesses in South Africa fail within 24 months,” says Ravi Govender, Head of Small Enterprises at Standard Bank.

What if big ideas and start up passion could be supported with sound insights and resources that can be used as tangible stepping stones to a fully sustainable business? CWDi Group CEO Lesley Waterkeyn together with her sister Sandy van Dijk have written a simple, easy to follow book that takes all the What If’s experienced along the entrepreneurial gauntlet and turns them into How To’s in seven easy to follow steps.

This book creates a compelling guide that gives entrepreneurs the tools for creating their very own unique business stories, and ultimately bringing them to life successfully, and sustainably.

‘The Entrepreneurs Playbook: From Rookie to Rainmaker in Seven Steps’ launched in Sandton at the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel on the 4th of June 2019. The sisters had the following to say about it:

You recently launched your book ‘The Entrepreneur’s Playbook: From Rookie to Rainmaker in Seven Steps’. How long did it take you to master these seven steps in your own lives?

Lesley: I think we are constantly learning and you never really master these steps. One needs to have an open mind and always be willing to learn, and grow.

Sandy: I fully agree with Les. We never stop learning and growing, and being able to share our seven steps gives purpose and meaning to my life.

Sandy and Lesley, the Authors of The Entrepreneur’s Playbook

Of course you didn’t have the playbook on hand at the time. Were there any moments you wish you had?

Lesley: Absolutely. Through our research and own personal development we learned a lot that we have now taken on board and apply in our own business and lives.

Sandy: One of the early lessons for me as a new entrepreneur has been that adversity is bound to show up and having the right attitude and surrounding yourself with people who believe and support you has been one of my great lessons.  

Sandy and Lesley sharing a moment.

What can people look forward to with this book? 

Lesley: It’s a very practical guide to entrepreneurship. It’s not overwhelming, as running your own business can be, and there are some simple tools and guidelines that are easy to follow and implement.

Sandy: Our intention was to create a handbook – something you could refer to over and over again that would inspire and motivate you.

In your personal opinions what are the most overwhelming parts of starting a new business?

Lesley: Actually starting. That is probably the scariest. And then the next 1000 days!

Sandy: The sense that you are going it alone and that you have to wear different hats. There’s the creative hat for marketing, the thick skinned one for sales, the essential one of being financially astute and all the while staying resourceful, focused and resilient.

Your social enterprise Over the Rainbow strives to help young entrepreneurs. How does this initiative tie in with the book and how can budding entrepreneurs become a part of this enterprise?

Lesley: Over the Rainbow is the company that inspired the book. The book is based on the training program that we run at Over the Rainbow and any entrepreneur can come on this course and be trained on these principles. People can look out for details on our social channels and join our next course.

Sandy: Over the Rainbow is fundamentally a training facility and our course is based on the principles outlined in our book.  We have two on-line platforms and have partnered with various corporates and strive to share the contents of our book with as many entrepreneurs as possible.

Lesley, you are the Group CEO of CWDi, and played a pivotal role in the annual 67 Logos Designathon. How have these roles impacted your entrepreneurial skills?

I started Colourworks – now CWDi – 20 years ago and having run this business for that long, I am at a stage where I want to give back, where I want to make a difference in the lives of young entrepreneurs.  I know how hard it is and I want to try and help these entrepreneurs through this process.  By doing the research and being a part of designing this course and writing this book it served as a reminder of all the important stages one needs to learn and master. The 67 logos campaign was born out of the desire to give back.  With the failure rate of start-ups being so high (over 50% fail within their first year), we wanted to help these small businesses have a professional look so that they can “look good” and “feel confident” to get out there and make an impact in our economy.  We want these small businesses to thrive and grow. 

Sandy, what inspired you to start Over the Rainbow with your sister?

After two decades in the classroom I had lost my passion and I needed to reinvent myself.  Les came up with the idea of my love of education combining with her inspiration of being and entrepreneur and creating something meaningful.  Training entrepreneurs has reignited my passion for teaching and brings purpose and meaning to my life.  

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