Hazel Kok | Etshehadi Construction and Services CC
Programme sponsor: Johnson Matthey
“Personal development has been an important part of my entrepreneurial journey”
Hazel Kok started Etshehadi Construction and Services CC in 2007. “I was introduced to the business world by my mom,” Hazel says. “I never had an interest in the corporate life – I wanted freedom, independence, excitement and reward. Watching my mom enjoy independence and fulfilment was what made me decide to start my own business.” Hazel’s business specialises in, among other things, electrical engineering, installations, repairs and maintenance, construction and plumbing.
The biggest challenge Hazel faced when she started her business was lack of trust in her ability. “I was very young and inexperienced in the beginning. Also, being a female in a male dominated industry was a challenge,” she says. In 2021, she was accepted on to a Johnson Matthey-sponsored business-development programme, powered by Raizcorp. On this programme, she has received learning and guiding (mentoring).
Hazel has learned the importance of having systems and processes in place in her business. “I have learned to work on my business and not in my business. Having a well-articulated vision for the future of my business as well as a strategy, a roadmap to get there, has been invaluable,” she says. She continues, “As much as it has been about working on growing my business, it has equally been about working on myself. Personal development has been an important part of my entrepreneurial journey.” The most positive impact to her business has been the financial aspects. “Most entrepreneurs find financials intimidating. I did. Now I understand and assess my management accounts. This view of my business has helped me in sales strategies and processes that have increased profits. I’m about ready to hire permanent employees,” she says excitedly.
To other entrepreneurs she advises,” It is a lonely road, surround yourself with people who are supportive. Be resilient and always remember your why. You will never have it all figured out, but you can ask for help and hire employees who align with your company values. Rest when you are tired and, most importantly, love what you do.
In a message to her sponsor she says, “Thank you for affording me the opportunity to be on this programme. I am only halfway through the program but the growth I have experienced, not only my business but as an entrepreneur, is overwhelming. Personal development and business growth is a continuous journey. Thank you for investing in our growth. Being surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs that go through the same struggles on their journeys, and are open to sharing how they’ve overcome those challenges, and also the support from our guides is really encouraging.”