Skip to main content

Faced with harsh economic prospects, small business owners will dig deep to find the courage needed to grow.

Each of us finds courage from different sources – not all of them healthy – but I found it in three places.

The jump to courage.

The first was as a youngster when for various reasons, I’d lost my courage. How I regained my courage was to jump out of an aeroplane. I was more scared of NOT jumping out of the aeroplane than the odds of something going wrong. It was not a perfect jump. Not being a man of detail, I’d forgotten much of my training. But somehow, I landed spot on the designated landing zone. Surprisingly, quite gently!

Finding perspective.

The second lesson in finding courage was dealing with my worst fears. Like many business owners during COVID, the prospect of losing everything was scary. One of the ways that we got through was cutting costs, and the support of fantastic clients. But I was still incredibly anxious.

My beautiful late wife sat me down and asked three simple questions, one of them with an answer.

“Do you remember our first years together in our little apartment when we only had a bed, a bumpy lounge suite, rusty garden furniture as our dining room table, and a patchy TV? And we only needed a little bar fridge for our food? Can you remember how happy we were? If that is the worse case scenario, it’s not too bad, is it?”

In that 10 second conversation, I lost all fear and regained courage. We used half of the cost savings for marketing and Sherpa grew. We connected with others who had also lost their fear.

Like-minded clients.

And of course, Sherpa’s clients provide inspiration and courage. Whether it is a smaller business or large corporate, they all have demons to fight which they tackle with courage and find their landing zones. That’s the thing about brands – they attract like-minded people.

Gary Hendrickse
CEO Sherpa


Sherpa is a brand strategy, graphic design, and digital marketing company. Established in 2006, Sherpa has served clients throughout South Africa, Namibia, South Sudan, DRC, Mozambique, UK, USA, and Australia. Industries worked include financial services, healthcare, consulting, pharmaceutical, logistics, accounting, legal, technology, commercial and retail property, and local government.