Member Since 2021
Zane Stevens is a Director and Founder of Protea Financial. Prior to joining Protea, he was Financial Manager at Syntell, and subsidiaries, in Cape Town, South Africa. Syntell is a leading blue-chip company with revenue in excess of $38m that provides cutting edge technology-based services for Road Safety, Traffic Management and Revenue Collection. Before joining Syntell, Zane was a supervisor at KPMG in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, South Africa, where he led audit and financial and information technology advisory engagements. Working with a broad host of clients, from owner-managed entities to large listed multinational companies, Zane obtained extensive experience in various sectors including automotive; public sector; food, drink, and consumer products; retail; healthcare and agriculture. Zane is registered as a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. He received an Honors Degree in Accounting from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where he also completed his undergraduate degree in Accounting.
Running a business from the comfort of your home can be both rewarding and challenging. While a home-based business offers flexibility and convenience, it can also blur the lines between work and your personal life, leading to burnout and a lack of work-life balance.
Anyone can exhibit leadership qualities regardless of their job title or position.
While a business’s goal is always to please its customers, there will likely be times when a customer will end up dissatisfied with the end result of a particular project or product. The way a business responds to this situation can often determine the future of that client relationship and whether or not they will continue to work with that business moving forward.
While the way a first meeting goes may not always make or break a deal, putting your best foot forward is much more likely to lead to a good result—especially when it comes to a potential new business partner or client. The first impression you make could set the tone for your whole relationship, which means it’s vitally important to strive for a positive one.
Work-life balance refers to the ratio between the time an individual spends on their job and the time and energy they spend on other aspects of their life, such as their family, friends and hobbies.
Though they are often set with the best of intentions, it’s not uncommon for New Year’s resolutions and the motivation to meet them to fall by the wayside after a few weeks or months into the new year. Busy personal lives and stressful workdays can end up getting in the way, with “just getting by” taking precedence over any push to accomplish more than the status quo.
As businesses recover from the pandemic-fueled events of the last few years, as well as grapple with the uncertainty of today’s economic climate, entrepreneurs are likely to feel cautious and unsure of how to plan for the success of their businesses going forward. After all, how can you plan for something you don’t know is going to happen?
Businesses are only as successful as their ability to manage money, so it's important for leaders to be informed of any financial changes with the help of an experienced bookkeeper.
The end of any year is often a time of reflection and self-awareness, with many people taking the time to look at both what went well and what went wrong, as well as what they can do to improve over the next 365 days. For leaders, it can be a time to reflect on their own leadership style, their strengths and their weaknesses.
With the end of the year looming, companies across all industries will begin scheduling end-of-year performance reviews with their employees. But rather than stick to what was always done, even if it wasn’t very effective, leaders can strive to generate more meaning from these reviews and give their team members more actionable, personal feedback they can take with them into the new year.
Many employers talk about wanting "employee loyalty," or employees who will give their all to their role and to the company in order to help it succeed. But what's talked about less is what employers can do to actively earn this loyalty from their employees, leaving employers with no action plan for how to inspire this kind of behavior in their teams.
While some people may be naturally inclined toward leadership roles, no one is born a perfect leader. The ability to inspire, motivate and guide a team of people is built up over time, and no matter how many managerial positions someone has held, there's always more to learn.
A company’s culture—or its shared values, behaviors, goals and beliefs—can be one of the most difficult aspects of business for an entrepreneur to build. It involves bringing together employees from different backgrounds, with different experiences and with differing goals, and determining commonalities and a unified vision that everyone can agree on and strive toward. Naturally, this process can involve a few bumps along the way.
When you have an idea—whether it’s a simple tweak to an ongoing project or a major overhaul to an ineffective work process—and you want to share it with your manager, pitching it can be as simple as walking into their office or messaging them on Slack and explaining the idea. However, if you want to ensure your pitch is successful, you may need to think through your overall strategy first.
Increasing productivity and focus is something most professionals strive for. But while there are different tricks and tips for being more productive and focused on your work, the tips don’t always work for every person. The key is to find advice that works for you and your lifestyle.
Owning a business is one of the most challenging endeavors a person can take on, and owning a small business is no exception. From strategizing to delegating and everything in between, there are many difficulties that small-business owners face, yet most of them would say that it's all worth it in the end.
The day-to-day life of a business owner is often fast-paced, with a multitude of problems to solve and employees to answer to. This means that, when faced with a decision, entrepreneurs may not have time on their side and they may be forced to make quick decisions on the fly or with very little time to weigh out every possibility.
Whether you're applying for a position at a large corporation or a job at a growing startup, the potential employer is likely going to have a lot of applicants to comb through and some tough decisions to make before they settle on one particular candidate. When you’re interviewing, your first impression is often a lasting one, so it’s vital to leave a positive impression during the hiring process.
Every job application you fill out presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Whether you're writing a cover letter, ensuring your resume is tailored to the job description or trying to remember what to say during your interview, you have a chance to impress the hiring manager and land the job. The challenge, of course, is making sure your application outshines the dozens of others a hiring manager may receive.
When trying to solve a problem—small or large—many people may tend to rush to a solution in order to get a process in motion or to just get it off their plate so they can focus on other things. However, this method has the potential to create negative consequences, especially if the wrong decision was made or all variables weren’t considered.
Everyone struggles with self-doubt at some point in their lives, especially if they own a business. Self-doubt as a business owner can be daunting to overcome and may sometimes derail you from your goals. But part of being an entrepreneur means learning how to grow a thick skin in order to take on the adversity, rejection and low confidence that can often come with the job.
As a leader, you likely have a hand in many different sectors of your business, whether it's overseeing employees or directing specific projects. Because of the amount of time you have to devote to so many different activities, you may be losing time jumping from project to project. But there are ways that you can optimize your workflow without risking burnout and still get the same amount of work done—if not more—with time to spare.
Mid-year checks are a great time to reevaluate the goals your company made at the beginning of the year and ensure employees and metrics are on the right track. When conducting these check-ins, it's crucial to look at a few pertinent areas that could hinder your company's success. To that end, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) weigh in on the following question:
From team meetings to one-on-ones to virtual happy hours, Zoom has become a key tool for dealing with the challenges of remote work and communication. Even though Zoom has become an asset for companies, many remote and hybrid employees battle “Zoom fatigue,” especially if constantly having to meet on screen is a big part of their jobs.
As the Covid-19 pandemic pushed more companies to embrace remote work, global hiring and flexible schedules, the traditional 9-to-5 workday has become less and less standard among professionals. Instead of requiring everyone to work during the same hours, companies are beginning to entrust their workforce to manage their tasks on their own time.
During the first quarter of the year, businesses often start to notice what’s been working and what hasn’t, what goals have been accomplished and which haven't quite yet. Maybe an initiative started in the first few weeks of the year still hasn't gotten off the ground or a campaign launched at the end of January didn't show the results you expected.
Many professionals look for meaning and purpose in their work—their "true calling." Passion is a great motivator for business owners, and being intentional with your work will help generate great outcomes.
As an entrepreneur, you may come to realize that certain aspects of your personal and social life have to be put on the back burner to get your business off the ground. Neglecting your personal life can come at a cost, though.
Members of Young Entrepreneur Council list the tech skills company founders need to get their businesses off the ground.
Strong, clear communication is a must when it comes to manager-employee relationships, but certain behaviors can work against you.
As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it's easy for your team's motivation to decline alongside it. If you don't want to see morale and productivity plummet through the winter months, it's important to take proactive steps to energize and inspire your staff.
Some of the best parts about having a small business are the benefits that it brings to employees: more equity, a hand in the decision-making process and smaller teams, just to name a few. Although the successful growth of your business is something to celebrate, day-one employees may eventually come to miss the small business feeling that they signed on for.
We live in a world of constant distractions and interruptions. While it's easy to blame these external factors for our lack of focus, it's often our own reactions to and bad habits around those distractions that are truly sabotaging us.
With so many work stressors, it can often feel difficult to feel grateful for your professional life. Long days and difficult co-workers can be hard to handle, and these factors may sometimes overshadow your job’s positive benefits in your mind. However, intentionally looking for the good can help you feel more gratitude for the opportunity you’ve been given and improve your overall mental state.
Performance feedback is an important way for your employees to know how well they are doing in their role, especially in a growing company. While annual reviews help your employees see how they’ve been doing throughout the course of the year, they could also benefit from receiving regular performance feedback.
Working on a team can be challenging for those accustomed to working alone. Teams bring different opinions, ideas and ways of working, which can be incredibly helpful for collaborative projects. However, this environment can sometimes be difficult for those used to independent thinking and solo projects.
As the holidays quickly approach, it's almost time for you and your team to set your “out of office” auto-replies and get some well-deserved rest and relaxation. However, this is easier said than done when many professionals continually feel the need to be productive.
Accurately gauging the fit of a job candidate can be difficult, and sometimes new hires who seemed great during the interview process don't pan out as expected. In situations like this, a leader must take action to course-correct and figure out the problem before the whole team suffers.
Like any other skill, better communication comes with practice.
A few simple tricks can help you regain that lost motivation.
For those working within a small business or team, it can be difficult to take time off. No one wants to go on vacation at the expense of their company and peers—especially during periods of rapid business growth. Still, employees and leaders need to establish healthy work-life boundaries, even when their team is small and the work is plentiful.
While many large companies may have the resources to offer funded relaxation retreats or other extensive mental health perks, it can be difficult for small businesses to find ways to offer similar benefits without those same resources.
When it comes time to start marketing your business, you either have a ton of ideas you want to try or you have no clue where to begin. You likely understand the importance of sharing the benefits of your products and services with prospective customers, but it can be hard to know if you're taking the right steps in sharing your brand's message.
To be great leaders, they’ll first need a great leader.
Tracking the progress of your company goals is the best way to ensure they get accomplished.
One of the biggest influences on a business and its employees is a positive attitude. Leaders who have a positive mindset and are pleasant to be around get the most out of their peers and employees. A happy attitude is infectious, and when workers are in a good mood, they yield good results.
As entrepreneurs start getting more involved with their businesses, it’s not uncommon that they find there's less time to spend on themselves. Unfortunately, being a successful business owner can often mean spending many hours engrossed in work without taking personal breaks. The result is almost always burnout, which can have negative effects on your health and well-being.
This year was the definition of life-changing.
If you want to lead, you may want to nurture these traits first.
No matter how stressed or busy you get, the right habits can keep you moving forward.
Protea Provides Flexible, Bookkeeping Solutions With a management team and account managers based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Protea provides business owners and managers with financial information and insight for making decisions. Protea’s goal is to provide, at costs below the market average, timely, accurate, and high-quality financial information on which a business can act. Protea specializes in removing burdens and responsibilities of finding, managing, and training an accountant or bookkeeper. Protea can provide any combination of standard bookkeeping and accounting, either as a fully-outsourced service managed by Protea or by adding a dedicated full-time or part-time accounting professional to your team at a significantly lower cost than what you would pay to hire an accountant or bookkeeper. Our Capabilities We can’t move mountains, but, we’ll move the needle for your organization. Our team is dedicated to providing you the opportunity to focus on what you do best. Our team specializes in services ranging from bookkeeping and general ledger management to detailed management accounts and inventory tracking.