How small business entrepreneurs can beat the odds and flourish

25 Feb, 2018

There has never been a better time to start your own business. Technological advances, favourable finance options and corporate culture are driving the rising power and leverage of small businesses in South Africa. These trends are inspiring a diverse cross-section of individuals to leave large corporations and start their own businesses. With a laptop, Internet access, some form of workspace and a talented workforce, many start-ups are getting it right.

The majority of South Africans have access to affordable computing and data. New business owners can network using smart devices and leverage low cost storage. Online tools and services allow entrepreneurs to maximise their capabilities and mask their size, giving their new ventures greater reach and scope.

New technologies have created variable cost structures that allow businesses to operate on a plug-and-play model. Empowered entrepreneurs can adjust and execute strategies swiftly by using the increasing pool of flexible talent and by expanding nimbly at co-working spaces. Funding for entrepreneurs is also on the rise through innovation and expanded investment parameters.

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The shift towards self-employment is partly due to the fact that people enjoy the very acts of making, doing and selling. Running a small business is becoming a deeply social and popular activity. Despite all the advantages, reports suggest that the vast majority of small businesses in South Africa fail within the first five years. Research also shows that approximately 40% of small business success depends on the entrepreneur.

Here’s how aspiring entrepreneurs can position their mindsets for success this year.

Know what you want and do what you love
Do what you truly care about. Passion and a clear vision will help you overcome challenges. Get in the habit of keeping up with changes and opportunities in your industry. Key to success is the ability to identify a problem that potential clients are willing to pay for.

Build up your knowledge and skills
Before you start, gain some experience in different areas of a business and work closely with a successful mentor to build up the required knowledge and skills to run your own business. Skills that you should not neglect are personal initiative, proactivity, innovation, strategic planning and implementation.

Learn how to identify and build a great team
Skills can be taught, character can’t. Identify the type of people you want to work with and find valuable talent for your team. Get in the habit of upholding confidentiality without compromise to encourage trust and confidence in your team.

Being an entrepreneur will demand a substantial amount of your time and energy. The risks will be yours to shoulder but with it comes the freedom to make your own decisions. What’s more, the sense of fulfilment as you watch your ideas grow into a successful small business is unsurpassed. Technology is on your side – make full use of the tools at your disposal to break down the barriers to your own success.