I am from a small town in the Eastern Cape with a limited number of restaurants. This is a business opportunity that I have identified and I have spoken to some of my friends about it. Where can I start? — Athi
First question before starting or investing in a business: Do you know about the business? For example, if it’s a restaurant, do you know about running a restaurant? If you don’t, then you probably grossly underestimate how hard it is.
Experience is inversely correlated to perceived simplicity. The less experience you have, the more simple it seems. Don’t invest in or run a business in which you have no experience. Your odds of success are virtually zero. If you want to start a restaurant, first go and work for one. After a few years, preferably as manager, you can explore starting your own show.
Better to delay your dream for a couple of years and minimise your odds of failure.
In 2016 I lost my job and decided to establish my own business. Things were okay for a while, and then they spiralled down out of control. Though I was in a pit, I still had passion, determination, and my extended family to support. That kept me going, trying to be strong and forging on, even when my business was failing. My health started failing and I was sinking into depression under the pressure, but I still pushed on.
2017 Started out better. I had two big campaigns and I believed it would be the start of things picking up. Sadly, it was short-lived. I lost the house that I had bought for my mother and I lost my car while this was happening. But I was also still the only hope for my family. This is when my whole system shut down, I just couldn’t face the world, I was drowning. I had failed, but I couldn’t accept it because I still had all these responsibilities: Trying to put my siblings through school, trying to find shelter for us and making sure that we at least had food. What should I do? — Nkosi
That’s a hectic story, but not original. You are not alone. Many others have walked a similar path. Most of them failed. Very few persevere. By not giving up you are already showing you are part of the select few.
That said, remember this: Life is long. Many millionaire entrepreneurs started late. Raymond Ackerman started Pick n Pay when was in his 40s. Warren Buffett started Berkshire Hathaway in his 50s.
Maybe it’s too early for you. Maybe you need to be in corporate for a while longer, building some capital and growing your network. When the moment is right, then you head into the entrepreneurial unknown again. This time with more scars/lessons and greater odds of success
Your network is your most powerful asset. Find a company where you can meet colleagues and clients that will be powerful in your network ten years from now.
Failure is good for all of us. It kills ego. You are still alive. You can still type emails. All is not lost.
It’s difficult for me to chase ideas. I really don’t have any finances to fund my idea or make it happen. I try to contact as many people that I think would be interested in the idea, but only a handful reply to me and they are in the wrong sector. I don’t have the connections to speak to the right people. Can you maybe help me with a contact of any sort that might put me one step further than now please? — Brendan
Without a network you can’t do anything. There is no shortcut to building a network. Go and work for a reputable company, build your network. When you have your network, start chasing your ideas.
Listen to this
Alan’s audible book Be a Hero: Make Life an Adventure is now available on amazon.com and Audible.com
Read by Alan himself, Be a Hero is a collection of stories on how to make your life an adventure by changing your mindset and tackling adversity.
Go to amazon.com or audible.com to download your copy. Be a Hero is also available in Kindle and paperback through Amazon.com.
Read ’13 Rules for being an Entrepreneur’ today
Alan Knott-Craig’s latest book, 13 Rules for being an Entrepreneur is now available.
What it’s about
It’s easy to be an entrepreneur. It’s also easy to fail. What’s hard is being a successful entrepreneur.
For an entrepreneur, there is only one important metric of success: Money. But life is not only about making money. It’s about being happy.
This book is a collection of tips and wisdom that will help you make money without forgoing happiness.
Get it now
To download the free eBook or purchase a hard copy, go to www.13rules.co.za. To browse Alan’s other books, visit bigalmanack.com/books/
Do you have a burning start-up question?