With an estimated population of over 50 million people and an unemployment rate of 23.9%, South Africa is in a strong position of entrepreneur opportunity. Whilst certainly this opportunity has been driven forward by the high density of small businesses that currently exist, it is critical for our nation to continue to hold a strong entrepreneurial spirit – to continue to grow the SA economy and bring down the unemployment rate. However, being a successful entrepreneur is not an easy task.
If you are an individual aspiring to be an entrepreneur, when competing in a market predominately made up of small businesses, you need to hold a solid pool of knowledge, resources and understanding among other aspects to successfully make it. While this does sound daunting, it is possible with the right know how and taking the right steps required to getting the entrepreneurial process right.
So what does it take then for you to be not just an entrepreneur, but one who can compete in the local market and build a long term viable business? Here is some advice…
Following the basics
First and foremost, there are the basic steps you need to consider which includes the formation of the business idea – while this may seem somewhat of an obvious step, the business idea forms the foundation of any business and thus it needs to be one that meets a market requirement or need and it must (especially when operating in a world of consumerism) be unique or at least be carried out in a unique format that again relates back to a need of the desired end user.
Following on from the above is the development of a business plan. When populating a business plan around your business idea, you will be able to identify whether the business idea is something that will make it in the market, and through undertaking the various steps to developing a business plan, will determine just how the idea can come to life fruitfully – ensuring that your idea stands out and is able to compete effectively in the marketplace.
You must remember that a good business plan is one that is strategic; maps back to the overall goal of the business idea; and incorporates all the key steps required when formulating such a plan together.
Upon completion of such steps and once the ‘basics’ are in place, your road to successful entrepreneurship is then built up on a number of other key attributes, of which below I have outlined a few that truly stand out and will make the difference between your idea/business being average or exceptional.
- The use of resources and building relationships. Throughout our lives and careers, we all develop a pool of resources and skills, and develop business relationships that can one day lead us to success. A good business leader and entrepreneur makes use of such resources throughout their entrepreneurial journey and leverages existing relationships, as well as develops news ones that one day may just come in handy – so make sure you understand this and make the most of the current and future relationships you hold Every interaction, every individual met, opportunity declined, triumph faced and challenge overcome, will never goes to waste for you – all such facets may just be the key to a successful road ahead in developing and starting a business and so if you want to be victorious, you need to be able to identify your resources and use these to your benefit.
There is no I in Team – every entrepreneur is only as successful as the team behind him/her. You have to understand this and know that while it is important to lead a team, it is also key to rely on the solid team you have developed to always consider your teams input, to achieve desired success.
- Partnering with trusted suppliers. For an entrepreneur who does not have tons of budget to utilise and who needs to make the most of the budget that is available, choosing the right partners and suppliers is critical. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you must choose to partner with a provider/supplier that demonstrates a tremendous tenacity for honesty and one the focuses a key portion of its business efforts on the entrepreneur and SME segment. You must ask the right questions. As the famous quote by Michael Gerber so rightly states: “My experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.” The SA entrepreneur such as yourself possesses this trait with gusto and tenacity and so should never be afraid to ask the right questions to a provider/supplier:
a. What amount they spend on R&D into the entrepreneurial/SME market?
b. What ROI models it has put in place for the SME and why?
c. What processes do they in place to actually support my entrepreneurial and SME requirements, when you need advice and assistance?
The above forms a solid starting point to your successful entrepreneurial journey and will go a long way in initiating a process that has the potential to add great value to the overall economy. MTN Business is passionate about driving the skill of entrepreneurship forward and is therefore dedicated to educating and providing guidance to all aspiring entrepreneurs out there – in the hope of assisting to produce a nation of successful entrepreneurs, like you, who can drive business leadership and sustainability.