Advice for SA’s Most Important Business People – Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Twenty years into democracy and South Africa has come a long way. In business there have been positive strides taken as well as challenges presented. One thing that is clear, as acknowledged by both government and big business, the future for long term growth and job creation in South Africa will only be through massive development in the entrepreneurial sector.
However, it’s easy to say we need entrepreneurs without understanding the reality people face when starting their own businesses. What are some of the challenges faced and the key things to consider? As the CEO of SMEasy Business Software I can attest to the possibilities and opportunities as well as the barriers and realities when it comes to entrepreneurship in South Africa. Starting a new business is a steep uphill climb but the view from the top is well worth it. While there’s no specific formula for success, there are some things I’ve learned that definitely make a difference.
One of the key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur is the willingness to take risks. Entrepreneurship is about trusting your business idea and putting everything on the line to make sure that it succeeds. You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you are not willing to risk some money in the machine.
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Building a business requires long hours and a lot of your own blood, sweat and tears. That’s why it is important to do what you love, you’ll find it’s your passion that sustains you and gives you the energy to keep going in the hard times. Along with hard work, perseverance is vital.
Build a business together
The trick is not to just do something but to build something; whether it’s a product, a process, a team or a client base. Your focus should be to build a business that will keep working when you’re not, and that is still there long after you’re gone. Be wise when building your team; the smaller the business, the more important the hiring. Focus on your strengths and employ team members for your weaknesses.
Keep your eye on the money, but not solely the revenue. Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity but its cash flow that’s reality. Start-ups worry about revenue but seasoned entrepreneurs know that cash flow is the key. In order to stay on top of cash flow, you have to keep good records. Doing the admin is as important as sales when it comes to building a sustainable business. As an entrepreneur, this is incredibly important and an aspect that is often overlooked. Sales will bring in the business; good recordkeeping will keep you in business.
Do the admin
Poor recordkeeping makes cash flow management impossible; it’s the primary reason for business failure in the first 3 years. Most small businesses run four to eight months behind with sorting and filing their paperwork. Entrepreneurs tend to avoid admin because they think it’s difficult and they have no system in place. Setting up and maintaining a simple recordkeeping system is actually very easy to do. Also when it comes to software system, many small businesses find them intimidating and unusable because they all use accounting lingo which is like a foreign language.
Stay on top of your business
There are easy-to-use systems available that can help you stay on top of your business. SMEasy is a Small Business Management and Accounting solution that has been specifically designed for entrepreneurs who struggle with accounting. With systems like this in place, entrepreneurship holds a world of possibilities that are limitless. Entrepreneurs have the structures in place to grow and develop, nurturing their businesses to flourish and evolve. The time to act is now.
SMEasy is an online, easy-to-use Accounting and Business Management System, it is uniquely designed for small business owners who are not familiar with accounting. It brings together all vital small business functions in one easy to use system for R150 per month, and each business only needs one licence, they get unlimited users. For more information go to www.SMEasy.co.za, follow them on Twitter or find them on Facebook.
Darlene Menzies is a serial entrepreneur with 15 years Corporate IT experience with ABSA Bank and Business Connexion and has been running of her own businesses for over decade. Darlene won the South African Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010 and is recognised by Swiss-based STARS Group as a future Global Leader. She was awarded the 2011 KZN ICT Person of the Year and was a top five finalist for SA ICT Person of the Year.