Creating and running a successful business venture is not about luck.
It is serious business that requires focus, energy, creativity, determination and an abundance of hard and smart work.
Add to this the frustration of routinely dealing with bureaucrats at municipalities and in the government and being disappointed by people, which will include staff and customers with hidden agendas, unsupportive bankers, and unreliable service providers and suppliers.
I am often asked by entrepreneurial hopefuls for suggestions on the type of enterprise they should start.
This signals to me that scant attention has been given to identifying needs, researching the market potential, and then moulding and crafting a well-considered idea and turning it into a bankable business plan.
There is scepticism on my part, as usually such individuals are more interested in making a quick buck than starting a viable enterprise with sustainability.
So before offering advice, I probe further to ascertain what the real reason for wanting to start a business is.
For those in employment, the motivation is usually to supplement their income.
One can quickly see that such individuals are living above their means.
To them the obvious response is to recommend money discipline and the cultivation of a saving culture.
Should there be a dogged determination on the part of the individual who does have a job but wants to start a business, the recommendation is to start a side hustle.
In this way they can cautiously demonstrate to themselves that they have the ability to be successful in business, rather than taking the risky route of resigning and foregoing a steady income.
For schoolleavers, unemployed or frustrated jobseekers, and those who may have been employed but the work contract came to an end, or they were retrenched, one-on-one attention is required.
A good starting point is to get to know more about the aspiring entrepreneur’s hobbies and interests, as often this could become a revenue-generating activity or fledgling enterprise.
Over the years I have seen such an approach become the launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.
There are entrepreneurs countrywide who have yearned to venture into business, and then through a hobby started their micro-business informally.
They later migrated into other sectors and today own enterprises, creating wealth for the country and jobs for its people.
Hobbies such as sewing and tailoring, cooking, baking, haircare and beauty, carpentry, fixing gadgets, and gardening, among others, have business potential.
Selecting a business idea and then starting an enterprise is about more than just making money – it is a personal decision not to be taken lightly, as there are risks associated.
Business failure results in a loss of capital, or the money that was invested in launching the enterprise, and repaying this from one’s own resources.
If funding came from personal savings, an inheritance, or a donation, there is the loss of face, but it’s kind of okay.
Using borrowed money to fund a business start-up is not [okay], as it comes with consequences – the loan must be repaid.
- Danny Meyer is reachable at email@example.com
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