By Nico Strydom
With record high unemployment figures, especially among the country’s youth, entrepreneurship has never been so important.
“And yet, a 2020 study by the University of Stellenbosch Business School has shown that a disturbing 49,8% of South Africans fear failure, which deters them from taking the leap and starting their own businesses,” says Arnoux Mare, executive head of Innovative Solutions Group.
The study also found that only 60,4% of the respondents believed that there were opportunities on the outside to start one’s own business and that they had the necessary skills to start and manage their own businesses successfully.
“After years of observing the enormous talent and unused potential of South Africans for innovation, it is not a lack of opportunity but rather faulty ways of thinking that prevent more individuals from realising their entrepreneurial potential.”
Mare is of the opinion that there are five characteristics that aspiring entrepreneurs should have to make a success, viz. courage, focus, agility, a willingness to listen, and self-discipline.
“You don’t need thousands of rands to start a business. Some of the world’s most successful businesses were started in people’s garages on limited budgets. Successful entrepreneurs do not wait until they have perfected their business ideas or product. It is more important to act fast to seize opportunities and you can improve your product or service offer as you proceed.”
According to Mare one of the biggest stumbling blocks is to lose your focus on your core service and purpose. “It happens when you try to be everything for everybody. Define your target market, what unique need your business satisfies, and harness your strong points.”
In today’s highly competitive environment it is important to stay agile for any market trends and opportunities to stay ahead, says Mare. “Encourage in novation and seize new ideas and suggestions for the improvement of personnel and clients. Don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy in reaction to what you learn and new developments. Be stubborn about the achievement of your goals, but flexible enough to adapt when things do not work out as planned.”
Not only do smart entrepreneurs surround themselves with the best talent, but they are willing to listen to their inputs and to be guided by their expertise. “There is a reason why your employees are there and that is not only to fill places. Successful leaders learn from the successes and mistakes others make. South Africa is full of brilliant entrepreneurs and experienced businessmen who regularly give free advice on social media or by means of webinars.”
Entrepreneurship is unbelievably profitable, but also calls for blood, sweat and tears to be successful, emphasises Mare. “Be prepared to work long hours while you are building your client basis and while you make sure that your operations run smoothly. You will also need self-discipline to prevent yourself from procrastinating on difficult tasks, and to stay calm and work through difficult situations, even when you are under pressure.”
Innovative Solutions Group: https://isg.co.za/