Feel like entrepreneurship is calling your name? Or just need a little motivation boost on the way to big business success? We’ve put together 5 pieces of key advice for all South Africans currently running their own businesses, or thinking about getting into the startup game.
1. Keep connected with other entrepreneurs
Starting your own business can be exciting and energising. But at other times, it can leave you feeling a little isolated. Particularly if you are going it alone in the business world, make sure to keep in touch with others who are in the same position as you. Better yet, reach out to possible mentors to guide you through challenges you may face. These could be family, friends, or even professional business coaches.
There are also a number of networking groups available for new entrepreneurs. Try searching online or head to Meetup.com to see if there are any local listings for new business owner groups.
2. Keep your overhead costs down
When you think you’ve got a great idea, it can be easy to get ahead of yourself financially. But when you’re just starting out in business, it is always prudent to keep your overhead costs as low as possible. That means: work from home if you can, at least at first, and don’t invest in any new machinery or equipment unless it is critical to the running of your business. See if there are any other ways you can tighten up your finances too –you’ll thank yourself later for keeping your financial demands to a minimum.
3. Understand SA labour laws
If you’re going it alone, you don’t yet have to worry about this one. Still, there may be a day when you need to employ staff as your business begins to scale. Make sure that when that day comes, you have a good understanding of South Africa’s labour laws, as well as the ins and outs of hiring and dismissal. South Africa’s labour laws protect workers’ rights and it can be difficult to dismiss staff, even for poor performance. Make sure you understand the detail before taking on staff to help you run your new venture.
4. Stay focused, no matter what
It can be easy to let your imagination run wild when your business is new. The days are exciting and opportunities seem to be everywhere. But all savvy entrepreneurs know that focus, especially in the beginning of any business, is key to long-term success.
So take a moment to pause and look at your products and services with a clear head. Are you doing too much? Do you have a particular speciality – something your customers know you for? Are you doing what you do best? Are you thinking clearly about the South African market and your place within it? Keeping a cool head about questions like these can help you create a strong, focused business that really speaks to consumers’ or other businesses’ needs.
5. Make sure you’re on top of your finances
From meeting with customers to checking out suppliers, creating your products and negotiating price … there’s a lot to do as a new entrepreneur. It’s easy to let your finances and record keeping slide – particularly if you’re using manual processes and spreadsheets to record your incoming and outgoing funds. Easy accounting and bookkeeping software like QuickBooks can help you stay on top of all your finances, quickly and easily. You can also use the software to draw up invoices, analyse your cash flows and much more.
By making sure that all your record keeping is up to date from day one, you avoid any last minute runaround when it comes time to pay tax or prepare financial statements. Better yet, by keeping a close eye on your finances, you gain a deep understanding of how your business is running, from the very start.
Discover more free Small Business Resources at the Intuit QuickBooks Resource Centre to help grow your business in South Africa today.