An increasing number of entrepreneurs are entering the challenging new world of running one’s own business. Pearl Seigel addresses 10 common pitfalls that start-up businesses often face. These pitfalls include poor (or nonexistent) planning, under-charging on products or services, or a lack of motivation, among others. In doing so, she also provides ways to avoid said pitfalls.
Starting a Business
There is no shortage of advice on how to successfully start a business and begin your journey as an entrepreneur. While this advice is helpful, it can give the false impression that there is a "perfect" formula for starting a business, which doesn't exist. Every entrepreneur will experience different entrepreneurial journeys. There is no "one size fits all". Here are 10 uncommon tips for starting a business that you may not have heard before.
We all know we should check our cars before travelling. Equally important is the need to check your business plan for faults and potential failures before making it the core of your business, or using it to ask for financing. Ask yourself these six questions to check the quality of your business plan. For example, have you done a sensibility check? Is there really a reason for customers to buy from you? And more.
Are you struggling with your business paperwork? Do you have piles of slips that you don’t know what to do with? Do you find the language and terms your accountant uses confusing? If so, then Admin Easy is for you! Admin Easy is a step-by-step training programme that teaches you how to set up and maintain a simple filing and record-keeping system for your business. It was developed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs so it understands your daily realities and speaks your language.
Business etiquette involves more than eating with the right fork or leaving a suitable tip. It's about generally acceptable, courteous, and respectful behaviour. Of course, this changes over time, and varies across contexts and between cultures. That being said, there are general guidelines for any given business situation. Basic knowledge of business etiquette can be priceless. Here are some tips to get you on your way.
Entrepreneurial success is not only determined by the ability to foresee opportunities in the marketplace, initiate (or take advantage of) change, and create value through solutions. One also has to have the right tools and business governance structures to create a successful business moving forward. Use this checklist to make sure you start your entrepreneurial journey and approach business governance the best way possible.
Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) was formed in October 2003 and began operating in January 2004. This created the first representative and unified organisation for business in South Africa. Today, through its extensive membership base, BUSA represents the private sector being the largest federation of business organisations in terms of GDP and employment contribution. BUSA is a non-profit company representing cross-cutting organised business interests in South Africa.
Is it legal and ethical to use one's employer's time and resources to start your own business? No. The law says that all material or product or contacts developed whilst in the employ or under contract by an employer belongs to that business. It cannot be used for profit elsewhere. This includes tools, machinery, equipment, software, contacts, content, intellectual property or anything else that you may think is free to take home. Written permission is required to use any such material.
Before you open for business, make sure that all the elements of your business are in place. In order to do this, we have provided a "Before you start" checklist for you to review and supplement with appropriate items. Through this checklist you will learn how to buy, and how to market, promote, and advertise your business. Read on for more information.
Before you jump right into starting your own business, there are many things to consider. One of these, is choosing the most appropriate legal entity under which to register your company. Choosing the right format is an important part of setting up a business, especially since some forms of enterprise must be registered with the Registrar of Companies, and need to meet certain legal requirements. Your business format will depend very much on the nature and size of your business, and should suit your specific needs. Here is a basic guide to the process.
It's amazing how few entrepreneurs put thought and research into naming their business. There are certain guidelines to follow to ensure you not only choose a good name, but that there won’t be negative consequences for your choice. No matter what type of venture you're setting up, the key is to opt for a name that distinguishes you from other businesses.
The CIPC was established by the Companies Act, 2008 (Act No. 71 of 2008) as a juristic person to function as an organ of state within the public administration, but as an institution outside the public service. Its main functions include the registration of Companies, Co-operatives and Intellectual Property Rights (trade marks, patents, designs and copyright) and maintenance thereof as well as the disclosure of Information on its business registers, among others. Find out more in this article.
When starting a small business,it's important to ensure that you’re not contravening competition law. Competition law has two sources: the Competition Act, 89 of 1998, and the common law (i.e. law based on case law and old authorities). The Competition Act focuses on two broad areas: (a) harmful competitive practices that existing businesses may not engage in; and (b) the competitive effects of mergers and acquisitions. This article explores how not to contravene competition law.
This Business Plan e-book is widely regarded as one of the best preparatory publications on writing a business plan. It deals extensively with the all-important background information required for a business plan – everything that potential financiers may require before considering a business loan. More than just a business-plan writing aid, the Business Plan Book constructively helps the would-be business owner or existing business owner wanting to expand his/her business to identify and deal with potential problems before they arise.
This article series will help you create a business plan. It includes a business plan template to guide your business through the start-up or growth phase, a search for capital, or any other endeavour your small business undertakes. We've distilled the typical business plan template into seven key elements. For each and every element you will find a description, instructions for creation and, for many, tips for avoiding common pitfalls.
The most common, serious mistake made by entrepreneurs is not choosing the right business from the very beginning. This article will provide you with important evaluation techniques to decide which business is right for you. Use this article and the videos within it to plan how to start your new business. Planning ahead for your business will make it both successful and fulfilling.
Deciding on the type of business organization you should establish? This article will help you understand the business types and help you in your choice. When you have decided which business is right for you, you will have three important decisions to make. Through this article, you will discover: whether to go into business alone or with a partner; the type of business organisation to use; and what professional advisers to select.
Starting a small business is a daunting task for anyone. To be effective at anything, however, requires the right tools. Such tools, in this case, mean the right kind of equipment. For small businesses, these are not as obvious as they might first seem and their importance is often underestimated. Most entrepreneurs, when starting their businesses, will have decided on where to locate their offices. But, what we sometimes forget, is how well the office space fits the equipment and vice versa. Here are tips on selecting the right office equipment for your business.
This entrepreneur profile looks at the story of Mmabatho Morudi – founder of Iliju Bee Farms as well as the co-founder of The Village Market Africa (TVMA). Mmabatho Morudi grew up in the Winterveld in the North West province of South Africa – an area that was demarcated as an agricultural settlement. Today it is one of the poorest areas in the country, and still home to a group of small farmers struggling to make ends meet. Mmabatho thought she would study, move away, and settle in the city. Then life happened, and Mmabatho’s journey changed. This is her story.
Business Partners Limited has compiled a list of institutions and training providers offering courses in business management and entrepreneurship, which should add value to someone looking to start or grow their small business. This list focuses on accredited courses. Full time, part time, distance learning, and even online programmes are included in this list.
Owning and running a small business is an impressive feat. For some, however, reaching this point can be difficult and confusing. You might not be sure of your business concept or you might still be figuring out how to manage your finances. But, if you follow these simple tricks and tips, you will become the success you have always dreamed of. Here is everything small business owners need to know.
Entrepreneurs are by their nature, optimists. It takes commitment and a positive outlook to take on the hardships in building a new business. Too much time spent pondering the risks saps a venture of its vitality. Many businesses start trading without any proper legal agreements in place. But the hard lesson that many businesses have learnt is that these agreements become vital once the business is established. Here's how to formalise an informal agreement.
Many, many new entrepreneurs start out with something they are passionate about, something they love doing and are great at. But soon they find that the new business demands that they spend most of their time on things they really do not like to do at all. Those are also the things they mostly are not so good at. They have to force themselves to struggle through the tasks so that the business can survive, but this does not need to be the situation. In fact, you are more likely to succeed if you do something you love.
When starting your business, there are certain occasions when it's advisable to get professional advice. A lawyer, for example, can explain the conditions of your loan agreements, contracts and leases. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are at times so intimidated by certain processes that they hire professionals when they can actually do it themselves. So how do you know when it's best to call in an expert and when it's okay to do it yourself?
Theft of confidential information and trade secrets can be just as damaging to your business as embezzlement or other employee fraud. Learn how to protect your intellectual property with tips including utilising paper shredders, having a plan in place for terminated employees, using passwords, as well as having employees sign non-disclosure agreements, among others.
Ideation is usually the first step to starting a business. You’ve come up with a great idea and want to build a business around it. And although it is a crucial step in the process, founders usually don’t even consider marketing at this stage. However, doing proper market research and a competitor analysis will lay the foundation for business success going forward. Here's how to approach market research and a competitor analysis.
Having a well-defined brand strategy early on (and including as many stakeholders as possible in those decisions) will act as a roadmap for growth and will prevent you from having to spend a lot of money and time later redefining your brand. But what is a brand strategy? You just get someone to design a logo, decide which colours you like and roll out your marketing material, right? Unfortunately not. Branding is so much more than putting your logo on things. Here are some tips for creating an effective brand strategy.
Starting and running a guesthouse or bed and breakfast in an idyllic location is a dream that many people share. It is seen as an attractive alternative to corporate jobs because it is considered to be less stressful, less structured, and more peaceful. However, it is as carefree as it seems. This article looks at three tips to help you start and run a successful guesthouse or B&B.
In this article, the experts at Pty Company Registration touch on all the must-have documentation you need to start a successful cleaning company in South Africa that’s legally registered and eligible to apply for Tenders – whether you’re aiming for private, commercial or government contracts. To simplify the list, we’ve broken this article into two sections – Section 1: General Documentation every South African business needs, and Section 2: Documentation South African cleaning companies need for contracts.
Want to know how to start a construction company in South Africa and more specifically what documentation you need for construction tenders and contracts? This article helps you identify the documents you need and where to get them, whether you're an informal business wanting to step it up a notch (by employing staff and applying for RFQs, tenders, and contracts) or an entrepreneur looking to start a new construction company in South Africa.
Whether you’re a South African entrepreneur researching how to register and start your own security company in South Africa or an established security business looking to get all your paperwork in order, this article is for you. We will show you everything you need to ensure your security business is legally registered and ready to trade or apply for security tenders, contracts, and RFQs in South Africa.
For many, holiday seasons bring plenty of inspiration, and often lead to creative new business ideas, innovative concepts, and the jotting down of plans on restaurant napkins. According to Gugu Mjadu – Executive General Manager for marketing at Business Partners Limited – although these concepts always seem ground-breaking, the real trick is deciphering whether these ideas can be turned into viable business proposals. Inspired business ideas are only the beginning of a potential business venture. Here are some steps to consider to establish whether your idea is viable
The National Business Initiative (NBI) is a voluntary coalition of South African and multinational companies, working towards sustainable growth and development in South Africa and the shaping of a sustainable future through responsible business action, thereby demonstrating business action for sustainable growth. The NBI’s strategy is addressing issues of Economic Transition and Social Transformation through Thought Leadership, Capacity Building and Collective Action programmes and projects.
Ok, so you have a great idea. In the early hours of the morning this idea has the potential of Google as it floats around in your semi-sleep state. You wake up and write it all down with flow diagrams and income streams all neatly defined. Now what? Taking an idea from concept to reality is what makes us Entrepreneurs. Here are some simple questions to explore when next you have an entrepreneurial epiphany. Knowing the answers to these questions will assist in placing your concept on the road to reality.
If you're thinking about starting your own business, there are a number of questions you have to ponder before you can even start the process. These questions range from "Can you afford to start your own business?" and "Do you have the support of your family?" to "Do you have the necessary skills and experience?" and "Will the business yield adequate income?"
Of Course You Can! is a practical guide to starting and managing your own successful business in South Africa, written by Brian Adams. The book covers terminology; swot analysis; taking your idea to market; image and branding; banking and finance; statutory returns; working from home; and so much more. The book also provides notes pages, as well as space to complete self-assessments on some of the material.
The Companies Act provides for two categories of companies, namely non-profit and profit companies. Each of the different business entities under these categories has specific requirements in terms of the documentation that is required. There are five types of companies that you can register. However, for the purposes of this article, we will look at how to register a private company (a (Pty) Ltd), which is the most common and simplest form of company to be registered.
Goal-setting is crucial to the success of any business, but is particularly important for entrepreneurs who can become distracted without focus. Goals direct actions, give you something to aim for, and can serve as a yardstick for measuring your business' success. The way you approach goal-setting will determine whether you are able to attain your goals. That said, if you tend to avoid goal-setting, these tips should help.
While access to finance is often quoted as one of the great challenges for small businesses, they also cite the need for non-financial support. Incubation, mentorship and access to business management service providers are just some of the services these kinds of initiatives can provide. Here is a list of small business incubators and support programmes geared towards assisting small businesses.
SME Survey (Pty) Ltd. was founded in 2003 by Arthur Goldstuck, Debbie Whittaker, and Celeste Whitaker. Key areas of responsibility include: research, analysis, report writing, presenting and consulting; project management, sponsorships, PR, media and marketing; and event management. SME Survey's vision is to maintain its position as the original and largest annual SME research and marketing provider in South Africa.
After much soul-searching, you’ve decided that you want to open your own guest house, boutique hotel or B&B. There are many factors to consider, such as where your business will be and who your target market is, but much of these decisions will be based on your budget, so that may be a good place to start. Here are just some of the costs associated with setting up a new accommodation business.
About 75 percent of start-ups and 90 percent of tech start-ups are doomed to fail. Too many wonderful ideas never make it past the initial stage, and many that do lose momentum and die an untimely, soon-forgotten death. Avoid these common mistakes that can lead to a new business closing down soon after it started. Don't become a statistic.
Buying a business is an alternative way to get into business with less risk than normally associated with a start-up venture. But there are still many factors you have to consider before signing on the dotted line. This article looks at those factors as well as why buying an existing business may be better for you than going the start-up route. Either way, getting professional advice is essential, as this will help you cover the unknown aspects of the business venture you are pursuing.
The constant evolution of technology and advances in online capabilities has meant that there is very little we can't do over the internet. A huge number of entrepreneurs are starting online businesses; and while this could be a great way of getting into business for oneself, it's by no means easy to make a success of it. The virtual world has created a whole new pool of potential customers and if you're starting an online business or think your existing business could do well online, here's a rough guide to getting started.
Starting costs, or business start-up costs, refer to the expenses entrepreneurs acquire when first starting up their businesses. What is included in your start-up costs as well as how much the costs actually are will depend on the type of business you would like to set up and the industry you want to enter. This start-up costs calculator will help you determine and outline the costs you will need to start your business.
As your company expands, there are business assets that you will need. For starters, you might need to purchase an additional vehicle for your business. Having an extra company car can make it easier for your employees to run their business errands without causing delays for anyone else in the business. However, buying a car without financing can leave a dent in your business cash flow. Luckily, with vehicle and asset finance your business should afford a car of your choice. Here are a few helpful tips on financing a business vehicle.
Sureswipe is one of South Africa’s first card Payment Service Providers (PSPs) established in 2008 to make card payment acceptance easy and accessible to all independent retailers and service providers. We offer a suite of products that cater for businesses of all sizes providing efficient, affordable and safe payment systems. Over 9000 independent retailers across South Africa are currently using Sureswipe card machines.
While the thought of starting your own business may be exciting, it can also be intimidating – even for someone with a successful business career behind them. The good news is that, by following a few basic rules, it's easier to start a business than you think – and the chance of success is much greater. Here are some steps to follow if entrepreneurship is where you want to go.
Given South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate, estimated to be around 60, starting and growing a business is a potentially enriching career path for a young person to choose, not only financially, but also mentally and socially. While entrepreneurship is an exciting career option with great future potential, entrepreneurs, particularly the youth, also need to be aware that it is a difficult path. Here are ten common pitfalls of starting and growing a business, and what young entrepreneurs can do to avoid them.
An entrepreneur requires both business and technical skills (also referred to as the “doing skills”) to successfully apply for finance. The first relates to the ability to run a business successfully by applying sound business principles. These skills range from formulating and applying a strategy to people management. The evaluation of the “doing skills” focuses on the entrepreneur’s technical competencies and experience relating to the business in question. Find out more about the role these doing skills play in determining business success.
Ubuntu Company Services has created a small business guide called "Starting Your Own Business: The Definitive Guide". This guide is designed for anyone looking to start a business or people already in business looking to make improvements. From the basics of company registration to representation at the cipc and services such as cidb registration, this comprehensive guide provides you with all the tools you need to get started setting up your business.
Entrepreneurship is seen as the only way to have a sustainable economy in the future. In fact, it is one of the major drivers of job creation and economic growth within the country. It is no surprise that more and more people are encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship. That being said, many new businesses in South Africa often fail within the first two years for a variety of reasons. Here are some tips and pointers for being a successful entrepreneur in South Africa.
Becoming an entrepreneur is quite an achievement. It’s a gutsy thing to even consider. There are many challenges that entrepreneurs face when taking the plunge and many of these obstacles are known from the outset. However, there are some that are overlooked, and consequently, not tackled correctly which can result in the failure of the enterprise. Here are three challenges that entrepreneurs inevitably face but don’t always think about when starting out.
It's important to know exactly what you are getting into when choosing a partner to go into business with. There are many things to take into account when choosing a partner for your business, but this article looks at the some of the most important or most common issues people face. In doing so, the article looks at tips on how to find the right business partner, including finding someone with integrity and not wasting your time on anyone who does not share your vision.
One of the things you have to think about carefully when starting or buying a business is where it is or will be housed. The location of your business can either make or break it, depending on all the circumstances involved, so it's not a decision to be made hastily and without some experienced advice. For those of you who have no clue about where to start, here are some points to ponder. There are many factors that will influence your decision, but let's look at the most important issues to get you in the right frame of mind.
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? This article provides a list of the top 15 personal characteristics and qualities of successful entrepreneurs. Do you have them? Check where you feel strong today and where you can improve moving forward. Take into account that while some people are born with certain skills and personality, you can learn and improve through training and practice.
If you are the owner or manager of a start-up, you are likely well aware of how busy you can become over time. You have to keep a lot of balls in the air, such as ensuring that your marketing efforts are working and that your employees are happy. One of the issues that many small businesses and start-ups face is the issue of not having the capacity for call centres or customer services. But if you look into call centre outsourcing, this can easily be rectified. So, start-up business owners, keep reading for the top reasons why you should consider outsourcing.
Being your own boss is the dream for many of us. But it can be difficult to know exactly where to start for.. Well… your start-up. In the construction industry, you will need to look at aspects such as acquiring permits, investing in mobile cranes, or a hydraulic crane, depending on your project types and staff training needed. But there are other steps in the process of starting a construction business to consider, so keep reading.
Students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have taken up the challenge to start their own business. As part of an Honours-level Programme in Management in Entrepreneurship (PDE), the year-long course requires students to start-up and manage their own businesses. Local web hosting company 1-grid have partnered with the action-learning component of the course, the Genesis Project, to provide students with the resources they need to design a professional website for their new businesses.
So you love coffee, and the idea of offering this delicious beverage to others fills you with excitement. A coffee shop might be the perfect business idea for you if you have an entrepreneurial mindset and love to serve and delight others. It might seem like a difficult idea to execute but it can be easy and hassle-free if you follow some basic tips and tricks. Here are some top tips on how to start your very own coffee shop.
Once you've decided you have a good business idea and you want to run with it, can you predict whether it will be a success? Well, that's where assessing the viability of the business idea comes in. In a commercial context, viability refers to the ability of a business to exist, be profitable and to grow. But how do you establish whether your project or business idea is viable or not? Find out exactly you go about doing this here.
In a competitive market environment business owners are prone to sell themselves short, because they do not take the time to determine a fair and justifiable price for their services and products. There are various methods of determining the worth of your product or service. For example, there are so-called "value drivers" that support the charging of a premium for your service or product, if it solves an expensive problem for the client or saves the client money. This article expands on the concept of value drivers as well as other pricing strategies.
There is no doubt that there is enormous hunger for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to clearly understand what it takes to stay in the game and of course get to the top of the game. But what is it exactly that makes the world's most successful people tick, and why have these mercurial individuals have arrived where so few have? Here are 10 tips and rules that stand out.
Many people leave formal employment for the flexibility of being a freelance professional or consultant. One of your first challenges will be to set a fee for your services. What should you consider when putting a price to your skills and knowledge? Most consultants find that they are facing increasingly tough competition and a dwindling client base in the face of companies tightening their belts. This makes naming a fair price for your services even more crucial to making a living and retaining your client base. Here's how to go about charging for your services.
Whether you’re a seasoned business owner looking to move into the property industry, or an entrepreneur seeking to make your name in property, there are certain important considerations to make before starting a property related business. Here are some of the most important facts to consider and keep in mind when starting your business.
According to the 2019 Global Digital Report, 54% of the South African population are internet users – that’s 31-million people all searching for products and services online every day. This presents the ideal opportunity to bring your small business idea to life and earn a bit of cash on the side. The world of business can be quite overwhelming, but a good way to dip your toes in the water is by starting an online side hustle.
To consider financing, financial institutions require a comprehensive and well-motivated business plan that provides a thorough understanding of your existing or proposed business, your own goals and objectives and your financing requirements. This is merely a guide to writing a business plan. Circumstances vary and you will need to tailor your business plan depending on the type of business. But, the basics remain the same.Here are the sections that every business plan should cover.
The fact that the SME sector is a tough industry to break into does not seem to deter the average young entrepreneur. But are big ideas, determination, passion, and the will to succeed enough to be a truly successful entrepreneur or could your age and a lack of higher education be your downfall? Anyone can become an entrepreneur, no matter what their age, background or education level. But what makes a truly successful entrepreneur?
By the time you have completed your business plan it may already be out-of-date. That’s why, in the rapid-changing world of today, we need to plan for the next step towards our goals without always knowing the full path of getting to the desired destination. This is pretty scary, since we must acknowledge that we will never know for certain exactly how things will pan out, even after completing our business plan. Use this one-page to go beyond traditional ways of planning for your business.