The reality of being a successful entrepreneur in South Africa

Content provided by a guest contributor.

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. There are two types of entrepreneurship which have been higlighted by reporting bodies such as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM):

  • Necessity entrepreneurship focuses on survival, i.e., entrepreneurs starting a business to taking care of themselves and their own families financially.
  • Opportunity entrepreneurship identifies and sees the opportunity to establish a growing business that creates employment for others. This is the category we need more of in SA.

Tips and pointers

Here are some key tips and pointers for being a successful entrepreneur in the South African social and economic context:

  1. Successful entrepreneurs are risk takers, willing to make mistakes, to learn, to be brave and bold, to be passionate and confident about what they can offer, and to be resilient. Entrepreneurs need to have the grit to overcome obstacles.
  2. Entrepreneurs need to know their industry and who they are targeting as clients. They need to know more than their competitor.
  3. They need to have some distinctive quality (unique selling point) that makes them different from their competition. You need to be able to explain your “uniqueness” in simple terms to potential clients.
  4. Entrepreneurship is about connectedness: business is a social business, so you need to get to know and interact with people.
  5. Entrepreneurs need to make their idea globally desirable – in this way they can expand their markets to overseas companies who are interested.
  6. Entrepreneurs need to be receptive to advice from experts or knowledgeable people.
  7. Entrepreneurs need to be action-orientated. It is often seen as a key driver to success. No business has a free ride: it will take hard work and long hours if you want to be successful. Most entrepreneurs are obsessed with their business.
  8. Entrepreneurs need to look at growing their business from a micro operation to a high growth business. They need to be aware that in this scenario you cannot expect to generate income in 3-5 years. Their focus in this case needs to be on the value of the business when being sold as a going concern in 3-6 years’ time.
  9. Mentorship and on-going education and training are essential for success. Entrepreneurs need to be surrounded by a strong support network of expertise. Invest in your development on an on-going basis.
  10. There are many opportunities in small niche markets because the large companies are unable to be everything to everybody. Look for opportunities during bad times. See your ideas as bringing about change at a larger social and economic level. Other potential markets: “green” living, youth, education.
  11. Get the basics of your business right.
  12. Entrepreneurs need to start their business as if they are not going to have help from anyone, i.e., don’t expect the bank to provide financing, etc. It is preferable to start with no debt and to set up your own support structures.
  13. Entrepreneurs in the creative industry need to develop business skills.
  14. In setting up a new business, entrepreneurs must be greedy about wanting a good short term return, i.e., to generate a large sum of money. You need to have a long term vision.
  15. If you choose to bring in shareholders you need to bring in people who share your long term vision – talk about where you want to take the business and what support you require from your shareholders. Pull in partners who can coach and mentor you.
  16. Keep looking for new ideas and new opportunities.
  17. Focus on getting clients versus making money.

We are in the Era of the Entrepreneur – an exciting time full of new opportunities, learning, and constantly trying to develop yourself.

The content in this article was provided by Linda Germishuizen - Clinical and Industrial Psychologist, and founder of PsychMastery.

About PsychMastery:

I founded PsychMastery because I understand that being human can be quite a daunting journey. We  live in a world that is changing rapidly. As a result the demands on us are significant. Without even realising it you can find yourself on a path that is so far removed from who you truly are. Or where you want to be. Unless you are aware of what is happening to you, the demands of life may dictate where you will end up. And when you wake up to the reality, years have passed by.

I observe how disconnected people are or feel. Either they are caught up on this ever moving treadmill coping in unhelpful ways. Or they are questioning whether this is what life is about. So many people seem to have lost touch with the essence of who they are beneath all the masks and defenses.

PsychMastery enables you to reconnect with the essence of who you are. I also help you to bring deeper meaning back into your life through the use of sacred ceremony. In this way, you will feel that there is divine presence guiding you. You will also feel a greater degree of community with the important people in your life.

For more information, contact:


Tel: 082 467 3214


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