Planning plays a crucial role in the success of any endeavor. First identify your strengths and weaknesses, what you have to offer your audience, and how you plan to grow your offering. Also, try to prepare mentally and practically for anything that can go wrong and how to deal with it. For example, what happens if you get sick and have to go to the hospital? What if customers pay you one month late? What if a weather disaster hits you? Or does a trusted provider go bankrupt?
Take the impact on cash flow by saving to cover a month’s expenses or by getting creative with how to reduce your overhead.
You can offer customers a discount if they pay a deposit or the full amount up front, or even an incentive. For example, pay 10% less if you deliver your product or service a week earlier.
Whatever you do, be very careful with debt – this is one of the biggest killers of small business success.
Resist the temptation to spend money on fancy offices, expensive equipment, and over-the-top marketing. The livelihood of your business depends on what’s in your wallet, so every rand and penny needs to be checked three times. Keep overhead low and manage your cash flow efficiently.
There are many resources available for networking, knowledge sharing and advice. Networking isn’t just for new business opportunities; it can be a wonderful source of support and fresh ideas. Attend events like free master classes, Webinars, etc. Feel free to seek advice from those around you or online forums and community Facebook groups in your area.
It could be a family member, a former boss or colleague, or even a trusted online source or blog. A mentor is an invaluable sounding board: someone who has been where you are; someone with whom you can get regular, non-judgmental checkups. 61.9% of the respondents in our survey did not have mentors; however, those who did say they found mentors had a significantly positive impact on their business. “My mentor pushed me beyond my biggest fears,” said one entrepreneur who participated in our survey. “She is not someone who will take over,” adds Mariam Jakoet Harris of Cooked Inc. “She is someone who will nurture and help him.”
Marketing your new business is extremely important, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Social media is your friend: creating your business page on Facebook is free and will help your search rank online. So is submitting your website URL to search engines like Google and Bing – it’s completely free.
Also keep an eye out for community Facebook groups – some will require a small advertising fee, while others will allow you to advertise your business on certain days of the week. The bottom line with marketing is to try anything and everything. You won’t know what will work for you until you try it.
Planning plays a crucial role in the success of Entrepreneurship is a way of life – Days 9-5 are over. That does not mean that you have to work in the field yourself. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and find time to relax or you will end up being less productive. Of the respondents who responded to our survey, 64% said they had to waste precious time with family and friends due to job responsibilities. Working on your time management skills will help you have enough time in your day to spend with your loved ones.