19 June 2017: There are various reasons why people become entrepreneurs and not the more traditional employee. This is mainly because the entrepreneurial lifestyle provides you significant freedom while the other offers a more customary desk-bound existence. However, with freedom comes a whole set of obstacles that many overlook before starting their own business.
Neil Samson, Founder of SamNect, a technology, digital, advertising and marketing services provider, based in Gauteng, laments the lack of common knowledge surrounding the existing policies and other ‘red tape’ concerning the formation of your own business.
“This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the bureaucratic processes are not well known, and little information is given about their impact on a fledgling business. Although existing procedures can prevent young, innovative and disruptive businesses from competing in the market, there could be an opportunity for smaller businesses to compete,” explains Samson.
Risk aversion is critical for entrepreneurs. Customers tend to return to familiar suppliers and tested methods. “This poses a challenge for new businesses as they try to prove their consistency and become better known in the communities in which they operate. The lack of funding is also a crucial challenge for all new businesses,” says Samson
While these may be the most evident challenges, they are by no means the only ones. Overcoming these obstacles is a learning curve for any entrepreneur, the experience can leave you with a large dent in your finances and, most importantly, your reputation.
While the entrepreneurial path is unique to each individual, two crucial skills are needed by all entrepreneurs - being comfortable with decision making, and dealing with stress
“My belief on both of these areas is that a new entrepreneur can never be over prepared,” notes Samson.
Additionally, becoming an entrepreneur is all too often a sudden, rather than an incremental, development. Unfortunately, most new entrepreneurs coming from a disadvantaged background do not have a culture and support system of business people around them, and thus do not have the benefit of mentors, or financial investment, from family members.
Tashline Jooste, the Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust, believes that garnering sound advice and guidance is essential before starting out life as an entrepreneur. In most cases, society leans towards preparing people to enter the workforce to become employees, rather than business owners. This means that the knowledge of starting a new business has to be learnt from books, mentorship, courses, or via networking with other new business owners.
However, it is with these challenges in mind that the Innovator Trust was born, explains Jooste, so as to grow small black-owned businesses in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and help develop competent SMME’s through training, skills sharing and infrastructure support.
“Despite the very real challenges that do exist, they are not insurmountable, and prospective entrepreneurs need not abandon their big dreams. Rather, they can have assistance as they embark on creating a new business, and much needed new employment, in the country,” she concludes.