Stop thinking and start acting

The Covid-19 crisis has impacted our economy, causing job losses, reduction in disposable income and impeded many small businesses.

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief with the president’s announcement of the lockdown level going to level 1. Businesses in tourism that have been inoperative, can now look to some traction and some relief. It is surely a time to rethink and restart the economy.

So, what about starting a small business under these conditions? What are some principles that may help or get you started?

Zig Ziglar, a great salesman and businessman, has a powerful quote about starting, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start if you want to be great.”

I like that! In the context of starting a business, it means you don’t have to have perfection or every factor to be aligned before you start. Yet you must start, not think about starting, or debate about starting. No, you will learn more by the lessons you learn in starting than you do by only thinking about starting.

This doesn’t reduce the need for wise planning, focused conversations and doing your due diligence. But having done that, it is time to roll up the sleeves, take a deep breath and start!

Here are 6 principles to consider before starting.

What area, hobby or focus makes you come alive? What are you passionate about? It is in the intersection between what people need and what you love doing that businesses of passion may be started. And remember, when you love what you do, it is said that you will never work another day in your life. (I think you may work even longer and harder, but your loving what you do will give ongoing energy to carry on!)

Start by identifying what problem you are solving or what desire you are meeting. In doing this, you have identified a probable market.

Ensure your solution adds value to the client. Get valuable feedback from a real engagement with your future prospective customer. Check in with your target market. Does your solution meet the need? Do your potential clients see value in the solution?

Consider the role of innovation in your business. Innovation isn’t invention. Innovation is the process of turning a new concept into commercial success or widespread use. Invention is the creation of a new idea or concept.

Decide whether this is a side hustle/business or whether this requires greater commitment. Some businesses can be quite effectively operated on a part-time basis. My son began his photographic career mainly operating on weekends and holidays while he was teaching.

Keep growing by stretching your ideas, your network and your horizons. Charlie Tremendous Jones once said, “Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.” I know that I have gained immeasurably by the people I have met and the books or articles I have read. I am part of a book writer’s mastermind. This is a group that helps speakers who are also writers. Much of the information and interaction I received there has contributed to my writing and launching a book in July.

“Make something people want includes making a company that people want to work for.” Sahil Lavingia

Start, launch, build your business with us!

The Centre for Entrepreneurship (CFE) has the following mission: We grow resilient, innovative youth enterprises. If you fit one or all of those three words, we would like to hear from you as we are actively recruiting for our new cohort.

Contact us on 021 2011215 or at steve.reid@falsebay.org.za

Steve Reid is the manager of the CFE at False Bay College.