Find out if you’re ready to be a business owner
1. Assess Yourself
There are many self-assessment resources online that will help you to identify if you have the skills, resources, support and drive to start a business. This kind of personal evaluation is a great starting point.
2. Make sure you have what it takes
Successful entrepreneurs often possess many of the same character traits. Adaptability, motivation, leadership and resourcefulness are just some of these qualities.
3. Know the key focus areas for starting a business
Every new business requires rigorous focus on sales, strategy, finances and planning. Communication and management are also very important factors.
4. Learn from the best
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are many contact, and distance institutions in South Africa that offer excellent short courses.
Wanting to be your own boss isn’t enough to make you successful and, before you set up shop, you need to think hard about whether you have the right temperament, leadership skills, support system and dedication to be an entrepreneur.
Download Self-Assessment Test for Entrepreneurs
Click here to download: Self-assessment test: Are you ready to be a business owner? (Word Doc)
Click here to download: Self-assessment test: Are you ready to be a business owner? (PDF)
Character Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
Not everybody is made to be an entrepreneur as it takes a certain type of person to be able to risk starting up a business from nothing, employing and managing people and staying on track in order to grow the company. Along with taking this self-assessment test, below are a several traits that successful entrepreneurs usually have in common:
- Motivation. Becoming an entrepreneur means keeping your chin up, even when things might look a bit bleak. Entrepreneurs know how to look for the solution or the lesson during a difficult time and come out on top again.
- Resourcefulness. Sometimes you really need to think outside the box in order to solve a business problem. This might mean learning a new skill on the fly or utilising your business contacts to help you with a specific situation.
- Financial Savvy & Logic. Entrepreneurs know how important it is to correctly manage your money in order to stay afloat, especially in the beginning stages of the business. Learn how to work with and read numbers so that you can correctly manage your cash flow at every stage of the business.
- Adaptability. There will be times when things don’t go according to plan or when a project just doesn’t work out the way you were expecting. This is when you need to be able to evaluate the situation and change direction in order to keep the momentum going.
- Thirst for Knowledge. Becoming an entrepreneur means becoming an expert in your field. Even if this means you’ll need to spend some time on self-development, you know the value of it. A business owner can never afford to stop learning and by keeping your skills up to date you can always offer your customers and your employees the very best that you can.
- Organised. Running a business means you might be involved in several different areas of your company, especially when you just start out. Top entrepreneurs know that they need to have a plan and be as organised as possible to avoid losing their heads as they build their businesses.
- Leadership. Once your business starts growing you might want to start employing people. Managing people is one thing but entrepreneurs know how to be leaders. This means that they are the support system for their staff and they know that by developing them, they are also growing their businesses.
Find out what Richard Branson has to say about what makes a true entrepreneur.
Skills Required By Small Business Owners
Along with having the right traits to take on the business world, you’ll also need some actual business skills in order to get your business off the starting block and competing in your chosen market. Some key areas that you’ll want to focus on are:
- Sales. It’s essential that you understand your market and know how to offer them a solution in order to fulfil a need. Sales is what’s going to get the cash flowing so it’s important that you understand the processes involved.
- Strategy. Having some experience in strategy is ideal as it allows you to achieve your long term objectives by formulating and implementing specific decisions and projects.
- Finances. Having some basic knowledge of financial management is crucial if you want to run your own business. Not only will you need to manage your cash flow as your business grows but you will need to prepare financials for your business plan before you get going.
Often start-up entrepreneurs make the mistake of trading from their personal bank account. This makes it harder to differentiate between your personal expenses and business expenses. It also doesn’t allow you to build up a credit risk profile for your business, which is an important factor should you ever want to approach a bank for financing. Rather, start trading as a business from the get-go by opening up a Business Current Account.
4. Planning. As a business owner, you continually need to think ahead. You will be spending lots of time planning for the future and developing a roadmap for achieving your objectives.
5. Communication and Management. As your business grows you might need to employ several staff members. Entrepreneurs need to know how to effectively communicate with and manage those who are helping to build their business.
Courses for Entrepreneurs
There are a number of different institutions that offer both full-time and part-time courses for entrepreneurs. If you feel that you would like to improve your current skills and prepare yourself for what lies ahead as you start and grow your business, below are some options for you to pursue.
- UNISA. The University of South Africa has a selection of general management and entrepreneurship courses such as Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, SMME Management and Writing a Business Plan. Website.
- CPUT. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology offers a National Diploma in Entrepreneurship. Website.
- University of Cape Town. GetSmarter has an online short course that covers how to start and manage your own business. Website.
- Leader. This website is updated on a regular basis with business related workshops and short courses. You can expect programmes such as Management Development, Business Growth and MBAs. Website.
- GIBS. The Gordon Institute of Business Science is renowned for their excellent business courses and programmes. Join them to learn more about topics such as Strategic Finance, Project Management, General Management and MBAs. Website.
Looking for some additional support as you start your entrepreneurial journey? Here are some organisations that can assist.