The allure of being your own boss may sound very appealing, but it is without doubt that starting a successful business will require you to work harder than you ever did, or would have, in a corporate role.
My first few months as a full-time entrepreneur were spent relishing the fact that I could do what I pleased with my time, and trying my best to look busy.
One piece of advice I wish I had in the beginning is that structure is everything, so below are some tips for you to add structure to your entrepreneurial life.
1. There’s comfort in familiarity
Having routine activities not only adds structure to your life, it also helps your brain get used to tapping into different states of productivity at set times of each day.
One positive aspect of having a nine-to-five job is that you are forced to be productive during certain hours of each day, and because the brain is also a muscle, it grows into that particular habit.
Related: Do You Speak Start-up?
2. Work ON your business, not just IN it
Although working towards having a great product or service offering, and ensuring that you deliver on the value proposition should be your main concerns as an entrepreneur starting out, it is critical to work ON your business as much as you do IN it.
Working on your business entails taking time out each day to re-evaluate points such as your strategy in entering the market, market growth prospects, ideating around new and innovative ways to attract more business, and spending time out of the office because that is where your most valuable lessons will be learnt.
3. Health is Wealth
A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. To this effect, be sure not to forget to eat well, do some exercise and sleep well.
As romanticised as the idea of ‘burning the midnight oil’ may be, not forgetting those irritating “while you were sleeping” social media posts, the reality is that sleeping well results in you being more alert and in a better position to optimise productivity in your daily activities.
4. Your NETWORK is your NETWORTH
The value of intentionally spending more time out of the office is that you are sure to meet new people. Always be ready to share your offering and value proposition in one sentence; surround yourself with smart people who will argue with you; and network as much as possible.
5. If it’s not leading you closer to the mountain top, don’t do it
In his famous 2012 commencement speech titled ‘Make Good Art’, Neil Gaiman advises that you imagine your big hairy audacious goal (the notorious BHAG) as being the summit of a big mountain.
Using this vision, evaluate whether or not an activity is getting you closer to, or further away from reaching this summit before taking it on. Although each business has its nuances, and there is no ‘cookie cutter’ approach to deciding how to allocate your time, I have found this approach very effective in making decisions about what work to take on and how I spend my time.
How The Sanlam Enterprise And Supplier Development Programme Is Helping Start-up Businesses
The balance between funding, business development and mentorship can make or break an enterprise development programme
165 new employment opportunities, 172 SMEs developed and 1046 jobs sustained. These are some of the numbers recorded by Sanlam as the company prepares to wrap up the fourth year of its Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme.
The flagship incubation scheme has turned around loss-making enterprises, helped some participants get critical accreditation and funding, but most importantly, R12.6 million was spent procuring goods and services from the participating businesses by the end of 2016.
Receiving funding isn’t the secret to start-up success
Francois Adriaan, head of Sanlam Foundation says the secret to a successful enterprise development programme is not the amount of funding big corporates can give SMEs: “It’s having the right mix of mentorship; business intervention and procurement spend flowing from your corporate to small businesses.
You have to show the entrepreneur you are mentoring that you trust them enough to do business and walk the journey with them instead of giving them a once-off grant and leaving them to their own devices,” says Adriaan.
Financial support that’s timed to business need
Like in many other ESD programmes, participants in the Sanlam ESD programme also have access to funding. But what sets the programme apart from others, says Adriaan is that the amount of funds disbursed to each participating businesses is directly linked to its need, its commitment and progress record.
“Financial support is timed according to the specific needs of each SME. Those who qualify for funding are then provided with a further seven years of SME growth support through the ASISA Enterprise Development Fund.”
The Sanlam ESD programme
The Sanlam ESD programme was launched in July 2013 in collaboration with the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) to empower SMEs, create jobs and contribute to economic growth in South Africa. An independent evaluation shows that participating enterprises have grown their annual revenue by 19% on average.
D&P Auto participants
One of the programme participants is D&P Auto, a panel beating business based in Retreat. For two decades, the owners of the business (husband and wife) poured their life savings, bank loans and even pension policy pay-outs into the business to keep it afloat because it was not making profit. Three years of focused business incubation and mentoring under the Sanlam ESD programme resolved D&P Auto’s 20-year loss-making battle.
“Our business has grown from a non-profitable business to the extent that we now have to pay provisional taxes to SARS for the first time in 24 years,” said Pam Douglas on their business maiden profit.
Successes of the incubation programme
The incubation from the programme has helped other participants brush up their bookkeeping skills, file successfully for tenders and get accreditation that took their businesses to the next level.
G&T Auto, the only fully accredited Major Structural Repairer in the programme, bagged Mazda accreditation last year, a rare accolade that will see the enterprise repair Mazdas that are still under warranty. The owner, Thembi Sithole says the programme has given her confidence to approach bigger clients as she now understands the requirements to get big contracts. She has also become more knowledgeable about financial statements and their impact on obtaining funding.
Adriaan says enterprise development initiatives of this nature give big corporates an opportunity not only achieve their business objectives, but also impact broader South African society.
“This commitment is around impacting issues of inter-generational poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is also about aligning around public-private-civil society partnerships in sustainable ways,” concludes Adriaans.
Are You Ready For A Side Hustle? Here’s How To Know
We talk to side hustle pro Susie Moore about who should jump into entrepreneurship and when is a good time to take the leap.
But are you ready to get your hustle on?
According to Susie Moore, a life coach and the founder of Side Hustle Made Simple, you are always ready to begin a side hustle. You just need to know where to begin.
Moore has helped thousands of people take the leap from concept to creation in making their entrepreneurial dreams a living, breathing reality by launching a risk-free side hustle. She left her $500,000 job after her own side hustle took off within just 18 months.
She’s also the author of What if it DOES Work Out? How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life released this fall, speaker and adviser to startups. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, Marie Claire and more.
To help aspiring entrepreneurs understand what it takes to be a side hustler, Moore is joining us for this week’s episode of Tough Love Tuesday, our Facebook Live series that connects experts with side hustlers for real-time advice and support.
Specifically, she’ll share:
- The qualities all side hustlers need
- Advice that turns great ideas into action
- Strategies for making money right away
- Ideas for perfect side hustles
- Productivity hacks that prevent burnout.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
(Video) Why Your ‘Great Idea’ Actually Sucks
Don’t get caught up in coming up with the next big idea.
Everyone wants to come up with the next Uber, Facebook or Tesla. But, if Entrepreneur Network partner Patrick Bet-David has to choose between someone with a great idea and someone with great sales skills, he’s taking the salesperson every time. Why?
Well, look at the history of great businesses. Ray Kroc didn’t start McDonald’s, but he learned how to sell the fast food restaurant and made far more in his life than the actual McDonalds brothers. Steve Jobs couldn’t code like Steve Wozniack, but he knew how to sell Apple, and his estate is worth far more now than Wozniack’s.
Facebook, Tesla and more. Each time, it seems like the great salesperson ends up earning more than the person who created the great idea to start with.
Watch the video to learn more about the relationship between great ideas and great sales techniques.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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