A recipe is a guide, it tells you how to make a dish and what ingredients you’ll need. But even if you make the same recipe every day, the result will always be slightly different. Why? It could be a number of factors: The tomatoes, for example, could be sweeter than usual, or you might have accidentally added a bit too much salt.
The advice below is not a pretentious ‘recipe for success’ – it’s merely a guide. It is a number of steps and requirements that I have distilled into a process intended to achieve a certain outcome. But I encourage you to add your own creative flair. You need to make the recipe work for you and your business.
A pinch of business knowledge
To be a good cook, it helps to know the cooking terms and measurements. I would always suggest that you attain basic business knowledge or experience before you start a company. Most people do this by going to university.
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A university qualification will largely help in building confidence and self-belief. Generally, people are afraid to start a business. They are afraid because they don’t know what they don’t know. This leads to a fear of failing. Whilst what is learnt at university is all theory, it’s still better than no education and the ‘confidence value’ alone is worth more than the price of tuition.
The other major value of an education is that if forces an individual to start and complete a task in a required time. It teaches you to stick with things.
A dollop of experience
Proficiency, I believe, comes from experience. We learn by doing. If you want to start a business, I suggest working in a business that’s similar to the one you would like to start. This is not always a must, but I believe it can’t do any harm. It may, in fact, save you time and money. So, if you can learn at someone else’s expense, do it. It’s also cheaper than university tuition.
Whilst my working experience and degree was in IT, I changed my career to a different industry – one that I had zero knowledge about. It all started with a TV advert. A television-advert character named Vuyo, to be precise. He was a fictional black entrepreneur who built a boerewors-roll empire in a typical rags-to-riches fashion.
After seeing this advert a number of times, I started wondering if it was based on a true story. I Googled the story, only to find that it was all fictional, so I promptly trademarked the Vuyo’s brand. This beer commercial caused me to not only change my career, but change my life and name as well!
Now, even my mother calls me Vuyo. I am now heavily involved in the business of feeding people. Knowing what I know now, I would highly recommend that you first work in the industry (and possibly even the actual sort of business) you want to be in.
A healthy helping of tenacity
The more you practice, the more things become habit and you start to get a ‘feel’ for something.
For instance, you start getting a feel for how much sugar or pepper to add to a dish you’re preparing. A lot about business and cooking is about following a process and systems, but once you master those, what will ultimately separate you from the rest is intuition and instincts.
Remember, no matter how accurately you follow a recipe, it may still go wrong, and the first recipes you cook will be especially prone to failure. The important thing, though, is to keep cooking.