Running your own business can be exhilarating and rewarding, but also exhausting. Too often, we see the shiny end result of a successful start up without seeing the years of hard work that went into it. If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the most important ingredients you’ll need to succeed isn’t lots of money or even luck, as many would have you believe – it’s stamina.
Many of us look at successful entrepreneurs and attribute their success to a single brilliant idea, or to their social connections. While these can be important ingredients to success, the actual backbone of “making it” as an entrepreneur is something different altogether: it’s having both physical and mental stamina.
Physical stamina means having enough energy to apply yourself and work hard through long workdays, late nights and even weekends. Mental stamina is possibly even more important though, as it’s essential for dealing with the stress of not earning a salary, the inevitable setbacks you’ll face as a business owner, and an ever-changing world where you need to be highly adaptable.
So as a small business owner, how do you make sure you build the mental and physical stamina to keep going?
1. Create work boundaries
Speak to any small business owner and they’ll tell you that it’s very difficult to switch off from thinking about their business, so they put in long hours of work every day and night. But if you do this, you’ll burn out very quickly and run out of the energy you need to keep going in the long run.
To prevent this, set firm boundaries for yourself for when you work and when you don’t (for example never past 6pm on a weekday). It’s also a good idea to take a holiday once or twice a year where you completely switch off for a longer period of time.
2. Cultivate balance
It seems counter-intuitive, but the more your life contains things other than work, the more energy you’ll have when it comes to work. Things like a regular exercise routine, having hobbies outside of work and carving out time to relax can all help you do this.
Marc Levi, co-founder of Tarloy Properties, prioritises personal engagements first before work meetings to make sure he fits them in to his week.
“By diarising personal commitments first, you make sure that they don’t take a back seat to work and never happen,” he says.
3. Do what you enjoy
If you get up everyday to do what you love to do, you’ll naturally have more motivation to keep going, which in turn will increase your chances of success. In other words, start a business in an industry you feel passionate about, rather than one you’re ambivalent about but that seems lucrative.
Simon Black, Managing Director of Black Pepper Properties agrees, saying that stamina as an entrepreneur is best gained by focusing on delivering to your customers, rather than simply concentrating on the money you’re trying to make.
4. Surround yourself with a good support network
A good support network can include friends or family you can relax with, business partners who share a common vision, and professional mentors who can guide you strategically. Gary Keizan, director of guided tour company SafariScapes & Aviation, says that finding other entrepreneurs in non-competing businesses is also an invaluable support.
“By meeting up with other people in the same boat as you, you can share your learnings, stresses and challenges to help you along the way,” he says.
5. See the bigger picture
Seeing the bigger picture means knowing that failures are inevitable but that they can actually help you get to your end goal. Maybe investor funding falls through, or you get a bad product review, or you don’t hit the sales targets you projected.
Whatever happens, failure is a great teacher and can propel you further along your path than if everything goes perfectly. A crucial part of this is focus: Keizan says that many entrepreneurs suffer from what he calls “shiny penny syndrome”, where they’re distracted by every shiny opportunity or “penny” they come across. Rather, successful business owners who go the distance are ones who harness the power of focus to move in one purposeful direction.
Having the stamina to keep going as an entrepreneur takes work, and it’s something we don’t often think we need when starting our own business.
Success rarely happens overnight – in fact, it’s usually the result of a long road of continued determination to reach your goal. Building in ways to ensure you nurture both mental and physical stamina means you’re more likely to get there.
Set Up Your SME For Success With Fibre
Boost your business potential when you plug into fibre. It offers unprecedented benefits, taking your business to the next level of connectivity.
More South Africans are turning to fibre for fast Internet access. We’re witnessing a boom in fibre expansion and as a result, it’s becoming a more affordable option for SMEs. Once businesses connect to fibre, they can access a reliable, ultra high-speed connection that unlocks the full advantage of cloud-based processing.
Cater to usage demands
A slow Internet connection can derail your business. It’s imperative for business owners to prepare their networks to handle additional usage requirements. Failing to do this might lead to interruptions, slowdowns and a potential impact on your bottom line. An Internet connection should be a tool that supports innovation and uninterrupted productivity.
Shift to the cloud
More businesses are accessing cloud-hosted information via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools and other platforms. In 2018, nine out of 10 companies in South Africa said they had increased spending on cloud computing, according to a report by World Wide Worx and F5 Networks. Running your day-to-day business on the cloud requires you to have a more powerful Internet connection.
Support video and VoIP
Some businesses make use of video capabilities for training and meetings, and VoIP for sales and marketing. On a fibre line, businesses can ensure they meet these demands without putting a strain on the network. With fibre, business owners can run voice and Internet data on the same line but may look at installing a second data connection for redundancy.
Get what you pay for
There’s no denying it, fibre provides exceptional speeds and offers a brilliant price-to-performance ratio. You won’t receive the same contention ratio as other connection mediums – you will get what you pay for. Bandwidth caps are less of an issue with fibre because there’s a choice of affordable uncapped deals on offer.
Make the right choice
- Before you decide on your fibre deal, ask the right questions, understand exactly what you’re paying for and match your business requirements with the right amount of bandwidth.
- Choose a provider that allows you to manage growth for the long term – one that allows you to choose your deal, scale when necessary and not throttle your fibre line.
- You’ll also want an ISP to have your back further down the line. Insist on obtaining a comprehensive list of services along with the monthly fee. Ensure you are provided with a full service including all necessary support and equipment to deliver optimal fibre performance.
Ignite’s drive and purpose is to be the spark that inspires SMEs, which is why the Ignite Fibre service is structured to put you in control. Ignite offers you tailored packages that take into account your daily Internet and business startup needs.
Designing Her Destiny
Oh Yay! owner, Emmerentia van den Hoven does business her way.
In 2011, Emmerentia van den Hoven took a leap of faith when she decided to leave her graphic design job at an agency and pursue her real passion – and it has paid off tenfold. Here’s her story.
“When I started planning my own wedding eight years ago, I fell in love with wedding design and wanted to do that for the rest of my life. Designing for brands had become a set of rules rather than being creative, and I’d always wanted to work for myself. So, in September 2011, I turned my seven-month-old side gig into a fully-fledged business and launched Oh Yay!
I have to hustle every month to get new clients because every client will use my services maximum twice – first for the wedding invitations and then for the stationery on the day – so I don’t normally have returning clients.
Because my main business is seasonal and usually once-off per customer, I have branched out into branding for small businesses in the beauty and lifestyle industry. I also earn a passive income through the Oh Yay! online shop where I sell wedding décor items. Oh Yay Kids – my other online store – is my passion project. I launched it just before my second child was born, adding items to the store that I made for my two boys when I saw a need for it. I then expanded into prints for nurseries and kids’ party stationery.
I work for myself and have no employees, so the fact that QuickBooks lets me load all my services, products and prices in one place makes running my business so much easier. Being an entrepreneur is difficult because you don’t know if you’ll be successful or not. But if you believe in and love what you’re doing, it reflects in your work and the service you give.”
Less admin, more of what you love
When Oh Yay! was launched, along with her dream of being an entrepreneur, came the nightmare of other administrative tasks. But that changed in 2018 when Emmerentia started using QuickBooks.
“When I was using spreadsheets to balance my books, I was spending 80% of my time on admin, which left very little time to tend to customers’ orders. I now spend no more than 25% of my time on admin, which is important, especially when it comes to the speed at which I send quotes. You don’t get any work if you don’t send out quotes and it’s tough to juggle the admin with your actual job of running the business.
Numbers were never really my strong point, so having a professional quote done in record time not only projects professionalism, but the format also changes the way new clients see me. In my industry, the quicker you can send a quote out, the likelier you’ll get the clients’ business. It gives legitimacy to my business. The QuickBooks system operates so seamlessly that clients communicate with me differently, like I have my own accounting department, when in fact, I’m a one-woman-show.
I used to dread doing admin, but now it’s so easy and quick. I’m not just saying this – QuickBooks changed my life.”
The Future Of Fleet Management Is Now
Power up your fleet management and make even smarter business decisions with the new WEBFLEET. WEBFLEET is the award-winning Software-as-a-Service fleet management solution from TomTom Telematics, designed to provide you with the data needed to help your field operations become more efficient, more productive, safer and more profitable.
An improved interface and enhanced features mean WEBFLEET is now more powerful than ever before, and can be accessed anytime, anywhere on any screen. Find everything you need to help save on fuel, maintenance and administration costs, while delivering the quality service your customers demand.
It has already delivered proven results for customers across the globe and is powered by continuous innovation, meaning it is ready to grow with you and your organisation as goals and challenges change. Discover the future of fleet management now and help give your business an edge on the competition. Request a demo and find out more at telematics.tomtom.com/webfleet/landingpages/launching-the-new-webfleet.
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