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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Admin Hacks For Entrepreneurs

Here are five quick hacks that will improve the life of any entrepreneur.




Entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people you may ever meet. They do it all themselves and often don’t have time for anything that isn’t related to their business. While this sounds impressive, it could mean burnout for the entrepreneur pulling 16 hour days with no downtime.

A big problem many entrepreneurs face is knowing when to make their first hire and then knowing how to delegate tasks to them. Hiring an employee is something most entrepreneurs will put off for a long while so as to save on costs and because choosing the right person to join your company is difficult.

If you’ve ever dabbled in the entrepreneurial game you’ll know that you’re expected to run your operation in a bootstrapped fashion. You need to spend as little money as possible until your profit margins are thick.

An employee is a major cost. But an employee is also a major asset if you choose the right person for the job.

Related: Entrepreneurs And Gamblers: Shared Traits

More often than not entrepreneurs find themselves overly stressed and on the verge of burnout or a nervous breakdown, before realising they need to employ someone and ask for help. Does this sound familiar to you?

If you’re a self-starter and thinking of launching your entrepreneurial career or if you’re already in the start-up game, you should consider ways to mitigate the overwhelming stress you’re bound to feel. You can do this by applying admin and efficiency hacks to your busy work life.

You need to consider various types of hacks that will assist you in your day-to-day business activities. Ultimately you need to choose ways to improve long-term productivity.

This means putting in place better processes that’ll improve your daily admin tasks and help you understand your business better.

You will also want to increase your ability to communicate effectively with your clients, suppliers and target market. And don’t only make sure others are happy, check your own mental and emotional health too.

Here are five quick hacks that will improve the life of any entrepreneur.


1Learn to say no

When you’re running your own business you will want to say yes to everyone and everything. But this is not wise. This is a one-way ticket to burnout. You might become popular, indispensable even but you won’t be doing yourself any favours. Know what you can and can’t handle and say no when your plate is too full.

2Take frequent breaks

Take breaks during your work day and during the year. Stepping away from your desk and the computer is pivotal to your success. You can’t keep pushing yourself as you’ll eventually start making mistakes and even becoming ill from the stress and pressure.

Make sure you have allocated vacation time throughout the year where you can switch off completely. And during a busy work day, you can always step out for a coffee, a walk around the block or a lunchtime gym session. All of these activities will help you get the mental and physical break you need.

Related: The Journey Of Entrepreneurship: How The Tough Get Going

3Establish a list of priorities

Not everything is urgent but many busy entrepreneurs tend to behave like everything needs to be done right now. Every day you should create a list of priorities. Establish what requires attention and work right now and what can wait.

Make sure you tick off the tasks you identified as urgent so you can note your progress and then tackle those less pressing.

4Turn off all devices at various times throughout the work day

When you’re an entrepreneur there’s no one helping you tackle miscellaneous tasks and no one screening your calls. So when you’re busy with a big project or an important matter you’re also inundated with other stuff that shouldn’t be taking up your time in that moment.

This means you’re taking too much time to get things done. So rather, sit down, turn off all your devices and focus only on the job at hand. Unless you’re waiting on a crucial document or phone call you should allow yourself the opportunity to work in peace so as to complete the job you’ve set out to do.

Related: What Does ROI Really Mean To Entrepreneurs?

5Keep snacks and water on your desk

This seems obvious but snacks and water at your desk mean you won’t need to hunt for food when the hunger pangs start destroying your ability to concentrate. After all, you shouldn’t be allowing yourself to reach the point of starving. Rather eat healthily and frequently, consume a lot of water so you’re hydrated. By doing this you’ll keep yourself healthy, alert and productive.

If you’re an African entrepreneur requiring more insights into streamlining your business activities and managing your time, then join up with like-minded individuals and the various entrepreneurial conferences around South Africa.

Mingling with those of your ilk will give you ample opportunity to learn how they manage, what systems they employ and how they find ways to fit in everything with very little time. Your network you create could end up being the ultimate hack for the busy entrepreneur.

Megan only discovered her love for writing at the age of 28. Before that she spent her time in the theatre world and then in the magazine industry, where she realised the sweet reward that writing can deliver. After building up her portfolio Megan ventured into the digital realm to try her hand at the online game. Now she is the editor of The Cradle, an African entrepreneurial website that advises entrepreneurs and small business owners across the continent.

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Build Solid Back-Room Basics For Business Success

What do South African entrepreneurs really know about what goes on behind the scenes building of businesses?

Marc Wachsberger




South Africa has a vibrant start-up culture with great ideas starting out with a bang, but closing down with a whimper because entrepreneurs picture the glory at the destination, but not the nitty gritty of the journey to get there.

Be smart about scale

When I started out, I literally did everything myself. I negotiated and signed leases, I arranged the furnishing for our apartments and managed the interior décor process. When guests started using our apartments, I signed them in at reception, and then carried their bags.

At that stage, there was no money in my business to pay for attorneys, interior designers and decorators and there certainly wasn’t enough money for porters.

However, when we got to 70 apartments, it didn’t make sense for me to be a porter any longer, so I hired someone to do that job, explaining clearly what I expected of him. Before I did that, though, I spent time designing incentives for him so that he would be more affordable for me, and so that he could earn as much money as possible.

Related: Training Is A Two-Way Trick

Know your talents – and your limitations

There are certain things I’m really good at, but I know without a doubt that sales isn’t one of them – and without sales, you don’t have a business. I couldn’t afford a top-flight salesperson, but I knew that I could attract the right talent with the right business model. I set some high targets for Pamela Niemand, but offered her one third of the business if she met them. We both won: she earned a share in a successful, trend-setting business, and my trend-setting business became successful!

Use your skills – but know when to hand over

My background in corporate finance meant that I had all the accounting skills I needed when we first started out, but I knew that the time would come when I would need someone focused on that side of the business full time. Doing it all myself first meant that I could brief my first full-time accountant clearly and with a deep understanding of what would be required – and that I could help that person find and fix any challenges based on my experience.

In summary, my simple advice to anyone starting out would be to bootstrap your business yourself without investors or staff for as long as you can, but don’t over-extend yourself. Know when to delegate tasks away so that you can focus on what you’re really good at – but don’t do it before you have a solid understanding of what’s required. Know what you’ll never be able to do, and bring in that resource from the beginning – but do it based on performance-based incentives, so that your fledgling business doesn’t lose out if your early hires don’t perform.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The Myth About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurs And Taking Risks

This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

Lisa Illingworth




“I can’t be an entrepreneur or start a business. I don’t have the appetite for risk.” This line is spoken regularly to brave few that leave the perceived safety of a job, take the plunge and venture into the unknown world of being an entrepreneur. However, there is a gross misunderstanding in the appetite for risk that entrepreneurs are believed to have innately inside of them.

The little-known truth is that the majority of entrepreneurs don’t like taking risks and according to Luca Rigotti and Mathew Ryan in their paper that explores a model for quantifying risk and its translation into enterprising action, the results were very interesting.

Risk is explained by these theorists as taking action where the outcomes are unpredictable as well the factors leading to that outcome are unknown. One of the theorists in this area, Saraswati, who coined the term “tolerance for ambiguity” has a more accurate description of what the outside world deems taking a risk.

In simple terms, entrepreneurs don’t go head-first into the shark infested water because they like the idea of danger and potentially being eaten alive; or the thrill of being able to say that they survived whilst others perished in a pool of maimed flesh. They carefully calculate that the sharks have been fed recently, some of the sharks are ragged tooth sharks that whilst looking like they are set to devour a human being, are actually incapable of opening their jaws wide enough to bite. For those sharks that still have space or who smell blood and can’t resist the urge to kill, the entrepreneur has a cage set up that he can retreat into quickly and a knife with which to protect himself.

Related: 5 Infamous Risks Every Entrepreneur Must Face

Tolerance for ambiguity is the careful evaluation of what is known at the moment where a decision must be made and an open-mindedness for what is not known. This, coupled with the agility to change course when new information is presented, has earned the label of high risk appetite. The appetite is not for the risk, but it is the ability to move down a path, when all the information is not known.

I likened it to a person moving around in the dark holding a candle. The candle casts a light that illuminates a limited parameter around the person holding the candle. What is beyond the light that the candle casts, is unknown and potentially a risk. But as the person moves forward, the light reveals what was unknown and in the shadows. As the light reveals new information and new challenges added to what they have already learnt, the person can make better informed decisions. The tolerance is in not knowing what lies in the shadows yet to be illuminated by the candle and then the confidence in his or her own ability to act on what new information is discovered.

None of this behaviour is risky or irresponsible. There is careful consideration for what is known and a tolerance for what is unknown. And once there is more information available, a calculated next step is taken and more information is assimilated into what is now known. This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

7 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs To Adopt Today

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

Nicholas Bell




For some people, becoming an entrepreneur is as easy as stepping off a bus. They have a big idea, they bring it to life, they hire employees and the next thing they are in a building smothered in branding and living the business dream. For others, the idea and the passion are there but they are unsure as to how they can make these into a sustainable reality. Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t like instant coffee – you don’t add ideas and suddenly get all the skills you need to thrive.

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

1. Believable vision

Make sure that your vision is believable and achievable. It has to live in the realms of possibility, not as a blue-sky idea that looks good on paper but wouldn’t work in reality. You need to be able to live this vision so make it realistic and achievable. This will not only keep you on track, but your employees as well.

2. Be inclusive

You need to ensure that every person who works with you feels as if they are part of your vision and understand it. They need to relate to where the business is going and how it plans to get there. Many leaders don’t understand why employees are not engaged with their business and it’s because many of them don’t actually understand what the business does.

Related: 4 Ways To Improve Your Budgeting Skills

3. Communication is critical

If you don’t have fantastic communication skills, then now is the time to hone them. When it comes to building employee morale, commitment and engagement, nothing works as effectively as constant communication. The same applies to client relationships. You need to repeat the vision and ethos of the company at every opportunity and you need to be part of the team that does this communication.

4. Be visible and transparent

You are communicating, now you need to make that communication genuine by being both open and clear. People respond incredibly well to transparency. They feel as if they are part of something that recognises their value and contribution and it fosters a more inclusive company culture. Often toxic cultures come about thanks to a lack of communication and visibility. People know when things are being kept secret and react negatively to it, regardless of whether they’re an employee, a customer or a manager.

5. Be practical

You aren’t going to build an empire in a fortnight so focus on a realistic and practical business strategy that has clear benchmarks and even clearer goals. Communicate these with the company and keep everybody on the same page. Practical and achievable means long-term success.

Related: Crucial Skills You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

6. Build opportunities

As people become immersed in your company and part of its growth they will also need opportunities to grow. You need to tie their careers to the business and create opportunities for them.

7. Be human

It takes people to build a culture, a company and a future. It’s essential that you are human in your interactions and your treatment of others. The impact that a down to earth and authentic attitude can have on a company is extraordinary.

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