Colour inside the lines, use your inside voice, always ask for permission, don’t talk to strangers, don’t talk when the grownups are talking, wait your turn in line.
Children are told so many different things while they are growing up which they internalise, and these messages that they hear have an impact on their entrepreneurial futures
For one, they are taught that failing isn’t good and subsequently associate pain with failure.
As a result of these messages, many children move from living life by curiosities and learning in their own beautiful, personal and unique way to responding to life from fears.
When you consider that nearly 80% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years following their start-up, it paints a bleak picture to parents and young adults alike and they may ask themselves the question whether starting your own business is really such a good idea considering the high failure rate. But, let’s put the concept of failure into perspective.
It’s no wonder many don’t start businesses, especially because the media continues to say that 80%of new businesses fail. That’s really an exaggeration, as 80% don’t fail.
Sure many businesses start and close, but closing a business isn’t failure. This language is used so loosely and is not encouraging to future entrepreneurs. The only way to be sure you never fail is to never try. Consider the following:
- Inventor Thomas Edison generated 10,000 prototypes for electric light bulbs before getting it right.
- Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, was rejected 1,009 times when he tried to sell his fried chicken recipe.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected on 3 occasions by the University of Southern California after which he dropped out to become a Director.
- Tim Ferris’s book “The 4 Hour Work Week” was rejected 25 times by publishers.
- Richard Branson launched 400 companies before he founded Virgin Galactic.
- Sylvester Stallone was rejected 1,500 times when he tried selling his script and himself as the film “Rocky”.
- James Dyson created 5,126 failed prototypes of his vacuum cleaner before succeeding.
These are just a few examples of successful entrepreneurs and the effort, sweat, pain and tears it took to finally succeed. But oh boy, just imagine the possibilities and personal fulfilment when you succeed. And yes, “when” you succeed … not “if” you succeed!
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, only 7% of South Africans aged 18 to 24 are involved in any entrepreneurial activity.
This begs the question: “If more than 50% of young adults aged 18 to 34 are unemployed in South Africa, what are the rest of the youth doing with their time if they find themselves unemployed or not engaged in an entrepreneurial activity?”
According to SA Breweries’ Entrepreneurship Incubator Programme, KickStart, the following factors were identified as key to promoting youth entrepreneurship:
1. Develop A Tightly Knit Ecosystem To Support Entrepreneurs
There is a need for greater coordination and integration of business development support efforts by government and the private sector. In the current system agencies operate separately. The issue of funding is not the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs. A lack of information, adequate research statistics, skills and mentorship opportunities abound.
2. Infant Protectionism And Government Set-Asides
In South Africa, small business competes directly with big business, something that puts young entrepreneurs at a disadvantage. You have to fight so much harder just to get a foot in the door. One way of shielding young entrepreneurs from harsh competition would be for government set-asides to be established for young entrepreneurs.
A controversial subject, set-asides are a certain category of work in a government contract reserved for a specific group. This makes sense, as government is the biggest spender in any economy.
Introducing children to business from an early age, by letting them participate in the family or other business can help bridge the vacuum in youth entrepreneurship. Encouraging this early exploration of business may go a long way towards teaching the rudimentary skills required for entrepreneurship.
4. Parents Should Take The Responsibility And Not Leave It Over To Our Schooling System
It’s our duty as entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs to teach children that they can be whatever they dream to be. I believe that today’s entrepreneurs see the importance and know it’s our obligation to help our children.
If you’re an entrepreneur, I encourage you to spend time with your children. Don’t be dependent on our South African educational system to teach our children the most valuable lessons that you can teach them yourself.
I know personally as an entrepreneur that we get busy, but take the time to show your children that they can grow up to be anything they want to be. Life skills and creating your own future and job is vital to your child’s future success.
Turkish author, Harun Yahya famously quoted: “I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth”. Then I ask myself the same question. Our children can fly anywhere and you can give them the best wings in the world.
Entrepreneurship is a buzzword of our time. Economists are hoping that entrepreneurs will pull South Africa’s economy up by its bootstraps and help unemployment vanish.
Some schools encourage market days to nurture business talent, and parents are pleased when their offspring display entrepreneurial tendencies – even when those parents themselves hold safe and secure jobs. It seems we all recognise that being able to make money is a talent that will serve children well when they grow up. But what turns a child into an entrepreneur?
Common sense would lead one to suppose that it is a mixture of natural aptitude and environmental exposure. Linda McClure, MD of Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) observes that, “At the moment, most young people will go into business because they think they can’t do anything else. They aren’t seeing it as a choice; that it’s a career option”.
She says that when learners are asked whether they would prefer to get a job or start their own business, the majority still say, “I’d rather just get a job”. Many believe being an employee is more secure.
Parents wanting their own children to become entrepreneurial should encourage them to use their natural talents, start small and then grow their business, adapt to what their market wants and persevere in the face of setbacks. And yes, I used the word “setbacks” and NOT “failure”.
There is no such thing is failure. Only learning from your setbacks and improving on it the next time around. I would like to leave you (as parent) and you (as child) with the following messages:
- A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on – John F. Kennedy.
- An amazing thing, the human brain. Capable of understanding incredibly complex and intricate concepts. Yet at times unable to recognise the obvious and simple – Jay Abraham.
- Capital isn’t that important in business. Experience isn’t that important. You can get both of these things. What are important are ideas – Harvey S. Firestone.
- There’s no good idea that can’t be improved on – Michael Eisner.
- Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune – Jim Rohn.
- We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open – Harry Edwards.
- Children have more need of models than of critics – Joseph Joubert.
- If I had one wish for my children, it would be that each of them would reach for goals that have meaning for them as individuals – Lillian Carter.
- A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him – David Brinkley.
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?
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.
The Myth About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurs And Taking Risks
This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.
“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.
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.
7 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs To Adopt Today
Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…
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.
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.
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.
Entrepreneur Profiles2 weeks ago
8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion
Technology2 weeks ago
3 Things Africa Must Get Right If It Wants To Leapfrog Into The 4th Industrial Revolution
Lessons Learnt1 day ago
What Comfort Zones? Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable Says Co-Founder Of Curlec: Zac Liew
Business Ideas Directory2 weeks ago
10 Cannabis Business Opportunities You Can Start From Home
Business Landscape5 days ago
How Schindlers Attorneys Became Involved In The Landmark Cannabis Case
Branding1 week ago
Why You Should Prioritise Brand Image
Get Organised4 days ago
How To Multitask Like Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg And Other Very Busy People
Increasing Productivity1 week ago
Take Responsibility For Your Company’s Culture To Boost Productivity