Take small steps towards achieving your goals.
Despite what a you might hear, South Africa is a great place to launch a business. There’s lots of opportunity and support available for you, you just need to go out and take it. I launched Startup Mzansi Foundation, 5 years ago and I wanted to write this article, sharing my top tips for launching a business.
Set clear goals
The number one thing you need to think about when you’re launching a business is what do you want to achieve? And when I say that, it’s not just about what you want your business to achieve. It’s what do you want to achieve personally? When you’ve got a personal goal or aim, you can start to think about what your business will have to look like to help you achieve that personal goal.
Get yourself out there as much as possible
Unless you’re well connected through previous jobs or businesses, when you first launch your business, nobody will know who you are or what you do. You need to get yourself out there as much as you can. You can do this online and offline. Offline, get out to as many networking events as possible. Check the our platform – StartupApp (www.startupapp.co.za) to see what networking events are going on in your area. They don’t even have to be formal networking events. If there are any seminars or business/sector specific events on, go along. You don’t know who you’re going to meet.
Online, the world is your oyster. Social media makes it super easy to start conversations, build relationships, help people and provide value. The more you do this, the more people you talk to, the more people start to take notice. If your social media pages are set up correctly and you have links to your website, people will go and have a look at what you do.
Start creating content
This leads on nicely from my last point about social media. It is vital for anyone launching a business to start creating content. Content marketing is quickly becoming one of the only ways to market a business or brand. If you’re not creating content, such as blogs, videos or podcasts, you don’t exist. Start creating content around your product/service or industry. People will start to realise you know what you’re talking about and they’ll start to trust you – which is vital in business.
I create content around Facebook advertising and social media, startups and finance but I also like to document my journey through my website – www.startupguy.co.za, vlogs on Youtube – migrating to Start up TV soon (www.startuptv.co.za) as well as StartupFM (www.startupfm.co.za).
Seek advice & support
You’re going to struggle to get anywhere without seeking the advice, help and support of people better than you. Whenever you have the chance to speak to someone who’s “been there and done it” take it. If you’re a young entrepreneur, you can use your age to your advantage too. Entrepreneurs, especially the older generation, will happily give you advice and support because they’ll have received the same when they were younger. The entrepreneurial network in the South Africa is very supportive – join the Startup Mzansi Foundation (www.startupmzansi.org.za) to start building your entrepreneurial network. You just need to ask.
This has to be the most important point out of them all. You’re going to learn a lot of things starting your business. Personal lessons as well as things people tell you or things you learn at seminars and events. But it’s all useless unless you take action. Taking action and putting in the work is so underrated. Be prepared to work long hours. If you want to reach your goals, you’re going to have to do everything you can to make it happen.
These are just some of the lessons I’ve learned since launching my business. Running a business is a roller coaster ride, filled with crippling lows and euphoric highs. But it’s one that I wouldn’t change for the world. Despite what you might hear in the media or online, we’re very fortunate to have a society that allows us to go out and reach our dreams.