In November every year, entrepreneurs worldwide get to take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), the world’s largest entrepreneurship event aimed at celebrating entrepreneurs and industry professionals and drive economic growth.
Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson was one of the famous faces taking part in this year’s celebrations in South Africa. He joined the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu as well as President of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Jonathan Ortmans, at the opening of GEN’s new startup campus, 22 on Sloane in Johannesburg.
Those who were able to join in the activities this year got the chance to pick up a few lessons, tips and advice from some of the industry’s leading experts and insiders on ways to grow the ecosystem as well as improve their own businesses.
This included a masterclass led by venture capitalist and entrepreneurship champion, Vusi Thembekwayo, who urged hundreds of attending delegates to embrace failure as an important part of the entrepreneurial journey.
“People talk about this thing called ‘risk of entrepreneurship’, there’s no such thing as risk in entrepreneurship, there isn’t. Only the eventuality of failure,” he said adding that knowing this can empower you to let go of the fear of failure that is holding you back from your full potential.
Here are some of our favourite #GEW2017 tips and advice to take into 2018 to help you become a better entrepreneur in the new year.
To the entrepreneurs in the room, I want you to know three things. [Firstly] failure in entrepreneurship is not a risk, it is an eventuality, it’s going to happen. So don’t get into the journey, [or] get into the process and go ‘what happens if..?’ The real question becomes, ‘what happens when…?’ because it will happen. You will fail.
The second thing I want to say is, don’t let where you come from limit where you’re going. It sounds incredibly contrived and cliched to say it, but there’s a reason cliches are cliches because in the main they’re true.
What I’ve come to learn is that people who are naysayers typically are louder than people who support you. People who support you are quiet because they support you. So they’ll tell you every now and then but they don’t tell you everyday ‘keep going’. The naysayers work every day, every hour, on the hour, to pull you down.
Tell Your Potential Funder What’s In It For Them To Elevate Your Investment Pitch
Dylan Edwards, social development consultant, Simanye Management Consulting
When approaching a funder, be clear on what you’re asking for, both in terms of how much you’re asking for and what you’re going to use it on. And remember that, it’s just another sales meeting, you’re selling an investor on investing in you, and you need to sell what’s in it for them.
So, [the important things] are – what do you want, how much do you want, what are you going to use the money for and what’s in it for the investor. If you can cover those three points, have your elevator pitch ready, I think you’ll find suddenly a few more doors opening.
Build A Team That Complements Your Skills
Jeremy Ambrose, head of entrepreneurial development, Entrepreneurial Spark
Culture fit is key, make sure the person you’re hiring shares your values and buys into the vision of the company.
Complementary skill sets. When you’re hiring make sure you’re hiring somebody that is going to add to the team. If you’re the bigger picture person, make sure you’re adding somebody who’s great with the details.
Personality typing. There are some great personality typing tools out there, use them. They will tell you exactly how somebody’s going to work best within your team.
When hiring, be open and honest. Tell someone why they wouldn’t want the role. If they’re still interested, you’re on to a winner.
Lastly, don’t just rely on that one-to-one interview, make sure you put a series of job-related challenges around the potential applicant so that you can see all of their skill sets.
It’s Not The Amount But The Types Of Income That Matters
Kerryn Krige head of network for social entrepreneurs at the Gordon Institute of Business Science
[Entrepreneurship] is an exciting space, financing is coming through, the impact investing market is opening up, you’ve got exciting initiatives through the SAB Foundation, for example, Investec is taking social entrepreneurs off to Israel. There are all sorts of stuff happening in your space.
Take full advantage, embrace it, be very careful about what your definition of good is, always consult with your communities and your clients and your customers and remember to build stability and legitimacy in your organisation and to focus on the types of income you’re bringing in not the amount of money that you have.