Do not let your fears stand in your way of starting a business, this is critical as there is a need for more South Africans to take the leap into entrepreneurship, says David Morobe, regional general manager at SME funder, Business Partners Limited.
Morobe points to a report released by Old Mutual in 2017, which reveals the top reasons that South Africans do not put their entrepreneurial ideas into action. “The reasons cited in this report include a lack of funding (46 percent) and a lack of confidence (16 percent), as well as the struggle to come up with a good idea (16 percent), not having enough time to start a business (15 percent), and the fear of losing a steady income (14 percent).”
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to persist in spite of it
With this in mind, Morobe unpacks the most common fears of starting a business and suggests ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to overcome them:
1. Lack of funding
Although access to funding is often cited as the greatest hurdle to starting a business, there are numerous investors and financiers in the country eager to invest in viable innovative business concepts. There are also various alternative avenues that can be explored when it comes to business funding, such as crowdfunding or bootstrapping.
When considering the most suitable type of financing, it is imperative to do research and consider the pros and cons of each option.
2. Lack of confidence
There is a well-known quote that says: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to persist in spite of it. This is true for entrepreneurs, especially budding entrepreneurs who need to understand that failure is part of starting a business.
New business ventures take an incredible amount of perseverance, so do not be disheartened by the need to constantly re-think or re-define the business offering. This should not be taken as a sign of failure, but rather as a predictor of future success.
3. Not having original ideas for a business
A common misconception is that in order to start a business, one needs to come up with an entirely new idea. More often than not, being an entrepreneur is improving on existing concepts by offering a service or product that is better than that offered by competitors. This could be as simple as identifying a trend or shortcoming in an industry, and creating a solution that meets the demand or solves the problem at hand.
4. Not having enough time to start a business
Starting a business can be daunting, and it is advisable to set realistic goals from the very beginning. For example, set the goal of completing one task towards building your business each day. These could include finalising a section of the business plan, or starting a social media page. The key is to start small and do what you can.
5. Fear of losing a steady income
This is a very legitimate fear and, if you have a regular job, it is advisable to start the business on the side, as it will take some time to earn a steady income. Only once the business is generating a healthy cash flow, will it be time to consider becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
Morobe concludes that those who wish to start a business should not let fear stand in the way of reaching their dreams. “It is understandable that these common issues can be a deterrent to those wishing to start a business. However, if you start small, think out of the box and do your research, the process will naturally become less daunting and more digestible over time.”