What can be achieved in a year? To find out, we asked our thought leaders to share their 2019 highs and lows. Grant Smee is the Managing Director of Only Realty SA and the founder of EPiC Networking and OUST Eviction Management Solutions. Smee took some losses around partnerships this year and shares lessons learned.
“Our biggest win for 2019 has been the momentum we created in 2018 and carrying that into 2019 despite the relative negative sentiment in our industry,” says Smee.
“It has been extremely positive for our business to show almost 20% growth in an industry that is seeing many struggles, downsizing or even those that shut their doors. This is a positive affirmation of tough decisions and strategies that we implemented a few years ago, which are now bearing fruit.
“Losses are part of the journey and we know that not everything is smooth sailing.” Smee says that his losses in 2019 have been around partnerships. “There are many reasons why these have not worked out, but the loss relates to time, effort, energy and money wasted in partnerships that should never have been explored.”
Celebrate your wins, no matter how small
On the biggest lessons learnt in 2019, Smee highlights four critical lessons which most entrepreneurs can easily relate to:
1. Approach partnerships with caution – don’t just jump into it, no matter how big the opportunity is or how credible the person might seem.
2. It’s vitally important to have a goal and a plan. If you veer off the plan, you need to have something to pull you back on track.
3. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
4. Make time for yourself to switch off from the business, you’ll be surprised how much this helps in making great decisions for your business.
Beware the insta-preneur
With so many obstacles in their way, Smee says that the future of entrepreneurship in South Africa still has a long way to go to mature and fill its true potential. “The entrepreneurship space is currently filled with a lot of people who have simply created a job for themselves, others who simply have the ability to talk the talk, or aspirational entrepreneurs that dream of freedom of time and choice, and untold riches that having your own business creates,” he explains.
Entrepreneurs need to be honest with themselves and each other
“I personally feel that there is a lack of substance in entrepreneurship these days – there are lots of Instagram and Facebook entrepreneurs, not a lot of successful and flourishing businesses to match. There needs to be an awakening or awareness that the reality of owning your own business needs dedication, self-determination, commitment, unwavering focus and pure and simply put, guts.
“Add to the mix the need to build a solid foundation on which to build your business over time, to enable both sustainable growth and scaling, rather than bleeding the business of cash flow to keep up with the Motsepe’s.
“To put it simply, entrepreneurs need to be honest with themselves and each other, only then can we get onto the same page, help each other and help entrepreneurship in South Africa to fulfill its potential and in turn provide solutions for many of the economic and social issues in the country”.
Smee’s hope for entrepreneurs in 2020 is that big businesses, the government and the general public truly see the value that entrepreneurs add to the economy and fully embrace and support these super humans. “I hope that entrepreneurs are empowered and enabled to create genuine job opportunities, are supported and embraced by South Africans, and that they are able to create financial prosperity for their employees and for themselves”.