By Anthea Taylor*
Africa needs entrepreneurs and people who are going to be innovators and job creators!
In Africa’s economic environment there are risks and uncertainties, but quick decisions and gut feelings are what get entrepreneurs to turn those risks into rewards and the uncertainties into opportunities.
So, what does it take to be an entrepreneur? We will never be able to know exactly what the secret to success is, however, here are a few things that any potential business owner should have or work towards having.
Focus on more than an idea
Although a business has to be based on an innovative idea, the execution is what counts for a successful entrepreneur.
Having a great idea that solves a problem and has a market is an ideal position to be in. You will be poised for success. In order to actually become successful, however, you will need to be able to execute the idea and stick with it for the long term.
Entrepreneurs are not only thinkers, they are doers. And getting things done is more difficult than people think. How an idea looks in practice is usually a lot different to how it looks in your head.
Businesses are marathons not sprints. You will need to be able to fulfil your ideas as well as you come up with them. And, if anything goes wrong, you need to be able to get past your failures and carry on.
Have the courage to leap
While a love of learning and the desire to work will be an important part of propelling you to success, having the courage to leave what you know and leap into the unknown is vital if you are going to be a successful entrepreneur.
You need to be able to leave the security of your current job or the prospect of a stable income. This is something that you can only do if you are passionate about what it is that you’re doing and that you are confident in your abilities.
Hand in hand with this is having boundless energy because starting and running a business is going to take long hours and a lot of effort.
Look for meaning and purpose in what you do
For entrepreneurs this meaning is found in being your own boss, running a business and driving it forward. You will need to have a strong inner drive to get out and make things happen. Be persistent and make your own luck.
While you will need to be prepared to work hard, you will also need to find a way of striking a work/life balance. Running your own business can become all-consuming. You will need to keep a check on yourself and the amount of time you are putting into your business.
Having good daily processes and focusing on your time management will be the way that you learn to keep a healthy work / life balance.
Find good employees
Starting or running a business is about more than just you. If you are passionate about creating jobs or helping people grow in your business, you will have a greater drive to succeed.
Being a boss is not an easy role. You’ll need to be able to deal with people as well as being able to drive a business. Finding the right team will make both of these tasks easier.
Creating the best environment for your employees will also be the most efficient way to build a stable business. A low employee turnover keeps the skills and experience within your business and only adding to your success.
Staff that want to stay and develop as your company grows is an invaluable asset.
Choose the best route to business ownership
Africa can be a risky place to start a business because of the lack of infrastructure and the fact that a lot of these markets are very new.
There is a different path for an entrepreneur to take though, and that is to buy a business that already has a proven track record.
Although this will take the same kind of focus, effort and energy as starting a business, it does allow you to invest this energy into a tried and tested idea.
You will still need to be passionate about what you do and have the courage to make the leap and head out on your own. What you will also have, though, is the chance to learn the lessons from someone else rather than making the mistakes yourself.
*By Anthea Taylor, Assistant Editor at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including BusinessesForSale.com, FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com as well as other industry publications.