“Why should I start my own business?” The question, particularly in the South African context, should rather be “Why not?”
Taking control of your own destiny, being your own boss, breaking free from the chains of the corporate world and building up some real long-term wealth are some of the main reasons people decide to do their own thing.
Before deciding to quit your day job and starting the next google or apple there are however some key things you need to ask yourself:
- Am I an entrepreneur – i.e. do I have the personality, risk appetite, perseverance and innovative & strategic leadership qualities necessary to be successful.
- Do I have a clear business idea & business plan that is realistic, profitable, sustainable and scalable?
- Do I have the necessary funds to bootstrap the business and sustain myself and my family for the foreseeable future? Or do I have clear feasible plans to obtain funding?
- Do I have the right partners with complementary skill sets needed to make the business successful? If not do I have plans to source those skills?
- Do I have the network connections needed to build the business? If not do I have plans to make the necessary connections?
Given the depressing statistic that on average 80% of all startups fail within 5 years, these are important questions to consider, because it will surely be a hard road ahead. Your new venture will most likely be all-consuming for quite a while, with new challenges arising on a daily basis. The potential rewards however are unlimited and for the right idea and individual it is definitely a worthwhile pursuit.
In a growing economy like South Africa there are countless opportunities and untapped markets. If you can just open yourself up to innovative and outside-the-box thinking the world could be your oyster. SME’s are the lifeblood of the local economy and a key answer to the questions of poverty and unemployment.
One example of a key growth area in South Africa is e-commerce – with the improvement in online connectivity and infrastructure, reduction in data cost, and the 30% projected annual growth rate in online retail, this is definitely an area to focus on. Online retail is already huge in the US, UK and Asia, and it is just a matter of time before we catch up. There is therefore still ample opportunities here to be first to market.
Many people however are just not natural entrepreneurs and are content with the structure and safety of a traditional corporate career. This is also a very rewarding path, both personally and financially, and the one most people follow. Entrepreneurship can also be found in the corporate career framework as your responsibilities increase and you start managing departments, teams, business lines etc. A managerial position also gives you the opportunity to run your “own business” within the safe context of a salaried position.
That said, having an accounting qualification gives you the perfect business background and core skill set to be successful in your own venture. And especially when you are still young with less responsibilities and more innovative drive, it is the perfect time to consider starting your own thing, whether it be full-time or on the side. You need to ask yourself – “What is the real risk here? What will I really lose if this fails”. In most situations the worst case scenario is not as bad as you think.
In terms of career experience and CV development, being able to say that you started your own company (whether it was successful in the long run or not) makes you a much more interesting and desired candidate than one who has never taken a chance and been running the corporate treadmill all his life.
As we continue to grow futureblender, we will be featuring many more exciting articles on entrepreneurship and building your own business in the empire builder section.
In the meantime, head over to www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/. This is a great website with almost all the info and guidance you need to start your own business. The local version of the monthly “Entrepreneur” magazine is also a great read with loads of useful info.