The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Do you have what it takes? Do you have within you, the Entrepreneurial Spirit? What does one need to become an entrepreneur?
To be a dreamer. A risk taker. Passion. A burning ambition, and energy. A wholehearted belief in yourself and in your ability to make things happen! An entrepreneur is independent, unique in his thinking and does things that are different, or in an original way.
2018, a new year, filled with new possibilities, challenges and business opportunities. What are you going to do this year?
1. Start small, step by step
· Not everyone is a natural entrepreneur and is able to develop a business, worth billions but you can make enough to live on.
· You do not have to have a piece of paper to define you, or a University Degree before you can start to earn. Experience is key, so just start! you can begin your business venture in your own garage or kitchen!
· BUT be careful – A growing business can easily run out of cash! Always make sure you have enough cash to sustain your business.
· “It is easy to go broke while you are making a fortune” If you learn about one thing, make it about Cash Flow and managing Creditors and Debtors, OR in other words: ‘what money comes in and what goes out!
· ’Focus on one business idea at a time. Too many projects at the same time is a passport to disaster!
2. Find your passion
What do you love to do? When I was 40 years old, my father got cancer and some extraordinary things started to happen. Whenever I got close to him, I “had” to touch him, and when I did so, he felt better! I had no idea what I was doing….BUT that led to the start of my healing career! I found what I was naturally good at, and loved every second of my work. I did well in exams and searched for more and more courses I could study, to build my knowledge.
3. Share your knowledge
From my own perspective, there is no point in having wisdom and skill without passing it on. “Learn something and teach it to someone”. Leave a legacy for the next generation or your own children.
From an early age, educate your child in the ways of business. How to do odd jobs for money. How to operate a savings account (even if it is glass jar under his bed!). Encourage him to start looking to the future and what he would like to do. Watch him play – children are usually drawn towards things they are interested in.
If you are in business and have the knowledge, teach your child, using simple day to day examples, about:
· Market Analysis
· How to draw up a Business Plan
· ‘Procurement’, meaning how to find the products you want to sell
· Cost Analysis – what equipment do you need? Do you need people to work for you? Do you need to rent a place from which to work?
· The importance of Cash Flow – Your business may grow too fast and you could run out of cash! How not to spend more than you have and to live within your means. For most, success equals fast cars and fancy clothes!
4. Look for new opportunities and needs in society
· We need teachers, plumbers, nurses. Children will never starve if you can offer one of these services.
· Or we need to be a leader in a new arena…. Our world is changing rapidly every year. Think NEW not old!
· Each generation has been left a legacy of semi-disaster. I was born a few years after the end of World War 2. However awful things were, every successive generation moves forward into a new way of living, filled with hope for a brighter future.
· My generation has developed the knowledge and technology to enhance business, communication, industry, transport – Almost everything has changed since my mother was a child, born in 1913. There were no cars, or aeroplanes back then.
· The next generation, i.e. YOU, or your children, will harness space travel as a holiday destination. They will be using 3D imaging every day, and will travel in cars that levitate and are run by electric current. Unimagined creations are being thought of and produced every day.
· As soon as One person thinks of an original idea, it WILL be manifested. Someone will see the gap, work hard and make it happen.
· Change is guaranteed. Be part of the journey. “Think Out of the Box” and do not be afraid to dream.
5. Develop your dream into a Vision that works
· Every person is good at something that is unique to them. Your dream can be turned into reality through clear, achievable, understandable Goals. Your Vision is the backbone of your idea and is crafted by your own choices. Once you have written down the steps of how it will look when it is up and running, you will have a plan for the What/Where/When……..But there is still the HOW to achieve it.
· Write down each step you must make to create a clear ‘roadmap’ of the HOW. This may be week by week, month by month or year by year. You may discover you have to develop the missing business knowledge or skill, and find a Teacher. Or you may be ready to approach a financing institution to help you get started. BUT! Without a clear Business Plan, no-one is going to sponsor you!
· Let’s take a sandwich example: You may love to make sandwiches and talk to people. What sort of sandwiches do people want? Cheese and chutney? Ham and tomato? Ask people what they want. Do your market research. Find out how much bread will cost, the margarine, the clingwrap. Plus add a small profit for yourself. Every step needs to be clear. Where will you sell your sandwiches? When? Seven days a week? Evenings as well? How
much do you need to make each day, to put food on the table for your family.
6. Be prepared to take a risk on yourself
· This does not mean spending every cent you have, on a business. What it means is doing something of your own. This takes courage and a deep belief in your ability, come what may! Follow your ambition and drive.
· Do not give up. You are a leader, and there is no-one to follow. This means finding your own way, with total focus, commitment and consistent hard work! This is your own “brainchild”.
· Not all business ventures are successful, but you will discover, through fighting hard for what you believe in, where any improvements could be made, or how things could have been done differently. No-one can progress from Grade One to University in a moment. It takes time, practical experience, discipline and effort!
· Do not give up! Failure is a misperception! It simply means you have more to learn in your chosen field.
· Ambition is growth in the making! Stop. Think. Re-evaluate, research and develop
True Example: A man bought his son a chainsaw when he was twelve years old, to earn pocket money through cutting trees. The son did so well in his “home” business, he put himself through school and university, and now has a thriving business! He is still cutting trees!
7. Be patient
For a long time, I was drawn to working with inmates in prison, which I do now. I felt these people have somehow been overlooked in life – or that is how a lot of them feel. They are mostly poor, with little education and they did what they did to support “surprise pregnancies or a sibling family. What to do, what to do? Young, inexperienced, uneducated, in the wrong place at the wrong time, plus unsavoury friends. Surviving Life is hell for far too many of our population. In this scenario, what are the choices? You can beg, steal or do something yourself. Crime sadly, is the easy option for quick money, but the consequences are severe!
Although some students are very clever and well educated, and I am vastly generalising now, most wanted fame and fortune, and they wanted it NOW! Others had no Life Skills to speak of and they simply thought of “bucking the system and getting rich fast” through stealing, hijacking and taking what was not theirs, sometimes through power or force”. What interested me was the organisational skill sets, and brilliantly devious and original ideas these people have! Some of the best entrepreneurs in the land! What a shame these skills and talents were not channelled correctly into legal Business ventures!
I waited sixteen years for the opportunity to present itself, for me to start teaching in prison. In June 2006 I began teaching in Leeuwkop Maximum Security Prison. I had no idea how I would teach. But I showed up! I began with one man. We discussed his issue. I did a Kinesiology Balance on him, using a series of stress relieving techniques. Later in the day I did a bit of research and wrote a paper on his personal issue. He and all members of the group received a copy of this paper the following lesson. As the classes rolled by, I realised each-and-every student suffered the same stresses, and certain Life Skills were missing from his life. The bones of my book was born and it was published in 2009. It has subsequently become a handbook for my classes.
8. Market yourself – Telling people what you do so they can find you
The world must know what you have to offer! There is so much happening in the country that we never hear about. Individuals who make a difference in other’s lives. Individuals who shine in their own way. People who reach out to others in their communities. Individuals who rise out of adversity and turn their life into something really special. The internet and social media is a wonderful tool to become known!
· It does not matter how small your business, it is yours and you drive the show. That is honourable and your success should be advertised to take advantage of your market share.
· You could simply make a sign which does not cost much. And “word of mouth” is a great form of marketing – but build a reputation that people can take about!
· Is there a business opportunity here to develop an internet group, or a newspaper for like-minded people to discuss issues and methodology towards building a business and advertising skills??
Let me tell you a story:
I read a heart-warming story about a woman in a poor community in Soweto who owns a metal bathtub. Daily she takes her tub door to door, to all the old and infirm folk in her area and bathes them.
Then she teaches her neighbours how to grow a plant/tree/vegetable using the grey water that is thrown away daily by every household. All honour to her. What an entrepreneurial spirit to take on that service out of the goodness in her heart.
I realise most people have to support their families financially but I do wonder if something more could have been made out of her story? She was on the right track, as a Service Provider. Turn this around to you. Think about what people need and how providing a service could work for you? There are business opportunities at every turn.
9. Love what you do
To love what you do, is to be proud of what you do and to be proud of who you are as a person. When this recipe comes together, it is more likely for this love to spill over into helping others. Imagine a world where every person did some sort of good work in the community. Many of these acts could become the foundation of a new, previously unimagined business.
For example: I met the staff who are involved in Footballers For Life. An NGO that takes young kids off the streets in the afternoons to play football. The kids are also given a “box of life skills pamphlets” and are guided in subjects such as:
· How to Handle Money,
· Making Decisions,
· Problem Solving,
· Drinking and Drugs,
· What it Means to be a Man
· HIV and Aids, and others.
How wonderful is this? It is sponsored by three different organisations.
10. Be independent
· We can’t all have university degrees, and college diplomas. We can’t all work in huge corporate businesses and earn fat salaries
· Technology is advancing so quickly that in a few decades there will no longer be jobs available for the average man in the street. Technology is fast taking over.
· The world is changing. What can you do to make a difference? What can you do to help yourself?
· Grants do not make a nation strong. It does not make a person strong. It weakens a person’s resolve to try anything for himself. There is something everyone can do. However small. However simple. It is better than doing nothing! Lack of hope kills inspiration!
Example: If you had nothing, would you prefer to be the clever juggler on the street corner, or the beggar with the small child on the street corner?
· Ask: How can I do this by myself?” This question enables you to do more!
· If you are prepared to work hard, and upgrade your experience and what you know, the recipe for success is there.
· Example: We hear of rural school children studying on their own late into the night, learning by candlelight. Studying over weekends and through the holidays. These are the candidates who get multiple distinctions in their exams. These are the innovators and the leaders of the future. Anything is possible with discipline, ambition and a strong sense of “I can do this myself” This is a shining example of a budding entrepreneur. Nowadays, there is access to so much knowledge, much of it freely available via the internet.
· Example: Getting one’s child into school is becoming increasingly difficult and so more and more mothers are home schooling their children and the kids do exceptionally well. All courses are available on the Internet. Is there a business opportunity here to provide one computer, one mother and many children? We must educate every child in the country.
· Do not take no for an answer
· Keep your head held high, believe in yourself, be original, work hard and you will be a winner.