Shoprite, MTN & Discovery, to name a few, are some of the large international organisations born in Africa. Looking back, it’s almost impossible to comprehend that all these highly successful companies were once small businesses that were started by entrepreneurs with passion, drive and purpose. Why then are today’s entrepreneurs caught up in being seen to be wealthy, rather than building real wealth – sustainable wealth that that will allow entrepreneurs to leave a legacy for generations to come?
Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all rule to entrepreneurial growth but the below key points are some of the fundamentals that have been proven to be successful by entrepreneurs who turned small business to multi-million companies.
- Delegate responsibilities – Start by identifying a need within a specific market then work towards fulfilling it. The trick is to build the business model to a point where the owner is no longer the person solely responsible for all the functions of the business.
- Entrepreneur or Business Leader? – You need to then decide on whether to transition from being an entrepreneur to a business leader. As a Business Leader, you are no longer relying on the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to build a business. Entrepreneur turned Business Leaders manage systems, processes and people in order to build a high performing sustainable enterprise. The majority who choose not to make the switch, hire competent CEO’s or Managing Directors to help formalize the business. A good example of an entrepreneur who transitioned from an entrepreneur to a business leader is Bill Gates – the founder of Microsoft went on to be the CEO of the large multinational business. Another example of an entrepreneur that did not transition into a business leader focusing on a single business is Richard Branson, who more often than not, starts different businesses and hires competent management teams to take the businesses to the next level.
- Entrepreneur comfort zone – As a small business, do not fall into the trap of becoming too comfortable and too satisfied with the little achievements you have accomplished. It’s a big world with endless opportunities – take advantage. The potential risk of staying small is that your business is likely to be taken over by bigger companies with more resources and capacity or that you simply won’t have enough financial muscle to compete with the bigger players and as a result, it becomes almost impossible to service large orders to scale your business.
- Business has no ending – Lastly, there is no “final destination” in business. The perfect business motto is ‘imitate, iterate, innovate’. Once you have completed this cycle, there are only two options; stagnate and die or start the entire process over again.
In a disruptive world where markets are continually changing, businesses that are not constantly evolving, innovating and reinventing themselves run the risk of being disrupted and completely taken out of the market. The only businesses that stand the test of time, therefore, are those that constantly change and update themselves. With our low to zero growth economy, the responsibility to stimulate growth and provide employment falls solely on the shoulders of SME’s. Statistics have indicated that by 2030, 90% of new jobs will would have been created by SME’s.
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