Andiswa Gumede is a Tholoana Enterprise Programme specialist at the SAB Foundation.
Andiswa Gumede is a Tholoana Enterprise Programme specialist at the SAB Foundation.

What it takes to be an entrepreneur

By Opinion Time of article published May 22, 2021

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An entrepreneur is a term we hear a lot in this country and South Africa has a wealth of them. This is according to Tholoana Enterprise Programme specialist at the SAB Foundation, Andiswa Gumede.

She added that entrepreneurs were individuals who undertook risks, who showed passion and initiative, with the end goals of financial profit and benefits to their communities.

Gumede works in a programme that supports small businesses that benefit or are owned by women, youth and people living in rural and or peri-urban areas, through grants and business mentorship and guidance.

“South Africa’s entrepreneurs are self-motivated risk takers who value passion and success above all,” she says. “With genuine passion, hard work, a great idea, and a knack for learning, anyone can build a business and become a success,” she said.

Gumede said entrepreneurs valued independence.

“They want to be their own bosses, however, they also have hundreds, thousands, or millions of bosses; they’re called customers,” she said.

“These innovators are working to build something that will last,” she continued.

Gumede added that entrepreneurs were also self-reliant.

“They enjoy being responsible for their own success and take pride in building something greater than themselves.”

Gumede shared some steps to take to become an entrepreneur:

1. Find your niche

Finding a niche differentiates your business from the competition and allows you to excel in your sector. Choose your target audience, determine the needs of your customers, research your customer base, create your business plan, and market your business to your specific audience.

2. Research your market

Market research helps you find customers for your business.

Gather information to better understand opportunities and limitations for gaining customers such as data on age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business.

3. Identify a problem to solve

Validate that there is a problem worth solving and where exactly a product or service can be most successful in solving that problem,” she advises. The best way to validate that a problem exists is to actually jump right in and assume part of the role that your product might fill in the future.

4. Educate yourself

There are many things that you will need to know as an entrepreneur. Your current education cannot cover all of the necessary skills to enable you to successfully start and run a business. You need to educate yourself continually.

5. Build your business in stages

Setting up a sustainable business takes time, effort, and potentially a few setbacks. Instead of trying to pass through the different growth stages all at once, refine your approach if something is not working and focus more on the activities that achieve the best results.

Entrepreneurs have the ability to change the way we live and work. Their innovations may improve standards of living, and in addition they create jobs and contribute to a growing economy. The importance of entrepreneurship is not to be understated.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.


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