South African Entrepreneurs Thinking BIG: Business ideas, success stories, marketing and innovation

From Employee To Entrepreneur


by on 01/02/13 at 12:30 pm
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There may come a time when you find that working your steady 8-to-5 job no longer provides the career satisfaction or fulfillment you want.

Entrepreneurs think big.A business idea has cemented itself in your mind and you develop a burning desire to start your own business and become your own boss. But you don’t, because going it alone seems impossible; making a career change to another job is one thing, but starting a business is another. The thought can be daunting. Here are four tips to help you make the transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Think big, start small

Becoming an entrepreneur requires having a vision. To be able to step out on your own, you need to have fervor for something that will drive you to leave your comfort zone and create your own business. However, dreaming big doesn’t mean starting big. As Mathew Buckland, founder of Creative Spark puts it, “I’m actually a cautious business owner. So what might seem like an outwardly risky move is carefully thought out and it’s effectively-managed risk.” It wouldn’t be wise to pack up your cubical the second you have a great idea. Find ways to explore and test your idea while still maintaining your steady income. Chances are, your steady job will help pay for your potential business.

Train up

You may have the know-how in your current position at your present company, but starting your own business will likely be completely new and unfamiliar territory that you will need to learn. If for example, you’ve chosen to pursue a business that is entirely different from your current employment, expertise will be critical to your success or failure. Consequently you will need to invest in training while working – taking an online course or programme – to ensure that you have a clear idea of what starting your own business will actually entail. Getting to grips with business planning, finances, marketing and the like, will help you move your vision past the dream stage and into reality.

Be practical

Before you make any moves, it’s a good idea to carry out a market analysis to find out the trends that are driving your chosen industry. As Raymond Ackerman, former chairman of the Pick n Pay franchise said, “It has to be good for the person you are trying to serve. It has to have a purpose and it has to result in something good for someone.” Doing your research can be beneficial in the long run as you will know beforehand if there is a market for what you would like to pursue. Ensure that you have a stream of information keeping you up-to-date and aware of how your potential business can fill any gaps in the market.

Try it out

The saying “never put off to tomorrow what you can do today” rings very true for those considering becoming entrepreneurs. Once you have a good idea of where you can fit yourself in a thriving market, you can take the first steps to starting your own business. Rapelang Rabana, CEO and founder of Yiego communications advises getting over the idea that there is certainty in anything and understanding that there will always be risks. You will need to move from having an ambition to having a target to be able to make the initial move. This could be something simple like creating a business plan or registering your business.  Start with something straightforward so as to avoid time consuming activities that can be discouraging and in effect, self-sabotaging.

Yvonne Nhuta is part of the academic department at GetSmarter, an online education company. GetSmarter works together with University of Cape Town to present short courses in small business management, project management, internet marketing, financial management and more. View more articles by Yvonne Nhuta.

Tags: becoming an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship

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