How to start a business South Africa

How to start a business | South Africa

In a nutshell: I believe that most budding entrepreneurs spend too much time focusing on the wrong things when starting a new business or company.

They also invest an inordinate amount of money (often their whole life’s savings) into the new business, which statistically is more likely to fail than to succeed.

Many embark on this journey of Starting A Business without guidance, without a Business Mentor.

Would you like to learn to start a business for “Free”? Would you like to know how to build a website, or use a cloud PBX or an eCommerce store for online sales?

Would you like to learn about SEO and Social Media for business and online advertising?

Would you like to know about the correct entity in which to run your business or how to manage your cashflow and keep your books updated?

Of course you would!

But where should you start? What do you need to do first?

Spare me a couple more minutes of your time – perhaps I can help you…

Why are you thinking of starting a new business?

Perhaps you are tired of working for a boss. Perhaps you no longer have a boss due to retrenchment and cannot find alternate employment. Perhaps you took early retirement but would prefer to live from income, rather than your pension and savings.

Perhaps it’s a part-time business venture to add some much needed income to the family’s budget.

Whatever the reason, you are thinking about starting your own business – and you want some help to get going  quickly, cost-effectively and  efficiently.

Most new business start-ups fail!

Sadly the statistics are clear – 9 out of 10 start-up businesses will fail within the first 10 years, and most of those will fail horribly in the first 5 years. Worryingly when they fail they usually cripple the business owner financially (that’s you) – and usually he (or she) takes a lot of people down with them. Family who lent the owner some start-up money. Friends who did too.

You have enough common sense not to go to the casino and bet all your money (and probably that of your friends and family) on a single turn of the roulette wheel – and then place it all on “Zero”. So, if we have enough common sense not to gamble like that, why do we gamble like that on a new business?

Bottom Line? We shouldn’t. But what should we do?

Lets looks at 3 of the top reasons why new business start-ups fail:

Reason Number 1: Lack of skills of the business owner!

Isn’t that incredible? That’s not normally indicative of the owner’s skill to deliver on a product or service but usually because the owner doesn’t have all the ancillary skills required to be successful.

Skills like business administration, legal compliance, SARS compliance, marketing skills, costing skills and so on.

In fact most of the folk I’ve spoken to cannot even tell me the difference between a mark-up and a margin!

If you fall into this category and you are self-aware and honest enough you will likely admit you don’t like doing the books, costing the work, marketing, selling and the myriad other tasks that must be completed properly and regularly.

You just want to get on with what you are good at. Right?

So having admitted our flaws we turn to the experts for help – we consult with a lawyer and an accountant or book-keeper. They advise us on the contracts and the accounting process and the registration of the company and we are asked to prepare (in great detail and with much effort) budgets, and cash-flow forecasts, marketing plans, S.W.O.T analyses and so on.

Hear me clearly please! While these are important to do and vital to understand I don’t think they have anything to do with starting up your new business.

In fact they distract you from getting on with the most important tasks – and those experts simply get in the way – at least in the very beginning.

Top reason why new businesses fail number 2 : Negative cash-flow!

Top reason why new businesses fail number 3: Not enough profitable customers!

Let’s face it, very few businesses go under because they have too many profitable customers! There may be issues regarding scale or diminished customer service if they have too many paying, profitable customers, but I would rather have and meet that challenge than having too few paying and profitable customers! You agree, right?

On being successful, Deepak Chopra wrote that we should “live backwards in time”, while Stephen Covey said “Start with the end in mind” and Tony Robbins said success requires massive action.

How right they are – but the action needs to effective and goal-orientated and since we don’t want to risk our entire life’s savings our tactics need to be shrewd too.

Financial risks for new business start-ups:

Let’s talk financial risk for a moment – there is a general consensus amongst successful entrepreneurs that if you are going to fail you should fail fast!

I think we should rephrase and add something to that. If the venture is going to fail, let it fail fast, but let it fail cheaply!

Note: We entrepreneurs never fail. Our businesses may, but we are always better and stronger for the lessons learned – I think that’s a VITAL distinction that needs to be made!

From now on think of it like this: I never fail. I either succeed, or I learn!

Back to failing “Cheaply” – for me that’s one of the cornerstones of success. If I have R 10 000.00 saved which I intend to invest in my new business (and usually people start new businesses with a lot more money than that, but this is just an example) and I lose all of that money on my fist business because it failed, then there is no opportunity for a second or even a third try.

If however I only spend R 1 000.00 to get the venture up and running and it fails – well then I still have R 9 000.00 left – which means if each successive try also costs R 1 000.00 then I have another nine attempts at new business success! In this example I got to have 10 tries for my R 10 000.00!

Since only 1 in 10 businesses succeed I have greatly improved my chances of success!

Now I’m not suggesting that you should or even can start a business for only R 1000.00 (we will discuss that more and in detail if you decide to join me in this journey) but it sure would take the pressure off “failure” and won’t leave you or your family in financial ruin.

Let me cut to the chase – I believe it is possible to start a new business for “free”, spend a limited amount of money on market research and then to know in a short space of time (30-90 days) whether this business has a chance at succeeding – and if that’s unlikely to have it fail and fail fast but importantly, fail cheaply!

Our Mentorship Program will help you avoid many of these painful lessons and get you going quickly and effectively!

StartMyBusiness offer’s a Mentorship Program as well as tutorials and eLearning to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.

Our extensive range of topics covers introduction to business, marketing and ecommerce, bookkeeping and accounting.

Having someone who has traveled a road before you and can guide you along the way is a fantastic asset to have.

Somewhat like your family Doctor – he is a specialist generalist – by which I mean he has the knowledge and experience to guide you to good health and knows when its time to prescribe some medicines to cure the illness and possibly more importantly he knows where the real dangers lurk – and he then refers you to a specialist.

Think of your mentor as a General Practitioner – he knows when you can safely proceed, when you need to be cautious and when to call in the cavalry and refer the problem to the specialists in that field.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor on board for your entrepreneurial voyage?

Business Start up mentorship program

Let me share a little bit about myself with you and then tell you how I think I can assist you.

My name is Dieter and I am an entrepreneur at heart. In fact I am a serial entrepreneur – that means I haven’t started one business, but several, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.

My father was an entrepreneur and I began my working life in the family business – and I learned, first-hand, about the internal workings of the company. Up close and in person.

With the free reign I enjoyed as the Owner’s Son I got to poke and prod at every aspect of the business, from accounts, to customer service, to sales and marketing and all the interactions with statutory bodies – SARS, The Courts and on and on.

I worked there for thirteen years, so this was a thorough, lengthy and in-depth education. While I want to share my success stories with you, I’m convinced it is equally (if not more) important to share my failures with you – and to tell you where I went wrong, what lessons I learned as a result and how you can potentially avoid learning some of those costly lessons first-hand.

Ready to Start?

Ready to start your new business?

If you are interested in learning more (and perhaps choosing me as your business mentor) join our Mentorship Program and start your journey today!

How to start a business Mentorship Program

Mentorship is based on a fixed monthly fee – and for as long as you remain a member of the mentorship program you have access to all the information, lessons, documents, videos, tutorials and downloads on this site.

Business Start up mentorship program


Consulting is available by the hour and we conduct a telephonic consultation (either via Skype or conference bridge) and you are free to ask me any questions on which you would like some input or guidance. Click here to schedule your business consultation.

Think of it as consulting with the Board, without having the expense of a Board!

We can schedule follow-up consultations if needed.

What I am not and what I do not do:

I am not a certified financial planner or advisor. I am not an attorney or an accountant. I don’t offer financial, investment or business advice. I am offering to share my personal experiences with you.

PS: I recently helped someone launch their new business and the results so far have been phenomenal – within days she had already processed dozens of hot leads and converted some of those into sales – and all for less money than you would think!