By Rucien Petersen, Founder of Spottmedia
Establishing a business and building a brand takes a lot of effort, energy and time. Entrepreneurship seems to have become glamorized but those on the entrepreneurial journey will know and understand that it is far from being all pretty. There’s a lot of sweat, blood and tears that goes into building a brand. But the rewards and successes that come from sacrificing are worthwhile.
The first of June was not only the start of Winter in South Africa, but also the start of Youth Month. To celebrate Youth month, here are 6 lessons I’ve learnt as an entrepreneur since stepping into the ‘World of Entrepreneurship’:
Mentorship is important
When you step into the world of Entrepreneurship you will not know everything. There are many aspects to building a business and brand namely finance, staff, marketing, operations and sales. Hence, it is so important to align yourself with someone who has already walked the journey and can guide you. But before seeking a mentor you will need to have a teachable attitude. Many entrepreneurs think they know everything, which is often to the detriment of their own business and brand. One of the first things I did was to seek out a mentor. My mentor is honest and truthful, we have an open relationship about my business, and he advises, guides me with regards to the steps I need to take in building my business. Make sure you have someone you can trust and be open with about your business vision and goals.
Learn how to sell
People often say that they are not salespeople. However, every entrepreneur will tell you that you need to be able to sell. We’re not talking about pitching your business to every potential client you encounter. We are referring to the moments that are required for you to sell. The moment someone asks you what can you offer? How can you add value? How can you assist me? This is your time to shine. There are two fundamental aspects to selling: knowing your product or service offering and having the ability to understand the client and what they are looking for. If you can’t sell and show how you’ll add value in a few words, you will find it difficult to bring clients on board.
Keep your finances at bay
It’s an old cliché, but so true. You need to know your numbers. You need to understand your costs (incomes, expenses, overheads). You need to know exactly how much you are making versus how much you are spending. Sessions with my mentor has made me realise the importance of where you spend the money generated. Money generated should be reinvested into the business. I believe that instead of spending your profit on clothes, fast food or other expensive materials, you should try to reduce these costs and spend more on the business to grow and enhance it.
Collaborations and partnerships matter
It’s difficult to grow your business in the beginning during the early stages as no – one really knows that you exist. One way to expand your reach and increase your awareness is through collaborations. Have a look at how both parties can benefit and partner with an established business, organisation or association. Not only have we partnered with a coffee shop to run our first marketing workshop, we have also partnered influencers, have a monthly segment on a community radio station and partnered with a website company for client referrals. The key to a successful collaboration is to think about your target market and to create a win-win situation when seeking out partners.
Put in the effort to see real results
Be prepared to put in the hours. You might think that you will have more time on your hands when you are an entrepreneur. This is the opposite, especially when you are starting. You need to work and put in the time. Growth, sales, development and success is not an overnight process – it takes time. Consumers have been influenced by many who claim to achieve success and results overnight via programmes and courses. Hard work and sacrifice creates a sense of achievement no matter how big or small the results.
Have a clear vision
Before you do anything, create a vision for your business and brand. Youth are young, energetic, vibrant, and eager. Unfortunately, many youth are wasting energy on things that do not add value to their lives. When you have a vision, you are determined, you know your ‘why’ and you won’t give up easily. Growing and running a business is tough. I always think about my vision daily and what I want for my brand. There are many highs and lows on this journey and a vision will help you along the way. As you progress, continue to revisit your vision to make sure you are on the right path to achieving it.
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