Start Up

Starting your own business venture is an exciting time. There’s nothing quite like the start-up culture. Here are some things you should be aware of, but don’t let it deter you.

If you’re one of those people with the typical “entrepreneurial spirit,” you will understand the desire to skip over getting a conventional job in favour of starting your own company. Making a few mistakes along the way is bound to happen, hopefully these are easy to rectify. Here are 12 lessons that seasoned entrepreneurs have learnt through their experiences:

Queue the Stress

One of the most common lessons learned from the experienced entrepreneur is so simple that it often gets overlooked: starting your own company is stressful! People underestimate how stressful starting a company can be. When the success of the business directly affects your own financial success, you can end up obsessing over your business

Hire the Knowledgeable

Hire people that can do the things you can’t. Pride and ego can be one of the biggest things to hold your company back. Once you recognise and accept your own weaknesses and shortcomings, you can employ the correct people to take up the slack in those areas. For example, if you struggle with numbers, employ someone with the skills to perform tasks you can’t. A good way of finding out what your weaknesses are is to simply ask your friends and family.

Loneliness becomes your companion

Becoming an entrepreneur can be surprisingly lonely. Being the boss can inspire jealousy from your partners, and alienates you from your employees. A solid support structure (uninvolved family and friends) and even a regular exercise regime can help keep you grounded and help you through the more difficult times.

The only constant is change

Adaptability is one of your most important skills. A successful entrepreneur can adapt according to changing market and economic conditions. Embrace how dynamic owning your own company can be. Being able to find innovative new ways to deal with SA’s new, “junk status,” is one such example.

Keeping Score

Document your mistakes. Literally keep track of your bad decisions to help ensure you don’t repeat them in any future, similar situations. Physically writing or typing out your bad decisions is the physical manifestation of the saying, “Learn from your mistakes.”

Proactivity is key

If you keep waiting for the perfect time to launch your company, you will never be able to launch your company. It will never feel like the right time. Once your business idea is fully developed, take a leap of faith. The only way to get your company going is to just start.

Dotting your “i’s” and crossing your “t’s”

Finish your product completely before trying to raise money. Chances are, if you’ve just finished university or college, you haven’t proved yourself trustworthy yet. Nobody is going to trust you with their money until you can prove that your idea can work.

Be a people magnet

Networking is everything! You should try meet as many people as possible and stay in touch with them. Never underestimate how an individual can contribute in some way. At some point, all skills are needed. You can share your resources, help develop each other’s ideas and promote each other’s ventures. LinkedIn is a great way to keep up with professional connections.

Know what you don’t know

Never presume you know everything there is to know about your product. You should never stop learning. Staying curious about things promotes creativity and allows people to think “outside the box.” In addition, try to hire curious people who can contribute to a dynamic and creative working environment.

Stay in the know

Keep an ear to the ground. You should always pay close attention to your employees. Keeping track of their capabilities and performance can help you optimise your business by placing the right people in the right areas, and even firing those who underperform. On the other hand, give your employees credit for their successes to keep them motivated and happy.

Keep your friends close…

In business, favours tend to come back to you. Always try to be as helpful as possible to people who need it (without putting your business or personal situation in jeopardy). Whether it’s giving advice, introducing people to each other or helping people with getting jobs. Make yourself known as being helpful and resourceful to all sorts of people.

Stay tech-savvy

Embrace changing technologies. Making use of various computer programmes and using modern computers is a highly effectual way of optimising your business. In a time where technology is evolving at an exceptional rate, you can’t afford to be left behind.

Making mistakes and wrong decisions is simply a part of starting your own company. It’s unavoidable. Luckily, you can learn from the mistakes of the entrepreneurs who started out before you to minimise the effect these mistakes can have on your own company. Although only 12 are listed above, many many more exist. Take the time to look these up online or talk to a business owner about their experience in entrepreneurship.

Give this TedTalk a watch to inspire you:

EduConnect 2Cents

Do what you love! When going to work is something you look forward to, the chances of your business succeeding increases. During your studies trying getting internships with start-ups to see what it’s all about.


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