A civil engineer came back home after his contract ran out in Papua New Guinea. Because jobs are hard to find in his home country he sat around sending out more than 300 CVs, started running out of his savings, eventually had no money to make cellphone calls and by the hair on his chinny chin chin after one year secured a job in Saudi Arabia. This is the prison that the person with no new ideas experiences. All he or she can sell is skills and time.
A young woman landed up in Worcester, Western Cape, fell in love with the place and wanted to stay but there were no jobs. She wracked her brains, desperate to find some idea to make an income so that she could live in the town. Even though Worcester sauce is made by the giant food manufacturing companies right there in Worcester, she came up with an idea for her own special Worcester sauce, developed her product and it took off.
If you have ever wondered how other people come up with new business ideas, develop products and services, test and trial markets, make prototypes, protect their ideas and market and sell them, then the first thing you need to know is that it’s not for the person who expects everything to come to him or her. Starting something from scratch, creating something of your own takes courage, resources, managing risk, understanding cash flow better than anything you understood in your final school exams and sheer, backbreaking hard work.
Some say entrepreneurship is in your blood. I know a family who had a father who was a successful business person and his two daughters and son have followed in his footsteps. Maybe people are right about inherited traits. But I also know people who have had a passion for helping others and have come up with ideas for ventures of their own that have proved successful. Maybe the experts are right about passion. But then there are those who have had their backs to the wall with no special gift at birth, no privileges, nothing at all, who have invented options for themselves and have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps with a business idea that they came across and made work. Perhaps Charles Darwin was right about the survival of the fittest.
Accurate thinking, specialised knowledge and fire in your belly is what it really takes. But you also need to know how to improvise, pay attention, be accepting and have fun.
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