A business radio jock asked a business consultant what were the three most important things for the creation of small enterprise. The business consultant said they were access to finance, access to markets and access to business knowledge. Yes, there is some truth in this but it was interesting that the business adviser started off with access to finance. It came in late to the conversation but one wonders whether or not this business adviser is attached in some way to a lending institution. Access to markets makes it sound as if there were people or other institutions preventing the small business owner from entering a market. In a free market the only real barrier to entry is competence and economies of scale. Access to business knowledge is an interesting one because to get real business smarts, you don’t have to attend a business course. Real, actionable business knowledge and information can be found from those who have run small businesses, creating them from scratch and business mentors. Continue reading “Business radio jocks, business advisers and other small business myth makers”
I went fishing in the Vaal River near Parys. We got up early and started out in small rubber rafts at 7 AM. We rowed upstream for about a kilometre and then we anchored the raft below a rapid up river.
It was a beautiful early summer morning with a river otter sighted as well as a leguan lizard, (get spilling from Internet),cormorant birds, yellow finches and the occasional swirl of yellow fish rising to the surface. This time of the year the banks are green with the tall Eucalyptus and Populus trees. Even the reeds alongside the banks are green. Continue reading “Be careful about the advice you give, it may come back to bite you”
A woman who grew up in Hungry was showing us oil paintings for her home in South Africa and a small apartment in Budapest that was confiscated by the Communists and many years later given back to the family. I asked where and how she had learned to paint so well. She laughed. She said that she had learnt just by doing it.
This self-taught artist was saying something that is significant and permeates everything she does in life. With a happy, can-do-it attitude she goes into things and get things done without hours, weeks, months or years of excruciatingly painful learning. I think it’s the same attitude that led her to establish a chain of retail toy shops in Johannesburg many years ago. Continue reading “Would you take advice from a stranger?”
A tax auditor was more interested in entrepreneurship than accounting but put plans to start her own company on hold. A few years later after consulting and real estate she attended a panel about the global clean-water crisis.
Some months later Sarah Kauss was hiking and all she had for water was a cheap, thin metal bottle that had warmed in the sun, according to a report in Fortune. She suddenly thought, “Why not create a more upscale, fashionable, reusable bottle that would keep the liquid cool?”
The bottles called S’Well retails from $25 to $45, depending on the size. She has sold about 4,000,000 to date. Continue reading “Wouldn’t it be great if you came up with an idea like this?”
Not too long ago financial advisers were unregulated but because standards were lacking in the industry they eventually had to write financial adviser exams and be registered. Too many customers were advised on investments that were not in their best interests. In these times with the increase in the number of small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, the number of small business advisers has grown. Continue reading “Who do you trust when it comes to small business advice?”
When my father was big in fishing and the fish in those days were more plentiful it was very tempting to become a professional fishermen. So tempting, in fact, that several people who had full-time jobs did so. One youngster who came fishing with us wasn’t particularly motivated to work for a boss and learnt as much as he could from my father about how to fish professionally. Continue reading “Who would you go to for advice on starting a business?”
It can be lonely operating a one-person business. Where do you go for business advice, especially when you are faced with difficult problems and challenges in your business? Who can you trust?
One entrepreneur who runs a retail homewear store and online shop has been able to overcome the depths of loneliness that solopreneurs feel. She shares retail space with three other business owners. They are able to split the rent and have a roster so that owners can take a break. This arrangement also gives the solopreneurs an opportunity to work on their business rather than in their business. Continue reading “Where do solopreneurs go to for advice when faced with challenges?”
Take a moment and think back to when you needed advice for an important decision. Who did you turn to? Where did you find that advice? Did you eventually end up making your own decision?
You may have received well-meaning advice from a family member or close friend. Perhaps an outsider was able to give you advice that allowed you to look at things from a different perspective. You may have taken a number of different opinions and then drawn your own conclusion.
Advice for small business owners comes from many quarters. Business advisers, coaches and mentors. Lawyers, accountants and investors. Books written by previously successful small business owners. Reality TV programmes like Shark Tank and Dragons Den. The celebrity business person who has achieved greatness in business and has now condensed their business philosophy into pearls of small business wisdom. Continue reading “Where do you get your best small business advice?”
A young entrepreneur with a start up came to me recently to discuss how he could improve and grow his business. Like many other start-up entrepreneurs, he had been struggling to come up with new ideas and new approaches to solving problems and challenges in improving his value proposition to potential customers.
We spoke about many areas of his business, his customers and the market for about two hours. When we finished we had drawn up a brief checklist of actions he needed to follow up.
A restaurant owner running a Cajun style restaurant went from 200 patrons and night to a single table at best because he listened to a so-called celebrity TV business adviser.
The restaurant was running for about six years when the owner agreed to go on a restaurant makeover show. The TV celebrity business adviser overruled the menu and the decor which nearly wrecked his business. From authentic Creole dishes like seafood gumbo and jambalaya, the celebrity chef chopped the menu down to 20 bland items such as cheeseburgers, Hush Puppies and fried chicken. The colourful interior design was changed to muted beiges and greys and uncomfortable church pew benches were installed. A disgruntled customer said the new furnishings and menu had turned a fun restaurant into a funeral parlour. Continue reading “Small business in tatters because of bad advice”