How to restart from scratch in 30 days

It’s amazing, isn’t it? That some people make claims like this. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the so-called gurus who claim that you can make a new start in only 30 days.

Photograph by Chesney Bradshaw

Really! How feasible is this?

Well, I suppose it depends.

Some entrepreneurs may be able to get going within 30 days but would they be able to start producing income in 30 days?

There is a huge difference.

Think about this for a moment: how much investment is required to find a new location for a store? Build an online store? Then, how much capital is required to stock it? What about the rental? It’s unlikely that the entrepreneur will obtain an open-ended rental agreement from a landlord.

Wouldn’t you argree?

Yes, so it may be possible to restart quickly.

But the real question to ask is: How long do you need to trade before you can start producing income?

That depends on the nature of your start-up business, whether you are going to trade in fast moving consumer goods, or online or consult on and execute projects.

It means that you need to pay attention to carefully working out capital outlays, cash outflows and inflows, before you pull the trigger to start your business.

Remember this — it always costs twice as much as you think to start up and takes three times as long to get going than you originally thought.

How do you know if you have created a desirable product or not?

By Chesney Bradshaw

A successful inventor, Stephen Key, says that he started his career in product development selling his handmade goods at art shows and state fairs where he quickly discovered the importance of creating a desirable product. “Let’s face it: When the rent is due and you are hungry, if the product used to spent several hours making doesn’t sell, you quickly move onto something else.”

This is an important point, isn’t it for? If you make something that very few or almost no one wants, then what’s the point? But how do you get to that stage where you are making products that people want? Continue reading “How do you know if you have created a desirable product or not?”

What makes one small business more profitable than another?

By Chesney Bradshaw

Two small restaurant businesses started up, one after each other, in the same premises. After 18 months, the first business went to the wall and had to shut its doors. The second business took over the same premises also with a restaurant but business is strong and growing.

What made the difference between these two small businesses? What made one unprofitable and the other profitable?

If you are looking to open a new business, what key fundamentals will you look for when it comes to profitability? Even if you are presently running a small business it’s worth looking at these key fundamentals because you may be missing out on profit opportunities. Without running your business profitably you are unfortunately not going to make it over the medium-to long-term. As a start-up or any individual who is starting any income-generation opportunity, you need to carefully consider how profitable your business is going to be. Continue reading “What makes one small business more profitable than another?”

Original ideas — do you think they have any legs?


We went by train to Port Elizabeth in April 2017. Almost all the railway stations were in the same condition as this one at Koppies. But where has the maintenance budget monies gone? New ideas are needed to encourage local and foreign tourism.

An Internet marketer was saying on his podcast that the original business ideas don’t work. A start-up just doesn’t have the deep pockets to advertise an original product or service. Far better, he said, is to copy something that is already working.

Before you read further, why not subscribe to the newsletter now.

Is it really as simple as this? Well, for one thing if you see what is already available on the market and is being advertised, there is a good chance that the product or service has found a target markets and is bringing in revenue for the start-up or small business. The veteran Internet marketer’s advice was to go for niche markets that are already proving themselves. The trick is to check out the product or service, find its holes, flaws and shortcomings and then to produce something better. Continue reading “Original ideas — do you think they have any legs?”

How do you manage your income with everything going up?

Income producing assetsEverything is going up. Taxes have shot up. Petrol may have gone down for some time but it’s on the rise. Electricity keeps going up. Wherever you look rates, utility bills and local taxes are increasing. Every one of your expense items whether it be insurance, DSTV, groceries and even restaurants is going up. Compare the price you paid for a meal on a Friday night about 2 to 3 years ago to what it is today. You’ll be lucky if you get a piece of chicken and a salad under R100.

With everything going up it is becoming more and more difficult to get by on your income. Increases are either zero or barely cover inflation. Many would say that you are lucky to even have an income. Even if you do have an income, you are probably working harder and longer hours because of the psychological pressures you are under and as a survivor in the big companies hard work is driven by your survivor mentality. Continue reading “How do you manage your income with everything going up?”

Would you do this for fun?

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

When I started out researching, interviewing and experimenting for my book “Breakthrough Ideas” I wanted practical, hands-on tools and resources that would give people the best possible chance and actionable results.

I pride myself on action orientation and leadership of change and used these qualities to go beyond deep research into the subject of turning new business ideas into viable products and services. I collaborated with several start-ups and experienced small business people to test-drive my concepts to ensure that they work in the real world.

One key ingredient was to ensure that the tools and techniques would be fun to use. This is important. Why would you put all the hard work, time and money into developing a promising new idea unless it was going to be fun to do?

One of the celebrity entrepreneurs who I admire says that you should ask yourself when pursuing an idea whether you would do it for fun. This comes from an entrepreneur who started at the very bottom and worked his way up. He’s not someone who has become rich and famous and dishes out advice to extend his brand personality. No, this entrepreneur walks his talk. He has a genuine interest in helping others do well for themselves – a rare quality.

Pursuing an idea that you want to turn into a small business needs to be fun. It especially needs to be fun if you think you are eventually going to make a living from it and it will be your main lifestyle. You need to put in the extra hours, burn the midnight oil, suffer the pain of the challenges that are presented to you and work weekends until you don’t even know what a break feels like. Of course, you need to take breaks but you know what I mean.

The important ingredient of fun comes with the underlying belief that doing something for yourself, starting something from scratch and making it work gives you a freedom that others year for.

Yet once you have earned your freedom through the vehicle of a successful enterprise you need to be extra careful to not give that freedom away. What do I mean by this? It’s simple. You can so easily give your freedom away to bankers when you take out loans. You can give your freedom away to shareholders who take a cut of your business. You can give your freedom away to a landlord who sinks you and your business into a deep spiral of debt by jacking up your rental with exorbitant annual increases.

You have to be on your guard. All of these and many other traps lie in wait for the unwary. They may be furthest from your mind when you start out but when you plan your formal legal structure, access to finance and location it’s important to consider how much of your freedom you are giving away to others.

Yes, that celebrity entrepreneur knows what he is talking about when he says ask yourself whether you are doing this for fun. It sounds like an innocuous question but behind it is really how much meaning does it give to you and how much freedom?

Does your business model require a makeover?

Photo Credit: Wikicommons
Photo Credit: Wikicommons

On a Friday evening in December we went to listen to an opera at the Roodepoort, Theatre. The main draw card was South Africa’s top tenor Stephan Louw. If you’re not interested in opera don’t worry because the fascinating part of this opera was the business model.

Opera audiences in South Africa aren’t big and running an opera in a small theatre such as the Roodepoort Theatre was probably the right size venue because even though we were to watch and listen to a top tenor, the theatre was about half full. Continue reading “Does your business model require a makeover?”

Unsung heroes with real community spirit

Free high-resolution photos from Unsplash
Free high-resolution photos from Unsplash

In the local communities small business owners contribute to their communities in many ways. For example, one small business sells off their large hessian coffee bags at a dirt cheap price and collects the money for a charity. Without fanfare, this business quietly and in a dignified way does its bit to make a difference in its local community.

That’s just one example. There are so many others. Perhaps the biggest contribution that small business owners make, in contrast to big businesses, is that they create jobs for the local community. Instead of hiring people from other cities and countries, the small business owner in one community hires local youngsters for his business and helps to develop them so that they can go on to bigger things. Continue reading “Unsung heroes with real community spirit”

Where do you look for your new business idea that you can turn into gold?

English: , Hungarian fashion model
Hungarian fashion model (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fashion model in Sri Lanka came up with an idea for a new business when she was selling hair care products to salons and garments from the boot of her blue station wagon. Although she was a successful model her father wanted her to do something in business. Her idea was to come up with a fashionable brand that could cater for both local and international visitors. Now her fashion house is one of the largest and the only publicly listed such company in Sri Lanka.

It all started with a promising new business idea. Some business advisers like owngrading the value of an idea mainly because they are interested in selling their business training and consulting time. But the creativity, the most valuable part, the core element is the idea that comes at the right time. As the fashion house owner who built a business from scratch says, an entrepreneur finds a gap in the market even in a sector that is highly saturated and does something which may never have been seen or done before, or does something differently – something that is correct for that time and for the future. Continue reading “Where do you look for your new business idea that you can turn into gold?”

Finding a gap in the market

IMG-20150808-00845A fashion model from Sri Lanka decided to go into business for herself when her father wanted her to do something in business. She decided to give it a try. She started selling haircare products to salons and subsequently also added garments from a factory which she sold to family and friends. Through selling garments she learnt all she could about the fashion business and eventually came up with her own fashion brand. She now owns a publicly listed company. Continue reading “Finding a gap in the market”