Would you listen to small business advice from these tee vee xspurts?

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I’m not saying there is no merit at all in the advice. I’m cautioning against such shallow comments that don’t look into the deeper issues underlying the business, its customer base, the market segment and the owner who may be operating with blinkers on.

I don’t want to overcomplicate things but starting and running a small business is not as simple is these “thought leader” tee vee stars make it out be. Change can happen so fast that one set of circumstances a business is trading under a few months ago can actually prove fatal unless you take quick action.

Incomes in your market could be falling as people get hit by the recessionary conditions, customers could cut back on purchases, competitors could move in to take business away and other businesses that you haven’t seen as natural competitors could start stocking lines that were your bread and butter.

Small business often reflect personality of the owner. Those with an open carefree manner may project a welcoming and exciting customer experience in their business whether off-line or online. Others with a fearful attitude, worrying about business conditions and competition, may cut back to such an extent that they begin to repel customers.

The only thing that I’ll give to the small business shows is that they could encourage entrepreneurship. This is important. South African entrepreneurial activity is lower than other African countries. The experts throw up a lot of reasons why this is so but (again) it all comes from people who have never started and run their own business.

Despite the tee vee xspurts, entrepreneurs whether on main street, in the rough and tumble in township trading or online have come up with their own answers to their problems and challenges.

Perhaps these small business “thought leaders” need to spend a day or two in a real business before dishing out their glamorous platitudes.

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