Five tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

STEVE REID

It is a great privilege to have this platform to share with a considerably larger audience than I have to date.

They say that “to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I must acknowledge that while I see the world from an entrepreneurial point of view, not everyone is suited to being an entrepreneur.

Yet for those who are interested and stirred, I would like to add some fuel to their entrepreneurial fire through this column.

I thought I would start with “Why”. Why should someone consider becoming an entrepreneur? There is a lot of great advice on what to do, and also how to do it, but not too much on the why. So here are five reasons you should consider becoming an entrepreneur.

Doing what you love

My son is a travel photographer and has already travelled extensively. On his travels, he is often asked what he does. On hearing his reply, someone said this… “Wow, that’s a great job, second only to being a Top Gear presenter.”

Jon agreed with the job’s greatness, but didn’t go on to reflect how tough and demanding it can really be. So why does he sometimes work 14 days solid from 5am to 10pm with no breaks? Because he is doing something he loves and that is the greatest motivator for him.

Greater control of your destiny

Most entrepreneurs I know come with a healthy dose of self-belief, strong work ethic and high need to achieve.

The pace and security offered to them through conventional employment is woefully slow.

So they happily embark on a journey where they control the pace and input. Entrepreneurship clearly offers a means to take greater charge of your life.

“High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton, Walmart Founder

Chance to generate significant rewards

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Anonymous

As an employee, your earning potential is determined by the job that you do. You can get increases and promotions, but those are the exception, not the rule.

Your earning potential is capped no matter how long you stay at that job. Becoming an entrepreneur could remove the ceiling and seriously raise your earning potential.

While there are no guarantees that your business will be profitable, those who become entrepreneurs are driven to build a profitable business.

Entrepreneurs hustle and push and continue to grow their business and income.

Autonomy

“Any time is a good time to start a company.” – Ron Conway, Start-up Investor.

The responsibility and risk of being an entrepreneur doesn’t suit everyone. Yet to those who feel limited by structures, time and resource limitations, nothing offers more latitude than the leap to being an entrepreneur.

There is understanding that the privilege of calling the shots is balanced by taking full responsibility for both failures and success. And that is a strong motivator.

Leaving a lasting legacy

Successful entrepreneurs have answered the question of why to themselves. They want to provide a product or service that is truly remarkable. Think how Steve Jobs sought to headhunt marketing specialist John Sculley from Pepsi to Apple.

Jobs successfully sealed the deal after he made his legendary pitch to Sculley: “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Entrepreneurs can, and do, change the world. I look forward to seeing some of you begin… to change your world.

* Steve Reid is the manager of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at False Bay College. His column will appear once a month. You can email comments or questions to Steve.Reid@falsebay.org.za