A recent survey carried out by African retail giant, Game, found that 67% of South Africans are looking to start a side hustle in 2021. While some are looking to follow their passion, most are looking to start their own business in order to supplement their income and become more self-sufficient. In order to support their customers in reaching their 2021 aspirations, Game spoke to award-winning tech entrepreneur, Luvuyo Rani, about what it means to start your own business in 2021.
Rani, who today is the co-founder and CEO of Silulo Ulutho Technologies – a Cape Town-based IT services company – began his journey into entrepreneurship in 2004, selling refurbished computers after the government introduced new curriculum standards that required high schools to teach computer skills.
Having witnessed the rise of technology in the business world, Rani is well positioned to offer advice to any South African wanting to start their own side hustle. “There is no time like now for entrepreneurs,” he says. “COVID has resulted in further job scarcity in South Africa, which is a hard and scary reality for us all. However, this also means that there is a heightened need for entrepreneurs and small businesses who understand technology and the way the world is evolving, and can use this knowledge to address local challenges effectively.”
“It is encouraging to see that despite the difficult circumstances many South Africans faced in 2020, they still have big plans and high hopes for 2021,” says Katherine Madley, Vice President of Marketing at Game. “Game continues to focus on offering unbeatable deals on tech – such as laptops, cellphones and printers – and office equipment and supplies, and hope to be part of the journey toward entrepreneurship for thousands of South Africans this year.”
Rani’s top tips for hopeful entrepreneurs are:
- Embrace the Gig Economy
“Hopeful entrepreneurs need to understand and embrace technology,” he says. “We are living in the gig-economy. Make use of platforms like websites, microsites, messaging platforms and social media as part of your tools when creating a profile for your business.”
- Have a Content Strategy
When using online platforms to market your business, Rani highlights the importance of an effective content strategy. “The device in your hand gives you unlimited power when it comes to sharing your story. Make sure you are focused on how best to create and share your content, in a way that speaks directly to your target audience and creates interest and talkability.”
- Be Authentic
“Focus on what makes you unique and use that to fuel you to boldly follow your passion,” says Rani. “In a competitive environment, your authenticity is what could help you stand out from the crowd.”
- Commit to Lifelong Learning
As we move further toward the 4th industrial revolution, and technology becomes more entrenched in our lives, Rani highlights the importance of consistent up-skilling for entrepreneurs. “Learning is a lifelong journey, especially in a society that evolves at such a rapid pace. In my personal experience, in order for your business to remain relevant you will need to be flexible and agile.”
Rani suggests reading as much as possible and researching relevant online courses, in order to remain knowledgeable. “Look to build both hard and soft skills,” he says. “While hard skills like coding and website building, for example, are important, it is a mistake to underestimate soft skills like critical thinking and resiliency when starting your own business. Commit to self-development every day.”
- Find a Mentor
“Always be on the lookout for opportunities to connect and network – don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” he says. Talking to the massive communities on social media, Rani encourages hopeful entrepreneurs to utilize this reach in their networking efforts.
“Be confident enough in yourself to ask the important questions – there is always something new to learn and there is always someone willing to work with you and teach you,” he says.
- Be Prepared to Make Mistakes
“Start small and don’t be too hard on yourself,” says Rani. “No one person knows all the answers. The important thing is to keep a positive attitude, even when you make mistakes.”
- Prioritize Your Wellbeing
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, Rani encourages entrepreneurs to take care of themselves first. This is relevant as we head into the new year, as Game’s survey found that 69% of South Africans are aiming toward better health and wellness in 2021.
“Exercise as often as possible, make sure you are sleeping well, drink enough water, pray or meditate, and remember to be grateful,” he says. Talking to the huge numbers of people who are experiencing mental health issues like depression and anxiety, especially during COVID-19, Rani highlights the important of a routine. “Building the abovementioned habits into your daily routine and sticking to it will assist in keeping your positive and sane throughout your entrepreneurial journey,” he says.
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This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Game Stores.