Could 2019 be the year you finally start your own business?

Now may be the perfect time to get your own business up and running
Now may be the perfect time to get your own business up and running

As we return to our day jobs in January every year, some of us wonder if now is the time to leave that toxic boss or uninspiring workplace and finally take the leap into entrepreneurship.

We imagine that working for ourselves will provide the freedom, inspiration and excitement we crave from a fulfilling vocation.

But as the year drags on, we get caught back in the demands of work and bills and responsibilities and put our dreams on the back burner. 

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Well, 2019 could finally be YOUR year. With the right support, there is no reason why you should keep your ideas to yourself. We spoke to some of South Africa’s brightest young female entrepreneurs to get advice, motivation and inspiration. With their insight, this could be the year you finally start your own business.

Sinesipho Klaas  co-founder / COO of SidebySide Township Development, Khayelitsha 

“Always find the right partner who has more advanced knowledge and skills than you, as you will learn a lot in the process,” this 22-year-old entrepreneur says. It was her mentor, Mr Sonwabo from the Business Activator in Phillipi, who encouraged her to enter a business competition called Siyayijika. 

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Which is how she won R10 000 to start her business, she told us. “I bought a laptop and a printer and registered the business at CIPC."

I would always advise people to enter competitions, because that gives them a platform to master their skills, in speaking and pitching, understanding your business better because the feedback is very honest, and the money is not from an investor, so you don't have to pay it back which eliminates the pressure of owing someone.”

Sinesipho adds that applying for Grants at NYDA is always a great route to funding. “They are very supportive to young people and they offer free consultations and business advice.”

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She says that one must first have an idea, then use a Business Model Canvas to refine it. “Keep it simple and focus on three things: what you are selling(product/service), what you are solving (impact and sustainability) and how you will be making money (return/profit),” she explains. 

Jozanne Hartzer owner of Ginger Fox Legal Consulting, Gauteng

This 31-year-old legal consultancy owner shared some of the steps that she uses on her clients with us. “Choose a name, style and format for your business, such as Sole Proprietor, Close Corporation, Proprietary Limited and so on, and then reserve your chosen name on CIPC’s electronic platform as a part of the registration of your company.

Also note that a lot of banks offer the service of registering a company together with opening a bank account for you, for very cheap.”

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Once you have successfully registered your company, SARS will dispatch an income tax number to you and register you automatically. “The next steps will differ depending on your chosen business and industry” Jozanne told us, “but you will be well on your way to becoming the successful business owner that you have always wanted to be.” 

Nolufefe Norawuzana founder of Phalo Iqhawe, Port Elizabeth 

“I believe starting up a business is more like fulfilling your purpose. It's one of the mandates that you have to assign on.  It's not about leaving a 9 to 5 job, in fact you'll need to work twice as hard for your success,” the 34-year-old business owner shared with us. 

She describes how business has its ups and downs, and when you start you can expect discouragement from even people close to you. “The first 3 years might not go well, it should be expected. Don't be discouraged though, remember why you started.

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You might fall but what's important is to dust yourself up and start over. Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.” Nolufefe’s tips to building a successful business include as many attending business events as possible so that you can learn, and to build healthy relationships with every business associate you meet.

“It can be a sponsor, client or even a supplier,” she says. “Network as much as you can. It is not about people with bubbly personality, you can be an introvert but still network. You will succeed with determination and focus.” 

Joanie Viviers director of The Finance Man, Stellenbosch

This 35-year-old is an entrepreneur at heart and warns those starting out that the red tape in setting up your business is immense. “Ensure that you appoint a competent service provider with sufficient knowledge on the various subjects, to ensure that your business will be compliant in all aspects. 

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As a new business, you cannot afford to incur liability in the form of penalties and interest for not being compliant with the relevant laws and regulations,” she advises. 

“Keep sufficient accounting records of all the transactions taking place on a daily basis to ensure that your taxes are calculated correctly on a yearly basis. It is the first step in complying with all SARS related obligations,” she told us. 

Joanie also advises entrepreneurs that it is best practice to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. “This makes it easier when doing taxes and applying for loans. Think of your business finances and personal finances as two separate boxes,” she says. 

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In South Africa, the government supports entrepreneurs through the Small Enterprise Development Agency, which provides information, business development and support services for small enterprises. Funding is also available through the Industrial Development Corporation or the Department of Trade and Industry's Government Investment Incentives.

With advice and support available from a number of sources like these, there’s no excuse not to make 2019 the year you start your own business. Good luck!

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