Although the publicity and regime and government facilitation of Entrepreneurship has consistently been on the rise, this has not changed the statistics that we have had for a long time; that 90% of all business startups fail within the first year. The costs of startup have gone down considerably, since nowadays you may not need expensive IT and building infrastructure for some of the businesses done nowadays; most of them only need a laptop and an internet connection. This means that to fail, there must be fundamental issues which must have been overlooked by the entrepreneur during the foundational stages.

The lure of independence, accelerating riches and a raft of other benefits associated with entrepreneurship or self employment are too tempting for some, that they forget that starting up a business requires strategy, a good plan and above all, resilience.This begs the question; just when are you ready to start up the business? We have developed the 6 point self-assessment protocol below to assist entrepreneurs to gauge their readiness to take the plunge. So before you quit that job in haste to ‘self-employment’ make sure you have taken time to rationally examine whether you meet the bar. You could end up with a new job which has less security.

  1. How mentally prepared are you?

You need to have a combination of smarts, talent, detachment, energy, courage, thick skin and the ability to motivate not just yourself but those around you. Your professional skills, management experience, the lessons learnt while employed and your motivation all will be very key in your entrepreneurship journey. While you may have had success in handling 50 employees comfortably, its important to consider how challenging the environment you were exposed to was. For instance, how well did you handle crisis? Or were you cushioned by the organizational structure that your mettle was never put to test? You will need a great drive when you are on your own

  1. Have You Researched the Business Idea?

It is important to have the best information and knowledge on the idea you are getting into. Knowledge, not emotions, is what will sustain your business. Make a thorough, honest assessment of your goals and the road to achievement.

– What will you sell
– Is it legal
– Who will buy it and how often
– Are you willing to do what it takes to sell the product
– What will it cost to produce, advertise, sell & deliver
– With what laws will you have to comply
– Can you make a profit
– How long will it take to make a profit


One of the mistakes would-be businesses make is sinking a lot of money in websites and other subsidiary issues without first assessing whether they can get customers with the idea, or starting a business based on only one customer. Until you know your product or service can be purchased profitably, please hold your horses.

  1. Is your Mission and Vision Compelling?

You need mission and vision statements that are not only compelling and motivating to your staff, but to you as well. While formulating them, please have in mind that these are not just words, but statements that direct your operations.

  1. Do you have a mentor? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, as that would take you a lot of time and mistakes before you get success, or even fail. Every entrepreneur needs to be learning from someone.
  2. Do you have funding or access to funding? Many businesses fail because of inadequate funding which chokes the business even before it takes off. Many financial institutions don’t give startup capital because it’s considered risk capital. Every business needs to have a source of funding to ensure a steady growth. Is your pension or life savings the only thing you have as you start the business? You need an assured source of income.
  3. Do you have a fall back plan?

So you have done everything that is humanly possible, and you’re ready to make it happen. Have you thought about exit strategies? The what if’s? We all like to focus on the best case scenario; it’s what gets us to take the chance in the first place. We do, however, need to focus on the other part of the equation. What if this business doesn’t take off? What if your expected customer influx doesn’t happen? How will this impact your family? Can you still pay your bills? Do you have another way to raise money in case your business doesn’t take off?

Written by our SME SUPPORT MANAGER. Get in touch with us for all your business needs. Felton Consulting Africa.


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