It's okay to start small....
Stay focused on the important things….
“… before you start doing any of the cool things like marketing or packaging, be damn sure the sales are coming in. Be aware of your financials. You might want to be creative and fun, but unless you know how much money you’ve got, how much you owe and how much you’re making on your products, you’ll never succeed. I know those things every day.”
Bernie de Le Cuona, founder of De Le CuonaRead More
My biggest piece of advice…
“… have a business plan from the very beginning and get help when and where you need it. I am not so good at running my accounts, so I have an accountant to help me keep everything in order. It’s relieved a lot of pressure and I think it’s incredibly important to make sure that every aspect of your business is running smoothly, especially the areas you struggle with.”
Katy Valentine, founder of Katy Valentine Collection (South Africa)Read More
"Do your homework and plan your startup journey in bite sizes; many small steps keep one motivated. Talk to strangers and connect; the true magic happens in the connections you make with others. Write things down; ideas, dates, deadlines, everything! We need to keep organized and cannot afford to forget a thing."
Carrie Leaver, co-founder of Stoep Startup Co-Working & Stay (South Africa)Read More
"When you are starting out, grow organically and take it slow. Don’t fall into the trap of taking out high interest loans and getting into unmanageable debt. Another thing I learnt is not to be seduced by big turnover. If the bottom line is not worth it, it is often better to walk away."
Janet Rhys, co-founder of Charlotte Rhys (South Africa)Read More
Know your numbers….
"Many entrepreneurs do not know their numbers so when they pitch their businesses, the part where investors ask about numbers is always badly answered because entrepreneurs are excellent at what they do but most of them are not accountants."
Hlobisile Shoba, founder of Mafisa Chartered Accountants (South Africa)Read More
Make your business hours work for you and your clients…
“When I started this business I tried to adhere to the rules of 9 to 5. It’s a lie. A whole scam. Your business hours are the ones that work in your business for you and your clients.”
Brigette Mashile, founder of Roka Roko (South Africa)Read More
by Claire Holden, Empowerment Coach
How many hats do you wear? How many roles do you fill? As an entrepreneur you’re a business owner and likely a finance manager, marketing director, accounts receivable clerk and operations manager too. Many of you will also be a wife, mother, daughter, sibling, team or group member, friend, volunteer…. The list goes on! The risk is that we spread ourselves so thin trying to be all things to all people, that we fail to prioritise the things that are most important to us personally and to our businesses. So, how do we change this? How do we cultivate a life where we clearly articulate our goals and set clear action plans in place for success?Read More
Focus on the product....
"A lot of questions will come up about how you make money. But if you focus on creating a quality product that people will use to solve real life challenges, there will always be opportunities to monetize your solution."
Brenda Katwesigye, founder of Wazi Vision (Uganda)Read More
You need to be hands-on....
"Research your business and don’t be too afraid to be hands-on. You need to get dirty to get gold. Gold is not found on the surface. If you are not ready to dig and scratch and find, you are not ready to go big."
- Wunmi Amokeodo, is the founder of Design for Love in Nigeria, a company that designs and manufactures female apparel and accessories using Ankara and other fabrics that are synonymous with the Nigerian and the African market. Wunmi has successfully run her business for over 10 years having started out by selling fabrics as a sideline 'hustle' before venturing full-time into her passion for creative clothing design and manufacture. Read Wunmi's startup story here.Read More
Don’t be afraid to bring in smart people…
“… you need the courage to employ people who are smarter than you. During the early years, the founder is head of human resources, financial manager and the CEO, and has to come up with the right answers to every question. But, at some point you have to recognize that the business is bigger than you, and it is time to let go and appoint other people to lead these functions.”
Johanna Mukoki, co-founder of Travel with Flair (South Africa)Read More
by Tania Reid, Chief Experience Officer, Ithemba Office Solutions
I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for the past 18 years. A few minor things had changed, the shampoo lady seemed grumpy all the time, I was no longer being offered my regular cup of tea and my hairdresser was more often rushed, because appointments were overlapping. But because of my long relationship with my hairdresser, and the fact that my hair always looked good, I could overlook all the minor irritations.Read More
Keep it simple and build teams....
"The best thing I have learnt is to always keep your business simple. One of the reasons my first startup did not go as planned is because I thought the more complicated it was, the better it would be. The market did not think so and it was also difficult for myself and the team to execute well. In addition, I would also advise other women to build teams, partnerships and also find a mentor. Going at it alone can sometimes stifle the growth of a startup."
- Brenda Katwesigye is the founder of Wazi Visionin Uganda, A mobile app that uses virtual reality technology to perform visual acuity tests. Brenda's mission is to bring quality eye care closer to communities, providing better and more affordable eye care for every school going child between the ages of 6-18 years. She holds a BSc Telecommunications Engineering (Hons) from Makerere University, is an ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditory, Information Security and Audit member, and has a post graduate qualification from Virginia Commonwealth University in Business and Entrepreneurship.Read More
Structure planning and goal setting…
“In terms of planning, set goals for the month, broken down into weeks and then set three main goals for the day to help you be intentional. Do block sessions during the day focusing on these goals.”
- Ally Angula is a qualified chartered accountant and co-founder of Leap Holdings, a group of companies involved in the growing of fresh produce, garment manufacturing and retail in Namibia. She is also the founder of My Republik Brand, Namibia’s first locally designed, manufactured and retailed clothing brand with a flagship store situated in the Grove Mall in Windhoek's Kleine Kuppe suburb. Ally was chosen as a Desmond Tutu Fellowship Programme Associate in April 2013 and was one of two Namibian entrepreneurs selected to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Kenya. More about Ally.Read More