Being an Entrepreneur

Are you an Entrepreneur or want to be business owner? Here at Bluejuice Design Company we have learnt a few things over the past twelve years and so we have put together some helpful, tips, hints and truths.

Entrepreneurship, by definition, is someone who creates a business, taking on financial risks in the hope of making a profit. The operative words being risk and hope right! Being an Entrepreneur means being brave and optimistic.

Entrepreneurship is wonderful but as the saying goes ‘no risk, no reward’. 

Before you make the leap to be your own boss create a business plan and research enough to know your product fills a gap in the market, is priced & packaged right, and promoted to the max your budget can stretch. 

If you’ve still got a day job keep it while you set everything up before you make the bold move to be your own boss.

You’ve taken that leap of faith, you’re your own boss.  Congrats!

Maybe you feel going at it alone doesn’t make you sound quite as professional, so you add ‘& co’ or ‘& partners’ onto your business name.

There’s nothing wrong with that… just make sure you’re delivering excellence to your customers every day, meeting their needs beyond the competition and you’ll continue to grow.

Being your own boss can be a lonely place. 

How do you keep yourself motivated, especially if you’re flying solo?

Make goals, a daily to do list and keep busy.

You need to be your own motivator so read books on self-motivation, goal setting and get to work keeping busy.  Play the radio or music in the background to stop you feeling isolated.

Get your financials sorted from day 1 with a proper accounting system. 

Know the tax laws and keep all business-related expenses in a jar to record when its’ time to pay the Tax Man. 

Your product sales or service is going well… what next?

You’re likely up ‘til 2am! It’s time to bring in more resource to meet demand. 

  • Not meeting demand is not an option. 
  • Saying no to an order can be a death blow to ongoing income if your clients cannot wait.
  • When you’re at this point for a sustained period of time, it’s time to recruit. 
  • Resource up or you will stagnate.

Resource planning is essential.

Before you recruit have a defined job description and know exactly what you require the hired help to fulfil so that you can keep the ship running at full steam.

Step 1:  Write a role description – there’s no exact template required.  Just write down what you need the person to do.

Step 2:  Research available positions that meet your description to get a sense of how many positions are available in the market, and who you’re up against.  Try to glean salary expectations… this is difficult as most job openings don’t state the salary bracket using the term ‘market related’ which isn’t helpful if this is your first rodeo recruiting for a role you’re just created.

Step 3:  Advertise via LinkedIn and, if you’re in South Africa, via BizCommunity. Always try to recruit yourself before heading off to the recruitment agencies who charge a lot in placement fees.

Interviewing recruits is a very important process.

If you have an online presence, which you should by this point, your potential new employees should have already researched you/your business and know what you’re all about and why they want to work for you. 

If you ask ‘why do you want to work for us’ and they can’t give you an answer that you know fits with what you do, your product values/image and core beliefs, then strike them off the list.

Anyone that wants to work for you just for the pay cheque is not going to add the value you need.

You’ve decided to offer a candidate a position in your budding business.  Before you send that text, email or call, check that you have:

  • A job description that clearly outlines roles and responsibilities, working hours, place of work, how you treat overtime (in accordance with the Labour Law), salary, sick/annual/maternity or paternity leave. 
  • Set out your offer in a formal letter. 
  • Our advice would be to first run your offer letter by a seasoned HR consultant.  It’s so exciting creating employment but boy can you get yourself into trouble fast if you don’t follow the Labour Law properly. If you need a list of South African HR consultants, we’re happy to give recommendations.

Before arrival:  prepping for your first employee.

This is something we didn’t quite nail until we’d employed quite a few staff.  Our advice is to know exactly what you expect from your employees and make sure to clearly communicate this to them on or even before they arrive.

Important things to consider are your values, ethics and standards.  Set these out in a document and take them through it on day one.  If, for example, you value employees who will treat your business as if it were their own, giving their whole selves to it, you need to explain that you value this.  It’s called having an entrepreneurial mindset and something we encourage all businesses to foster in their employees. 

Create an entrepreneurial mindset.

If your staff are as committed to the business’ success as you are, imagine the results!

Growth, customer focus, service excellence.  It’s a win-win. Not only does the business succeed, your employees are also securing their own positions, something they often don’t think about. 

You’re at the point where you now have a team. 

Take time to acknowledge that this is a major life success.  To create employment for others is an amazing feat. Not everything is smooth sailing do be prepared for team politics and difference of opinion. It is important to pay attention to team dynamics as this will determine whether you will be a success or not. Once your completely comfortable and have assessed your employees strengths and weaknesses, begin to delegate tasks and create partial responsibility for employees. This is a great way to encourage growth and boost their confidence and interest at work.

Do not limit your vision to local.  Expand your business by creating an eCommerce website and take your business to new heights.

When you hit a sudden and unexpected speed bump, do not panic!

Whether it’s a contract that’s not being renewed, or a supplier of a key ingredient that’s gone under, or your best employee resigns.  Life throws curve balls all the time… and as an Entrepreneur it may feel like you’re playing a weird game of dodge with the amount of balls you’re juggling and that are being thrown at you.

When the going gets tough, sit yourself down and have a pep talk.  Create a plan of action and focus on fixing the problem at hand one step at a time.

If it really gets to a point where there is no solution then remember that failure is fantastic! 

We’ve had ups and downs through our 12 years.  We know it’s not easy to accept any type of failure.  But what do our failures teach us?  That’s the key – learn from mistakes and keep on going. Once an Entrepreneur, always an Entrepreneur.