As the world celebrates World Entrepreneur Day on Friday, 13th of April 2012, Ivan Epstein, Chief Executive Officer of Softline and Sage AAMEA says that he is continually inspired by the tremendous entrepreneurial talent in South Africa. "The desire to succeed by South Africans has resulted in an entrepreneurial culture which continues to grow at an encouraging rate.' Epstein says that this growth will be vital to fuel economic development in the country in 2012 and beyond.
"While people can learn the principles of entrepreneurship, I think it?s very hard to train someone to be an entrepreneur,' continues Epstein. "The steps and the risks needed to succeed in your own business can?t be taught. Ultimately, building a successful business and a legacy is about passion; having a vision and sticking to it.'
Epstein says that starting a business and finding the right concept and vision is a gruelling process. He has the following advice for South African entrepreneurs:
Work with people that support your vision
Finding a business partner that you trust and who shares a common interest and a similar drive to succeed is critical to making a business idea work. In many instances you will question your decisions or the direction you are taking, but having partners and staff that support you and share you vision makes the process substantially easier.
Find the right idea
The right idea might not present itself immediately, and is likely to be the result of investigative work and the overall situation. Revisit your initial idea often. Look back at where you?ve come from, and how the concept might have grown, expanded or improved. Be inspired by this, and use it as a learning experience to grow.
Persevere. It just takes one
With no track record, starting a business and selling a service or product can be really difficult. A stand-out piece of advice Epstein received was simply to persevere until you find that one person that will give you a chance. The challenges are many to start with, but these decrease as you persevere and steadily move forward.
Making mistakes is part of the process
With most decisions in business it takes time to get into a rhythm of knowing what to look for and how to make an informed decision. It is important to recognise that not every decision will be a good one. Entrepreneurs make mistakes; the secret is that they need to be big enough to admit it, learn from it and move on.
Trust your gut
Many entrepreneurs look for mentors to guide them along the process. Mentors are vital, but trusting your gut is also important to succeed. Taking the advice and guidance of others on board is helpful, but most entrepreneurs will also have a basic instinct for their own businesses. It is important to tap into that instinct.
"Continuously look ahead and see beyond where the business sits today. Your interest should always lie in the future. That is, after all, where you are going to spend the rest of your life,' concludes Epstein.