This article is part of my notebook on how to run a business. I am just writing what I have learnt and also implementing in my business.

Entrepreneurship. That fifteen lettered word that has become a sort of an instant solution for the jobless majority. Is it a solution or a curse? Entrepreneurship promises a life of freedom, a life of peace but this is not normally the case for everyone who starts a small business.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa, around 70 to 80% of all businesses that are opened are closed within 5 years. These alarming figures are a reflection of something that is really wrong in the way that businesses are started.

How does a small business get started?

The painful story an entrepreneurial attempt reads like a sad fairy tale, usually like this;

  1. The guy is a great website designer.
  2. The guy is working for someone but is a little annoyed or downright unhappy with his employer.
  3. Guy thinks; “What if I start my own business? After all, I know all about this business and well as this fool.”
  4. The guy starts a website design company.
  5. The Guy prospers for a while (usually from poaching his former boss’s un-loyal customers) but after some time, the revenues start to drop.
  6. The guy is frustrated with the business.
  7. Guy closes the business with heartaches and pains.

Small businesses are usually closed after a very painful realisation by their owners that they just do not work. In actual fact, it is the business owners themselves that work their hearts off and some more until they are disillusioned by this thing called entrepreneurship.

A hole digger does not necessarily make a successful owner of a Hole Digging company.

The skilled person, whom Michael E. Gerber, the writer of the classic book, The E-myth, calls a technician, quickly realises soon after starting a business, that there is more to running a business than they thought when they started. The business sooner than later starts to make demands that will not have been earlier planned for. Bookkeeping, marketing, product development and strategy are some of the issues that immediately will need the new business owner’s attention.

The take away from this is that you need to start a business in a smart and carefully planned way. It is not enough to know how to dig a hole. A hole digger does not necessarily make a successful owner of a Hole Digging company.

Adapted from the E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber

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