How to Successfully Start a Business in South Africa

In this crippling economy and high unemployment rate, starting a small business can be a better option for some people who would also like to be independent.

Honestly, starting a business is the most challenging thing one can embark on. It comes with many risks and trials and if not well implemented, one can easily fail.

For you to succeed, you will need a well-thought plan and strategy on how you will transform your business idea into a successfully running business.

For whatever business you would like to venture into, the following guide will help you to start a successful business.

Now from just having an idea where do you start?

You would want to make sure that you are well prepared for this journey and ready to adapt to change.

Conducting in-depth market research in the industry you want to go into is very important. You will have to check the demographics of your potential clientele. You can find out about this by conducting surveys, focus groups, and research on SEO and public data.

1. Work on your Idea

To hone your idea, the top things you will have to do is to know why the business, your business name, and the customers you are targeting.

If you are starting a business, chances are you already have an idea of the business you would want to start and the market you are targeting.

You should do your research on existing companies that are already in the business you would like to get into. This will help you to find out what they are currently doing and how you can do it better.

Through this task, you will also discover if your business can deliver something different or the same thing and at what cost.

Ask yourself why you want to start the business and if it will serve a personal purpose or high market demand purpose. A business has great potential if it is meant to fill a need in the marketplace, so it would be great for your “why” to be supported by this statement.

Opening a franchise of a well-established company is also not a bad idea. This will make things for you because the concept, business model, and clientele are already sorted, your worry would be a good location and getting funding for the business.

Decide on a business name, something that will have a good ring for your business.

Most importantly discover your target audience. One mistake that most entrepreneurs make is launching a business without clarifying their target market and why the customers would make use of their goods or services. To avoid failure, you need to know why the specific target group.

Have a mission and a plan on how you will add value to your clientele.

Once you have all this in place then you can move into the second phase of implementation.

2. Write a Business Plan

Once you are done refining your business idea, then you can move on to putting everything into paper.

A well-written business plan will help formalise your idea and help you think things through as you put the plan together.

Here is what a business plan should outline:

  • Company name and description
  • Market analysis
  • Management and organisation
  • Product and services
  • Customer segmentation
  • Marketing plan
  •  Logistics and operations plan
  • Financial plan

Your business plan should answer the following questions: what is the purpose of your business? Who are you targeting? How will you finance the business? And lasty, what are your end goals?

In essence, a business plan will assist in noting where the business is going, how it will overcome any potential glitches, and what will be needed to keep the business running.

There are a lot of business plan templates online for all kinds of businesses that can come in handy, check them out.

3. Look into your Finances and Secure Funding

Most business ideas require starting capital to run and function smoothly. So, you must assess your finances and determine how you are going to cover all the costs.

It would be wise to overestimate the start-up cost as it will take time for the business to bring in sustainable revenue.

The best way to find out what the required amount will be is through a break-even analysis. This is important in the financial planning of the business. You can use the following formular to determine the costs:

  • Fixed Costs + (Average Price – Variable Costs) = Break-Even Point

Conducting a break-even analysis will help you:

  • Determine profitability
  • Price of products and services
  • Analyse the data

Your business plan would have highlighted an estimated amount required to get the business up and running.

Now you may consider your funding options. There are various ways you can get funding for your business, either through business loans, business grants, crowdfunding, or getting people to invest in your business. Eligibility will depend on your creditworthiness, the amount needed, and the available options.

There are business loans that are specifically made to cater to women in South Africa, learn more: Business Loans for Women in South Africa.

For more information on the available business loans and grants, you may read more on: The Best Small Business Start-up Loans in South Africa Today

4. Determine a Business Structure

One of the most important things you need to do before registering your business is to decide on the business structure. The business structure legally applies to everything that involves the business, from how you file your taxes to your personal liability.

A sole proprietorship is great if you plan to run the business by yourself. With this option, you will be responsible for all debts and commitments so you need to be careful as if anything goes wrong it will affect your personal credit.

Two minds are better than one, you can also consider a business partnership. With this, you will be allowing two or more people to be business owners. This is a great idea as adding someone else to the business will set the business to flourish.

5. Company Registration

Now that you have your idea, a business plan, and a financial plan in place, now it’s time to be realistic and commit. To make everything official, you will have to register your business. This will help with credibility, especially if you will be seeking funding. You can successfully register your company with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

A company registration may vary between R125 and R475 (R125 for a private company, R475 for a non-profit company registered without members).

Other Factors to Consider

Once your business is registered, then you can start working and putting your plan into action. You will have to:

  • Consider business insurance
  • Build your team
  • Choose your vendors
  • Brand the business and start with advertising
  • Grow your business

Note, as much as this tip will help you launch your business, there’s never a perfect plan. You will have to fully apply and prepare yourself for all the steps you will have to go through to finally see your idea through.

Anyone can be an entrepreneur but, only a few have successful running businesses. A successful business requires a determined entrepreneur with excellent planning and organisational skills which can be learnt so, invest in yourself to be fully equipped to run a business.