Entrepreneurship – A very lonely road

When walking down the road of establishing a business you will often find yourself asking who can truly help you. You can talk to your life partner and family, accountant and lawyer. It is always important to obtain professional advice in business matters. But where do you turn when you are feeling a bit lost or even despondent. When you get conflicting advice (which happens more often than one would think), which advice do you follow? I am often amazed to hear entrepreneurs seeking advice from friends that never have been in business! It is surprising how keen and willing everyone is so willing to give business advice.

We at Caban believe that only entrepreneurs can effectively assist other entrepreneurs. Only those that have walked down the entrepreneurship road can truly understand the pitfalls.

I remember before I had kids (I started a bit later than most at the age of 35), I used to ask my friends what it was like to be a father. The answer was always the same – it cannot be described and one has to go through the experience. I am now the father of three wonderful children and the experience is truly magical, beyond explanation. Entrepreneurship is the same; you have to experience it to be able to advice properly.

I am a great believer in the right MBA programmes. In fact I am embarking once again on this route. My previous attempts were unsuccessful. Not because the material was hard, it was the fact that the professors teaching about business had never been in business themselves! I started my business when I was 25. I started my MBA when I was 29. I already had four years business experience. My argument with the lectures used to be the fact that the examples that were given were taken from the assumption that most things went right. The reality is that most things go wrong!

Furthermore, the lecturers were academics with no business experience! I would pose questions to them such as what do they suggest one does when the debtors are slow in payment, your bank facilities are maxed, you have no cash flow and you need materials from your suppliers to produce? The answer was usually, “let me look it up and I will come back to you”. Through experience one knows that in this kind of a situation, more often than not, if you speak to your suppliers frankly, honestly and come up with a plan that is acceptable, your suppliers will assist. After all, they want to keep you as a client. This comes through experience. No text book will tell you what to do under the above circumstances. Having said that, there are MBA programmes that add a lot of value. Do research on the lectures before choosing one.

You will only learn from the failures. It is pointless to focus on the success. Why did a company go wrong and what did they do to fix it? You learn more from that exercise as opposed to learning how Apple became successful. Don’t get me wrong, that is also important. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan when you try to emulate a successful story? You get frustrated and despondent. It’s more inspiring to study a problem company and how they manage to overcome their problems.

At Caban, we are entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs. It is our duty as fellow entrepreneurs to assist other entrepreneurs. We understand what it’s like being an entrepreneur because we have walked and continue walking the entrepreneurship path. We are committed in assisting entrepreneurs. For that reason we have decided to introduce an entrepreneurship helpline. You will have access to our executives for free advice.

To access this service you need to contact our offices on +2721 683 2425 and speak to Vuyiseka Ndinisa. She will register you as a member and give you access to a contact number for free advice. You may use the service as many times you wish and we emphasise once again – it is a free service.

Caban, helping entrepreneurs one day at a time.

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