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Business Tips – Entrepreneurs in South Africa

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Oh boy – am I going to make myself hugely unpopular with this one! Still sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do!

I, for one and sick and tired of the lament that many SMME’s have at the moment.

I am constantly told how ‘difficult’ it is because there are no opportunities and there is no funding. What a load of nonsense! There are huge opportunities out there – all you have to do is open your eyes and look! The majority of SMME’s walk around with blinkers on and wouldn’t see an opportunity if it bit them on the bum! There is also this whole sense of entitlement – what the hell is with that? Stop sitting around on your arse, waiting for things to happen, be done and dusted and fall into your lap. You have to work at getting things done, for things to come about!

Sadly too many SMME’s are so fixated on that idea of what they want to do that they fail to recognize the fact that it is about the ‘customer’s need’ rather than ‘their wants’. Even more sad is that this is something that they have probably learnt from one of their Corporate connections.

Then of course there is the whole issue around funding. Firstly, what makes you think that it is your God given right to demand funding from anyone – and not only just funding, but funding on your terms?

Let’s just put this into perspective shall we – if a person arrived at your front door, someone you have never met before and that you don’t know from Adam (presuming of course that he were able to get passed all the security and actually get to the front door), and this person asked you for a loan – what would you say? What would your reaction be? I know what mine would be and I am sure that yours would be no different.

The lending institutions have a right to lend you money (or not) and if they choose to lend you the money, they have the right to ask you whatever questions that they want to and they have the right to ask you to produce whatever documentation that they want to – of course, you also have rights too – if you object to being asked the questions or you have a problem with supplying them with the documentation or information that they want, you can always go somewhere else. No-one is forcing you to go, cap in hand, begging for money – you do that all by yourself. Be warned though, if you do go somewhere else, chances are that the ‘somewhere else’ will require the same type of information. So if you want the loan – suck it up!

Why do you think that it is like this? Do you think that the lending institutions want to make it as difficult as possible because they have nothing better to do? Personally, I think it is because they have been burnt before, over and over again. Think about it from your personal perspective – if you had lent a whole chunk of money to someone and they didn’t pay it back – how willing would you be to lend to someone else the next time? Or, how willing would you be to lend money to someone who has a track record of not paying it back? Or, what about when you got to the 10th or 100th person who you lent money to and only one was paying back – how would you feel then?

Remember the risk is all theirs. You go under or fall flat on your face or take the money for a fancy holiday in the Alps, instead of using it to build your business – they have lost their money. Sure they can go the legal route and usually that is exactly what they do, but that still means that they are without their funds for the duration and we all know that these things take forever and also cost an arm and a leg.

My suggestion to you, to avoid as much irritation, aggravation and frustration as possible, is to ask the institution to give you a list of all of their requirements. Whatever documents they give you to complete, complete them in full. Chances are, if you don’t give them all the information that they ask for, your application will be rejected and sent back to you for completion. Remember they hold all the cards in their hands and they can prolong your agony for as long as they like, so don’t give them added cause. If you are not sure of what something means – because some of the questions can be very ambiguous and can appear to be complicated, then ask someone. Be sure to get the person’s name and contact details and where possible, get them to confirm what they said in an e-mail – or you send an e-mail confirming what they said. Whatever you do don’t guess or assume or supply them with information that is not correct or true. They do check what you have supplied and if you are caught out in a lie, chances are they you will never get your loan, no matter how many hoops you then jump through.

Oh, and while I am on my soap box – the Government has offered to help and help doesn’t mean that they will pay 100% for what you want to do. Help means exactly that – they will assist you, not do everything for you. Expecting them to supply you with 100% of the money that you require to buy a franchise or a business is just unrealistic – you also have to contribute something. So don’t expect to have your own business that someone else has bought and paid for and you just sit back and rake in all the cash. Having your own business takes hard work, determination and many – and I mean many, sacrifices!

So suck it up Buttercup and get off your rear end and instead of waiting for things to happen go out there and make things happen!

End of rant!