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What entrepreneurs need for success

Enablis, an international non-profit support organisation to support entrepreneurs in the developing world, says there are several key success factors when starting a business.

In a statement at the launch of the Accenture-Enablis Business Launchpad Competition in South Africa, Victor Mzimela, Country Manager of Enablis SA, explained that with as much as 30% of a country's GDP dependent on the small business market, this is not an area that should be taken for granted.

When looking at what is required to succeed in their chosen markets, Mzimela believes there are critical skills every entrepreneur needs, beyond those specific to their areas of business.

“ It’ s a scary thing to move away from a regular job to start and run your own business,” he states. “ If you are to succeed, the following qualities are central to success in all industries.”

Perception: The entrepreneur must be able to read and understand his or her chosen market and provide the products or services that meet the needs of potential customers.

Value: It follows that by understanding the requirements of customers, the entrepreneur can only succeed when he or she manages to add value to the market through the products and services on offer. Adding measurable value is critical to success.

Flexibility: Entrepreneurs must be able to adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of their markets.

Sales skills: Entrepreneurs must be able to read a market and differentiate the products and services they offer. If you are not aggressive in business your product or service will not be able to hold its own against your competitors and will probably die, along with your business.

Negotiation skills: You need to do more than sell to customers, says Mzimela. You need to sell to financiers to persuade them to invest in your company and you need to sell yourself to your customers, suppliers and employees.

Financial knowhow: While the entrepreneur does not need to be an accountant, you do need to understand financial and business management to be able to run your company effectively and develop a workable pricing strategy.

Time management: It is also imperative to manage your time properly in order to plan your days and ensure you deliver what you promise on time and to the expected quality.

Consistency: Entrepreneurs must also be consistent in what they deliver. You cannot produce excellent quality today and then relax and produce rubbish tomorrow. Mzimela adds that entrepreneurs also need to be working consistently on improving their products and services to ensure that they stay ahead of the competition.

Enablis currently has over 1 000 entrepreneurs as members in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Rwanda. It provides a range of support services, including mentorship, helping members find affordable access to resources and capital and giving members the means and tools to share experiences among themselves.

Enablis also assists entrepreneurs in capacity building, identifying areas in which they need improvement and then recommending workshops and training courses for them to attend.

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