Here's what you need to know before starting a business

Proper research and planning are essential when starting a business

Image: 123RF/ammentorp.

This is the advice of Marcia Ramatswana of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).

“Before starting a business, you must have an idea and test the viability of that idea,” said Ramatswana. The Seda business advisor also emphasised the need to check if there is a market for the product or service that you will be offering. If many other businesses offer the same thing as you, your business might not survive.

“You need to have good knowledge of the sector that you are getting into. It’s also very important to have technical information so that when you face challenges or are dealing with suppliers, you have the right information,” said Ramatswana.

Speaking from her Ehlanzeni office in Mpumalanga, the Seda official said aspiring entrepreneurs must do research on what they will need in order to achieve their goal. “An understanding of the product or service is very important, as well as the type of space and equipment you will need. In order to know this, you need to do a formal feasibility study,” she said.

Proper registration with the relevant bodies is also crucial, she added, saying that to comply with the law, business owners must register with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

“People are often nervous when you tell them that they have to register with Sars. They think you want them to pay tax but it is so that they can be compliant and not end up being punished.”

Ramatswana cautioned that most businesses fail because of weak management, poor planning and a lack of access to resources. She said: “Have controls in place to guard assets, finances and even the stock or service that you are selling.”

“Some entrepreneurs have good ideas and sound management but still end up failing because of a lack of resources. There are also times when things don’t work because of the dynamics of the industry,” Ramatswana warned.

She said that good marketing is needed to ensure a business succeeds and advised entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by social media.   

Contact Seda on 0860 103 703 or via email at: info@seda.org.za.

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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