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Entrepreneurs need to persevere

The desire to succeed by South Africans has resulted in an entrepreneurial culture, which continues to grow at an encouraging rate that is vital to fuel economic development in the country in 2012 and beyond.
Ivan Epstein
Ivan Epstein
While people can learn the principles of entrepreneurship, I think it is very hard to train someone to be an entrepreneur. The steps and the risks needed to succeed in your own business cannot be taught. Ultimately, building a successful business and a legacy is about passion; having a vision and sticking to it.

Starting a business and finding the right concept and vision is a gruelling process. Here is some advice.

Work with people that support your vision

Finding a business partner that you trust, shares a common interest and a similar drive to succeed, is critical to making a business idea work. In many instances you will question your decisions or the direction you are taking but having partners and staff that support you and share you vision makes the process substantially easier.

Find the right idea

The right idea might not present itself immediately, and is likely to be the result of investigative work and the overall situation. Revisit your initial idea often. Look back at where you have come from and how the concept might have grown, expanded or improved. Be inspired by this and use it as a learning experience to grow.


With no record of accomplishment, starting a business and selling a service or product can be really difficult. Persevere until you find that one person that will give you a chance. The challenges are many to start with, but these decrease as you persevere and steadily move forward.

Making mistakes is part of the process

With most decisions in business, it takes time to get into a rhythm of knowing what to look for and how to make an informed decision. It is important to recognise that not every decision will be a good one. Entrepreneurs make mistakes; the secret is that they need to be big enough to admit it, learn from it and move on.

Trust your gut

Many entrepreneurs look for mentors to guide them along the process. Mentors are vital, but trusting your gut is also important to succeed. Taking the advice and guidance of others on board is helpful, but most entrepreneurs will also have a basic instinct for their own businesses. It is important to tap into that instinct.

Continuously look ahead and see beyond where the business sits today. Your interest should always lie in the future. That is, after all, where you are going to spend the rest of your life.

It is World Entrepreneur Day on Friday 13 April 2012.

About the author

Ivan Epstein is the CEO of Softline and Sage AAMEA.

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