Starting or growing a small business is probably one of the most difficult things anyone can do. But if you don’t have a job, you’d like to work for yourself one day or you’re just looking for something a little bit different from your day job, it can also be the start of something incredible.
Don’t be afraid to start small
The most difficult part of starting a small business is just starting! Whether it’s putting yourself out there to design something for a friend or selling one batch of your homemade brownies to a colleague, every business has to start somewhere. If you’ve been waiting for a sign that now’s the time to start, this is it! Take the first step.
Work on making your business unique
Spend some time thinking about why someone should support your business instead of someone else’s. Are more flexible than anyone else? Cheaper? Maybe you can customise products and your competitors can’t. Once you’ve worked out what your unique offering is, it will be much easier to sell it to others and grow your client base.
There are so many training programmes, incubators, mentorship platforms and even groups of like-minded people out there that are geared towards supporting entrepreneurs. Start looking and you’ll be amazed at how much support there is for people just like you.
For instance, the “I Am Ola” global ice cream vendor programme provides training, equipment, products and licensing to thousands of unemployed people, introducing them to the world of entrepreneurship and giving them a chance to develop the skills necessary to run a small business. So far, the programme has created 2200 new job opportunities in South Africa and 45 000 opportunities globally!
Explore all your sales channels
You don’t need a fleet of trucks and a million-rand marketing budget to get your products out there. With the advent of social media and online selling platforms, everyone has access to millions of potential customers, you just have to reach them. From Facebook Marketplace and OLX to service-selling sites and LinkedIn, think about where your clients are and what you should be doing to get their attention.
Don’t neglect the admin
Between taxes, record-keeping, invoices and all sorts of other tedious tasks, there’s a lot of paperwork required to keep your small business legally afloat. If you ignore it, you may find yourself in a lot of trouble, so rather do admin regularly and have a safe spot to keep all the relevant documents. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by it, get help!
Pay it forward
As an entrepreneur, you know how tough it is to grow a thriving business. So why not do what you can to support other small businesses? Ola has made it extra easy, and extra delicious to support the “I Am Ola” entrepreneurship programme. Every time you buy an Ola ice cream, you contribute to the initiative. If you keep enjoying your favourite frozen treats (whether your heart belongs to Magnum, Cornetto or Paddle Pop), Ola can keep training local entrepreneurs!