Starting a business, anywhere around the world, is a daunting task. Starting a business in South Africa, however, is made incredibly difficult by frustrating red tape, sometimes enough for many to give up on their dreams.
In the 12 years that I have been involved in business, either as founding entrepreneur or business partner, I’ve registered eight businesses (using four different legal entities – close corporation, private company, non-profit organisation and co-operative).
Here are some things to consider if you are about to start your entrepreneurship journey.
Get acquainted with the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), because this is the Department of Trade and Industry’s agency responsible for ensuring that companies (and intellectual property) are legally registered in South Africa.
The CIPC is really the start of business compliance in South Africa. The basic business compliance process entails business registration (please familiarise yourself with the various legal entities that you can register by going to www.cipc.co.za), South African Revenue Service registration (tax clearance certificates are a requirement for government tenders and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment certificate (this can issued by a registered accountant or auditor or a South African National Accreditation System (Sanas) approved verification agency via www.sanas.co.za).
Having a compliant business is itself a critical part of starting and developing a legitimate business. These days there are also online platforms like Enterprise Enabler (www.enterpriseenabler.co.za) that can help you to complete a very basic business compliance process at an affordable rate. I’ve also been involved in putting together a Business Startup Kit for South African SMMEs, and you can learn more about it via www.businesskits.co.za.
Once compliant, it becomes important to build a sustainable, profitable business and my advice is to remind yourself why you started a business in the first place: To make profit.
We all start a business because we spot a gap in the market, and in most cases, there is someone willing to pay money in exchange for the product or service.
The beginning of every business has delays, setbacks and miscalculations, but the best way to limit mistakes is by conducting extensive market research or if you’re buying or investing into an existing business, to conduct a due diligence. It’s always worthwhile to test every concept or idea on a small group, to satisfy yourself that it works before spending a lot of money developing or marketing it to a larger audience.
The journey to prosperity and profit is also made up of business financing to either start, or accelerate or expand and South Africa has many options, but many business owners don’t take the time to fully consider their options when starting out.
I encourage all South Africans to join a formal business chamber, network or forum. You will find one in every province in this country.
Business chambers, networks or forums are excellent at providing a safe space for entrepreneurs to get support from other entrepreneurs, get information or opportunities and meet potential funders or mentors.
- Vuyisa Qubaka is an entrepreneur. Connect with him on Twitter at @vuyisaq.
6 steps to start your journey
Here are entrepreneur Vuyisa Qubeka’s easy steps to starting a business:
- Idea generation: spot a gap in the market.
- Idea validation: market research or due diligence.
- Business compliance: cover company registration (Companies Intellectual Property Commission), tax registration (South African Revenue Service), and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment certificate (Sanas).
- Business finance: find what you need to start out.
- Networking: join a business chamber.
- Sell, sell, sell!