Cape Town - A well conceptualised and formulated business plan is often critical to the success of a start-up business.
While it’s challenging enough to put one’s business plan onto paper, doing so in a language other than your mother tongue, makes it all the more difficult.
Sanlam has just launched a free online tool for Zulu speaking entrepreneurs to help them prepare for their start-up business.
The book, a translated version of Sanlam's flagship, online Business Plan Guide, is a step-by-step guide fundamental for the success of any business.
The English version of the in-depth book was downloaded more than 30 000 times in the past four years.
According to Clement Nhlangwana, spokesperson for Sanlam Business Market, the need to offer assistance to entrepreneurs ties directly to the vital role small and medium enterprises (SME) play in the South African economy.
“Approximately 61% of South Africans are employed by SMEs, and 91% of businesses are classified as SMEs, generating an average of between 52% to 57% of our annual GDP.
“This means it is critical for as many SMEs as possible to succeed, both for the sake of their own livelihood and for the sake of the nation.”
According to the most recent Census 2011 results, a fifth of South Africa’s population, or more than 11.5 million people, list Zulu as their home language - making Zulu the most widely spoken language in South Africa.
Kobus Engelbrecht, head of marketing at Sanlam, said Zulu speakers now have the opportunity to gain access to business knowledge in their own language and empower themselves.
The idea of translating the guide stemmed from people interested in starting their own business, said Engelbrecht. "We recieved a request from someone who trains prospective entrepreneurs ... some of his clients are Zulu speaking and they struggle to understand English so he asked us to have the book translated.
"Translating it into Zulu opens this guide to many more prospective business owners who now will have the knowledge to plan and therefore will have a much better chance in succeeding," said Engelbrecht.
Many businesses fail because of a lack of proper planning, therefore prospective entrepreneurs should educate themselves by reading as much as they can about business prior to venturing into the business sector, Engelbrecht said.
The book notes further reasons why some businesses fail, including a lack of funding, ignoring the competition, ineffective marketing, misunderstanding customer needs and cash flow problems.
While Engelbrech encouraged would-be entrepreneurs to download the book for free in English or Zulu, he said it would be beneficial to established business owners as well.
"Your business plan is literally your roadmap to your success. Any road will take your business somewhere, but only a well-executed business plan will help you take your business where you want it to go," states the book.