Loading...
See More

The confidence trick

Feb 23 2011 22:17 Marc Ashton

Related Articles

Are you in business?

Facing down failure

Crunch those numbers

 
EARLIER this week, leading small business expert Allon Raiz posted a comment on his Facebook profile asking a question which I thought was quite thought-provoking.
 
"How much responsibility does the media have in developing the right entrepreneurial role models for our youth to emulate?"
 
Basically the comment was that the media makes much of "get rich quick" entrepreneurs, which potentially creates an unrealistic idea of what being a small business owner is all about.
 
It resounded with an Invenfin executive, who remarked that in his opinion too many young technology entrepreneurs make a big deal in the media about the fact that they have raised funding, but less noise about the hard yards that go into running their business.
 
I don't think it is any secret that South Africa has one of the lowest levels of total entrepreneur activity in the world, and one argument for this is that not enough is done to highlight entrepreneurial ventures.

South African kids don't grow up wanting to be entrepreneurs. "The media should be writing about entrepreneurs!" people will suggest as a remedy for this.
 
Fair enough. But then the question is what kind of entrepreneurs do South Africans want to read about? Do you want to read about the 20-something tech entrepreneur, whose business does not actually make any money but is flavour of the month in the social media circles?

What about Greg Secker, the dollar billionaire forex trader? Nelson, the trader who sells tomatoes on the side of the side of the road and supports a family of three?
 
To Allon's comment, I think people love the idea of getting rich quick. It convinces them that they could wake up tomorrow, chuck in their job and just hit that magic moment when money rolls into the account and the flashy cars and lifestyle follow.
 
One thing Allon has always said is that as he grows older and more experienced, he has also learnt skills that mean he can execute strategy far faster than when he was younger.

Seasoned heads know best
 
This is perhaps where the media should be focusing more attention. What lessons can entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes made by other small business owners?
 
Asking the 22-year-old for his take on the IT industry and latest technology trends may be interesting, but bearing in mind that he was in high school when the dot-com bubble burst he doesn't necessarily have the experience to to say "haven't we seen this before?".
 
Already in the last few weeks experienced people are pointing to things like the valuations attached to Facebook, Tencent and other big name tech stocks, and mumbling that these things have been seen before. Maybe we should be chatting to the entrepreneurs who lived through that heyday and can identify what went pear-shaped.
 
The business landscape and tools might change, but at the end of the day running a small business comes down to one simple factor - buy for one and sell for two.
 
At the end of last year, we had a lot of fun reading about the real heartache experienced by entrepreneurs who now feature prominently in magazines and on business websites.

Entrepreneurs living on R5 a day or not having money to put petrol in their car when suppliers hadn't paid them are things many South African entrepreneurs can associate with.
 
I would love some input in the comment section below as to what kind of entrepreneurial stories you would like to see posted on Fin24, and to give us some ideas of the people who inspire you.
 
Signing off this week, I thought I would leave you with a quote posted on Twitter earlier this week by Ronnie Apteker, one of our older and perhaps wiser IT entrepreneurs: "Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time."
 
 - Fin24
 
 
entrepreneurship  |  small business
NEXT ON FIN24X

Are you in business?

2011-02-16 22:59

 

Lastest Articles

Here is how to check your credit score and manage it Read More...
Top tips to save money over the festive period Read More...
These are the top 5 most fuel efficient cars in SA Read More...
What to consider when switching medical aid schemes Read More...
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
10 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

Brought to you by BizNews

More from BizNews

We're talking about:

Small Business

Retailers of any shape and size can now unlock the power of mobile transacting.
 

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...