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By Colin Timmis, General Country Manager, Xero South Africa

The desire to be an entrepreneur is fueled by a variety of reasons. Some people

simply want to be their own boss and call the shots. Others are driven by the need to solve a problem. These are the ones who are desperate for a specific product or service that doesn’t exist in their market, so they go ahead and develop it themselves. And then, there are those who have that ‘eureka!’ moment and devote their time and energy to turning a good idea into a reality.

No two entrepreneurs are the same You’ve only got to see the great changes made over the past t decade. The entrepreneurial landscape has evolved in leaps and bounds; enabling greater access to a wide range of financial and administrative support. And technologies such as cloud technology have played a huge role in levelling the playing field by making it so much easier for anyone to launch a business from the ground up and operate successfully.

Yes, the digital world we live in makes it so much easier to start your business, but that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and let the bots do all the hard work. It can be incredibly rewarding, but a lot of effort goes into getting a business off the ground and keeping it there. There’s no reward without the proverbial blood, sweat and tears – not to mention, sleepless nights.

So, if you’re dead-set on starting your own business then here are three ways to help ensure that all your effort translates into real reward.

Do what you love

It’s rare to see someone’s true passion become their profession. This makes it all the more impressive when that passion is turned into a 21st-century business. The truth is, there is far more compatibility between what we love and what we do than we realise. We just don’t always see it. There are a few tricks you can use to uncover your hidden talents and live it as your defined career.

The first step is to make some time to be creative. When we think of the word ‘creativity, we tend to think about the arts; singing, dancing, painting and so on. But creativity is not just expressed in what we do, but how we think. Next time you are faced with a business challenge, rather than respond to it in the same way you always do, try coming from another angle. This fuels innovation and creativity which are both key to discovering what you’re good at – and crucially, enjoy doing.

Use technology

Whether it’s the devices you use, the software you install or the tools you download, – the pace of change as technology evolves can be difficult to keep up with. This can be both h exciting and overwhelming. Whatever way you look at it, the opportunity it presents to entrepreneurs is massive. It’s really important that you don’t disregard technology as a threat but rather invest in it and make it work for your business.

Research conducted by Xero and World Wide Worx suggests that overall, some 45% of South African small businesses believe they could be doing more to adopt new technologies – and some 52% indicate that they’re just ‘keeping up’. This indicates that local entrepreneurs are missing out on all the benefits that technology can offer. These include improved business efficiency, increased competitiveness, access to data-driven insights and the ability to proactively engage with clients.

Know the difference between good and bad risk

Not all risk is bad. In fact, you don’t get to be an entrepreneur unless you get an adrenalin kick from stepping into the unknown. Risks can be good for sure, but only if the potential benefit outweighs the potential cost. To make that call as best as possible, you need to assess all the variables at play like available resources, competitive advantage, location and target audience.

Measuring the odds of success or failure is driven by individual preferences. When it comes to quantifying risk, different people apply their own inherent biases so there really is no one standard model to rely on. Identify and understand the range of potential adverse outcomes your business decisions present, and then work out how to avoid the negative risks in favour of the positive.

While technology, creativity and careful risk assessment can all make launching – and running – a business easier, there is no getting away from the fact that’s hard work. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to slog. However, your effort can bring you much satisfaction: the realisation of a dream or an idea is one of the greatest rewards there is.

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