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Got an idea, why aren’t you taking it to market?

9 June 2020
2 minute read
Truth about money logo

They are names that you often hear about in the media, Herman Mashaba, Anton Rupert, Patrice Motsepe, Raymond Ackerman - some of the most successful businessmen in South Africa, but for many of them, the road to riches was not easy.

If you have read “9 Habits an entrepreneur needs to develop” blog, then you’ll recognise some of those habits in these people.

Raymond Ackerman, now famous for having built Pick ‘n Pay into the retail giant that it is today, was initially fired by a competitor. Undeterred, he started Pick ’n Pay with just four stores in Cape Town – in April this year, Pick ‘n Pay reported a R63.1 billion turnover for the full year.

Herman Mashaba’s Black Like Me company started with him selling his products from the boot of his car. Now it’s a multimillion rand business and Herman has expanded to take on the UK market.

A son of Soweto, Patrice Motsepe started out as a lawyer specialising in business and mining law. His first business venture was to clean the gold dust from inside mine shafts; now he is the founder and executive chairperson of African Rainbow Minerals and the 503rd richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine.

South African born Elon Musk taught himself how to program computers and sold computer games. He is also the creator of PayPal, however Elon has now moved to even greater things as he looks to tackle space travel, solar electricity and electric cars.

Anton Rupert’s billion dollar conglomerate Rembrandt Group started with an initial R142 investment when he and two other investors started making cigarettes in his garage. Now Rembrandt has split into an investment company, Remgro, and Richemont a Swiss-based luxury goods company.

Ackerman was undeterred, Mashaba was determined, Mostepe saw an opportunity, Musk taught himself and Rupert started off in a garage … if you have an idea, what’s stopping you from taking it to the market?

Keep these 5 thoughts top of mind when you get the spark:

  1. Make sure your idea is unique and marketable, selling flip flops to Inuits might not be a good idea, but selling innovative energy saving heating systems might just do the trick.
  2. Work out how much it will cost to run your business. Any business needs infrastructure, marketing, staff etc. You need to sit down and work out exactly what you will need and how much it will cost. Work out two budgets, one for start-up costs and one for month to month costs.
  3. Investigate the legalities that surround not only your product, but business in general such as tax, record keeping, labour laws etc.
  4. Use the “free advertising” mediums such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as much as possible. Set aside time every second day to update your Facebook status and Tweets with comments that pertain to your business.
  5. Financing can be difficult but not impossible. There are a few methods of obtaining backing the first of which is of course going to the bank. However don’t take the first offer made, speak to all the major banks to find the best deal for you and your business. You can also speak to venture capitalists or local business people who may be interested in your idea – you can also tap into these people as mentors and for networking. Last but not least you can also try crowdfunding. For more ideas on financing, read through our blog “Where to go to fund your start-up business”.


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