To think that it is already mid February, this is indeed a fast year. If you have not yet started, please try your first attempt at budgeting by reading any of the following articles. With pay day just a few days away from now, it might help reviewing how far you’ve come with your expenses and see if you can do better with your second pay run:
One of the most frequent aspect I cover is business. This is because, personally I have explored a lot of business opportunities. Some ideas died before they can even materialize, some worked just to break even, some I lost money whilst others have made me money. But when I think about all of these, I think driving school is probably the the best business that is really starting to pay off.
In the last 10 years, I have attempted a lot of things and here are some random lessons I have learnt from some businesses I was part of .
- DMAS Global – This was a hoody business we ran with 4 other friends. The slogan of this business gave us purpose. “it has something to do with us”. Two of us were based in Cape town and the other three were based in Namibia. In Cape town we handled the relationship with the suppliers, whilst our partners in Namibia handled the customers. We dealt with large amounts of money but the input costs were too high. In the end we did not retain that much cash and hence ended up closing down. What I learnt from DMAS is that if you want to be successful, you will need good teaming and communication skills to run any business.
- I also love reading so at some stage I wanted to start a bookshop of selling hand books for children. I searched for a second hand book supplier and eventually found a shipment of books on gum tree. I sent the books down to Namibia to a friend’s place but I really do not know what happened to those books. So this is one of those where I basically wasted money. One lesson from this venture is that, if you are going to start a business, you’ll need a sustainable supply of whatever you will be selling. What is the probability that I was going to find another stack of second hand kiddies books?
- For some odd reason, I have always been into motivational speaking and coaching content. But this is one of those things I just never got the courage to start. I remember at some stage I had written a whole magazine that I was hoping to launch to schools with various educational content but hey, it never took off. This is why I am blogging eventually. The key lesson from this is that, if you never take steps towards actioning it, you’ll never know if it is worth your effort.
- And there was chicken farming. This was a great business. Good market with the government banning import on chicken at some stage which protected the local economy. Things went well but I realized that I was not really retaining any cash out of this business and I regularly had to invest in the business. From this I learnt that you need to know when to cut your costs. If you have to put in more than you are making without prospect of recovery, it is time to quit.
- Electricity,TV and Airtime reselling business – This is one of those essential business that comes at almost zero costs except the minimal cost of buying the vending machine. However because there is literally not much effort required from your side , there is also no much reward from it. From this I have learnt, with greater risk, comes great reward.
- Finally, Driving school – This started off in May last year and I am proud to say that it has now become an established brand. Last year, the sales were ad hoc but it has grown steadily the first few months of 2020. It took hard work and dedication to get it to this stage. The one main lesson from this is, the beginning is always hard, but once you have built a client based and trust, business will find you.
Without curiosity, you’ll never know what will make you the most. At times we look at business owners and wonder how they get there? They also just started somewhere!
As I end off, I hope you share what you learnt from your last or best business attempt.