No. 1: First, have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into before you start. Running a company is not a 9-to-5 occupation. And much, if not most, of running a business has little to do with the quality of the product or service you sell. You have to work long, hard and smart. And learn new things. Fifty percent of new businesses close (not fail) during the first five years, often because their owners didn’t realize how much time, expense and uncertainty would be involved.  

No. 2: Line up customers before you open your doors. Sometimes it means starting small – being a home chef before a caterer, a food truck before a restaurant. If you can work on your business while you still have your day job, that’s the way to go.

No. 3: Line up as much money as you can. “Things take longer and cost more than anticipated.” The first few years of business you’ll likely face low income and high costs. Clean up your credit before you launch so you’ll have some credit capacity available.

No. 4: Watch every rand spent, particularly the first years. During 2016, we served on the advisory board of a small startup that spent R15,000 a month for public relations. Yikes. They were out of business in less than 12 months.  

No. 5: Adapt. Over the years, businesses has evolved. To survive you need to be able to embrace change. For instance if your business started out selling pizza, two years later the business may also be delivering pizza and other types of food and drink that suit the customer while taking orders online.