We were working with a talented, amazing entrepreneur in the township. He found an opportunity in the local community, started the business in 2015 and grew a loyal customer base over time. By 2021, he had completed several SMME development programmes, garnered media attention and was poised to grow the business further. Yet the business was in the doldrums.
From the time we commenced our work, it was obvious that he was fixated on funding the business. He wanted funding to buy-out the other shareholders. He wanted funding to purchase a vehicle. He wanted funding for retail fittings. He wanted funding for a lot of things in the business.
He applied for funding and a government agency promised him a favourable outcome for the fittings. Except that it was taking forever for them to finalise the funding for his business.
During this period, he was so fixated on funding, that he overlooked the opportunities in the business, where he required the fittings in the first place. He was in a rut, feeling that he could not move forward until the funding came through.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The business was screaming for attention, whether or not he secured funding. The brand was outdated. The marketing was haphazard. The sales were inconsistent. The product line needed consideration. The staff were being overlooked. The potential collaboration opportunities were falling through. The cash flow was weak. All of these areas deserved his time and effort. Yet he was fixated on funding for the fittings to the exclusion of everything else.
If entrepreneurs focused as much attention to building the business, as they did on funding it, they would come out far ahead on their path. Incidentally, it will make the business more attractive for funding too.