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The Pain that will not go away


Since 2004, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and I’ve come to understand their pain.  I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs start up their business enthusiastically and close down in tears.

Honestly, starting a business in South Africa should come with a health warning: highly addictive, not being for the faint hearted, lots of sleepless nights and sudden death.

When you start a business, it is literally the same as walking around midnight, in a dark street, blindfolded and unarmed.  Without a map. Without bodyguards.It is overwhelming as you watch the months pass by without money coming in. Is it any surprise that so many entrepreneurs give up within 12-24 months and look for a job?

To build a business, is the same picture as above, with dogs hunting you down that dark street and muggers waiting at every corner.  No bodyguards in sight.  To get through trading in one piece is no mean feat.  Some entrepreneurs build their business without ever going anywhere.

To grow that business,  you have to walk across hundreds of dark streets, double blindfolded,  in the rain.  Avoiding potholes and falling objects.  No bodyguards  Many entrepreneurs were on the cusp of joining the league of big companies, when their growth turned on them.  It is heart breaking to have to survived so much, worked so hard, only to lose everything in the growth stage.

Let me share with you a sample of media articles about the state of entrepreneurs in SA

The state of entrepreneurship in 2012

Small-businesses shutting down in Cape Town

Against the odds: Cashing in on fashion

SA`s small business problem – The Burning Question 

440 000 small business closed in five years

Small Business in South Africa – How is it faring

SMEs are facing challenging times

The state of entrepreneurship in 2020/2021

A year later, South Africa R 200 billion COVID-19 plan looks like it has failed 

Small business is suffering from analysis paralysis

Bleak future for small business sector – survey

Success is possible

Of course, some entrepreneurs do become wildly successful and reach the other side.  They survive the dark streets, the muggers, the dogs hunting and the rain. They stay in business for the long term, creating prosperity for themselves and others in the process. They inspire the rest of us to follow in their footsteps and serve as living proof that “it can be done!”

Unfortunately successful entrepreneurs in South Africa are in the minority. For every success story of the entrepreneur that has made it, there are hundreds that go under.  We hear a lot about the success stories in conferences, events & magazines.  We don’t hear that much about those entrepreneurs that really tried, worked hard, struggled and eventually closed shop.

The pain

While I may not know you personally, I understand your pain – it is remarkably similar to other entrepreneurs walking on the same dark street as yourself.  On the surface, your pain may seem to be unique or different. Yet from experience, I consistently find the same pain across sectors, industries and business.

I know from working with entrepreneurs, that unless I can help you see a way out of the pain, I won’t make an tangible impact in your life or business.

How do you respond to the pain in your business? 

1.   Hope – you hope that the pain will be relieved in future.

2.   Work harder – you are working harder than before to make your business succeed

3.   Ignore – you ignore the pain & keep pushing on

4.   Depressed – you are disillusioned, frustrated, maybe a bit angry about the pain

5.   Get help – family, friends, associates to ease the pain



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