It came about after speaking to many entrepreneurs and people wanting to start new businesses. In fact, most business coaching relates to the major topics in this book. So the idea of this book is to prepare the entrepreneur to start out right and be aware upfront of what is likely to go wrong and avoid it! Although it might seem obvious, general results seem to prove otherwise.
This book will save a lot of entrepreneurs from business failure and unnecessary cost when things go wrong in their businesses, and they will. Unfortunately, it is not a silver bullet or a magic pill. There are still circumstances that can fail a business, but this e-book will give you a much better chance of success. It’s like having a sneak peak at the exam paper, before the examination.
Learning from your mistakes is a real valuable kind of learning. Sadly, many entrepreneurs give up after a first failure or two, and that is so sad. The world will never benefit from your contribution. So, plan B:
Let’s get to success faster and change the very stagnant statistic that says that 80% of businesses fail within 2 years. Let’s build a new generation of businesses that are smart and quick to market and make profits in a much shorter time frame. Why not?
What kind of people actually write books about business? You get the academics that write thick books with detailed content and it is really good stuff; however, the entrepreneur is looking for quick answers to current questions. They want solutions to their problems NOW. The academics books are great for research, or setting up your business, or planning to change strategies in the medium to long term.
Then you get shorter, practical books written by entrepreneurs who have been in the trenches and write from a place of experience. They know where it hurts and know what you can do NOW, to get relief and get ahead of the problem. They come with innovation and real trial and error experiences. And for the beginner entrepreneurs, they come with low cost solutions.
Kenny Steyn is such a writer. He started his career in Information Technology (IT) as a computer programmer or developer as they are called nowadays. Years in this field honed his analytic skills, design skills and most of all problem-solving skills.
Being an entrepreneur, he left his first permanent job to start his own business and discovered this was the way of life that energised him and gave him purpose and meaning. He never returned to a permanent job again. His first business failed for reasons totally outside of his control, and this was a learning that landed quickly in his entrepreneurial career. You just cannot know everything.
He limped back to the IT industry as a consultant and sold his services to recover from the loss and prepared to start all over again. He started many businesses since then, with a healthy number of successes, that were either sold, or handed over to be managed by others. He also had a number of failed businesses and he attributes much of what he knows today, to the learnings from those failed businesses.
Kenny has had businesses in the following fields: IT Consulting, Business Consulting, Business Coaching, Structured Marketing, Business Intelligence, Services Industry, IT Training, IT Recruitment, Vehicle Sales & Rental, Bakery, Franchising, Airtime, Website Development, Project Management, Construction, Business Mentoring, Unit Trusts and Stock Market Training. He has also worked with small businesses in many other sectors.
Kenny has a Business Management qualification, yet he says all his learning came from within the field of actually building and running businesses. He has been an accredited Business Mentor for the following organisations: Banking Council of South Africa, Sizanani Mentorship Program and the Khula Enterprise.
He has consulted for many large companies which include Sanlam (various subsidiaries), Old Mutual (various subsidiaries), Metropolitan Life, Naspers/Media24, Woolworths and Woolworths Financial Services, and the South African Government, but prefers to work with small businesses as he finds it a lot more rewarding.
If you ask Kenny what he is passionate about, he will tell you:
And if you ask him if he has any new business ideas, he will tell you:
In discussing Kenny’s future, after 25 years of IT and Business Consulting and Coaching, his next phase that he is moving into is to build fast and smart business ventures that can operate independently of himself and produce a genuine passive income stream. The plan is to set up a number of these businesses and then go do some travelling.
Kenny believes that this skill is one that everyone should learn early in their entrepreneurship. Can you imagine if your life’s expenses are covered by a business producing passive income? You could literally do whatever you want…
My thoughts: He did not have to think about this, he knew this number. This is a good sign.
Peter and I discussed a coaching arrangement and it was time to set a goal for the project. Something that was measurable and clear. A SMART goal. A SMART goal is defined as:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Time Based
We agreed that Peters financial requirement would be R25 000 per month, so I asked him by when he wanted to reach this goal. His answer was: “In two- or three-years’ time”.
This is a common response, because when we don’t really know, we throw the answer into the unknown too. It feels more comfortable that way. The problem with this is that it gets no attention because it is so far away. I suggested to Peter that we set the following goal:
To increase profits to R25 000 per month within 90 days.
Peters response was:
At which I replied: “I haven’t got a clue! But should we try and find out?”
Peter smiled and said: “Okay, let’s do it!” I think Peter thought I was going to do it for him, but he quickly discovered otherwise. We set to work because time was of the essence.
You may be thinking that this is not necessarily a SMART goal, so let’s check:
SPECIFIC – Yes, very specific, you can’t misinterpret this one.
MEASURABLE – Yes, we can check the business income against the target every single day.
ACHIEVABLE – Is it achievable, well we don’t know yet. We also don’t know that it is not achievable. We will need to do a little more research here and determine this. But we need to work quickly because time is ticking!
REALISTIC – Again, we don’t know and its highly unlikely with our current knowledge it would be, so we have to do some more research and find out what we don’t know that can help us reach this goal.
TIME-BASED – Yip, there are only 90 days and we are already on day 1.
So Peter and I researched ways to improve his offered products, relooked at his marketing approach and streamlined his work by adding tools to the mix. We also removed the products with low profitability and then Peter agreed that the goal was both Achievable and Realistic. This was on day 9. I am sure that somewhere in the universe there is a principle of spending 10% of your time on planning.
The remaining 81 days sped past and Peter was very energised, enthusiastic and excited! On day 91 Peter sent me a copy of his bank statement. At first, I was afraid to look but when I did, and the income for the month exceeded just over R80 000. This was amazing!! Time for me to collect on that steak he promised me, should he reach his goal of R25 000.