Chapter 5

HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT WHEN THINGS GO WRONG?

Running a small business means facing different challenges along the way. With the right attitude and approach, you can learn from these experiences and turn them into opportunities for growth. In this second-to-last chapter of our 1001 Days web series, small business owners, Nelisiwe Masango and Mariam Jakoet Harris, share how they have handled things when they’ve gone wrong – and provide tips for entrepreneurs in the same position.

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BEAR RUN INVESTMENTS: CHAPTER 5

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NELISIWE ON CHALLENGES

Nelisiwe Masango kicks off Chapter 5 with an update on business developments. Her company, Bear Run Investments, has been working with educational institutions and begun to take on clients beyond South Africa. This is a great opportunity to expand but has also presented a challenge because she’s had to deal with rules and regulations that don’t necessarily apply in SA.

Nelisiwe needed to find creative solutions to service these more distant clients, and chose to digitise material for their benefit. In the process, she found that this problem had presented the chance to grow and adapt. As an entrepreneur, dealing with things that go wrong often means facing challenges that are out of your control, even with a solid plan in place. The key is resilience.

Nelisiwe also shares some inter-personal challenges she’s faced as a small business owner. You maybe sold half-truths along the way but her advice to make the right decisions during these situations is to “use your gut instincts” and “learn how to control your emotions”. Don’t forget to check back in to hear what Nelisiwe has to share in the final chapter of the 1001 Days series next month.

"When you are faced with problems, you have no choice but to be creative."

– Nelisiwe Masango, Bear Run Investments

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COOKED INC.: CHAPTER 5

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MARIAM ON CHALLENGES

Mariam’s small business, Cooked Inc., is growing steadily. New corporate clients have come on board and she’s ready to make another hire. Working as an entrepreneur in the food industry sees Mariam face various challenges - most financial and many beyond her control. She is directly affected by the increasing cost of produce and the influence it has on how people spend. In turn, this affects her buying and meal planning.

Mariam admits that it’s tough having to “wear all different hats” and be her own support structure when things go wrong. Cash flow is the biggest challenge faced by most small business owners and Mariam emphasises the importance of calculated financial planning. It’s easy to forget your priorities and get into debt or over invest. Ambition is great but her advice is to hold back and grow at a rate you (and your finances) can keep up with.

Challenges will come and go in business, what’s important is how you approach them. For Mariam, that means keeping her business ideas evolving and staying committed to being creative, inventive and positive. Next month, Mariam will be wrapping up the final chapter of the 1001 Days web series – don’t miss it.

"You can’t be too hard on yourself. There are daily challenges and setbacks – it’s all part of the journey and we learn each day."

– Mariam Jakoet Harris, Cooked Inc.

THE BIGGEST THREATS TO BUSINESS?

77.8%

Cash flow

40.4%

Market or demand problems

28.3%

Product/service problems

12.5%

Labour



Cash flow was seen as one of the main reasons businesses fail on their journey to 1001 days. Is your business insured, good and proper? How can we help?

For deeper insights into the South African small business landscape, take a look at the Santam start-up survey results.

Survey results

EXPERT BUSINESS ADVICE

DOES A MENTOR REALLY MATTER?

Running a small business means facing challenges along the way. It can be tricky to keep everything afloat, but there are ways to work around these situations. We’ve put together some practical tips to handle your small business when things go wrong and help you make it to 1001 days, and beyond.

TAKE THE INSTANT POLL

What have the biggest challenges been for your small business? Take the poll to reveal what others said:

Unreliable suppliers

Rules & regulations

Cash flow

Not enough support



77.8% of survey respondents on their journey to 1001 days said that cash flow was the biggest cause of sleepless nights.

SMALL BUSINESS INSURANCE

From retail to service-oriented entrepreneurial ventures, every start-up is unique. Is your small business properly covered? Santam’s small business insurance offering gives you cover to suit your needs so you can get to day 1001, and beyond.

PREVIOUS: CHAPTER 4

WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT PLANNING

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Next: Chapter 6

CAN YOU MAKE IT TO DAY 1001 AND STILL HAVE A LIFE?

Check back on 15 August for our final chapter and get advice on reaching a work/life balance.

1001 DAYS OF BUSINESS

Ensure your start-up makes it to 1001 days and beyond with a small business insurance solution from Santam starting at R162 per month.

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THE SANTAM START-UP SURVEY

Take a look at the comprehensive survey we conducted on over 600 small to medium enterprises in South Africa.

Survey results