Any Body can be a Success

Entrepreneurship has become a huge subject in our country. A staple topic. Really. One that’s echoed at every corner, with institutions of academic learning humming on the subject full time. It’s a hot topic on tabloids. Television and radio cannot help but be dedicated to this wave. South Africa has become a country where people can dream, reach out and build this country with their knowledge and skills.

As our government’s taking more initiatives in breaking the shackles of our past, more opportunities are springing up. More doors keep opening to ordinary people. More resources are at hand for aspiring business people. More South Africans are finding their way to the world of commerce. Our country has become conducive for dreaming. We see opportunities lying all over. Even more South Africans now have more access to government tenders. The government’s tipped scales to our side. Literally. Support for entrepreneurs is increasing with each dawning year. Now we can also partake in building our country, instead of watching the process from the side-lines. And this government has shown extreme dedication to the welfare of its citizens, pouring huge chunks of funds into the development of small businesses. At every corner. Great work this thing the government’s doing.

A Green Garden Overflowing with Opportunities

Now because this country’s over-flowing with these positives, word has gone out to our neighbouring African countries (and beyond) that anybody can be a success here. What? Anybody? Yes! Now foreign nationals are making a rapid influx to our grounds because they see it as a ‘greener pasture.’ They’re all flocking for a stake in what they see as a haven of economic opportunities. And they’re doing that with what looks like a magic of determination-what we rarely see among our peers. And yes, they do succeed in what looks like a very short space of time. But here’s the other side to it…

Check this out. How do these foreigners cut it before we do when they have no back-up whatsoever?

Just before our eyes. How come they do that in our country? How dare they? How come they chip in and start what we could be doing? Do they somehow have a secret advantage over us? Consider this: they leave their respective countries (some torn by civil wars), coming here with:

  • No relatives, no friends
  • no collateral
  • no qualifications to fall on
  • no plan B
  • no connections
  • nothing in their bank accounts
  • no fancy cellphones
  • no nice clothes
  • no shoes.

Now you’re thinking, Student Companion is really kidding me. You seriously mean with nothing? Just a dream and a burning desire to succeed?’ Most often the poor guy can barely speak English. Within a week he’s walking door to door, with brooms and hand bags on his shoulders.

Before you know it, he’s spending nights in the train, roaming around the country locating cheaper suppliers. It’s alarming! But that’s in their genes. They just start without anybody’s approval. They don’t wait until the next financial year. They never rest until they’ve got the results. They start small, very small indeed! I know one guy who started his business with only two t-shirts to sell! But they make lots of money in the long run. Lots. Meanwhile the local kid is stuck in some corner, waiting for the government to extend its hand over to him. He’s literally done everything right: has his business registered, and sent every application through. Followed all the channels, and told to wait, but nothing. But he’s forgetting that he’s one in more than forty-five million of people who might be waiting (meanwhile the foreign national sees forty-five million customers).

Opportunities come and go while the local kid’s still procrastinating, spending his important time around trivia, and his meagre finances on trifle stuff like purchasing business plans (a set of assumptions) because ‘consultants’ at government level all tell him he can’t start without a business plan. At the same time, the foreign guy’s devising more ways of reaching out to the customer, growing his business and bringing solutions to make the customer’s life easier.

What then?

Next is the local kid whining and moaning about how ‘unfair’ the system is (after all he’s done everything he was told to do, picked a number in the queue and ticked all the right boxes). His bland argument is that you need the system by your side, to crack it in business. This makes for an interesting riddle. The ‘connections’ game doesn’t seem to work in his favour either. Then what? The young aspirant throws his toys in the air, saying, ‘This thing’s just not working. May be I’m not carved for this entrepreneurship thing. It’s just not for me.’

Then you hear things like, ‘They have their own people’ in taxis. In trains. Everywhere. We crassly fall aside and give up on our dreams. Why? Because no-one’s going to do it for us?

We Could Crack it, Too

The foreign guy goes through, and the local guy steps aside. While one succeeds, the other fails. Yet they both have day and night. The huddles to be jumped are the same for them all. Does a loan acquired from a financial institution guarantee entrepreneurial success? The short answer is no. And this is the myth which kills heaps of aspiring, ambitious business people in our country: you need a ‘helping hand’ to start a business. But experience keeps exposing the false-hood of this misty foundation. Student Companion’s message does not play around it: entrepreneurs owe this country solutions. It’s weak business folks who see it the other way around. Perhaps that’s why they don’t last. Now why do we waste our days ‘consulting’ with people in those glass offices who are not even interested in business, or our ideas for that matter, while we could be out at the field:

  • Marketing our ideas
  • networking
  • bootstrapping
  • gaining hard-core experience and learning invaluable lessons about our businesses and the customer’s needs
  • taking more risks
  • learning perseverance and a countless ways to fund our businesses?

The invaluable voice of Student Companion remains: start as small as you can (even if it means that you do it without an office or a pin-striped suit). Most of today’s successful entrepreneurs started on very, very small scales. These are real entrepreneurs who moved in, sniffed problems, and quickly offered solutions. They are changing the customer’s life out there. And the customer is paying them.

Is that how it goes? It does not matter where you are now, in which province, country or planet for that matter so long as there are people and problems.

We are prepared to pay any man or woman who’s got a way of taking away our agony.


Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail.

-Marva Collins.

So, what are you waiting for?

There is nothing that is holding you back from living the life you are suppose to live. Please refer to our earlier article: What’s Holding You Back? The TOP 4 Excuses That Prevent Success