South Africa: So you think you’re in business. Think again.

You’ve come up with a great business idea – you have a business name, a logo, new business cards and have even registered your company – you’re officially an entrepreneur and you’re excited about the future. Right? Wrong!

Sizwe Nzima

Sizwe Nzima

Raizcorp, Africa’s only unfunded for-profit business incubator, experiences this common misconception on a regular basis. Together with partners Engen Petroleum Ltd and longstanding media partner, SAfm, they aim to help entrepreneurs demystify this perception through the annual entrepreneurial programme, Pitch & Polish.

An idea is only an idea, until you take action and it becomes a start-up business, which is only a going concern when you have customers buying your products or service – on a regular basis!

When in business, think about:

1.       Proof of concept. When Sizwe Nzima entered the ENGEN Pitch and Polish 2013 competition, his start-up was already servicing 250 clients, by collecting and delivering their chronic medication. His business model was already proving to be a success.

2.       Living in the real world: If you think you are going to be the next big thing overnight, you may be in for a rude awakening. For every big success there are a whole bunch of failures. Focus on what the next step is to achieve a healthy sustainable business. From the beginning, Sizwe encountered a major obstacle – the weather! Delivering packages on bicycles in the rain was becoming inefficient. His immediate solution was to provide good raincoats, while working towards implementing am improved and streamlined system.

3.       The market you are in: Research, research, research. Understand what your competitors are doing. Read about international trends and make sure you are poised to take advantage of tomorrow, not just today.

4.       Your pricing. While start-ups do need to spend some money to make money, it is not always necessary to buy the Rolls Royce solution. The item or service your start-up offers should also be priced correctly to make it affordable for your customers, whilst still profitable enough to grow the business. Research, investigate, scrutinise the numbers.

5.       How your customers can find you: These days, technology is more crucial than ever for future business success. Whether it’s a website, laptop or telephone system, make sure your customers can access your business quickly and easily. Look for marketing opportunities that are relevant and speak to your target market.

6.       Nurturing your successes. Since winning the ENGEN Pitch & Polish competition, Sizwe’s client base has more than doubled. They have also increased the range of products they deliver which is expected to triple their revenue.

Each year Pitch & Polish actively seeks to reach local entrepreneurs, cultivate their skills and polish their presentations – providing them with the tools to be successful and thriving cogs in the economic wheel.

For more information visit, 011 566 2000 or

ENGEN Pitch and Polish Final Sept 2013 - Sizwe jumping

Sizwe Nzima