Over the years i have been exposed to different types of entrepreneurs. The journey has lead to new learnings as a lot of what i thought was obvious was proven not to be. One thing that i can already mention here is that money is not racist, this is in terms of how we use it and just what it does to people when they have it. So, I have been expose to both white and black business people who behaved strangely as a result of the money that they had or were exposed to. In the past i thought black people were very careless with money and the whites, especially white south african are better than us, but this was thrown out the window. My current position is that we all have the same weaknesses when it comes to our relationship with money.
We are at a time in south africa where the BBBEE codes have been reviewed and changed, and as a result many companies are finding that they are very low when it comes to the new sector codes. Now, going back to when BEE started, before the other two Bs were added, many black entrepreneurs benefitted from it and soon after that those white owned companies found a way to go around the codes, employing tactics such as fronting and all sorts of ways to avoid doing what was required of them. One of the challenges of this time
was that most of these black entrepreneurs were exposed to such a lot of money for the first time and therefore did not know how to use it or to even build sustainable businesses. This means that they never grew business and many remained tenderpreneurs (those that rely on tenders only for business).
This is part two of BBBEE, which means that we have to learn from what happened to those that came before us and make sure we avoid what they did. The fact of the matter is that this affects all of us and it has to be addressed.
I must say though that it i
s not easy to move from being someone who has mastered the art of submitting quotes to having to employ normal business systems. It takes a lot, requiring a mindset shift. It is very difficult to do this without first understanding what it means to be in business. Tenderpreneurship is very easy. You register on the database, receive and req, get prices, add markup, submit and get the job. No need to market yo
ur business. While being in business is not the same as you have to do everything in a different way. It is not easy, and those that have tried to become real businesspeople without any intervention have failed dismally.
Next time you think of doing business only with the state, look around you, you will find that there is a lot of people that used
to be the “it” in your community, but now they are down and out.
The best approach is to think to yourself that the tenderpreneurship approach is your step towards building a real business that will not solely rely on the state. Use the money to build that, have a clear business that you want to be involved in. You will notice that you will easily revert back to the tenderpreneurship mode, but you just have to keep at it. I am not going to say don’t buy the expensive cars and clothes, just save some money for the small things that will make you grow. Invest in a website, get the right people around you, and these are not just people that will just do everything you tell them to do, but people that know a bit about business.
In the next post we will look at the basic things you need to do, to make it as a tenderpreneur first before moving onto being an entrepreneurs.