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How to Start your Side Hustle or Small Business in South Africa

Small Business Development Steps: An interview with Cape Talk 702's Early Breakfast Show

By Brend Badenhorst – Owner of My SME

On March 2022, I was interviewed by Africa Melane on Cape Talk 702’s Early Breakfast show, to listen to the interview you can follow the link:

We discussed starting side hustles and small businesses in South Africa—a topic gaining traction due to high unemployment and economic struggles.

South Africa’s unemployment is at a record high. Since the 2007/08 financial crash, the economy has struggled to grow. The 2020/21 lockdowns exacerbated the situation, and the economy has struggled to regain momentum since.

My SME promotes entrepreneurship and small businesses as key to economic recovery. Through enterprise and supplier development projects, sponsored by corporates involved in corporate social responsibility, we aim to empower skilled unemployed individuals. On a smaller scale, My SME provides business coaching and development to foster SME growth.

Melane wasted no time with his first question.

Question #1: Is it difficult to start your side hustle or small business?

My immediate response was a resounding “yes, it is difficult to start your business.”

The problem with the rising popularity of small business is the glamorisation by the media. Many are drawn to the idea of an extra income stream or the allure of being called an entrepreneur.

However, the reality is that starting a business is one of the toughest challenges you can undertake. Many aspiring entrepreneurs underestimate the transition from employee to business owner.

In our enterprise and supplier development programs and business coaching sessions, I dedicate time to explain the difference between technical skill and entrepreneurial skill. I refer to this as the technician versus the entrepreneur.

After assuring Melane that starting a business is indeed difficult in South Africa, he wanted to delve into the details of the process.

Question #2: What are the steps to start a business in South Africa?

For this interview, I aimed to keep things simple and practical, so I broke down the process of starting a business in South Africa into steps.

Step 1: Business Idea

Firstly, you need a solid business idea. In our enterprise and supplier development projects and business coaching sessions, I emphasise the importance of a business idea that addresses a necessity rather than a luxury.

A good business idea encompasses the following:

  • Passion: You must be passionate about the concept.
  • Skillset: You must be skilled in the technical aspects of the concept.
  • Value Proposition: Understand the value your business idea offers and why people will pay for it.

Proper planning is essential. Many entrepreneurs fail to plan, leading to problems later on. In our enterprise and supplier development projects and business coaching programmes, I often start with a market research assignment to ensure entrepreneurs understand their market and the value proposition of their business idea.


Step 2: Business strategy

Once you’ve completed your market research and identified the value in your business idea, it’s time to create a business strategy.


  • Value Proposition: Understand your target market, their needs, and what they’re willing to spend money on.
  • Competitive Advantage: Package a solution to meet those needs in a logical manner.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: Identify what sets you apart from competitors.

Before moving on to branding, marketing, and the sales cycle, I ensure business owners understand their business strategy as it’s the cornerstone of the business model.


Step 3: Branding

The next step is to give potential future business prospects the right perception to who you are and what you do. A good brand is clear to understand within 5 seconds. And consist of the following elements:

  • Brand name
  • Logo design
  • Tagline

After getting the basic branding in place, the focus shifts to creating a solid online presence through setting up the following elements:

  • Website
  • Google profile
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • LinkedIn Page

This is an integral part of the enterprise and supplier development project and business coaching programme. This is where the hard work is starting to manifest tangibly.


Step 4: Sales cycle 

One of the most important parts of a successful business is not in how technically good you are at your trait, but rather on your ability to generate leads and convert leads into sales.

Many of the enterprise and supplier development candidates and business coaching clients are brilliant technicians, and they usually think that just because they are great technicians, they will automatically have great businesses.

But this unfortunately is the technician at work. The entrepreneur understands that it does not matter how technically good you are, it is about who can make the sale.   


Step 5: Operational system

Finally, you need to create a streamlined and efficient business model and operational system to help you manage your business with order and control.

During the enterprise and supplier development project and business coaching programme I always use McDonald’s as an example. I specifically refer to a scene in the movie ‘The Founder’, that tells the story of McDonald’s. In the movie there is a profound moment when Ray Croc takes the two brothers out to dinner and learns their story and the method, they used to create a streamlined business model.  

This is an incredible lesson for every entrepreneur on the importance of a systemised organisation.


Perseverance and Commitment

The conversation ended with Africa Melane referring to the fact that it all seems logical and doable. To which I answered that there is an alternative secret to building a successful business.

This secret comes down to absolute desperation and perseverance. Steve Jobs said that in his opinion it is impossible to build a business without being perseverant. And I agree with this viewpoint, however I want to add that perseverance does not come naturally. Perseverance is a result of your commitment. And I always tell my enterprise and supplier development candidates and business coaching clients that if they are not committed to building a successful business, it is not worth pursuing the dream.

My SME specialises in enterprise and supplier development, partnering with corporations engaged in corporate social responsibility projects since 2021. We also do business coaching for SME’s in South Africa.


At the core of our enterprise and supplier development initiatives is a cutting-edge software system that records every step of the journey on a secure cloud server. This technology grants corporate sponsors real-time access to the progress of the entrepreneurs they support. You can download comprehensive progress reports that has details of each coaching session, the future prospectus, and video recordings of every coaching session.


For further information, reach out to us at or contact our offices at 021 834 9799.