Petes Weekly: Books, Books and Books
Small Business Ideas Business Startup Books are not fit for
purpose… On my last trip to South Africa, in May, as I passed through the
airport, I bought two books on starting your own business in South Africa. Each
was called “Starting your own Business”. Both had well-known authors.
I’d like to quote from one, the one which has just three pages about market
research (out of 288 pages), and zero pages about the single biggest factors
that determine your success: Marketing & Selling. This is the section on
“Not using the Internet as a tool for gathering business information is a
disadvantage. If you don’t know how to use the Internet already, ask someone to
teach you. Some of the information that you will find on the Internet is junk,
but much of the information is credible.” (That is the same number of words as
this book devotes to using your accountant as a source of market research.)
That book is in its 12th edition, copyrighted last year. It does however have
great ideas on finding money (almost all of which involve signing your life
away). When you have read it, you’ll be no further down the road towards
success, but you will have a solid grasp of the consumer protection act, labour
law, black economic empowerment and all of the other vital stuff that you need
to know AFTER you’ve made some sales.
The second book focuses on buying a franchise or buying a small business, not starting one.
Neither book mentions marketing or selling, the single key reason for business
failure in South Africa and in the rest of the world. Is it any wonder that an
aspiring business owner, having ploughed through these tomes, and gone through
the expense of all of the unnecessary statutory crap, has no money left to
invest in marketing and selling?
You may have noticed that, when it comes to issues of marketing and selling, I
preach with the conviction of those early Spanish priests who were quite happy
to execute anybody who wouldn’t listen. (My road to Damascus is littered with stuff that