How to start your own small business

Hola Business is your complete online starter kit for start-up businesses.

What is the first step to opening a business? Who do I speak to? Do I need finance or is my offering one that can be set up finance-free? If finance is required, how do I get it? What will the business structure be and will current business trends affect my business ideas, or the outcome of my idea?

Starting a business, even a small business, is exciting but can be a little nerve-wracking at times. But hang in there! Hola Business has you covered. It provides a step-by-step guide to starting your business, guiding you through all the potential obstacles you’ll face in getting your business started.


Where to get advice on starting your own business?

Starting a business, be it a big business, small business, SMME or sole proprietorship, can have its challenges. Irrespective of whether your business is product or service focused, when starting out you’ll have plenty of questions.

It is imperative to get advice from professionals. Of course, canvass friends and family’s opinions as well as people you know who have business experience. But always bear in mind that their experience is not tailored to your business requirements. Hola Business provides more than just advice – it provides an easy-to-understand,  learning solution. The team of experienced business trainers and business professionals have specifically tailored Hola Business to give you some of the essential skills needed to help you kickstart and run a successful business.

You may be looking for information on business plans or financial plans, cash flow examples or business registration information. This is where Hola Business helps you. Hola Business is a South African online platform and tool that:

  • helps you learn what you need to make your business successful;
  • allows you to build your own business plan as you learn; and
  • enables you to practice running a simulated business


In other words, Hola Business will help you transform your business idea into a successful business model. You will learn how to get your business up and running, with business and financial plans that provide you with a roadmap to your business success.

Contact Hola Business today and get started with your own small business.

Why you need Hola Business

When it comes to starting a small business, Hola Business provides direction through its comprehensive business starter pack.

Hola Business is a complete package that includes a 12 module start-up business course, business and financial plan generation, and the opportunity to test your business skills in a business simulation environment. You will learn everything you need to know to make your business successful.

The 12 modules are:

  • Personal Goals – This module will quickly touch base on where you feel you are in your personal life and central to this will be the development of a Wheel of Life, as well as the setting of some personal goals.

  • Cycles of your business – This module will take you through the early cycles of business showing what you can expect in the months and years ahead, and how you can be prepared for the changes the business will go through.

  • From idea to plan – This module will form the overview of your business plan by defining your business, your market and competitors, as well as doing a SWOT analysis.

  • Business planning – Develop your Vision, Mission, SMART goals and action plans as you formulate your own Business Plan using the Balanced Scorecard. This module will take you step by step through the process of creating these key planning documents.

  • Intro to Financial forecasts – The Business Plan cannot be considered complete without a financial plan backing it up. This module introduces you to the concept and documents of the financial plan.

  • Understanding costs – Getting a handle on costs can be tricky for any business, and more so for start-ups. Successful business owners need to have a firm grasp of the financial side of things. This module deals with the understanding of costs and their impact on the business.

  • Pricing for profit – This module aims to take the guesswork out of your pricing decisions and looks at pricing strategy, costing principles, breakeven points and guidelines to profitable pricing for your business.

  • Financial scorecards – The financial scorecards of the business are critical to the long-term health of your business. In this module we will guide you through the forecasting process, culminating in the development of your Income Statement forecast.

  • Managing working capital & cash flow – This module deals with the flow of money through your business. It will also guide you through the development of your own Cash Flow and Balance Sheet forecasts, completing your Financial Plan.

  • Setting up your business – All a start-up needs to know about tax, compliance and admin. This bonus module takes the frustration out of searching the internet to find out what you need to know about in setting up your business.

  • Getting finance – This bonus module looks at the ways you can look to get financing for your business. It explores both traditional and alternative funding options available to you, and what you need to know.

  • Marketing for start-up businesses – Marketing your business, your products or services is essential to attain any significant market share. It only works when you use it correctly.


These modules, along with a business simulation exercise, are available to Hola members. Find out more about Hola by clicking here.

Learn from Hola Business using your computer, tablet or smart phone.

Tips to consider when starting a business

  • Define your business: The business is not about you, it’s about your vision to serve customers. Well-known Austrian-American business consultant Peter Drucker stated, “Companies are not in business to make items, but to make customers.”

  • Delegate: Delegating responsibilities early on in your business will give you the required time to consider the needs of the entire business and not concentrate on one single aspect of it.

  • Be enthusiastic and positive: An enthusiastic and positive person has a distinct advantage over straight-faced individuals who never get excited at new concepts. Try to remain positive and get excited at new concepts. When growing your business, look for people who share your enthusiastic sentiments.

  • Understand your cash flow: Know and understand your source of money and where it is going. Undercapitalisation is one of the causes that may lead to business failure. Most new businesses fail, and many do so because they are undercapitalised.

  • Get a mentor: You may be unwilling to see your business reality for what it is. A mentor can help you acquire the perspective you need, and prevent you from making expensive mistakes.

  • Learn from your successes: Learning a lesson each day, or several lessons each day, will build your ability to deal with things as they arise. Thinking that you know enough may be to the detriment of your business.

  • Keep your business plan simple: Use your business plan to give your business direction, just like a compass. Don’t over-complicate your small business plan. It should be easy to follow, easy to execute and easy to modify.

  • Remember the farmer and parachute salesperson analogy: A parachutist drops in and stays for a brief period only. A farmer, conversely, plants different seeds that mature at different times and harvests the crops at the appropriate time – constantly if necessary. In other words, nurture your customers.

  • Work hard: Don’t think your business is a route to making lots of money fast. Do what you do because you love it and it won’t feel like work, no matter how hard you are required to work.

  • Do sensational things: People are tired of the same old stuff. Do something different and be sensational while doing it. Keep on doing it until people buy into it – you may be surprised at the outcome.

  • Stick to what you do best: Focus on your company’s core strengths. If you are a baker, don’t start selling fast food, for example. Building a long-lasting business takes a lifetime.

  • Use common sense: Common sense has always come in handy. Use it.

  • Stay focused: The business is about the vision you have of serving your customers’ requirements, it is not about your personal gratification.


Your vision

Absolute clarity around the vision, purpose and core values of your business will help you stay focused on your primary objectives through the good times and the bad. This is the first step in building your small business. Ass a new business owner or start-up entrepreneur, you need to have a clear understanding of where you want to go, and the reason therefore. The conundrum here is that it must not be considered from a product point of view, but rather a much bigger picture – what is the higher purpose of your business, what is the company’s (founder’s) belief and why do you have that belief?

Always remember, a vision is not a strategy. A vision is the where and the what. The strategy is how you are going to do it. It defines and explains the deliverables that drive the company toward its vision. Here are some pointers in developing your vision.

  • Know your goals Separate your strategy from your end game, but do include it as one of the factors creating your company vision.

  • Consider your company’s values These can be one- or two-word phrases like ‘innovation’ or ‘communication’ or ‘customer satisfaction’, for example. You may want to make them slightly longer, like, “tailored solutions to start a business”. Once the values by which you want to conduct business are defined, compare them with your goals. This will help you understand how they interact and what can be created from them all.

  • Determine your vision by building on your mission statement For your vision to grow organically and develop, it must be an extension of what you already do successfully. This means that you should look to your mission statement as a starting point for your vision. Compare your mission with your established goals and values, and combined they will help you in building your company vision and vision statement.

  • ‘Simple’ is key to a good vision Keeping your vision simple makes it more likely that you will meet your goals and turn your vision into a reality. Carefully consider what parts of your vision are absolutely necessary and get rid of the rest.  

  • Be certain Ambiguity makes it difficult to turn your vision into reality, for yourself and employees. Specificity is key. Your business vision should to be clear enough so that at least 5 independent people arrive at the same interpretation. Keeping your vision simple helps with this.

  • Be forward thinking Think about your industry’s landscape in the future. Consider how to keep your vision sustainable and scalable. This is because a vision that can’t sustain rapid growth runs the risk of curbing your business growth.

  • Remember timeframes Your vision should look into the future, but not for an indefinite period. Have specific timelines for when you aim to meet specific milestones in every aspects of your company’s vision. This is where the ideas of creating a vision and setting goals meet.


Don’t define a vision statement purely for the sake of it. Define your vision statement with the purpose of making your vision into your mission.

Starting a small business from scratch

Some advice for potential entrepreneurs on starting a business from nothing.

  • Research your market: Knowing what the competition knows is insufficient; you need to get into your market and study it until you understand it.  Research keywords related to your industry but do not get discouraged if the market seems flooded with them. It means that those keywords are working for those businesses and you can make them work for your business too.

  • Set a tangible financial goal: Set a goal that is a stretch for you and look at the steps you need to take every day to accomplish that goal.

  • Ensure your website’s content is shareable: When developing your brand, create unique content on a single hub. It could, for example, be a website that your target market can reference for more of your content.

  • Build a mailing list: Building an email list is one of the most important tools in building a business. Start with building a list of emails of the people that visit your site and continue providing them with value. This will translate into potential buyers when you launch or upgrade products or services.

  • Ensure your concept will sell: Take the time to figure out the biggest challenges your online audience are facing and build your relationship with them. Then create something that solves their problem. This is easier said than done, but it is critical – your leads come from that list.

  • Start now and improve as you go: A lot of time can be wasted by trying to perfect everything prior to your online launch.  Focus on getting sales and attracting leads instead. Launching online enables you to sell again and again and again without having to trade time for money.


Using social media for your small business

In this day and age, the internet and its business use is as necessary as pen and paper were a century ago. Social media began creeping into our lives rather early in the 21st Century, and within the first 10 years its prominence had begun. Although, at the time, it’s role was exactly what the term implies “social”, except for those promoted as explicitly business only, like LinkedIn, for example. However, over the past 5 years or so social media has developed to the extent that has moved beyond being social, playing a role in both politics and business too. It is the business aspect that interests us here. Quite simply, social media cannot be ignored as a factor in growing your business or, at the very least, creating awareness of your small business.

Research shows that 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if they have a positive experience with it on social media.

  • According to 2019 social media statistics, there are about 3.2 billion social media users around the globe.
  • 68% of adults based in the U.S. apparently have a Facebook account.
  • Active social media users are made up of: 48.2% Baby Boomers, 77.5% Generation X and 90.4% Millennials.
  • Research has shown that a regular social media user spends an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on his or her social media account every day.
  • 73% of online marketers say that their business’ social media marketing strategies have been effective.
  • About 2 million businesses use Facebook advertising to promote their products and services.


The following infographics will help you to understand some of the potential that can be found in using social media to help brand your own small business.

There are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide – 48.2% Baby Boomers, 77.5% Generation X and 90.4% Millennials.


The use of digital use around the world in 2020.

The share of time spent in mobile apps by category.

The world’s most-used social media platforms.


From these infographics, one can see the importance of considering social media for creating awareness and increasing branding of your small business.

42% of the world’s current population use social media and 2 million businesses use Facebook advertising for their products and services.


Tips for starting a small business

  • Listen and absorb
    Listen to what others have to say – friends, family, experts, even yourself. When it comes to things that have to do with your business goals, absorb everything you can. Keep notes from the resources you’ve interacted with and encourage your listeners to be honest with you. Their collective opinion may reflect the way your target customers will react to your proposed solution. Don’t ignore advice from experts and experienced business owners. Their experience of what does and doesn’t work can save you time and effort. Generally, smart entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes other business owners have made. Hola Business provides insights from veteran business owners and trainers.

  • Fill the market gap
    Your start-up should fill a hole in a specific market. It’s a lot easier to gain a good customer base when your business is the solution to a challenge. So, instead of starting your idea with what you should sell, think about it along the lines of solving your potential customers’ challenges. Know what problems your target customers face and discover methods of solving them.

  • Simple is better
    Be careful not to let your concept escalate into something more complex than it should be. You could end up with an expensive, extravagant product that nobody wants to buy. As a new business owner, try to start small and narrow your focus. Learn how to test your business idea. (With Hola Business, you test your ideas as you go.) A successful business idea should fulfil promises to customers and exceed their expectations. Keep it simple and grow slowly.

  • Consider all costs
    You will need to factor in every business expense necessary to open your company and continue running operations. Some costs to keep in mind include your location, rent, supplies and marketing. Come up with the most educated number that you can. Then take whatever you think the monetary amount is and times it by 4. As there are unexpected costs when running a business, it is better to be over prepared than fall short on funding when creditors come knocking. Remember to include your personal budget for living costs. Once you have an understanding of all your expenses, only then do you begin creating a business budget. 

  • Don’t make excuses
    Excuses slow you from reaching your goals. If you really want to start a business you need to address the reasons you think you can’t start a business – and then get rid of them. Find a solution to each issue and use the solution to move forward.


Find out how Hola Business can help you get your business going.

  • Pretend you don’t have money
    An entrepreneur should be prepared for all circumstances wherever possible. One of those is running out of money. There are many entrepreneurs who have turned their idea into action and started a business. The reality is some of them fail. So it is a good idea to come up with a “what if” scenario on the chance your business goes south. How would you cope without incoming money? Come up with ideas as how you would manage and be prepared for all the situations that may happen if your business idea doesn’t work. 

  • Don’t be hasty
    If you want to start a small business, don't resign from your job. Like most things, starting a successful business is a process. It makes sense to do it bit by bit and make the change from employee to entrepreneur in stages. The ideal time to take your business on a full time capacity is when you reach a point where the income from your business can sustain both the business and yourself.

  • Speak up 
    If you want business success, you cannot afford to be shy. You need to be outgoing and sell your business to your target market. Selling is not easy, and does not come naturally to many people. Step out there and overcome your fears. If you cannot convince your target market to purchase from you, you will battle to make an income.

  • Understand the legal requirements
    You need to understand the regulations and legislation surrounding your business, or you may suffer the legislative penalties. From creating your business’ legal structure to implementing your accounting procedures to human resource additions, you must know and stick to the law.

  • Be cautiously passionate
    Passion is required when turning an idea into a business and that same passion will help you grow your business. However, be careful that your passion does not take over your wits when it is decision-making time. The tools you acquire from Hola Business will show you just how savvy your business decisions are.


Get all the tools you need to kickstart your business. Contact Hola Business today.

Starting from scratch

Top tips as a guide for starting a brand new business.

  • Make sure of your idea: Think again and again and again – and again. Remember that your idea will be your life for the conceivable future. So, if you’re already tired of analysing it, it is more than likely that it won’t be worth your while. 

  • Trust yourself: Starting a business is about being confident in your ability to make tough choices. Do your research but remember that nothing is perfect, so you need to learn to trust your gut. 

  • Communicate the value: Having an idea for a small business is the easy part. Physically doing something about it is the real test. Communicating the value of your business is the absolute minimum requirement for success. You must be able to convince future customers that your product or service provides value for them. You will also need to convince potential talent to work for you and potential investors to invest in your business. So, keep on refining your message.

  • Don’t lose faith:  There will still be setbacks. Sometimes it comes down to factors over which you have no control. Accept the fact that you will hear 100 or more No’s before you hear that magic Yes. The important part is not to lose faith in yourself or your company. The way you react to any setback and recover from each of them will either boost or diminish your confidence. It’s your call.


Get a roadmap to business success, from Hola Business.

  • Grow your network and use it: Make use of every single contact you’ve ever made. You will need a networking advantage to help get your business into the market successfully. Whether it’s looking for customers, potential opportunities for partnerships or merely advice, always assume that everyone you know has some kind of value to offer. 

  • Get opinions: Feedback from people in the form of their opinion is an important aspect of developing your business idea and when growing your business. If someone’s opinion doesn’t match yours, that doesn’t mean you should discard their input. Take note of their comments and come back to it at a later stage. If several people have similar opinions, it is time to take cognizance of them and take action around them.

  • Partner up: Starting a business can be a difficult and lonely experience. You may want to think about including a partner with whom you can share the load.  

  • Delegate the workload:  If you want to succeed, you need to learn the art of effective delegation. Doing it all yourself is risky and sometimes impossible. Communicate what you need to your team, but remember to give them the time and space to deliver. 

  • Determine what your mission is: Your mission defines everything you do, so you need to invest the necessary time to get it right. Why does your business exist? What do you do, how do you do it, and why do you do it? With Hola Business, defining your mission is made simpler.

  • Make changes: To be successful you will need to run tests, evaluate the information, take cognizance of your customers’ input and then make any necessary changes. Don’t stick only to what you thought would work. Learn to adapt. 

  • Hire the right people: Don’t hire people too quickly and for the wrong reasons. Hiring a friend simply because he is a friend is definitely one of the wrong reasons. If you’re seeking to reduce your workload, don’t hire just to reduce the workload, the appointment must be an appropriate one. Rushing doesn’t help in the long-term. Ideally, your new employees should share your passion for the business and understand your business mission and vision.


In conclusion

As potential small business owners it is important to remember that all of these tips are broad-based generic-type small business tips. 

You will find these and similar valuable tips when researching ‘how to start your own business’ or ‘how to grow your business’. When you start a business, not any business but when you start your business, consider all business ideas, even small business ideas. 

To make the most of these valuable tips it is wise to remember that is exactly what they are – tips. For real guidance in the roles and responsibilities in starting a great business, you need an expert that is with you for the duration of your journey.

This expert is available to you via Hola Business. 

Find out how Hola can help you get your business started today.


Hola will help you create a business plan and marketing plan to help ensure a great business venture, whether you work from home or office. As a guide for entrepreneurs, it will provide insight into customer service; guide your marketing plan so it is easier for customers to buy your product; and show you your business administration strengths and weaknesses. 

There are hundreds of small business ideas and online business ideas – and you need to find your niche. Running the business simulation exercise with Hola Business may help you on this road.