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With many high flying entrepreneurs receiving plenty of publicity today and starting your own business becoming a real option for both graduates and experienced professionals, many would be business owners run the risk of losing everything if they don’t get their message across or manage to attract sufficient clients before money dries up. One of the key questions remain, how do I ensure my business plan is executed successfully?

We are constantly bombarded with messages and news stories talking about the millions of Rand and Dollars some start-ups are making and in many ways this can easily be compared with the gold rush phenomenon we saw a few hundred years ago both in this country and others around the world. So what can we do as entrepreneurs to ensure that our dreams of creating a business of our own and becoming independent and well revered entrepreneurs don’t end up remaining only that?

There may be a number of possible solutions from extensive marketing research before we start, creating well thought through business plans to be used as a road map and of course getting the right business partners on board. Few would disagree that looking at the success of current entrepreneurs may provide us with some important answers in our search for success. Here are five valuable lessons to be learned from those who are creating success right now.

1) Follow-through is essential

Nearly 1,000 startups raised R75 billion from venture capitalists in the second quarter of 2011, up 19 percent from the first quarter this year and 61 percent from the same period in 2009, according to the National Venture Capital Association. But the success rate of first-time ventures is only 20.9%, according to research published by the Journal of Financial Economics in 2010. Knowing what it takes to turn a vision into a successful business reality is crucial, and often times, is acquired through experience. Prove your ability to execute in both the short and long term, conduct comprehensive market-research and don’t give up when economic outlook appears grim.

2) Build an enthusiastic and passionate team

Experience teaches you the importance of building the right team and inspiring that team to never give up. Often times, ventures are formed with a top-heavy team of executives overly skilled and inappropriately scaled to the size of a business. When times get tough, instead of having the hunger to stick with it, many will jump ship. Build and inspire a core team that fiercely believes in your vision and has the commitment to persevere through market crises and the ups and downs of a startup.

3) Balance is critical

New ventures often follow an extremely lean operating model – too lean in fact. To a certain extent, you need to pay for play to capture greater market share. Raise sufficient capital and allocate the appropriate resources to expand your business. Seek to achieve the right balance; don’t be afraid to adjust your business plan depending on market conditions.

4) It pays to think like an investor

Venture capitalists alone evaluate hundreds of presentations a year. While you undoubtedly need a brilliant idea that addresses a market need to spark interest, investors also gauge their faith in the executive team. Experience helps you to build relationships with your target investor group, and identify the right type of capital to raise for your venture. This does not happen overnight, but over time, strong relationships help you expand your resources and understand how to raise capital and who to raise capital from.

5) Listen and learn

Listening is a virtue for a reason. Entrepreneurs often focus on communicating, convincing and selling. But investors can be more than financial-backers; they can also act as advisors who speak from their personal experience, failures and successes. Find mentors and industry leaders who can walk with you through your entrepreneurial journey.

In 2013, 565,000 new businesses were started per month by new and repeat entrepreneurs, according to the Kauffman Foundation. In this time of economic uncertainty, the need for innovative ideas and new business ventures is greater than ever. Entrepreneurs are a vital part of the economy, so hold fast to your vision, be flexible, and persevere through failure and fluctuating market conditions. It will pay off in the end.

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