Professor Don Weiss: 15 Golden Lessons For South African Entrepreneurs

Professor Don Weiss leads a delegation of around 100 United States business school graduates from Columbia University, one of the most prestigious learning institutions in the world. Professor Weiss took the stage to speak to the Heavy Chef audience about some of the lessons he has picked up over a lifetime of meeting and teaching entrepreneurs. Don believes there's a new gold rush in South Africa that is rooted in the entrepreneurial landscape. Don shared 15 quick-fire lessons he espouses for these starry-eyed individuals.

  1. There's no right time to start your business.

  2. Make sure your business solves a real problem that is profitable and scalable.

  3. When you start, realise that you will face death (or near death).

  4. Weiss 1st Law: everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as you think.

  5. Weiss 2nd Law: everything takes four times as long and costs four times as much as you think.

  6. Be laser-focused.

  7. If it's obvious that it's not working, be flexible.

  8. Perseverance is unavoidable. You'll need to work hours that are out of control.

  9. Act with integrity: Do what you say; say what you do.

  10. Use your network (attend networking events like Heavy Chef evening sessions).

  11. Entrepreneurship is lonely.

  12. Get a mentor.

  13. Partner with people you trust.

  14. Failing is just a (costly) learning experience.

  15. Business is not about numbers; business is about people.


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  • CueAV - Africa's finest AV business

  • Whipping The Cat - award-winning legal services for SMEs

  • Vida e Caffe - coffee that fuels entrepreneurs

  • Sir Fruit - healthy breaks for entrepreneurs everywhere

  • Backsberg - the world's finest wine, according to the Heavy Chef community

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