Part 1 – Turning the Idea Into a Business



Very ironic to start this new phase of my life on a day that celebrates being South African in our diverse country. As we get to know each other better, you will pick up a tone of excitement and thrill over being not only South African but also African … There isn’t a place as exciting as Africa anywhere in the world right now.

I spent the entire day thinking about what my first post would be about. I get asked about things like business planning, project management, effective execution and planning all the time, but I didn’t want to sound like I was writing a business book summary.

I want to get personal and connect with everyone that will be reading through my posts. I want to inspire and also share some of the things that have worked for me over the past 6 years of being an entrepreneur.

image“Starting a new business is 90 percent guts and 10 percent capital.” – RAYMOND ACKERMAN Chairman, Pick ‘n Pay

Now, lets get started.

I’ve decided to start at the beginning. I’m not sure where I got a soft copy of the ebook written by Thomas Kubr, Heinz Marchesi, Daniel Ilar and published in 1999 called “Make your idea your business”. The book was adapted for South Africa by Crispin Collier, Colin Douglas, Thobi Mphuthing and Sandy Yates, so I liked the idea that the case studies were of South African Companies. I actually think this is the book that made me fall in love with Discovery Health (I later worked for them for about a year and they still remain one of my favourite companies in the world. I am a hard core Adrian Gore fan, so he might come up now and again).

Back to the book … the 10 chapters take you through key points to consider when writing a business plan and offers some tips and methodologies around financial projections, marketing tools and financing. I will investigate the legalities around sharing this ebook and possibly post a link at a later stage but I will share as much as I can on this blog.

Lets start with the basics. You have an idea … where do you start? Do you need capital and where do you get this capital? Why should anyone even give you this money.

I remember when we started Fuse Academy For Girls. We just jumped straight into it and paid for what we needed to pay for, as we got invoiced. Zinhle and I were two girls with a passion to get the idea going and to see people walk into our school. We were fuelled by passion. This had its advantages (because we got the ball rolling) but it also had many disadvantages (because we don’t know how much it took to get the business off and we probably lost a lot of money at the beginning as we did not have clear financial projections or records).

I recently had an incident where I was offered 1 million Rand and where I had to show the funder how I could make profit from the money being offered. I could have talked them through a couple of ideas I might have had in my head, but I had nothing that was quantifiable. All I had were ideas and that’s basically how I lost that money. I had not spent enough time on nurturing and grooming one idea to the point where I could convince someone to part with a million Rand. I had no way of showing them how I could make a million more. I know most of you think, “Oh my gosh, I would’ve found a way to convince them”, but my all hype and no action skills suck, so that was never going to work. I am planner and very detailed in my execution, I could never sell anything that had no clear direction.

Back to that idea you have … firstly, you have to write it down.

• Is it a product?
• A service?
• Is there a market?
• Who are they?
• What will make them spend money on you vs your competitor?
• What makes your idea different?

Start with the basics, answer these questions and let’s investigate all the other parts next week.

I will have 5 more posts around the business plan and I will go into detail on your idea, the market, company values (why they matter) and all the other parts that eventually get your idea into some sort of spreadsheet or app with timelines and goals.

Remember, the difference between a goal and a dream is that a goal has timelines. If you don’t decide to get started and set milestones, you will never get it done. The goal posts may shift but we will be moving forward.

As part of this blog, I will share books I read for motivation, inspiration and business books that have shaped my thinking. I will share insights from friends who are more knowledgeable than I am, I will listen to your input and answer some questions. Please let me know where you are challenged, what you want to read about and I will accommodate topics based on the majority requests received.

As soon as we are done with all this business structure stuff, we will get to the fun conversations that look at specific industries. These will be PR, BRANDING, MARKETING and THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS. I specialise in these fields and could write an entire book with loads and loads of case studies that excite and thrill me daily.

I am very spiritual so there may be mentions of philosophies that have to do with getting your soul right. I am not part of any religion but God seems to work overtime for me so I will share :-)

Spread Love and Stay blessed

Nomndeni Mdakhi
Change Catalyst


21 Comments, RSS


    Balungile September 28, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

    Thanks Nomndeni and thank God for you and Zinhle. Believe it or not, before checking this blog today I went into your website first, trying to find an e-mail cause I’m looking for a relevant book/s to read to give me the kickstart that I need. I’m one of those who have an idea but need a roadmap as to where to begin and how.

    I just got online now to purchase the book you recommended.

    Keep them coming please. I am definitely benefiting from this.

    Thank you.


      Brenda October 7, 2015 @ 10:33 am

      Hi Balungile

      you mentioned that you managed to the “Make your idea your business” book, I’ve been on the internet and struggling to find it, please share on which website did you buy from?


    kefilwe September 29, 2015 @ 10:25 am

    Wow Woman…. I like. Thank you so much for sharing your business knowledge and experience with us, I am so inspired. I have starting a small business as well but i just realized that i left a lot of things not considered, lol. I saw your post on Facebook that u posted something kwi Blog ka DJ Zinhle and I just went to check it out. you ladies inspire me. I will def keep an eye out for more information that might also help me. Thank you


    dj mononoke September 29, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

    I’m really glad I’ve came across this informative post, this really helped me out quite a bit, by answering all my questions properly, hopefully the site will grow bigger and more popular as ever it was. Keep up the good work and I’m sure I’ll visit you up someday soon for more great articles. You may find great articles and music production tools at: by the way!


    Mmatshepo November 18, 2015 @ 11:56 am

    Balungile where did you purchase the book?
    I’m struggling to get hold of it…Please Help!!!

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