Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa
Selling The Dream Image Credit: Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa
Selling The Dream Image Credit: Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa

Selling The Dream

When you’re starting a business, the secret to success is getting everyone — from customers to suppliers — buying into your vision.

Alan Knott-Craig

Q I started a company in 2016 offering road building in residential areas for local municipalities. I realised that there is too much risk involved and I do not have the capital to purchase machinery. The overheads are also too high. I feel more comfortable supplying municipalities with commodities. I have been in sales and have good people skills and sales experience. However, I’m struggling to get a foot in the door. Manufacturers are reluctant to give me a credit advance. As a result, I had to let go of many opportunities. How do I overcome this obstacle? — Martin

I can only speak from my own experience selling to municipalities. I did it once, successfully. This is how I did it:

1. I convinced the municipality to roll out public WiFi in low-income communities.

2. The municipality awarded me a contract.

3. With that contract in hand I shopped around to find a company that I could subcontract. That company had to take a risk that the municipality would pay me, and I would in turn pay him. I had to take the risk that the sub-contractor wouldn’t deliver the goods.

4. I found a sub-contractor.

5. We deployed the WiFi.

6. The municipality paid its bills.

7. There was never a hint of corruption.

In retrospect I realise I was the beneficiary of a succession of benevolent


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