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Entrepreneurship

  • 3 ways to make flexi-time work for your business

    In today’s fast moving and high-pressure world of work, it is near impossible to maintain a modicum of balance. For entrepreneurs and employees at startups and SMMEs, working 12-hour days and over weekends is often par for the course. This leaves little to no time for family members, partners, and relaxing activities outside of work. And as we have seen, the consequences of such a relentless routine can be disastrous: ill health, broken families, burnout, etc. Fortunately, however, new technology tools and platforms are now giving frazzled workers more options. Armed with smart devices and mobile connectivity, many employees...

  • 3 Organisational structure changes to strengthen your startup’s tech team

    Hiring experienced technologists is difficult. Many are happy in their current positions, and the others are inundated with offers. With software developer employment projected to grow 17% by 2024 — 10% faster than the average occupational growth rate in the US -- it’s incumbent upon employers to ensure they stand out from the crowd. The right organizational structure and workplace culture will help them do just that. There are three principles to enact: 1. Introduce small standalone teams to encapsulate dependencies According to Conway's Law, any organization that designs a new system “will produce a design whose structure is a copy of...

  • 5 pro tips for building the launchpad to business success

    Innovation and passion are at the core of every great business, but making your dream a reality requires some fundamental ingredients for success. Of course, there's the paperwork, and then the difficulty involved in raising capital. But many wide-eyed wantrepreneurs forget about the importance of research and testing to fine-tune their approach. I've had the opportunity to fail, fail, and fail again before finally meeting success with my own series of startups. Below I'll share a few observations from my experience, which will hopefully help you kick-start your entrepreneurial journey with fewer scrapes and bruises. 1. Read Veraciously As Aldous Huxley once...

  • Is your startup ready for PR?

    There is no question that startups can benefit from great media publicity, but before you embark on this journey, you should ask yourself the critical question: “Is my business is ready for PR”? Building a successful business in today’s turbulent economic climate is a tough ask for even the most intrepid entrepreneurs. The business landscape has become a battleground, with growing numbers of small enterprises jostling for pole position amidst ever tightening corporate budgets. So how do you get ahead of the competition and make your business stand out from the crowd? TV and radio advertisements can certainly offer...

  • 7 common, but totally preventable, mistakes startups make

    As a business owner, you are going to make mistakes. Some of those mistakes made may hopefully turn out to be learning experiences in which you are able to strengthen a particular area of your startup. However, not all turn out to be such. Some mistakes can actually handicap your startup permanently – these are the types of mistakes that you want to avoid at all costs. Luckily, some of the most common mistakes made by startups, which are capable of inflicting long term damage, are entirely preventable. Starting your own business is not easy. Launching a startup –...

  • Regulation is seriously harming investment in SA’s online startups

    Regulating the internet in South Africa could have serious consequences for investment in the country, potentially damaging its prospects for growth. That's according to a new report from investment advisory firm Fifth Era. As the report notes, internet businesses require capital to fuel their growth, and that capital comes both from local in-country investors, as well as from international investors in the form of FDI. Thing is, those investors are almost always put off by ambiguous regulatory environments. That's a stark warning for South Africa, where legislators are trying to introduce a raft of new online regulations, ranging from...

  • Fintech startups, the big players are coming for you

    If you've got a technology startup that plays in the financial space, you need to know something: the big guys are coming for you. In some cases, they may want to buy you, or your technology, out before you have a chance to seriously disrupt them (it's one reason so many banks now sponsor fintech incubator and accelerator programmes). But they're also looking to out innovate you and use their weight of resources to shut you out of the market. And it's not just the banks either. The largest financial technology incumbents are also out to ensure their survival,...

  • Diversity in tech startups: time to check our privilege

    I was recently asked to speak on diversity in the South African tech space at Net Prophet, the popular technology and entrepreneurship conference. The talk addressed issues around race (mostly) and gender in the tech space. It asked how tech could solve some of the gender issues and race issues in the country and around the world. How are companies and the tech industry at large dealing with fact there aren’t enough women and people of colour in tech in South Africa and Africa at large? And how can we encourage entrepreneurship in those groups? It is such a...

  • Entrepreneurs, want a high-funded crowdsourced product? Make a board game

    Over the past decade or so, board games have been making a serious comeback in the mainstream. These aren't your typical Monopoly or Cluedo titles, which is now a cliche to say, but in-depth, strategic, and beautifully crafted products of enjoyment. Looking at the list of most-funded projects on crowd-funding website Kickstarter yields some interesting results. Sure, there's a range of electronics, video games, and even music, but in between those are board games. Those collections of cardboard and plastic tokens can net you a tidy funding amount. You many have an 'original idea' for one; maybe it'll be the next...

  • Beyond tech: using all your senses in business

    Human beings love to interact – it’s part of who we are. But as we’ve become increasingly consumed with screens, we’ve started to lose touch with our most basic ability to connect with one another. Rather than handing out gadgets to each of my sales employees and letting machines do the work, what I’ve found consistently yields better sales results is human interaction. Technology enables us to be more efficient, but it shouldn’t define the entire sales experience. We’re already fully equipped with what we need to acquire a customer – our five senses. A natural, positive interaction boils...