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Entrepreneurship

  • How to find the right idea for your new business

    When I am giving lectures on entrepreneurship or networking with groups of would-be entrepreneurs, I am frequently asked ”But where can I find a good business idea?” Initially I was surprised that so many people started with a need to be an entrepreneur, rather than starting with a business idea; but now I realise it is quite common. So I decided that I should blog about how to go about finding a business idea. Finding the right idea for you is all about hitting your personal “sweet spot”. That is the intersection of four areas: Things that you are passionate...

  • Two essential tools for your business toolkit

    Organising two important areas of your business can be made a lot easier by using a couple of simple but powerful tools. Effective Leads Management and Project Management are as essential to many small businesses as they are to large corporations. Fortunately, great brains and expertise have been roped in to develop a couple of tools that make these facets of business easy to do. Sales people will tell you that it’s not enough that you market your product or service effectively if that doesn’t result in quality sales. But the sales also don’t just happen. ...

  • 9 lessons running taught me about running a startup

    Since becoming an avid runner and launching my startup, Tripovo, last year, I can't help but notice that entrepreneurship and running have a lot in common. Here's what I've learnt. 1. Start with baby steps You don't wake up one day and run 28k (well, perhaps some super-fit person could do, but I certainly didn't!). You start small, with achievable goals – you see how far you can run in 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then set yourself bigger goals: 5km, 7km, 10km… up to my new PB (apologies for the fitness language, personal best) of 28km yesterday. You get my message...

  • 8 Lessons for entrepreneurs who want to conquer the world

    I recently had the honour of speaking to Executive MBA students from the University of Columbia when they visited Cape Town for a summer school. I shared with them some of the key lessons I learnt during my first couple of years of running a start-up business. I would like to share my learnings with entrepreneurs looking for some guidance. 1. Data doesn’t tell you everything Most successful entrepreneurs trust their gut and instinct as much as they trust formal market research. Creating a new business is about defying the odds and finding opportunities. It’s about heart and courage as...

  • 3 fundraising trends to help your startup

    Hammer pants. Frosted tips. Fanny packs. Some of you bought into these flavours of the month. Others, well, lucked out. At one time, for better or worse, following these 'fads' meant you had your finger firmly on pop culture's pulse. Because they come and go at a moment's notice, trends get a bad rap. But being trendy can serve a broader purpose. Trendsetters and followers are looked at as experts and generate buzz wherever they go. That's the aim of every cash-strapped startup: to garner enough attention, credibility, and cash to live up to its potential. Where the funds flow According to Statistic Brain...

  • 5 reasons your startup should consider an online loan

    "Banks loan money to businesses that can prove they don't need to borrow the money." This statement is an adage for a reason. Traditional brick-and-mortar bank lending can be inflexible and hard to attain. When you consider that a US$10 000 loan and a US$10-million loan cost roughly the same amount to administrate – with the latter providing significantly greater profit – it's not hard to guess why banks tend to invest in large corporations rather than small businesses. For years, small businesses that didn't qualify for funding had to rely on credit cards or bootstrapping. Then came online and platform...

  • SA on entrepreneurial decline, says latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report

    The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report for South Africa says entrepreneurs in the country have declined during 2015 to 2016. According to the report, entrepreneurial intentions in SA have almost halved when compared to 2010 and are 3.6 times lower than the African average. Since 2014, there has been an 18% increase in creating startups out of necessity. This is due to SA's poor economic growth and high unemployment rates, according to the GEM report. Entrepreneurs in 2015 are four-times more likely to anticipate making no contribution to job creation. Due to unprofitability or problems in accessing finance to sustain the business,...

  • Payroll fraud could be hurting your startup, here’s how to fight it

    Payroll fraud is more endemic than many business owners realise, and this problem is not exclusive to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The 2016 ACFE Global Fraud Study revealed that 12% of fraud detection in small business came from an internal audit, whereas in larger enterprises this was 18.6%. For SMEs the detection of fraud is less frequent than larger organisations, however, it is still a high statistic to ensure companies are aware of the risks. One of the biggest tips for small business owners is to become suspicious if a member of your payroll department never goes on leave, arrives...

  • Entrepreneurs, want to know how Amazon founder Jeff Bezos started out? [infographic]

    It's not easy starting one of the world's largest ecommerce stores, especially if you don't know how to. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos didn't just become an overnight success, he had to work towards his goal. In an infographic on Funders and Founders created by Anna Vital, Bezos's story is detailed from early life, to his Princeton education, and even his co-founding of a newsletter startup. The page also includes some additional paragraphs on the Amazon man himself, such as him being a "person of method," and his creation of the Regret Minimization Framework. You can read the full article here. For...

  • Does your business model have the legs to go the distance?

    To successfully run any business, shareholders, managers and directors of SMEs and privately-held companies can create enduring value through challenging the business model. To run any company, however big or small, it is essential to implement the right model for the way the business operates. It is critical to implement a sustainable, financially viable business model that positively impacts as many of the business’s stakeholders as possible. Here are a few tips for doing just that: Face the toughest question of all Challenge whether or not the business model can generate income and value long-term. Many business founders blame insufficient cash flow as the...