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Entrepreneurship

  • The Asian giant arm-wrestle: Is India about to beat China at the VC game?

    China, by all means, is far ahead of India. Be it the quality of infrastructure, its business-friendly environment and backing from the government -- India has a lot to learn from this Asian giant. It’s no secret that India has always looked at China with a bit of envy, for its astonishing growth over the past couple of decades to become the fastest-growing economy in the world, despite the fact that a large chunk of its people still don’t speak English. According to a recent news report by The Economic Times, prominent Indian startup entrepreneurs have started paying regular visits...

  • This is why I won’t run another startup

    Earlier this year, I closed my startup. So now I get to reflect on what I’d have done differently. Hindsight is unfair and inaccurate, but I still enjoy its lessons. This is one, a note to my future self: "Don’t call your projects ‘startups’". It’s a semantic trick, but a really important one. Here’s why. Startups have become a commodity in an industry of startup conferences, websites, courses and competitions. As founders of young organisations, we struggle to distinguish genuine guidance and support from the distracting pizzazz of the startup industry, where we’re just the product, not the customer. Lured...

  • 5 women entrepreneurs from Africa to keep an eye on

    Africa is often viewed as a destitute region consumed by war, famine and disease. These are all very real facts and we are not here to minimise their severity. However, we do want to shed some light on the immense potential that some of these countries are showing. And this potential is in part due to the sheer force and determination of African women (over 520 million on the continent!) We all know that women are born fighters. They fight for their rights, for their children and for their future. From a 20-year-old who manufactures bikes with Ghanaian bamboo, to...

  • Self-awareness is key contributor to entrepreneurial growth

    Most challenges around small business tend to revolve around figuring out the technical dynamics of the company or the market it's operating in, but too often than not, is the understanding of one's own character put under the microscope. Self-awareness -- a conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires -- contributes extensively to the success of an entrepreneurial business, says Busi Raphekwane who's a senior business mentor at South Africa-based incubator The Hope Factory. Founded in 2001, The Hope Factory is an established enterprise and supplier development, non-profit organisation. It's driven to develop black business owners, with...

  • 5 effective communication tools every SME needs in the bag

    Regardless of the size of your company or how long you have been in operation, it is essential that you have communication tools in place that will allow you to better connect with your employees, vendors, and customers. Efficient and reliable business communication tools will lead to productive interpersonal relationships, successful resolutions of customer service issues, and effective marketing campaigns. A successful business will also understand that effective communication will rely on tailoring messages and services to obtain maximum results. Email Hosting Provider Many people prefer email communication over picking up the phone to make a simple phone call, so it is...

  • Startups need a problem, not a solution

    If you have an awesome idea for a new startup, stop. Write down your solution, put it away and start by identifying the problem that you’re trying to solve. Contrary to popular wisdom to “Always focus on the solution not the problem” building a startup is not about knowing what you want to build up front. It’s about knowing what problem you want to solve and constantly evolving the solution to better fit that problem. The surest way to fail at building a startup is to try and build a product. Chances are, no one is going to really want it...

  • Dare to dream, dare to fail: 4 lessons from Adelaide Potgieter’s MadWorld

    South African entrepreneur and the founder of creative agency group MadWorld, Adelaide Potgieter, is very daring. In between rocky roads of the past, vulnerabilities, she's over the years managed to turn a R1 500 investment into a R60-million company by daring to dream. This was the message that was left at Startup Grind Cape Town this month, with the ever so enchanting, Potgieter, as the honoured guest. As always, the event was buzzing with highly ambitious, excited entrepreneurs hungry for knowledge, and managed to live up to its hype as the South African entrepreneur revealed her secrets to success. 1. Drive...

  • 7 ways you can lose your company’s most valuable talent

    Recruiting the right people is difficult in a market where many important commercial, technical and management skills are in short supply. Keeping employees once you’ve recruited them can be even harder. Every time you lose a good employee, it costs you money because you’ll need to recruit and train someone to replace him or her. It disrupts continuity in your business, can hurt customer relationships, slows you down, and results in you losing a small piece of your corporate memory. That’s why organisations must create an employee engagement and retention strategy to ensure that they remain competitive and productive. Here are...

  • 4 tips to help you move from corporate to startup

    You’ve heard the advice time and time again: Just do it. In a perfect world, you’d be able to save up at least a year’s worth of income, quit your job and pursue your entrepreneurial venture with no career or job-based distractions. It’s the savings part that holds most people back. You can’t let fear or not having a nest egg stop you from your dreams. Investors often ask if you have any other jobs, and what they’re looking for is a hard, honest no. If you can’t give them that, it says you’re not fully invested in your dream. The good...

  • 5 customer service obstacles every startup has to overcome

    Have you ever noticed how some companies seem to go out of their way to place obstacles between their customers and great service? I sometimes imagine that there is a special director in charge of creating as much difficulty as possible for customers. Please allow me to share some examples of just a few of the customer service barriers I've bumped into during the past few weeks and how to overcome these obstacles. 1. Signs that give orders to customers "You must stand behind the line until you're called." "Absolutely NO PARKING: Reserved for Directors" "Business Banking Customers ONLY." “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!”...