data breach

Could a data breach ruin your company?

In this Age of Digital, many Small Medium Businesses (SMB) and larger enterprises have to constantly be on the lookout for potential security and data breach threats. A data breach in an SMB or enterprise is defined as an event where a brand’s name is potentially at risk, either in electronic or paper format. The 2016 Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach study identified three main causes of a data breach: a malicious or criminal attack a system glitch human error The cost of a data breach can vary according to the cause, the systems in place to safeguard your company and the amount of lag time hackers have when accessing your systems undetected. The Cost of Data Breach study was based on 383 companies in 12 countries. South Africa’s data breach incidents throughout 2016 were analysed for the first time. Other countries included France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, Australia, the Arabian region (the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) and Canada. 7 global megatrends in the Cost of Data Breach research Certain ‘megatrends’ have been revealed when studying the data breach experience of over 2,013 organisations in every industry over the years. 1. Cost of data breach has not fluctuated Since inception of this research, the cost of a data breach has not fluctuated significantly. This could indicate that companies have taken on more agile security in line with their data protection strategies. 2. Biggest consequence of data breach The biggest financial consequence […]

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eCommerce website

5 Things Your eCommerce Website Can’t Be Without

eCommerce has revolutionised the way we consume products and services. Your customer is no longer wandering aimlessly through the mall, hoping to find their next favourite product or service. They’re now looking for your business from the comfort of their own home. And if you’ve been smart enough to get your business hitched up to the eCommerce bandwagon, you’ll know that your website is your shop front… and that it needs to sell, sell, sell. So, if you want your online business to thrive, there are a number of essentials that your eCommerce website can’t be without.   Does your eCommerce website check these 5 boxes?   1.    Professional look and feel It’s all about your brand. And the way your website looks and feels (and makes your customer feel) will either support or undermine your brand. Your eCommerce website needs to look as good as the mall version of your store – and better. Get hold of a reputable website design company who will take your vision and bring it to life in a way that’s on-trend, functional and most importantly, simple. Simplicity is far more effective than flash, and takes a long time to achieve. Spend time on this part of your website and watch your business reach new heights. 2.    Easy navigation Think about the best shopping experience you’ve ever had. Now consider why it stands out from the rest: because it was rare. Someone took the time to anticipate your every need: Finding parking was a […]

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Your Essential 5-Point Checklist for Buying Business Property

Buying your first business property is an exciting venture – congratulations on taking that next step! Whether you are buying or renting property space for your business, office or factory, it’s important to make sure that you are armed with everything you need for a smooth transaction. The only thing bridging the gap between a good and a bad property sale is this: information.   Our 5-point checklist below will help you make sure your property purchase goes down without a hitch:   1.    Do your research Perhaps the most important phase of all: doing your homework. Thorough research should be conducted into the area where the building is located, as well as the infrastructure surrounding it. As the business owner, you should also take a good look at the building structure to make sure your business will be able to maximise the space and location fully. Some key questions you may want to ask include: How much office space will you need? What sort of facilities will you require? Is the building accessible from major motorways? Is there sufficient parking available for both staff and clients? Which area is the safest and most accessible to public transport routes? Will the premises allow you to scale for growth, should your business need to expand? Are the premises in good condition, or will you need to budget for property renovations? If you ask the right questions you will be able to make the right decisions. Leave no stone unturned in your […]

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business owner

How you as a business owner can maintain your sanity in tough times

When Craig Ford first bought into Bugs & Sparks, a well-known Cape Town-based local business, it came with its fair share of difficulties. Having felt the weight of a then struggling business on his shoulders, Craig is all too aware that running a company can take its toll on sole business owners mentally and emotionally. But with the help of his friend and business coach, Ian Brown, Craig is now able to keep his head and relish the highs that also come from running a now growing, thriving business. Together they discuss maintaining your sanity by dealing with failure, learning from 2016 and identifying ways to move forward in business. Dealing with failure When it comes to business, you won’t always get it right the first time, but failure is usually part of the package at some point. “Being the sole owner of a business, it’s often a lonely place to be,” says Craig. “All the decisions rest on your shoulders, good or bad.” Ian agreed and explains how essential it is that failure is dealt with and learnt from in order to move forward. “Running a business is not for the faint of heart. Failure often results in bankruptcy and misery – there are often no retakes allowed,” he says. “But there are always things to implement and change in order to improve the situation. Identifying those things will help you keep your sanity under pressure.” Moving forward Craig believes in the value that a business coach can bring […]

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business in South Africa

Risk vs Reward – the future of doing business in South Africa

By now it is no secret. People have spoken about the fork in the road that we as a country find ourselves at, as well as the knife’s edge on which our young democracy is balancing. There is no doubt that now will go down as a pivotal time in South Africa’s history. Economically, our environment is tough. Slow if not stagnant growth is not creating the jobs, wealth and economic opportunities that our people demand. Intense poverty and inequality is causing crises like Fees Must Fall, strikes and our high levels of crime. Politically, we find ourselves in one of the worst states that we have ever been in. A massive leadership chasm and severe corruption among the political elite leave us with our hands in our hair daily. Unfortunately, the international investment community does not care much for excuses. The probability of a downgrade to junk status is already being partially priced into the market, with political power struggles adding oil to the fire. A presidential budget speech and a finance ministry willing to stand up for our country goes a long way, but might not be enough to avoid losing our investment level status in December. The question must then be asked what the future holds for starting and growing businesses in the current chaos and uncertainty. Are there enough opportunities in this market to warrant the risk of building a company and a future here? Let’s look at some of the unique characteristics of RSA from […]

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Neethling Gears Up For ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships

Jeffrey Neethling, cyclist and triathlon enthusiast from Cape Town, recently qualified for his most intense event yet: the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in New South Wales, Australia.   This one day, off-road, action-packed event is a highlight on the international triathlon calendar, and offers a platform for the world’s best to compete head to head for the winning spot.   “The triathlon I am competing in is called an off-road or cross triathlon,” says Neethling. “This means that we do all our swimming in dams or the sea, and the cycling and running off-road through mountains, forests and across rivers.”   Hailing from a sport-loving family, his training and competing in swimming events started at an early age:   “Only when I turned 21 did I get a mountain bike and immediately got hooked,” Jeffrey says. “Then a year later I was challenged by friends to compete with them in my first triathlon, the Xterra Buffelspoort Full. I really suffered that day and had to walk most of the run leg of the event but soon after finishing the race I wanted more,” says Neethling.   Now he is pushing the limits of the sport, having qualified for the ITU Cross Triathlon through his participation at Xterra Grabouw, the South African off road triathlon national championships, where he took first place in his category. He will be taking part in the men’s elite category, competing against the world’s best off road triathletes.   WEBPRINTER, a top printing company in Cape […]

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4 Ways to Get Ready to Run Your Business Marathon

Have you ever wondered how to shift your business from a start-up to an SME, or from an SME to a saleable asset? If you’re an avid runner, you know what it takes to get from running your weekly Park Run to competing in the Old Mutual 42km Marathon. Your success, whether it’s in fitness or business, lies in one key factor: your methodology.   These four key methods will help your business go the distance:   1.    Get your health checked Every business owner needs to set a baseline or starting point: What is the current health status of your business?  In other words: how fit or healthy is your business? The importance of knowing this is often missed. If you are currently only able to run or walk 3km and want to get to full marathon status, you are likely to have a very clear understanding of the training required to achieve it. Similarly, if you know where your current risks to success lie or know what your business is currently valued at, you can more than likely identify and articulate the areas that need improvement.   2.    Get a plan Most of us have often set lofty resolutions to get fit, but more often than not have been unable to achieve these goals. Articulating the “why” in our motivation to run a marathon and sharing this with those close to us will often result in a far better success rate. In business this is called your strategy. […]

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How to Market Your Business on a Small Budget

Do you ever feel like you’re throwing money at your market budget and not getting the results you need? Not only is this “spray-and-pray” approach costly, but its unfocussed goals and target market are simply not going to bring you customers and business. A well thought-out and structured marketing plan can go a long way, without breaking the bank. This is even more necessary if you’re a small business owner. You probably have to make sure every spend gets turned over 10 times before it’s allocated, and every spend has to stand up under the scrutiny of ROI: has it brought in more than enough customers to cover the costs of acquiring them? So, to help put your mind at ease, here are our top four tips to stretch your marketing budget and increase sales.   1. Print Advertising Think print media is dead? Think again. Print advertising is incredibly useful and powerful for four important reasons: It’s long-term: Print advertising will often live in people’s homes or offices for several months, which allows for repeated exposure to your advertising campaign. Posters offer this benefit as well as people are reached repeatedly through continuous exposure, bringing in new customers for your business. It’s affordable: Print advertising is a highly cost-effective form of marketing in terms of the sales they bring in per Rand spent. Since a single print ad can reach several viewers several times, it offers a very high return on investment (ROI). It’s tangible: Flyers, posters, magazines and […]

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financial success in business

10 Steps to Engineering Financial Success in Business

From working with many companies across sectors, some that are very successful and others that are still a work in process, we have learnt that financial success in business can be engineered. There is a golden thread that can be seen in each success story in our modern business environment. I have sought to break these observations down into ten critical steps. Financial success begins with a change in mind-set (steps 1-6). It’s made efficient by way of automation (steps 7-9). It’s brought to fulfilment through scaling (step 10). Before we get started, I’d like to introduce you to OldCo and NewCo. OldCo and NewCo are both established companies operating in a similar industry to yours. They both earn product and service income and have both been quite successful to date. OldCo subscribes to the old school way of doing business. They believe that if it’s not broken, why fix it. Subsequently they are not very interested in new technology and processes, but instead focus on what they know best. NewCo on the other hand has had a change in mind-set. They believe that technology, innovation and access to the right information gives them a competitive advantage in a fast-paced global business environment. These two companies will serve as our examples in the ten steps below.   STEP 1 – RETHINK FINANCIAL SYSTEMS AND CONTROLS It is no longer the companies who have access to the information that hold power, but rather the ones that are able to sift through, […]

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Digital daily blog

Business Owner: Three Skills You Can’t Fake

By Dylan Kohlstadt   As entrepreneurs and business owners, we have to wear many hats: CEO, rain-maker, negotiator, tenant, employer, supplier, and the list goes on. However, as we grow in business, the gaps in our knowledge start to show as our core business strengths begin to shine through, and our ‘wing it on a prayer’ approach to everything else stops being effective. When that starts to happen, and balls start dropping. It’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself and your business and realise that there are some skills you just cannot fake.   1. Get Organised   We’re often so busy being busy that we feel we haven’t got the time to stop and get organised. This limits our growth and ability to scale dramatically. There’s only so much information you can store in your head, and the thought that you’ve forgotten something will keep you up at night and rob your team of much-needed responsibility and accountability.   Here’s what works for us:   1. Systems and Processes: As a growing creative marketing agency we reached a point where running our job tracking, internal comms and invoicing off of emails and ‘say-so’ just wasn’t working anymore. Streamlining your business’s systems and processes is something you should consider if you want to grow.   – Asana is great for task-tracking in our respective creative teams, and integrates well with Toggl, an effective time-tracking tool. Asana also gives you the option to allow a project to be […]

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Digital Daily

Top Tech Tools for Women in Business

Boost for Women Entrepreneurs with CiTi’s ‘Women in Business’ Initiative   The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) is proud to announce the launch of its Women in Business (WIB) programme, which is set to kick off on the 7th of April 2016. The initiative, which is jointly sponsored by the City of Cape Town, is part of a venture to empower female entrepreneurs by giving them access to workshops, mentors and tools that will enrich their knowledge of tech and business strategies, as well as enhance their practical business skills. The ten-week WIB programme aims to help participants develop robust tech strategies, as well as gain useful insight into using digital tools that improve their business practices. A number of industry experts will take the stage as guest speakers throughout the programme, such as Hayley Grey from Forge Technologies, Gillian Geldenhuys from 2D Mobile and Chantelle Bowyer from METIS Online Marketing. Topics covered will include Developing a Tech Strategy, Project Management, Financial Strategy, Trends and IT tools, and Digital Marketing, to name but a few.   Women who wish to be considered for the programme should meet the following criteria: They have been the CEO or founder of their own business for no less than a year They must be using tech in their businesses and must have a desire to learn more They must have a desire to implement a tech strategy in their business They should preferably have a least one other staff member According to the […]

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Digital Daily Blog

The Value of Knowing Your Customer

The key to unlocking customer loyalty – the pot of gold all businesses hunt after every day – is in understanding our customer. Really understanding them. Not just wanting their sweaty-palmed Rands, but actually wanting to capture their hearts. When you have their hearts, you will have their loyalty, and loyalty is the ultimate prize.   So, I’m asking a question that might make you squirm a little in your seat, but I’m asking it nonetheless: Aside from the standard ‘Were you satisfied with our service?’ questionnaire, have you asked your customer base a) who they are, b) how they feel about you, c) what they feel about being your customer, and d) how willing they are to recommend you to others?   We’ve been led to believe that a survey is simply a way to find out public interest or general feedback about our businesses.   But the buck doesn’t stop there. Customer surveys are an essential part of securing and maintaining your client base. How are you to know whether your product or service really meets your customers’ needs? How do you know whether your customers are truly satisfied with the services you provide?   As you can see, creating a good client survey is as much a science as it is an art. Here’s why…   1.     Good surveys take time Nothing good ever happened at the drop of a hat.   It’s no different when it comes to client research. You should spend twice as long […]

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Digital Daily Blog

New Year, New You: Out with the Old, in with the New

By Heinrich van der Vyver New Year’s resolutions abound as we kick off 2016. I don’t know about you, but last year was a hard nut to crack and I’m more than ready to walk away from it at a brisk pace. Someone once said that to repeatedly do the same thing and expect a different result is insanity. So how do we make sure we don’t end up making 2016 into 2015.1? Something’s got to change. Resolutions that Stick I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions – simply because they usually only last until 2nd January, and you start the year feeling like you’ve already let someone down. What I do like, however, is a plan and a strategy for change that is achievable and measurable. Integrated Everything: Look, when it comes to health and work-life balance, I need all the help I can get. I spend most of my days behind my computer, coding and developing business operating software in an attempt to improve the way we work, even if just a little bit, so kale smoothies and yoga mats are not usually on my agenda. But I do recognise that there needs to be a change. What good is a thriving business if my health is failing, or my family never sees me, or I’m so stressed I can hardly sleep? My approach to 2016 is what I call ‘the integration of everything’ – my body, my mind, my home, my office all need to […]

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3 Benefits of Upskilling Your Team

by Shift ONE Digital In today’s economic climate, with all the pressures of running a business to boot, upskilling your team is probably the last thing on your mind. Parting with an already scant budget to use it for staff training seems like a tall order; however a study conducted by the New Zealand Department of Labour indicates that investing in corporate training can have enormous long-term benefits for your organisation. We’ve taken the time to sift through the data and give you three reasons why investing in your workforce is worth the consideration. It increases productivity. One of the most obvious benefits of upskilling your employees is that they are able do more in skilled spaces without you needing to hire an expert to do it. They will also spend less time “figuring” things out and more time actually executing tasks. Upskilling reduces the error rate in production as well as the time per task, and thus yields a faster turnaround time and increase performance. This essentially creates room for more work. And more work means more money. It’s a no-brainer, really. Additionally, once a team member receives training and understands what they need to do, they can spend more time being creative and developing ideas and strategies in that space, because they have a better understanding of what that space is capable of. Your business grows. If you’ve been in business for longer than a year, you will know that things don’t always go the way you thought […]

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Entrepreneur: 5 Ways to Stay Focused this Holiday Season

By Mark Seftel – CEO: OPEN It’s been a long year. No-one is taking that away from you. But as the silly season fast approaches and more tourists start to flock to Cape Town’s beauty for some R&R, we Cape Town-based entrepreneurs need to do our utmost to remain focused so that we keep the fires burning successfully into 2016. Here are 5 ways to keep your business’s momentum going as the year winds down: 1. Visible Goals: Setting an attainable goal is quite a powerful thing. It creates a sense of dissonance or disharmony within us that drives us until the goal is reached. Make your goals visible: today’s goals or objectives, as well as the bigger dreams and goals for the business. Use a whiteboard, or post-its, or notebook, but make it visible and make it happen. A goal not only affects what you do in the hours of your day, but it also defines what you want to achieve over a lifetime. Says Steve Wozniak, “My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers.” 2. Just Commit: Make public promises – this can be to your customers or to your team at status meetings. Telling others what you are going to accomplish that week or month not only seals your personal commitment on making it happen, but also makes you accountable to them. Nothing is quite as internally motivating as the desire to save face and keep your word. 3. Complete […]

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Manufacturers: 4 Ways to Survive the Pre-Christmas Chaos

By Anton Oosthuizen South African manufacturers and suppliers are full-swing into the pre-Christmas production madness, and there is probably only one thought that scares business owners more than no Christmas at all – and that is the thought of empty shelves ahead of Christmas. Manufacturers across all industries are beefing up production in order to get stock onto shelves before Christmas without dropping the ball, losing contracts or suffering penalties. Common Challenges Manufacturers Face: Nothing exposes weaknesses within a business’s systems and processes more than when the pressure is on and the heat is turned up. It is at this boiling point that things tend to fall apart. Manufacturers whose systems are not as robust or integrated as they should be might be hitting a speed wobble around about now, and facing these common stresses: Not being in control of their orders. Overbooked production beyond production capacity. Not being able to manage deadlines. Orders slipping through the gap. Incurring penalties or losing contracts due to non-delivery. 4 Ways to Survive the Christmas Chaos The number one thing needed for all business owners is clarity into their business. Once you can see clearly what is in the queue, what is being processed, and what is being dispatched – with timelines and costing – you have clarity. Once you have clarity, you have control. Here’s how to get that clarity: Simple Software: A lot of SME’s run pure accounting packages to manage costs and use separate spread sheets to log orders. There […]

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Business Owner: No time to Go Away this Holiday?

5 Fatal Mistakes You Might Be Making, and How to Fix Them By Heinrich van der Vyver When you started your own business I’m sure it was for a few good reasons – challenges in the economy, realising your passion and dreams, or perhaps the opportunity came and you grabbed it. Whatever the reason, I’m sure that right up there on that list of reasons was the enticing thought that you would be the boss of your time.  You envisioned surfing at lunch time, or watching your kid’s sports game, or taking long walks with your loved one while the machine of your successful business ticked on happily without you. Why is it, then, that you are the first to arrive and the last to leave, you don’t know what a weekend looks like anymore, and you can’t remember the last time you surfed anything, other than the net? I get it. You’ve grown your business from the ground up, lovingly nurtured every product and big account, and personally hired every employee. You hold all the details of the business in your head, and have a finger in every project and deadline. Which is probably why you don’t sleep well anymore, and suspect that nagging pain in your stomach might be from your somewhat worrying dependency on coffee. In fact, the idea of leaving your business for a fortnight to go on holiday is almost offensive, and if you are completely honest, you’ll admit that the thought of leaving for […]

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Markit Opportunity crowned Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge champion

Markit Opportunity crowned Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge champion

Barclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa) crowned Markit Opportunity the Barclays Africa Supply Chain Challenge champion at a panel submission judging event held at The Bandwidth Barn Accelerator in Cape Town last night. The pan-African challenge, under the Rise in Africa umbrella, which launched in July, invited teams of innovators to submit ideas to redefine the supply chain process and enable economic growth across Africa. Represented by their CEO and Founder Ashley King-Bischof, Markit Opportunity, from Kenya, triumphed over four other innovative finalists, by demonstrating a scalable solution to improve incomes of smallholder farmers. Markit Opportunity incentivises regional trade by leveraging mobile technology and logistics to create trusted, transparent and efficient supply chains. The company provides a mobile platform that connects traders in urban markets to farmers with real-time supply and demand statistics, as well as market related pricing. The judging panel of industry experts including Erik Hersman, CEO of BRCK, Teju Ajani, regional content partnerships lead for YouTube and Ian Merrington, CEO of the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative vigorously engaged the five finalists as they presented their concepts. “When it came to selection process, the very high calibre of submissions provided some testing conversations for the judging panel. Today’s finalists are a great reflection of the rich vein of innovation emanating from the African continent,” says Ashley Veasey, CIO, Barclays Africa and judging panel member. Markit Opportunity will receive $10 000 in support of their venture. In addition the judges were also so impressed by the Nigerian entrepreneur […]

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Are you Undermining your own Business?

Are you the kind of business owner or boss that is always involved in what everybody else is doing? Telling the graphic designer how to do their job, trying to teach your web designer how to write code, or explaining to your marketing team how best to market your brand. You may be sabotaging your own livelihood. Unless you are genuinely an expert in everything, it’s highly unlikely that you know better than the people who specialise in their particular field. Here are Three Things you Should do in 2015: 1.     Stop Micro Managing You probably interfere because you don’t believe your staff know what they’re doing, or you think you know better, which is odd, considering you hired them in the first place. Micro-managing your staff can cause more harm than good, as it is distracting and detrimental to morale and productivity. I read an awesome quote a few years ago. A king to his son and heir: “I surround myself with people cleverer and more able than me, so I can sit back and think big thoughts while they govern my realm for me.” – Melanie Rawn Focus on doing what they can’t do, like making rain happen. There’s a name for this: Entrepreneur’s Disease Have you ever seen a pile of papers and files cluttering up a big CEO’s desk? No? Golf clubs spring to mind. That’s because the heads of big corporations know the power of networking and clearing their plate so they can focus on […]

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digital-daily-news-lifestyle-financial-tech-innovation-entrepreneur-blogs-posts-feeds

South African Entrepreneurs: Why is it so Hard to do Business with You?

Remember that time you really needed that service done to your car? You called to make an appointment and the voice on the other end promised to call back but never did. Or that time the boutique was out of stock of an item you just had to have, and you watched them write your details down in that black book they all have that you suspect is used to swat flies with, because you have still not heard back from them. The Myth As South Africans, we’ve all heard with a sense of nationalistic pride how the world is so impressed by our work ethic, and how in-demand South Africans are because we have a service orientated mentality. “I’m from a third world country,” we shout at the hapless shoe salesperson, “And we have better service where I’m from.” Really? The Key to Success 63% of small businesses fail within the first two years. Surely it can’t all be the economy. Is it possible that we actually suck when it comes to keeping our clients happy? Here are 8 things to implement into your small business to help improve customer experience and sales. 1.     An SMS is Good Enough When somebody reaches out to you via sms, do you ask for them to send you their details via e-mail so that you “have them on your database”? Or do you ignore it and think “if it’s important they’ll call”? An sms is a sale waiting to happen, and you […]

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13 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE STARTING A START-UP

By Westleigh Wilkinson I have been blessed to own several businesses in my time, working across industries and sectors, from sports to hospitality and property development. I have a family of entrepreneurs. My mother has a financial planning business, my dad had a recruitment business, my uncle owns a large logistics company and family in Australia own retail stores and supermarkets. So the path to becoming an entrepreneur was a relatively easy decision and was met with loads of support and encouragement. Here are 13 things I’ve learnt along the way that will hopefully save you some time and a lot of heartache: 1.      EQUIP YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS. Running your own start-up involves more than just developing a winning solution to a problem or bringing a viable product to market. A business owner touches every aspect of that business; financial planning and management, staff management, business operations and legal. You may need support and training in mastering some basic business skills, so it’s a good idea to make use of the many business courses, incubator programmes and start-up accelerators available to entrepreneurs in South Africa. 2.      TEST IT. Even though your mom, aunty and BFF think you are the bee’s knees, the general public might not be as effusive. When it comes to starting a business that is hopefully profitable and sustainable, it’s not just about your talent and passion. Ask the hard questions, do customer surveys and market research. Test your product or service first and find out if […]

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eCommerce Websites: 5 Must Have’s on your Home Page

So, you have a website that people can buy from. That’s great, but how do you know whether you’re doing it right? Are there things you can improve on and thereby improve your sales? For many companies, their website is the first point of contact that their customers have with their brand. Websites don’t sleep. They are international and they don’t have sick days. These days it’s not just about having a web presence, it’s about having a website that performs better than your top salesman. And if it’s not doing its job, it needs to be fired or performance managed! Do you Need an eCommerce Website? Before we get started let’s be clear that there are a number of options available to you if you are starting out. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a custom-built eCommerce website. You can create a Shopify shop through Facebook or a simple Facebook page will suffice in many cases. Google, Twitter and Pinterest are all experimenting with ‘buy now’ buttons, most of which should be available in SA this or next year. Once you know you have customers who are willing to pay money for what you’re selling, then spend money on the beautiful website. Turning Visitors into Customers: From Consideration to Conversion When people open your website, the following fears crop up, either consciously or subconsciously: I don’t feel comfortable purchasing from a small company like yours You’re going to take my money without my approval You might steal […]

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How to Write a Blog

If you’re reading this, it’s a pretty sure bet that you want to write a blog, but you’re not sure where to start. Or you’re lost and are about to click away. Just give me a moment; there may even be a tip or two for the seasoned blogger hidden in here somewhere! Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you need to understand a little bit about why people blog. Why Blog? People blog for two main reasons. Either they like the sound of their own voice, or they’re trying to sell you something. In my case, I’m trying to sell you my digital marketing skills AND I like the sound of my own voice. If they’re trying to sell you something, it means they have a business, and more importantly, a website. Their blogs are designed not only to interest you in their product and wow you with their expertise, they are also designed to send you to the website, where hopefully you’ll click on the “Buy Now!” button, or something of that ilk. Blogging is also a massively powerful tool in your never-ending quest for good SEO (that’s search engine optimisation to you, or turning up in Google, but more on this a little later). As a potential blogger, you would know your reasons for wanting to blog. If it’s merely that you enjoy writing and have no further agenda to push other than your voice, I’d say “Knock ‘em dead, and make sure […]

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3 Ways Innovation can be Killing your Business

Do you work for someone that never seems to stop thinking about the next big thing that needs to be implemented? You know the type? Rushing into the office and stealing productive time to call a meeting about some new idea he thought up on the toilet that morning, implementing untested ideas, and blaming the staff when they backfire? Or are you that person? Do you live in constant fear that the competition is getting one up on you? Are you convinced that your ideas are the best and should be implemented immediately without discussion? Has it occurred to you that you may be doing more harm than good? Here are a few points to ponder: New Ideas aren’t always Good Ideas Just because you thought of it, and you own the business, doesn’t automatically make you the next marketing sensation. I once worked for a guy who must have been both deaf and blind, because he had the unique ability to ignore the groans and grimaces of his staff when he came up with his next big brainwave and immediately called a meeting to discuss it. What his staff thought was of no consequence to him in any case, he would run with it regardless. And guess what? He ran a struggling little business that constantly battled to make ends meet and was the laughing stock of the industry. Which brings me to my next point: Innovation costs Money My ex-boss, let’s call him Andy, would haemorrhage money on […]

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Innovation: Why is it so Hard for Big Corporates to Innovate?

A lot of big companies run low on innovation despite the fact that it’s talked about at every staff meeting and CEO presentation. Why is innovation so difficult to foster in large corporations and how can that benefit you as an entrepreneur? Innovation Leads to Sales So why innovate? Well without innovation companies are not able to bring about a step-change and dramatically increase sales and open new markets. Innovation is the difference between life and death in today’s technologically driven society. Innovate or Be Eaten The fact of the matter is that most big companies battle to innovate, despite having massive departments full of capable staff and seemingly limitless resources to throw at problems and ideas. A few examples of companies that missed the innovation curve and nearly got left on the way: Palm Pilot. Remember them? I had one and loved it. The only frustration was I had to squeeze my Palm and my phone into my (then) tiny handbag…if only they would incorporate the two…! Enter Apple a few years later and they haven’t been heard of since. IBM famously believed that PC’s would never be in every household. BlackBerry (RIM) we all know this story. How did they miss this very visible boat? The same goes for Motorola and Nokia who have managed to reposition themselves through strategic partnerships late in the game. Famously Steve Jobs ‘borrowed’ the idea of the Apple desktop from Xerox’s innovation they weren’t optimising. Kodak who invented the digital camera in […]

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How to Speak “Web Developer” and not get Ripped Off

How do you, a non-technical manager, communicate with developers who barely speak English? This article will attempt to help you get the website you want, without any of the heartache, frustration or financial loss usually associated with web projects. The saying ‘how long is a piece of string’ should be replaced with ‘how much for a website’, or even better, ‘know any good web developers’? The fact of the matter is that web development can be confusing territory to negotiate; a situation that isn’t helped by the fact that you can’t read any of the maps or speak the language. You’ve seen it before: the eager-eyed entrepreneur with the great idea briefs in a website with money they’ve scrounged from friends, fools and family, only to be stuck, nearly a year later, with the website no closer to completion and the money (and friends) long gone. There is no shame in having a web-disaster to your name, believe me it’s happened to the best. Here are just a few horror stories I’ve heard: “The web developer built in a secret back door and was stealing all the data for their own purposes…” “My web developer made the login and password to my website ‘Admin’, I got hacked and lost clients and all my search rankings.” “I took hundreds of thousands out of my bond to pay a web development company, I never got the website or my money back.” “After spending nearly a million rand, waiting a year and losing […]

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Everybody Wants to be an Entrepreneur

How to Not Fail at Starting your Own Business and Live out your Dream It seems to me that everyone and their dog wants to be an entrepreneur these days. Perhaps it’s that I live in Cape Town and that the Government of the Western Cape and other corporates here are really doing their best to encourage entrepreneurial thinking, which is a good thing. There are tons of organisations focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed… so why is it that so many still fail? I hosted a business breakfast last week and met with over thirty established small and medium sized entrepreneurs, each a success in their own right, each carving out their space in their highly competitive and over traded industries… and so I asked myself, why is it that some businesses succeed and others fail? So I’ve listed 10 points I think are critical for you to get started on your first million. Stick to What you Know If you’ve spent years in the hospitality industry, don’t launch a product in the education industry. You can, but you will have a massive learning curve and might misjudge the opportunity. The best place to start is with a need. When did you last think this thought: ‘I know I can do this better than the way it’s currently being done’, because that is the beginning of your business idea right there. Share your Idea with a Start up Guru South Africans are notorious for not wanting to share their big […]

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Branding your Business: Why you Need to Think Like a Rock Star in order to be a Successful Entrepreneur

In a crowded market-place you are going to have to stand up and get noticed or be invisible and forgotten. Branding might seem like just another marketing term to you, but it might just be the difference between feast or famine for your business. A few decades ago someone called Valentino Liberace started playing piano and performing in concerts. Legend has it that he was approached by a critic who said to him, ‘You play piano well son, but you’re not memorable.’ Liberace went away, thought about it and returned wearing a suit made of lights that went on to define his every performance and public persona, shooting him to fame and fortune as the top paid entertainer during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A modern day example would be Lady Gaga; do you think she dresses in those outlandish outfits because she wants to? No, she wants to stand out in a market filled with thousands of pretty blonde girls with averages voices who sing pop songs. It’s worked for them but will it work for you? How do you make this type of flashy showmanship relevant to your your stationary business or your printing company? What is Branding? Let’s start at the beginning: what is branding? Branding isn’t something that happens organically or by itself; it is the result of a conscious effort by a business to create a perception and an experience that leads to differentiation from competitors and loyalty with a preselected audience of potential buyers or users. […]

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Ideas for Entrepreneurial Wannabees

So you wanna be an entrepreneur do you? You don’t like bosses or you’re newly retired but too clever to just sit at home waiting for your kids to visit, or you need the extra cash. The only problem is you have no idea which business to pursue. More and more retired folk are leaving retirement and dusting off their entrepreneurial skills in a bid to augment boredom or their meagre pension fund, which means we have hosts of skilled individuals who want to re-enter the economy but without any idea of which business will get them the most money, the quickest. Plus with the exorbitant cost of living rising every day, many people are turning to side jobs to earn extra income. Don’t want to waitress? Then try some of these ideas out for size. Here are a few ideas I have on businesses that are profitable and don’t require too much previous experience: Beauty from Home Are you sociable and well groomed? There are a number of beauty schools out there who offer short beauty courses specifically catering to people who want to make money from home. Bronze Academy (bronzebeauty.co.za) in Durbanville Cape Town offers a 3 month course covering topics like eyelash extensions, manicures and pedicures, facials and nail extensions all for R18,000 after which time you will be fully qualified to work from home. Crafts and Candlemaking Are you creative and love working with your hands? Then take a course in candle or soap making. Then […]

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Don’t Move to the Valley Before Reading This

The pinnacle of success for a tech startup has long been to ‘make it in Silicon Valley’, but is that really the be-all-and-end-all it’s made out to be? Silicon Valley is, with due cause, the global centre for innovation. Its world renowned startup-centred ecosystem is the envy of nations, and the model is continually being replicated in other countries, or at least an attempt is made. So what are your options as an entrepreneur? How can you make it from garage to global without moving to the Valley? What are the options out there for a budding entrepreneur? Get Incubated If you are able to attend a business acceleration programme or incubation programme then by all means, do so. These programmes are geared to teach you essential skills and ways of thinking that will open your mind to bigger thinking, and global success.There are a number of local incubation programmes run out of Cape Town, (The Bandwidth Barn, 88 MPH) that will set you up with mentors who have made it out there as well as provide a networking environment for you to collaborate with inspiring, like-minded peers and fellow entrepreneurs.First prize of course is to attend a Y Combinator or Blackbox.VC immersion programmes that will put you on the map to investors from the get go, but being accepted onto those programmes is a challenge, but certainly worth a try. Get a Mentor Find people who have made it to sit on your board as advisors, or less formally […]

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Get It Right The First Time…or You will Pay the Price and Redo it!

Most people have a great idea that they think will turn them into the Steve Jobs or Bill Gates of South Africa, they just haven’t had time or the opportunity to put it into practice yet. What does it take to make a good idea into a great business? South African’s are amazingly creative. Nearly everyone I have spoken to, whether over a braai or around a water cooler has mentioned some incredible idea they have that they can’t tell me about because they’re afraid I will steal it and make millions from it. South African’s are also amazingly naïve as to what it takes to make an idea into a multi-million rand (or dollar) business. In my experience, most ideas rise or fall in the execution thereof. What I mean by this is that you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t get the right graphic designer, the right copywriter, the right developer and right marketing agency…your idea might never become the success you envisaged let alone get off the ground. There is a nearly magical or divine coming together of the right people at the right place and time plus a good dose of luck that is required to make something succeed. And the more complex the idea, the more this applies. When I just started working in marketing I learned a valuable lesson. My boss wanted to send our annual report for printing without the signoff of a major stakeholder because we […]

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Has Entrepreneur’s Disease Got You?

Many entrepreneurs suffer from ‘Entrepreneur’s Disease’ or ‘Founder’s Disease’, the inability to let go any aspect of your business, for fear of losing control. The disease manifests itself uniquely in each individual; some might display more of one characteristic and less of another. The problem is nearly always fatal. It may take one year; it may take twenty years: eventually it will take its toll and claim the life of your organisation. It’s heart-breaking to think that the person who loves the company the most is the one who is most likely to kill it. As an entrepreneur myself, I am very aware of my own tendencies to display these characteristics, and, like a member of AA, there’s nothing wrong with falling off the wagon once in a while, as long as you keep working your steps and get back on top of the beast that is trying to ruin your company. The Beast that lies deep Within You The reasons we display these characteristics are different for each person, but mostly can be put down to a combination of insecurity and pride. Some business owners might justify this by saying that it’s the early stages of their business and it’s imperative for them to stay on top of every aspect of the new venture, but the truth is that this disease is not your friend. Those characteristics you pride yourself in are the bane of your business, and are to blame for the trouble you keep getting into. Symptoms […]

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eCommerce Africa Confex: Special offer to TheCiTi and TheBarn community

We would like to offer you a complimentary pass to the expo at the eCommerce Africa Confex and 20% off the full conference access delegate pass. Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre Date: 3-4 February 2015 Time: 8:00 – 18:00 Register for your complimentary expo pass: 1. Follow this link: http://www.quicket.co.za/events/6654-ecommerce-africa-confex-exhibition/ 2. Quote the discount code: TheCiTi *NOTE: This complimentary pass will only give you access to the exhibition floor. It does not include access to the conference sessions and networking events. About the Confex: The eCommerce Africa Confex brings together the very best that Africa has to offer in the world of eCommerce all under one roof. We are focusing on all aspects of the online buying process, from website creation and security to payment solutions, delivery and logistics as well as customer service. Leading experts will be on hand to deliver specialist advice and thought leadership while showcasing their solutions in exciting tech demonstrations on the expo floor. Full conference access with discount: Receive 20% off the delegate pass which will give you full access to the 2-day expo (as above) and conference. Leaders in the eCommerce industry will share their knowledge and experience during insightful keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions in the conference sessions. Be prepared to soak up the knowledge and take away valuable information that can assist you in building your eCommerce business. Make sure you bring your networking skills with you as you meet with industry leaders to discuss all things eCommerce. These networking sessions include coffee breaks, luncheons and a cocktail function. To register […]

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Cape Town Start-up Reveals Africa’s First Travel App to Integrate All Forms of Transport

Innovate South Africa presents a showcase of young innovators who are shaping our country. Leveraging the WhereIsMyTransport (WIMT) platform, commuters and tourists to the city can now plan routes incorporating all of the city’s forms of transport with just a click on their mobile phones. The new TCT app will also allow commuters to locate places of interest, local businesses, and sightseeing destinations, as well as make it easy for them to communicate with the city about concerns over service and travel conditions and receive travel alerts. On the eve of its second birthday, TCT is the first city-wide integrated transport authority on the continent, and it is fitting that their new app is multimodal: passengers can easily navigate across rail, Cape Town’s historic passenger bus system, the city’s new state-of-the-art Bus Rapid Transport system, and all other forms of transportation. The WIMT platform allows the city to provide efficient, time- and cost-effective routes for users to and from any point, including points of interest, historical sites, and local businesses. The app is available for free download on mobile devices using Apple, Blackberry, Windows, and Android platforms. “For the first time, it’s possible to plan a whole route with a single question: ‘How do I get to X on time?’ No more switching between modes or checking timetables. TCT: a single answer to a single question,” says Devin de Vries, the co-Founder and CEO of WhereIsMyTransport. Devin participated in the Cape IT Initiative Enterprise Development’s VeloCiTi programme at the Bandwidth […]

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Get-Up, Start-Up * Pitch Stage

Simodisa Start-Up is offering 10 startups (affiliated accelerators or tech hubs) an opportunity to be showcased. As a part of its start-up South Africa Conference. SiMODiSA.com is offering an African-based start-up the chance to win an all expenses paid 2 months road-show in Silicon Valley and/or seed funding for the winning early stage start-up acknowledged by our esteemed panel of international judges.  Start-ups If you are a start-up that is affiliated to an accelerator, Incubator or Hub, you have the rare opportunity to showcase and pitch your start-up in the SiMODiSA conference on the 10thOctober 2014 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Click here to enter or email start-upsa@simodisa.com Conditions of Entry: If you are a start-up and would like to showcase your start-up in the SiMODiSA conference, you need to have been affiliated to an accelerator, incubator or hub within the last 5 years. Accelerators, hubs & Incubators If you are an accelerator, incubator or hub, here is your opportunity to showcase your own program and recommend start-ups that have gone onto become successful businesses through your program. Click here to enter or email start-upsa@simodisa.com Conditions of Entry: If you are an accelerator, incubator or hub, here is your opportunity to showcase your own program and recommend start-ups that have gone onto become successful businesses through your program.

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Meet New People and Rediscover Cape Town Through Food

Lisa Huang Lisa moved from Chicago (USA) to Cape Town in late 2010, narrowly missing the FIFA World Cup. She had never traveled to the African continent and was ready for a new adventure! Born in Tainan, the gourmet capital of the tropical island of Taiwan, Lisa has fond memories of family gatherings over endless feasts. She believes food is the common language to unite people, and loves to make new friends over shared meals. After attending programmes at the Bandwidth Barn, Lisa founded Food and Chatter in 2012 out of her dream to connect people through food.  After all, no matter which city you choose to live in, it is the people that make a place truly memorable! Food&Chatter At Food&Chatter,  you will meet new people and rediscover Cape Town through food at our novel dining events!  From tastings with restaurant hosts, cooking in locals’ homes, to picking your own produce at a farm, join us for adventures around the Mother City, Cape Town. For information please visit www.foodandchatter.co.za  

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The Paradox of Generosity: Being generous in business

The Paradox of Generosity: How Giving it Away for Free can Lead to Success   Being Generous in Business We’ve all heard people say things like ‘I can’t tell you my business idea, in case you steal it’, or ‘I can’t give you access to that information, it’s proprietary’, or ‘You have to pay to use this service.’ It makes logical sense to hold onto something you could charge for, and not give it away for free. Then why is it that individuals and businesses with the opposite mindset survive and thrive in places like Silicon Valley? I think it’s a remnant of our toddler years that makes us want to hold onto things instead of giving them away freely. We want to make as much as we can as quickly as we can and somehow we think that by sharing or giving away without charge, we will miss out on potential revenue and growth. From the time I’ve spent in Silicon Valley I’ve learned the exact opposite to be true. People in the ‘Valley’ subscribe to a very different ethic. They believe that they are all a part of a connected whole, and that by sharing with each other, and helping each other, it will come back to you in some shape or form. I think we should sit up and pay attention when nearly everyone in the most successful technological hub in the world says the same thing over and over again. Here are my top take-aways from […]

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Why Are Many South African Businesses Ignoring YouTube?

One of our services is flying off the shelves: SEO. Every other client is asking us to Search Engine Optimise their websites so they rank in Google on page one. Why is it then that the second largest search engine in the world is being ignored?   Why Are Businesses Ignoring YouTube? I know what it’s like; when you don’t understand something you ignore it and hope it goes away. I think this might be the reason most businesses are ignoring YouTube. Another reason might simply be that they don’t know of the massive value that lies untapped in this visual online behemoth. Here are a few reasons why you need to take notice of YouTube. People Don’t Read Many people are averse to reading and prefer instead to watch a short, informative video instead of wading through pages of tiny text. Think about it, most websites are comprised of text and images: and pretty poorly at that. Video basically gives your visitors a chance to ‘meet’ you face to face and engage with your brand without leaving their couch. This reduces their risk, reduces the time spent trawling through your site to find what they’re looking for and makes their lives easier. People Want to be Entertained If your brand adds value to your customers’ lives through entertainment or education, then YouTube is the perfect channel for you. Many people spend hours surfing YouTube for entertaining or interesting content and it’s often the first place your customers go to […]

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Get it Right The First Time

Get it Right The First Time…Or You Will Pay The Price And Redo It!   Most people have a great idea that they think will turn them into the Steve Jobs or Bill Gates of South Africa: they just haven’t had the time or the opportunity to put it into practice yet. What does it take to make a good idea into a great business? South Africans are amazingly creative. Nearly everyone I have spoken to, whether over a braai or around a water cooler, has mentioned some incredible idea they have that they can’t tell me about because they’re afraid I will steal it and make millions from it. South Africans are also amazingly naïve as to what it takes to make an idea into a multi-million rand (or dollar) business. In my experience, most ideas rise or fall whilst attempting to execute them. What I mean by this is that you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t get the right graphic designer, the right copywriter, the right developer and right marketing agency…your idea might never become the success you envisaged, let alone get off the ground. There is a nearly magical or divine coming together of the right people at the right place and time plus a good dose of luck that is required to make something succeed. And the more complex the idea, the more this applies. When I just started working in marketing I learned a valuable lesson. My boss […]

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Entrepreneur’s Disease: Is it Fatal?

What is it? Is it Fatal? And is there a Cure? Many entrepreneurs suffer from ‘Entrepreneur’s Disease’ or ‘Founder’s Disease’: This is the inability to let go any aspect of your business, for fear of losing control. The disease manifests itself uniquely in each individual; some might display more of one characteristic and less of another. The problem is nearly always fatal. It may take one year; it may take twenty years: eventually it will take its toll. It’s heart-breaking to think that the person who loves the company the most, is the one who is most likely to kill it. As an entrepreneur myself, I am very aware of my own tendencies to display these characteristics, and, like a member of AA, there’s nothing wrong with falling off the wagon once in a while, as long as you keep working your steps and get back on top of the beast that is trying to ruin your company. The beast that lies deep within you and is lying in wait to claim the life of your organisation. The reasons we display these characteristics are different for each person, but  mostly can be put down to a combination of insecurity and pride. Some business owners might justify this by saying that it’s the early stages of their business and it’s imperative for them to stay on top of every aspect of the new venture, but the truth is that this disease is not your friend. Those characteristics you pride yourself in are […]

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Shift ONE as the Top Start-up by Leading Incubator

Cape Town, December 2011. Cape Town based incubator, the Telkom Bandwidth Barn, has named Shift ONE as the top start-up in their 2011 Velocity-Y enterprise development programme.   The intensive six-month programme assists Cape Town-based start-ups by offering them mentorship and training. This year the programme started with 20 participants and ended with 8 pitching to a panel of expert industry judges, of which Shift ONE digital was selected as the top-scoring new business. “Shift ONE digital showed all the qualities we were looking for in a start-up: passion, focus, drive, energy, expertise and commitment,” says Mauritz Gilfillan, Programme Facilitator at the Bandwidth Barn. “Dylan Kohlstädt, founder and Marketing Director of Shift ONE, excelled in all aspects of the course, which was remarkable as most of the participants were of the highest calibre this year.” Shift ONE digital offers marketing support to entrepreneurs, focusing on developing top-converting websites, emails, acquisition, conversion and retention campaigns. Dylan Kohlstädt has over 15 years’ experience in traditional marketing, and 6 years online marketing experience in Cape Town, London and Melbourne. “I was delighted that Shift ONE was accepted onto the programme, and thrilled that we took top honours,” says Dylan Kohlstädt, Marketing Director at Shift ONE digital. “The experience gained from being on the Velocity-Y programme was invaluable, and helped us go from a mere concept to a fully-functional business within the space of just three months. Thank you Bandwidth Barn, Cape IT initiative, Telkom, Provincial Government Western Cape and the City of Cape Town.” The Telkom […]

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Is perfectionism killing your Idea? 6 things to watch for when designing a new product.

Everybody wants the perfect product.   Your new product- whether it’s a website or a widget- is going to take the world by storm. It’s the new Facebook! It’s the silver bullet that will solve all your problems, grow the bottom line, cement your promotion and save the company. Or at least that’s what you thought! How could such a brilliant idea go so wrong?   The answer might be in your need for perfection. So before you sell your house and throw everything you have into the project, consider these 6 important things.  1. Imperfect is good enough There’s a constant battle between having the product in a presentable state, and having it in a state of perfection. The best products are started in someone’s garage and perfected over time, or dropped without too much investment if they prove unpopular or unfeasible.  A product that is 60% completed but is on the shelves making sales is better than a product that is almost ready, but not open for business because it’s still being refined…and refined…and refined. The Strategy: Ask yourself at every milestone, ‘is this good enough to go live?’.  If yes, then make it live and get to work on Phase 2.  2. Go small and stay home Watch out for including everything and the kitchen sink into your first release. Each department will tell you that they want it to be perfect before it goes live: Marketing will ask for it in 30 languages, the SEO team […]

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