Building Your Business

Becoming a mentor

If you are a veteran in the SME sector, are running a very successful business or just feel you have something to offer a budding entrepreneur, you may consider becoming a mentor. Let's look at the characteristics of a good business mentor. Mentorship is all about giving back and contributing to the growth of someone who may be where you were as a would-be business mogul. Use your experience and expertise to help other small business owners

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Being a mother and a business owner

Finding work-life balance through training and experience – advice to female business owners managing a business and home
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Being smart about saving for your business

Every business is designed to earn money: for profit and survival. By definition, it’s an attempt to obtain compensation for services so that we can continue or begin living comfortably. But sometimes we need to find a way to make money quickly to help the business survive: anything can happen and that means being prepared. So with that in mind, we should consider interventions that can help us succeed through a difficult patch.

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Do you know where to allocate business resources?

When starting and running a business, planning for the future (and multiple eventualities) is necessary to ensure the initial and continued success of your business. Continuous business planning therefore is advisable and widely-considered to be non-negotiable. This article focuses on navigating resource allocation in particular.

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Efficiency is everything

Successful organisations learn from their experiences, be it good or bad. Getting it right the first time is not always the outcome, although it is the ultimate intended outcome. Organisations that approach things with order, common sense, consistency and persistence will ultimately succeed. If you are going to deliver on your promise you have to learn to listen to what and how you may deliver on your promise. This message will come from your clients or customers. Here is why efficiency is everything.

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Finding a female mentor

It's no secret that women often think and behave differently to their male counterparts and it's no different when it comes to business. It's one reason why you may want to consider finding for a female mentor. With so many successful women entrepreneurs out there and industries becoming more progressive in this regard, there is an abundance of women with experience in a range of industries. To keep these numbers growing, many women's organisations and associations provide mentorship programmes to help fellow women in business.

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Get better business results when you do what you love

Many, many new entrepreneurs start out with something they are passionate about, something they love doing and are great at. But soon they find that the new business demands that they spend most of their time on things they really do not like to do at all. Those are also the things they mostly are not so good at. They have to force themselves to struggle through the tasks so that the business can survive, but this does not need to be the situation. In fact, you are more likely to succeed if you do something you love.

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How can I market my business’s good service?

In and of itself, good service is a “hygiene” factor. Put differently, it is what a prospective client expects of business. In South Africa, however, it can be a distinctive benefit, as the overall level of service delivery is not up to standard. Your level of service delivery can actually determine whether the client will clinch a transaction with you or not. Here are a few practical ways to market good service without making it “cheap”.

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IDF Capital

IDF Capital was established on 01 March 2008, to exploit the opportunity of profitably investing in the entrepreneurial SME landscape by providing appropriate financial and non-financial products and support to unlock value of the SME sector. IDF Capital aspires to be more than just another African business. It is our goal to become catalysts of economic growth across Africa by supporting people on their entrepreneurial journey.

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Is your business feasible?

Before you can start a business you must be reasonably sure that the business is feasible. Hence, the feasibility study. A feasibility study is a due diligence or evaluation process that enables you to determine whether the business you want to start will be financially viable, in other words if this business will generate profits. It also gives you the opportunity to assess the cost of starting the business and sustaining it for at least the first year. Here is how to you determine if your business is feasible.

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Keeping it all in the family poses specific challenges

What makes a family business different to any other? Some of the world's most famous and successful businesses were started by families, including Wal-Mart, Toyota, Ford and De Beers. Many of the businesses that are now listed on stock exchanges globally, started out as family businesses. No doubt many other ventures were started, but failed to reach such heights of success. What makes them different, and do they face the same challenges as any other business?

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Lead your business away from trouble and back to success

Most small business owners facing a business crisis are caught in a classic Catch-22 situation. On the one hand, they require specialised business turnaround expertise to save their business. On the other hand, their financial crisis prohibits them from hiring the expensive turnaround specialists who offer the expertise. Typically owners have three choices: walk away, hope for help, or keep struggling. Well, no more. Sanlam's Business Turnaround Book will help you lead your business away from trouble, to success.

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Making decisions

complex_decision.jpgHaving the ability to make sound and sometimes quick decisions is crucial for running your own business successfully.

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Managing a company across different time zones

People telling others about their positive experiences of your business, sends a far more powerful marketing message than any advertisement. Word of mouth is credible, personal and admiring. The best advertising cannot match that. Word of mouth is also free, so it is a great marketing medium and deserves more attention than it normally gets. Here are some tips on how to manage your business across time zones.

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Networking is about building relationships

Networking is about relationships. It’s about, not only meeting new people and creating new relationships – it’s also about nurturing and maintaining current relationships. That said, not everyone is equally as good at networking.  In fact, if the truth be told, not many people actually even like to network. Yet, networking is a crucial part of running a successful business. Find out how best to approach networking through this article.

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Small business incubators and support programmes

While access to finance is often quoted as one of the great challenges for small businesses, they also cite the need for non-financial support. Incubation, mentorship and access to business management service providers are just some of the services these kinds of initiatives can provide. Here is a list of small business incubators and support programmes geared towards assisting small businesses.

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The fast life and its impact on relationships

No one can question the immensely positive impact technology has had on business and our lives. Communication is faster and easier. We can access information quicker. We can reach others more easily, etc. There are amazing advantages for all of us. Relationships are being affected both positively and negatively. We can quite easily identify how relationships are benefiting, so this article rather explores some of the areas we need to focus on more closely.

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The reality of being a successful entrepreneur in South Africa

Entrepreneurship is seen as the only way to have a sustainable economy in the future. In fact, it is one of the major drivers of job creation and economic growth within the country. It is no surprise that more and more people are encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship. That being said, many new businesses in South Africa often fail within the first two years for a variety of reasons. Here are some tips and pointers for being a successful entrepreneur in South Africa.

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This one is for the ladies

My message is that as women we have incredible value to offer our families as successful entrepreneurs. We should never allow the gender views of others to infl
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What roles do you fulfill in your business?

“It often happens that I wake at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up and remember that I am the Pope.” – Pope John Paul XXIII. I am sure that we can all identify with the above quotation. Business-owners are “chief cooks and bottle washers”. Like people, your business also has different roles to fulfill. It is important to know exactly what those roles are, because someone (a person or a team) in your business must take responsibility for this specific aspect, otherwise it is not seen to.

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What to charge for your skills

Many people leave formal employment for the flexibility of being a freelance professional or consultant. One of your first challenges will be to set a fee for your services. What should you consider when putting a price to your skills and knowledge? Most consultants find that they are facing increasingly tough competition and a dwindling client base in the face of companies tightening their belts. This makes naming a fair price for your services even more crucial to making a living and retaining your client base. Here's how to go about charging for your services.

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Where is my business heading?

As business owners we are often so busy working in the business that we fail to work on the business. We are chasing the next transaction, dealing with a dissatisfied client, negotiating terms with a provider, or having problems trying to balance the cash flow. Over the years I have learnt that one should put aside enough time to consider the business’ current results and where it is heading. Here are three elements to help you decide where your business is heading.

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Who is your mentor?

Regardless of where you are in your career, a mentor can help guide you through your entrepreneurial journey. From providing information and knowledge to finding ways to stimulate your personal and professional growth, and everything in between. It is therefore important to find someone you can trust and feel comfortable enough with to ask questions and learn from.

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Why leaders fail

Have you stopped to think that your business actually reflects your own character? As a SME owner, the tone and way you operate your business is determined by who you are as a person. Let us look at some of the factors that influence your effectiveness as a leader and, in doing so, unpack some of the key reasons why certain leaders fail.

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Why women make better business leaders

A Harvard Business Review study showed that a business group’s collective IQ went up when there were women on the team. Watch the video
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Women in IT

Women in IT was originally established as a separate non-profit organisation focused on addressing the gender imbalance within the IT industry in South Africa. Today, it is a Chapter of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), creating greater access and networking opportunities for women in the ICT space.

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Women's Legal Centre

The Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) is a non-profit law centre that seeks to achieve equality for women, particularly black women through impact based litigation, the provision of free legal advice, legal support to advocacy campaigns run by other organizations (which fall within the Center’s objectives) and training that ensures people know and understand the impact of judgements of the courts on the subject of women’s rights. The WLC also provides legal advice to the other non-governmental women’s organizations nationally and in Africa. 

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Young entrepreneurs – do you have what it takes?

The fact that the SME sector is a tough industry to break into does not seem to deter the average young entrepreneur. But are big ideas, determination, passion, and the will to succeed enough to be a truly successful entrepreneur or could your age and a lack of higher education be your downfall? Anyone can become an entrepreneur, no matter what their age, background or education level. But what makes a truly successful entrepreneur?

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“Quick success” is possible

Most businesses do take time for success. Many people give up when there’s no immediate success and the “Business Ownership Honeymoon” ends after a few months. They’ve only heard about the “instant success” ones and weren’t prepared for the unexpected challenges and the price one needs to pay. If succeeding as an entrepreneur is really important to you and succeeding quicker than the norm, then never stop learning and acting on what it takes to reach the top of your game. Use these 10 principles to help you achieve quicker success.

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