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Communication Tools and Resources

You need to have a way to communicate a professional image to your clients but it doesn’t have to be costly.





It should go without saying, but an effective communication strategy can make or break a business. You need to have a way to communicate a professional image to your clients, and believe it or not this doesn’t mean exorbitant costs.

  • Faxes for free


Since email hit the scene, the fax machine is slowly being phased out, but there are still some people who insist on sending or receiving faxes. You don’t need to invest in a new fax machine for the odd fax, though.
Nobelis Solutions offers a free fax to email service that lets you receive faxes directly to your email account. Once you have signed up for the service online you will be allocated a dedicated fax number that is immediately active. All faxes received are automatically converted to either a TIFF or PDF attachment and delivered to your email address. While you will have to pay to send an Email2Fax, there are no hidden costs to set up the Fax2Email service since Nobelis Solutions earns revenue through a callshare provided by Telkom.

Get it from:

Cost: Free

  • Gmail for your biz

Google Apps for Business

Google has been offering a free email service for years, but it’s not ideal to email your customers with a address. However, if you sign up for Google Apps for your business, you will do so with your own company’s domain name. This allows you to maintain a company email address (i.e. Through Gmail you will get up to 25GB of storage, interoperability with Microsoft Outlook email and calendar, email security and mailing list functionality.

Get it from: Google Apps for Business (

Cost: There is a free 30 day trial for up to 10 users per business, after which you will pay $5 per user per month or $50 for a year’s contract.

  • Making calls through Gmail

Google Voice

Google Voice allows you to make and receive calls from your Gmail account. Once logged in to Gmail, all you need to do is install the voice and video chat plugin (if you don’t already have it) and then click on the ‘Call phone’ link to dial the number. The service lets you use your computer’s speaker to talk to people in the US and Canada for free and to other countries at low rates. Calls to mobile phones in South Africa are $0,17 per minute. You can purchase credit on your Gmail account using your credit or debit card. If you don’t answer a call, the caller will be directed to your Google voicemail where your messages are stored for as long as you want. Other functions include ListenIn so you can listen as callers leave you a message and Record calls for when you don’t have a pen handy to jot important details down.

Get it from:

Cost: Free – $0,17 per minute

  • No file too big


Sending big files can result in emails bouncing or clogging your inbox or the recipient’s. Instead of paying for a courier and CDs, you can use YouSendIt. The service makes sharing large files secure and easy. There is a Lite option which gives you up to 2GB of storage and allows you to send files of up to 50MB for free.

Get it from:

Cost: Free

  • Simple scheduling is a cool new tech tool that makes scheduling meetings fast and efficient. It allows others to see what slots are available in your diary and to propose meeting times, and then syncs the meeting with your existing diary application. While applications have long existed for colleagues to view each others’ diary availability, the same cannot be said for people who work in different companies. Others can only see your free/busy times, but the actual details of your meetings are kept private. The application also lets you propose multiple times in a simple meeting invitation, share calendars across systems and connect with Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Entourage for Mac, Lotus Notes, BlackBerry Yahoo!, Windows Live, Facebook, TripIt and Plancast. It automatically adjusts for different time zones.

Get it from:

Cost: Free

  • Chat for less


Skype not only allows you to call other people who are also on Skype for free, you can also make calls to phones anywhere in the world at low rates. All you need is a relatively fast Internet connection, and to download Skype for free. Once you have set up your profile you can call other Skype users, and if you have the technology available you can even have a video chat. To call a phone in South Africa you will pay €2,19 per month for 60 minutes, €4,19 per month for 120 minutes and €9,99 per month for 400 minutes.

Get it from:

Cost: Free

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Company Posts

How The Sanlam Enterprise And Supplier Development Programme Is Helping Start-up Businesses

The balance between funding, business development and mentorship can make or break an enterprise development programme

Francois Adriaan



Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development

165 new employment opportunities, 172 SMEs developed and 1046 jobs sustained. These are some of the numbers recorded by Sanlam as the company prepares to wrap up the fourth year of its Sanlam Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) programme.

The flagship incubation scheme has turned around loss-making enterprises, helped some participants get critical accreditation and funding, but most importantly, R12.6 million was spent procuring goods and services from the participating businesses by the end of 2016.

Related: Enterprise Development Programmes For Black Entrepreneurs

Receiving funding isn’t the secret to start-up success

Francois Adriaan, head of Sanlam Foundation says the secret to a successful enterprise development programme is not the amount of funding big corporates can give SMEs: “It’s having the right mix of mentorship; business intervention and procurement spend flowing from your corporate to small businesses.

You have to show the entrepreneur you are mentoring that you trust them enough to do business and walk the journey with them instead of giving them a once-off grant and leaving them to their own devices,” says Adriaan.

Financial support that’s timed to business need

Like in many other ESD programmes, participants in the Sanlam ESD programme also have access to funding. But what sets the programme apart from others, says Adriaan is that the amount of funds disbursed to each participating businesses is directly linked to its need, its commitment and progress record.

“Financial support is timed according to the specific needs of each SME. Those who qualify for funding are then provided with a further seven years of SME growth support through the ASISA Enterprise Development Fund.”

The Sanlam ESD programme

The Sanlam ESD programme was launched in July 2013 in collaboration with the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) to empower SMEs, create jobs and contribute to economic growth in South Africa. An independent evaluation shows that participating enterprises have grown their annual revenue by 19% on average.

D&P Auto participants

One of the programme participants is D&P Auto, a panel beating business based in Retreat. For two decades, the owners of the business (husband and wife) poured their life savings, bank loans and even pension policy pay-outs into the business to keep it afloat because it was not making profit. Three years of focused business incubation and mentoring under the Sanlam ESD programme resolved D&P Auto’s 20-year loss-making battle.

“Our business has grown from a non-profitable business to the extent that we now have to pay provisional taxes to SARS for the first time in 24 years,” said Pam Douglas on their business maiden profit.

Successes of the incubation programme

The incubation from the programme has helped other participants brush up their bookkeeping skills, file successfully for tenders and get accreditation that took their businesses to the next level.

G&T Auto, the only fully accredited Major Structural Repairer in the programme, bagged Mazda accreditation last year, a rare accolade that will see the enterprise repair Mazdas that are still under warranty. The owner, Thembi Sithole says the programme has given her confidence to approach bigger clients as she now understands the requirements to get big contracts. She has also become more knowledgeable about financial statements and their impact on obtaining funding.

Related: Why Employee Engagement Programmes Backfire And What You Can Do About It

Adriaan says enterprise development initiatives of this nature give big corporates an opportunity not only achieve their business objectives, but also impact broader South African society.

“This commitment is around impacting issues of inter-generational poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is also about aligning around public-private-civil society partnerships in sustainable ways,” concludes Adriaans.

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Are You Ready For A Side Hustle? Here’s How To Know

We talk to side hustle pro Susie Moore about who should jump into entrepreneurship and when is a good time to take the leap.

Andrea Huspeni




It seems like everyone has a side hustle. Indeed, 1 in 4 millennials have a side hustle, part of the  54 million Americans making money outside of their pay cheque.

But are you ready to get your hustle on?

According to Susie Moore, a life coach and the founder of Side Hustle Made Simple, you are always ready to begin a side hustle. You just need to know where to begin.

Related: 3 Ways To Set Your Side Hustle Up For Success

Moore has helped thousands of people take the leap from concept to creation in making their entrepreneurial dreams a living, breathing reality by launching a risk-free side hustle. She left her $500,000 job after her own side hustle took off within just 18 months.

She’s also the author of What if it DOES Work Out? How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life released this fall, speaker and adviser to startups. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, Marie Claire and more.

To help aspiring entrepreneurs understand what it takes to be a side hustler, Moore is joining us for this week’s episode of Tough Love Tuesday, our Facebook Live series that connects experts with side hustlers for real-time advice and support.

Related: 50 Jobs, Gigs And Side Hustles You Can Do From Home

Specifically, she’ll share:

  1. The qualities all side hustlers need
  2. Advice that turns great ideas into action
  3. Strategies for making money right away
  4. Ideas for perfect side hustles
  5. Productivity hacks that prevent burnout.

This article was originally posted here on

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(Video) Why Your ‘Great Idea’ Actually Sucks

Don’t get caught up in coming up with the next big idea.




Everyone wants to come up with the next Uber, Facebook or Tesla. But, if Entrepreneur Network partner Patrick Bet-David has to choose between someone with a great idea and someone with great sales skills, he’s taking the salesperson every time. Why?

Related: The 3-Step Approach For Testing Out Your Business Idea

Well, look at the history of great businesses. Ray Kroc didn’t start McDonald’s, but he learned how to sell the fast food restaurant and made far more in his life than the actual McDonalds brothers. Steve Jobs couldn’t code like Steve Wozniack, but he knew how to sell Apple, and his estate is worth far more now than Wozniack’s.

Facebook, Tesla and more. Each time, it seems like the great salesperson ends up earning more than the person who created the great idea to start with.

Watch the video to learn more about the relationship between great ideas and great sales techniques.

This article was originally posted here on

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