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Stay, Swim, Shop

Futuristic ideas for immediate execution.

Tracy Lee Nicol




Idea 1

Safe surf’s up

South Africa has some of the best beaches in the world, but methods for keeping ocean goers safe from rare shark attacks are outdated, often ineffective and destructive. So two Aussie businessmen, backed by a university research project, have launched the first shark-repellent wetsuits.

Using patterns and colours, the Elude and Divert suits are said to make divers, bathers and surfers less attractive to sharks. The suits and surfboards are currently being tested in Australian and South African waters for effectiveness, and results are promising.

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Our Expert Says

The shark-repellent wetsuit is an innovative product. Proof of concept will be a primary determinant and it appears as if testing for effectiveness is still underway. Assuming that it does solve a significant problem, or meet a significant want or need, for which someone is willing to pay a premium, it has the potential to be a profitable business.

The size of the market is also important, and the wetsuit and surfboard sticker are aimed at surfers specifically, which globally number about 23 million. Applying the ’technology‘ used in the product, the potential also exists for diversifying into the general bather, boogie-boarder and snorkelling markets.

Idea 2

Mobile fashion boutique


Smak Parlour is Philadelphia’s first fashion truck that takes fashion on the road. Kitted out with a generator for lights and aircon, they’ve renovated a used box truck into a chic boutique and eliminated the problem of finding a store, committing to a lease, and being tied to one spot.

The concept provides customers with a mobile shopping experience and keeps costs low while bringing the brand to new audiences. Smak Parlour gets the word out using social media to inform its loyal fans where it will be parked for the day.

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Our Expert Says

The principles of mobility and flexibility are appealing, but one cannot negate the competitiveness of the fashion industry. The extensive presence of fashion retailers in shopping malls and online fashion stores mean that this concept will at most have a flea market type application and be suitable for a lifestyle entrepreneur. Superior businesses have robust market, margin, and moneymaking characteristics.

Even considering travelling to rural areas to sell second-hand clothing on location, one should factor in the high fuel costs and the maintenance of the vehicle. That said, the mobile concept might be applied in other franchised opportunities such as gourmet coffee and supermarket consumables in remote locations.

Idea 3

Pop up hotel


Pop up restaurants, cafés and shops are a hot trend in cosmopolitan cities around the world, so it was only a matter of time before a pop up hotel showed up. Situated on the shores of Knokke-Heist in Belgium, Tender2 is a one-bedroomed luxury pop up container hotel.

It offers stunning beach views, a personal butler, Michelin-starred cuisine, a Jacuzzi and a sauna. Nightly rates start at $1 500 per person per night. Cheaper (but still luxurious) pop up container hotels exist in Antwerp for between $200 and $270 per night.

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Our Expert Says

The pop-up hotel concept is indicative of what is possible when the need for accommodation collides with the novel application of shipping containers. The use of containers for purposes other than shipping products is not new but refurbishing them for hotel-type accommodation is, especially when adding a touch of luxury.

Substantially reducing the cost of brick and mortar construction, the concept lends itself to wide application for accommodation purposes in South African tourism.  The robust construction, designed to withstand harsh conditions is a great substitute for conventional building, and when embellished creatively and with luxury and taste, could result in a unique, upmarket ’hotel room‘ experience at interesting and exotic locations such as game reserves, mountainous settings and beach fronts.

Need a few tips on deciding which business to start? Click here

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.


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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