- Company: Ask Lebo
- Player: Lebogang Mokubela
- Est: 2013
- Visit: www.asklebo.co.za
Ask Lebo is Lebogang Mokubela’s second business venture. His first, an event management company, failed because he had no proper structures in place, and poor financial management.
These were business lessons that he didn’t fully comprehend until he joined Perx Agency to pay the bills while he got his second business off the ground.
“I was suddenly exposed to the inner workings of a successful SME. It was such an amazing learning curve to see and understand the mistakes I’d made while running my own business,” he says.
It was then that he started thinking about the difference between a business model, and a business plan.
“As start-ups, we often confuse the two,” says Mokubela. “We think a business plan is something we do before we launch the business, and then we forget about it. Instead, the opposite is true.
“You need to develop your business model, but the point of the business plan is that it should be a living, evolving document. It’s all about how you manage your company, and how you adjust to changing market conditions.”
It was with this in mind that Mokubela launched Ask Lebo, a business consultancy that trains start-ups and assists them with the management skills they need to run a successful business that makes it past start-up phase, from management skills, money skills and getting the marketing right.
3 start-up management musts
1. Look at your expenses versus income
It sounds obvious that you shouldn’t spend more than you earn, but too many start-ups either don’t know what their expenses are, or they don’t track if their suppliers are performing well, offering value adds, or charging reasonable prices. Pay attention to every line item.
2. Look at your clientele versus your staff complement
This can go two ways. Either you have too many staff for your clients, or you have too many clients for your staff. Both can damage your bottom line. You don’t want too many employees.
Start-ups should find people who are passionate, willing and able to work hard and put in that extra energy. If you have too many employees, they can become complacent.
On the other hand, if you’re keeping things so lean you’re losing clients due to bad service, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
3. Do your market research
Business isn’t about what you want to do, offer or create. It’s about what the market wants. Understand how people buy, and what they want, and then adjust your offering accordingly.
This is where a living business plan is so important — you need to give yourself the room to make changes if necessary. Don’t talk features when selling; instead demonstrate what your offering means to their life.