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Effective Communication Means Business Success

The ability to communicate with people both inside and outside your organisation is a key characteristic of successful business builders.

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The ability to communicate with people both inside and outside your organisation is a key characteristic of successful business builders.

Effective communication strengthens the connections between a company and all of its stakeholders and benefits businesses in numerous ways: Stronger decision making and faster problem solving; earlier warning of potential problems; increased productivity and steadier workflow; stronger business relationships; clearer and more persuasive marketing messages; enhanced professional images for both employers and companies; lower employee turnover and higher employee satisfaction; and better financial results and higher return for investors.

The need for communication skills

The importance of communication is not surprising when you consider the staggering amount of time people spend communicating on the job. One study, published in Business Outlook, based on the responses from over 1000 employers at Fortune 1000 companies found that workers send and receive an average of 1798 messages each day via telephone, email, faxes, papers, and face-to-face communications. Some experts have estimated that the average business executive spends approximately 75% to 80% of the day engaged in oral or written communication.

The need for communication skills is important in virtually every career. Practitioners in Big Six accounting firms spend 80% of their work time communicating with others, individually and in groups. Likewise, engineers spend most of their professional lives writing, speaking, and listening.

Related: Communication: The Glue That Holds Business Together

Communication ability can result in better chance of promotion

Technical people with good communication skills earn more, and those who are weak communicators suffer. William Schaffer, international business development manager for computer giant Sun Microsystems, made the point emphatically: “If there’s one skill that’s required for success in this industry, it’s communication.”

Over 90% of the personnel officials at 500 US businesses stated that increased communication skills are needed for success in the 21st century.

Subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rated “the ability to communicate” as  the most important factor in making an executive “promotable,” more important than ambition, education, and capacity for hard work. Research spanning several decades has consistently ranked communication skills as crucial for managers.

One twenty-year study that followed the progress of Stanford University MBAs revealed that the most successful graduates (as measured by both career advancement and salary) developed their communication skills by choosing courses such as business writing, leading, persuading, selling ideas, negotiating, interviewing, conducting meetings, resolving conflicts and working with cultural diversity.

Training employees in communication for improved profitability

The National Commission on Writing found that American businesses spend 3.1 billion dollars (approximately R30 billion rand) annually training people to write. At least 80% of companies in finance, insurance, real estate and services assess writing skills during their hiring processes. Nearly half of the businesses surveyed said they paid for writing training programs for salaried employees with writing inefficiencies, highlighting the need for effective workplace communication. In an interview with the “New York Times” Bob Kerrey, chairman of the National Commission on Writing, said, “Writing is a ‘marker’ of high-skill, high-wage, professional work. People unable to express themselves clearly in writing limit their opportunities for professional, salaried employment.”

Related: The Changing Face Of Business Communications

Whether you are competing to get the job you want or to win the customers your company needs, your success or failure depends to a large degree on your ability to communicate. If you learn to write well, speak well, listen well and recognise the appropriate way to communicate in various business contexts, you’ll gain a major advantage that will serve you throughout your career. Moreover, because your communication plays a key role in efforts to improve efficiency, quality, responsiveness and innovation, your communication affects your company’s success.

For more information on how you and your business can enhance your communication skills contact us on 011 717 4208; wls@wits.ac.za or visit www.witslanguageschool.com.

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and is part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The school offers a wide range of language courses and services, namely: African, Asian & European languages, English as a foreign language, English as a second language, language teacher education and translation & interpreting services and courses.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

Dr Alex Antonites

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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Win A Business Makeover With Retail Capital To The Value Of R250 000

Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000.

Retail Capital

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Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000. During the summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.

While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors – starting from the end of September. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”

According to recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s retail sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year in August 2017, following a downwardly revised 1.6% gain in the previous month and above market expectations of 2.3%. It is the biggest gain in retail trade since August of 2012.

Related: How To Raise Working Capital Finance

“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.

For many small businesses, however, continually adapting to market changes requires cash injections that they don’t often have.

The prize includes the following:

  • Business plan/consulting
  • Marketing strategy
  • Design and branding
  • Website and social Media and,
  • R50k capital to gear your business.

Westvig explains that the summer campaign tagline ‘Your Vision. Our Belief’ really speaks to why Retail Capital first opened its doors. “Our goal is to see the potential of small businesses and to work with them in making these become a reality.”

He adds that the idea is not to simply help one business during the campaign either. Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”

“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media – even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” he says.

He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach – and that’s where social media comes in.”

But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”

Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants. This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.

“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realise their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.

Related: 6 Great Tips For A Successful Shark Tank Pitch

Who we are and what we do:

“More than R1.25 billion has been extended to a range of businesses including food trucks, hair salons, restaurants, spas and franchised retail stores. Many of these businesses have not been able to raise funding in any other way, other than to go to unscrupulous lenders,”says Karl Westvig, the CEO Retail Capital, a company that provides working capital with the help of innovative lending technology.

“We have also estimated that for every R160 000 we lend, we create a new job. This means that 625 jobs have been created purely by enabling small businesses to get the funding they need for working capital requirements or expansion opportunities.”

Retail Capital’s system, which enables it to advance funding to small businesses, based on real time information on credit card transactions, is providing a new funding alternative to entrepreneurs who have previously been turned away by banks. Because it is able to get actual sales information, it can approve funding immediately, and allow for flexible repayment options based on sales cycles of the particular businesses it is funding.

“This creates significant opportunity for small business owners to focus on their business and grow volumes or look for expansion opportunities rather than spend their time frantically trying to repay debt or keep the business alive after debt repayments have eaten away at any cash reserves they might have had.”

Retail Capital funding is repaid by it taking a percentage of a business’s recorded credit or debit card sales, with repayments fluctuating in line with their business cycle. This has the effect of ensuring that it isn’t overburdened with debt.

“In the past six years since starting the business, small businesses have had the benefit of R1 billion in funding they would have been unable to get through traditional channels,”says Westvig.

Against the backdrop of recessionary conditions in South Africa, Retail Capital’s client information reveals growth in informal sector turnover across a number of industries.

“We believe that growth in the informal sector is outstripping that of the formal sector,”says Westvig.

As a large proportion of the businesses it funds are women- and black-owned, there is evidence that entrepreneurs who have previously been excluded from access to finance are now enjoying success now that their access to finance problem has been solved.

Win A Business Makeover with Retail Capital

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