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How To Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Sustainable business growth – the objective for social entrepreneurs eyeing global markets.

Chivas

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Being an entrepreneur and building a business that meets the needs of people looking for products to enhance their lives, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be competitive, disciplined and have the business skills required to take your business to new heights.

In fact, says Chivas Regal, these are the basic requirements for anyone who is intent on entering the world of social entrepreneurship.

This is according to Shelley Reeves, Marketing Manager: Scotch Whisky at Chivas Regal South Africa, the company that sponsors the global Chivas Regal The Venture competition.

Social entrepreneurs from 27 countries have earned the right to pitch their business solutions aimed at benefitting society to an expert panel in New York and compete for a portion of US$ 1 000 000 in funding.

Related: Local Is Lekker Winning With Chivas And The Venture

“When they return home, all these entrepreneurs, will have to concentrate on growing their businesses so that they are sustainable and become the powerhouses that do good in the future,” explains Mrs Reeves.

“But keeping a business on track for growth means never taking your eyes off the ball,” she continues, adding that the following should be considered:

  • Stick to business basics and keep in place the business practices that got you going, as these are a solid base for future growth. Concentrate on quality, consistency and reliability.
  • Create an effective company mission statement that sets your intended direction and provides you with a framework to ensure that you can take advantage of changes in the market place as they occur. The key to growing a business is making sure that you constantly keep pace with market changes.
  • Focus on doing one thing excellently, rather than doing five things well. It is better to develop one product or service to its limits, than try and diversify and lose the focus on the product most valuable to the business.
  • Build relationships with suppliers and customers that last the distance. The ability to deliver high levels of service means working with suppliers to ensure that they give their best, so your customers can get the best you have to offer.
  • Create a productivity-based culture. Each team member must know what their jobs are, what their outputs should be and what they are accountable for. Looking at introducing incentives or bonuses for notable achievements will help keep people focused on performance. The ultimate aim is to build a workforce that enjoys what it does. This creates loyalty to the company, which benefits from a stable employee base and reduced staff turnover.
  • Develop opportunities from within the company. Promoting people from within boosts morale and stops them looking elsewhere – something crucial for a small company where skills are not easy to replace.

Related: Chivas Regal Wants You To Win the Right Way

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Always keep tabs on costs. Having funds available in order to grow production when money is needed is essential. Losing track of what is being spent within the company is the easiest way to stop growth in its tracks.

  • Ensure the systems and processes you use are the best possible and have the ability to grow with the company as it gears up. The better the company is organised, the more ready it will be to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  • Constantly know what your competitors are doing. Good market intelligence means that you can meet and defeat competition in the marketplace. Being aware helps build creative responses to business challenges and can spell the difference between success and failure.

“The best advice about growth is that it should always be a considered, controlled process. Runaway growth in a company means placing people, services and quality under stress. Growing too fast can land a business in hot water as easily as losing control of finances can. Resist explosive growth and keep developing steadily if you wish the business to be sustainable well into the future,” advises Mrs Reeves.

A sound strategy for the future for The Venture finalists looking to enter global markets – no doubt, advice that will be considered by all the 27 finalists in the competition.

Winning the lion’s share of the US$ 1 000 000 prize will undoubtedly go a long way in helping the fledgling SMEs achieve global success, but maintaining and developing that growth rests on the skills and continued hard work of the founders.

“To ensure future sustainability and growth, all business owners need to be able to recognise valuable opportunities when they come their way, and have the knowledge and skills to exploit them to full advantage,” concludes Mrs Reeves.

Chivas are looking for exceptional start-ups that use business innovatively to transform communities and solve global challenges. Whatever it is, if it's brilliant and can create real, positive change then Chivas want to hear from you.

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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.

Alfa Romeo

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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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