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5 Tech Trends To Make Your Business Flourish

Don’t let technology scare you. If implemented correctly, it can help you take your business to the next level.

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Technology continues to grow at a pace many of us find difficult to keep up with, but there’s no denying the need to embrace tech in order to maximise efficiency and improve various systems within your business. Fortunately, you don’t have to be the most tech-savvy entrepreneur out there in order to implement fresh, new ideas in the workplace.

Epson South Africa, global innovators in cutting-edge printing technology, shows you how to use the latest tech to cut unnecessary expenditure, gain the edge over competitors and keep staff satisfied at work.

1Migrate to the cloud

Using the internet to store important information will not only save you the hassle of worrying about sudden malfunctions with back-up drives, but also means you and your employees do not have to be in the office in order to get work done.

Cloud-computing allows authorised personnel to access information from wherever they are, securely and conveniently. Employees are also able to collaborate on projects as a team.

Related: 3 Sure Fire Ways To Improve Efficiency And Find Your Business’s Productivity Sweet Spot

2Time-management and tracking

You can use Microsoft Outlook or even Google Calendar to set and share tasks, appointments and updates with co-workers to ensure everyone in the office is on the same page.

There are also time-tracking applications employees can use to log working hours and daily activities, enhancing productivity and simultaneously allowing management to monitor how company time is spent.

3Web conferencing

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There’s just no substitute for a face-to-face conversation, particularly when it comes to meeting a prospective client or discussing important matters with a business partner.

Web conferencing is a great way to avoid the stress (and cost) of meeting at an expensive restaurant or indeed booking a flight to meet clients based abroad.

With data speeds on the rise in South Africa, the clarity of video calls has improved drastically over the years – and, if you don’t have the fastest internet connection, you can always use the audio function on its own to produce high-quality voice calls.

4Efficient office equipment

If you find yourself spending far too much time and money on repairing old office equipment or replacing consumables, it might be time to invest in new computers, printers and scanners that employ the latest technology to save money on maintenance costs in the long run and save energy to reduce your business’s carbon footprint.

Epson’s innovative Ink Tank System (ITS) printers, for instance, use cutting-edge print-head and ink top-up technology, available on models like the L655 and M200, which allows you to print up to 6 000 full-colour or monochrome pages before needing to refill the ink tank. Models like the Epson L1300 also come with a three-year warranty.

Related: 7 Tools To Increase Productivity And Efficiency

5Social media as a motivational tool

A happy workforce increases productivity, which in turn has a positive impact on your bottom line. Offering praise and recognition to employees on a public platform, like Facebook or LinkedIn, helps boost morale and shows staff that their contributions are valued.

This is also a great way to encourage employees to engage with the company’s social media pages organically, which does wonders for a business’s image in the public domain.

Work on implementing some of these tech trends in your business to encourage productivity, boost morale and optimise business systems and processes, helping you run a more efficient business.

Purchase a selected Ink Tank System printer before 31 March 2017 and receive up to R1600 back in cash. Visit www.epson.co.za/itscashback for more details on this promotion.  For more top tech tips to improve your business, home or classroom environment, as well as the latest printer technology available, visit www.epson.co.za

Epson has always been ahead of its time. Quite literally. Founded in 1942 as a small watchmaking factory – Daiwa Kogyo Ltd. (later Seiko) – the company went on to become the official timekeeper for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, recording and printing athletes’ results. This process inspired our printers, the first of which was launched in 1968 as the electronic printer (EP). The EP was quickly followed by the EP-101 (our first commercial printer, the world’s smallest, and the EP’s “son”). Epson was born.

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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.

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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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