In football, the running back is known for his agility in running with the ball after receiving a pass or handoff from the quarterback or another teammate. As football players go, he’s lean and on the smaller side – 5’11” is the average height for a running back. His smaller size allows him to be flexible and agile.
Just like a running back, small startups are nimble and quick, and unlike big, established corporations, startups don’t have a set culture or legacy systems to deal with. But as all good startups are wont to do, staying small isn’t in the game plan.
The same things that set startups apart from big corporations, and in turn make them successful, are some of the first things to go as a business grows. But, just as bigger running backs called “power backs” still get the job done, startup businesses can still remain agile and flexible while growing in size.
Here are the things you need to do to keep your startup agile while still growing the business:
1. Be open to change
Startup businesses open to change are more skillful in lessening the effect of outside forces, as well as profiting by the doors they might open. A recent report shows that that 92 perceny of businesses that are profoundly successful at change administration report high or moderate agility.
2. Use technology to your advantage
Cloud computing is one aspect of technology that you can use to keep your startup agile in the long run. The cloud offers affordable options and gives companies a reach that they wouldn’t have been able to achieve without its boost. Since many startups don’t hold employees to traditional working hours, the cloud is an excellent way for employees to stay in touch and communicate when they aren’t in the office.
In addition, combining big data with the cloud allows businesses to have storage within the cloud and employ CRM software and cloud ERP on any device, anywhere.
3. Stick with social media
Startups have seen multiple benefits of using social media. Because smaller startups don’t have the stratified structure that large corporations do, they can respond to customer complaints and suggestions on social media, while still promoting their brand and more customer engagement.
Many startups have utilised gamification to drive customers to their social media pages or sites, and to encourage a unique experience for their customers. In layman’s terms, gamification is rewarding your customers for sharing your posts, commenting, or interacting in other ways to spread your content.
4. Communicate more
There really is no such thing as too much communication. In a startup, the atmosphere is perfect for communicating because startups and their employees are typically a small, tight-knit group who are all invested in how the company is succeeding… or not.
In a group that is small and works closely together, communication is also imperative to maintaining the peace.
There are always boundaries around what can be shared and when, but it’s best to maintain an open atmosphere where new plans, successes, failures and decisions big and small is always communicated.
This is easy in a small business, but as your business grows it is imperative to develop a team whose main responsibility is to communicate everything down the line, keeping that startup feel.
5. Seek maximum talent
In a small startup, you need to hire the best of the best to keep your company agile. In seeking employees with maximum talent, you should look for people who are passionate about your product or service, are capable and smart, and can adapt to a fast-paced and ever changing environment. Employees with maximum talent will also show a desire and ability to grow with the business.
Large corporations can sometimes get caught in a cycle of hiring mediocre talent just so that they can get a position filled. As your business grows you risk falling into the same pattern. To insure that you don’t take that path, look beyond a job candidate’s resume.
Look for experience working at a company that is on the same track as yours. You also want to make sure that the candidates are adventurous, personable and professional. You people willing to take risks to achieve something greater.
6. Set goals for growth
For a startup to reach a point where it has a revenue of R1 Million a month takes a lot of hard work. But it’s a great milestone to reach because it shows that you’ve got a good product and you know how to get customers in touch with it.
It is also the point where a lot of startups are tired and they just want to stay where they are. This complacency can be a dangerous thing for a startup, and to make it past this plateau the business needs to have goals for more growth.
Having a focus on growth makes everybody in the company look for opportunities, investments, and ways to be efficient and scalable. Having a goal for growth that cannot be met with the minimum amount of effort is a great way to create a tension that is constructive and creative in its approach.
A good way to set a goal for growth is to look at your market and its growth and then set a goal slightly ahead of that. You want to make it hard enough that you won’t settle into complacency.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Why Smart Business Growth Means Smart IT Budgeting
(…And how to do it)
For any business today, no matter its size or sector, getting the IT budget right has become a critical part of success and sustainability. The difference between a three-device network and a fifty-device network has significant ramifications for your IT spend and your overall budget outlook.
Let’s take a closer look at several potential costs and how to plan for them…
Network: The driving force
Essentially, the network is the backbone/core of your IT infrastructure. It needs to be reliable, fast and efficient. Often, a young and growing business will have a piecemeal network in place, bolting on new sections over time. This can lead to the network becoming inefficient and slow.
The important thing to note is that when you have reached capacity on your current network, is it’s sometimes better to start from scratch and also leave room for expansion down the line (rather than adding to the existing network as a quick fix).
While it may appear more costly (and scary), the end result is a reliable network that you won’t have to worry about revamping for many years.
Licensing: Pricey but critical
Software licensing often comes as an unexpected (and unpleasant) cost to many business owners and their financial teams. Indeed, purchasing legal software can be pricey if you aren’t prepared for it (and don’t understand how it all works!). However, if you buy software licenses in bulk, or commit to a longer term, they can cost far less…so again, budgeting intelligently for your business growth can save you money in the long term. Also remember that many software licenses nowadays can be rented on a per user per month basis so its flexible and always up-to-date.
Maintenance: Be realistic
As the business grows and expands, so too will your IT maintenance needs. The key factor to note is to carefully consider the potential costs of IT failures and hardware issues. You need to take into account that you will undoubtedly have to spend money on maintaining your computers and overall network – and breakdowns can be extremely costly in downtime and lost productivity.
Some businesses find that it makes good financial sense to employ someone to be an IT technician in addition to taking on other responsibilities – but this person may not have the right expertise and experience to manage everything. The other increasingly popular option is to outsource your IT management. With flexible pricing options now available to businesses, this is becoming a viable and often much more flexible route to take.
Think Beyond The Box
With a holistic view of your business finances and admin in place, Sasfin’s new digital banking platform is engineered to help you grow your business.
Welcome to the banking platform designed to support your banking needs. In response to more than 50 years of financing and supporting SMEs, Sasfin has launched a digital banking platform, B\\YOND, to help address the pain points and pressures that business owners face in South Africa.
“We’ve spent decades understanding what makes SMEs succeed or fail, and a lot of it begins with how well a business owner understands their finances,” says Sasfin CEO, Michael Sassoon.
“Failed SMEs often tend to either neglect or become completely consumed by their finances and admin. We wanted to create a platform that could help them take control of these factors, and give them a full 360-degree view of their businesses.”
B\\YOND was built to enable businesses to attend to their finances and admin seamlessly, thereby ensuring that entrepreneurs can focus on their clients — driving revenue and enhancing their products and services in the process.
Everything you need on one platform
According to Sassoon, entrepreneurs on the B\\YOND platform will never need to set foot in a branch again. The sophisticated technology incorporates many value-added services at no additional cost, including:
- B\\YOND online applications: Businesses with multiple shareholders and directors can apply online, by uploading documents and signing the application digitally.
- B\\YOND payroll: A simple-to-use and SARS-compliant payroll function enables business owners to perform their own payroll management.
- B\\YOND invoicing: Businesses can create and send personalised quotes and invoices directly from the platform.
- B\\YOND insights: Smart dashboards generated through clever account and transaction classification and tagging helps manage revenue and expenses, and keep track of projects.
- B\\YOND integrations: Direct-feed integration into Xero ensures that small businesses and their accountants can safely and seamlessly connect their Sasfin Bank transactional data with Xero, the fastest growing cloud-based accounting software provider in the world.
Serving the entrepreneur
While there is much in store for the next versions of B\\YOND, the platform currently offers business leaders the basic tools they need to run their businesses smoothly in one place at no additional cost, with the ability to bank at their convenience.
“Sasfin has always existed to serve the entrepreneur and investor, the two key drivers of the South African economy and it bothers us that there is such a high failure rate of entrepreneurs in our country. We have spent the last three years building B\\YOND — a future-fit digital banking platform to help these entrepreneurs,” says Sassoon.
Engineered for success
Sasfin has gone above and B\\YOND to bring you a new digital banking platform that gives you the tools to make managing your business simple and profitable.
B//YOND is a value-add to all Sasfin Transctional Banking clients
Bank outside the box
The Sasfin Transactional Banking Business Account is designed for SMEs who want to focus on what they’re most passionate about — their business — while their banking platform not only sweats the small stuff for them, but helps manage and grow their business.
- Do you spend unnecessary time on banking?
- Does your bank pay you market-leading annual interest rates?
- Does your bank give you easy cash management in real-time?
- Would you like to manage your payroll and invoicing from your bank account?
- Does your bank help you keep track of your cash flow, manage your admin, and provide you with the set of tools you need to help run your business successfully?
Sign up today and have access to a whole new world of banking better for your business.
Call 0861 SASFIN for more information.
A Short Cut For Corporates To Digital Innovation: Start-ups
Charlie Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Rogerwilco shares his advice for turning to start-ups for solutions.
If there is one anathema in corporate culture, it is failure. With profit to be made and share prices to increase, failure is simply not an option. And yet, when listening to stories about success in the digital space, failure is there to put one on the right path to success. The phrase ‘Fail fast, Fail often’ is often bandied about, and innovation can be seen as a constant process of iteration, test and failure, repeating this until a well refined service or product is on the table.
Many corporates are waking up to the uncomfortable fact that at a structural level, the type of innovation required to grow in today’s digital landscape, is out of their reach, at least when trying to come up with it internally. So what to do? Charlie Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Rogerwilco shares his advice for turning to start-ups for solutions.
1. The start-up solution
Corporates comfortable in the digital space – Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon – have been buying startups for years, and now companies are realising that when it comes to Blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, they need to turn elsewhere. And they are. Matt Garratt, Vice President of Salesforce Ventures noted that of the roughly 1500 tech acquisitions Stateside in 2016, half of them were bought by non-tech companies, showing that buying a start-up is a quick way to acquire new technologies, skills or patents.
But purchasing a company with a fully developed product can be an expensive and often risky play. Instead we are beginning to see a trend where corporates are framing agile startups as solution providers, offering them seed funding to come up with answers to digital headaches.
In the US, defence contractor Lockheed Martin has turned its investment strategy around, focusing on young startups instead of more mature companies. In the region of $20 million was ploughed into startups in 2017, helping Lockheed Martin to get a slice of the pie in fast moving spaces such as cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles and nanotechnology.
2. Outsourcing the problem
For corporates turning to start-ups, there are two benefits. Firstly, by doing so companies are casting their net a bit wider, with not only more eyeballs on the problems but, importantly, without the restraints of the corporate boardroom. There is more out-of-the-box thinking involved, no internal politics to worry about and far less of a threat of somebody’s career being jeopardised.
Secondly, if a start-up comes up with a solution, investing in the fledgling company can be cheaper than purchasing one with an established solution. If a buy-out is on the cards, it is less risky too since the due diligence process has been worked through and cultural challenges have been ironed out.
But not all start-ups actually want a buy-out. Some rather prefer access to market and skills transfer, especially around the commercial side of business. Yes, they do need investment, so companies can provide them with a proof of concept to take their idea forward, or potentially a more structured form of investment in their business.
3. Cape Town: the start-up hub of Africa
Locally, Cape Town can be seen as the tech start-up hub of Africa, and is certainly a good place for corporates to start sniffing around for that digital innovation golden ticket. Events such as last year’s AfricArena conference proved that Cape Town can be a fruitful hunting ground. 80 start-ups from across Africa attended the inaugural event, and were tasked to find solutions to problems provided by corporates beforehand. Air France, for example, was looking for innovative mobile solutions, the City of Cape Town wanted to see how technology can be used to improve the tourism industry, while RCS asked for a loyalty programme to match a new credit programme.
By all accounts the event was a major success, connecting start-ups with corporates and investors, both attending the event and dialing in. The winner of Air France’s challenge, mobile payment solution provider WeCashUp, received multiple offers of investment and the project has moved on to the proof-of-concept phase.
4. The start-up lifeboat
Many companies need to face up to the fact that the current corporate structure they are working within does not allow for the type of innovation required to adapt to, never mind thrive, in a digital world. South African companies were perhaps sheltered from the digital tsunami that has eviscerated the analogue business world, but the wave has hit our shores. If it is innovation that is needed, it is time to turn to agile startups, far better adapted to a sink-or-swim digital environment, to come up with the solutions.
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