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Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions

With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?

Madex

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It was deemed a “rude awakening” early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds.

This follows a pretty harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos, and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.

But where does that leave the small or medium businesses reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?

There is still a way

jodene-shaer“’Meaningful interaction’ is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” explains Jodene Shaer, international business owner and head strategist of social media engagement specialist, Chat Factory.

Related: 5 Marketing Missteps That Make Cash Flow And Business Growth Stumble

“There is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social.”

Authenticity key

Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious, Shaer adds.

“The ranking for visibility of organic content is highest when live. Live videos are absolutely the route to go, as followers receive a notification that you are live and there is greater chance of visibility. A big advantage is that you can save that content to the page and it becomes shareable, and can be uploaded to YouTube, where there is still a strong call for business content.

“And it doesn’t have to be high budget either, but it must be authentic, informative, engaging and encouraging. Of all things, ensure that all comments are responded to and shares and reviews are acknowledged.”

Looking beyond Facebook

Shaer believes that smaller local businesses can make their ad rands stretch further on Facebook by moving onto Ads Manager, instead of simply using the Boost button. “The reach is different, so invest in watching some YouTube videos as tutorials,” she recommends. “Boost to unique target audiences and turn the boosting into a science, by watching your reach. Set up smaller boosts and spread your spend across a few posts instead of one big boost. Track your stats and see which audiences work best.”

“One way that South African SMEs could also make use of InstaStories, as these are gaining organic reach. They could also look at varying hashtags, but using a few to reach a very specific audience.

Related: Marketing Tips For Start-ups

“We’ve seen the opening up of the use of LinkedIn and had people return to using the power of Twitter, so it’s worth investigating how to maximise other platforms while trying to keep your budget low.

“None of this should put a small business off, but should create exciting and challenging opportunities to shift how social media is used and explore the outcomes of each post, to truly develop a social media presence,” she adds.

Shaer will be one of an entire panel of dynamic, expert presenters speaking at the upcoming Madex 2018 show, the ultimate marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo.

Madex, the marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo takes place on 6 and 7 June 2018 at Sandton Convention Centre. The show is co-located with the promotional product event, Markex. Please note that the entrance cost to Madex 2018 is R50, payable online or on-site at the show. Visit www.madex.co.za for more information and to register for your entrance to the show.

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Accounting & Payroll

The Importance of Outsourcing Your Payroll

One of an organisation’s biggest overheads is that of salaries and wages. And yet, if these are not processed on time, it can negatively impact staff morale and create the impression that the company is not financially stable.

CRS HR And Payroll Solutions

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For a small business, payroll is normally the responsibility of an accountant or bookkeeper, but even administrators can sometimes be roped in to do the job, even though they have no expertise in the matter. This is where the value of outsourcing your payroll comes in.

When should you outsource?

  • If you want to grow your business but are not aware of ongoing legislative changes that could pose a risk to your company, then it is better to get professionals to assist.
  • Accountants and bookkeepers are not specialists and do not keep up with the compliance environment. If you outsource your payroll, you enable them to focus their core duties and not get bogged down by legislative complexities.

How to choose an outsourced service provider

Understandably, payroll is a sensitive subject dealing with highly confidential information.

This is often the last thing a small business owner wants to outsource. It is therefore vital that the company does its homework and researches the potential outsourcing partner thoroughly.

Instead of going with the first available service provider or the cheapest one, here are some questions to ask:

  • Is the service provider a one-man band and, if so, what backup resources are available?
  • Is the service provider a recognised payroll provider belonging to a professional body?
  • Do they have the necessary training and skills on payroll?
  • What does the service provider do to ensure it stays up to date with legislation?
  • How secure is the payroll data and can the service provider take on historic data?
  • How easy is it to recover your payroll data in the event of a disaster?
  • What value-adds can the service provider offer? These can include anything from leave management and third-party payments, to employee self-service, time and attendance management, and any other related human resource service.
  • Can they process salaries and/or wages hourly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly?
  • Can the service provider accommodate your growth requirements if you open new branches?
  • Is the service provider able to assist with payrolls in other African countries, manage their currencies, and deal with their regulatory environments?
  • What processes are in place to ensure the timeous processing of payrolls?

The advantages of outsourcing your payroll

One of the most obvious benefits of going the outsourcing route is freeing up your resources to focus on your core strategic objectives. This ensures you provide quality of service and control costs while an experienced partner takes care of your payroll.

Here are a few other benefits:

  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Statutory compliance and consistent service delivery.
  • Access to the latest technology, as well as skilled and dedicated payroll resources.
  • Access to a secure, risk-free and confidential payroll environment.
  • Increased flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Streamlined internal processes and procedures.

Related: Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time

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Thinking of Immigrating to America from SA? Now Is The Time

More South Africans are looking to get their Green Cards with the EB-5 visa. Here’s why – and how you can use this opportunity too.

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South Africans are surging towards the popular United States EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa programme ahead of possible price increases that will likely place the EB-5 visa programme out of reach for many, other than for the uber-rich.

NES Financial, the leading EB-5 financial brokerage in the US, has estimated a 600% increase in EB-5 petition filings from South Africans this fiscal year from three years ago.

Increasing applications for the US Investor Visa

Bernard Wolfsdorf, a US EB-5 lawyer and former South African, has filed more South African cases in the past year than he has processed in the past ten years.

“I think it’s the fact that the investment amount could soon increase soon from $500 000 to $1,8 million that is driving many South Africans,” he says.

However, Wolfsdorf, Past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, speculates that there are other factors, such as the stable US economy, excellent business environment, and outstanding educational opportunities that are enticing many South Africans to invest in the U.S.

“The currency swing has convinced many South Africans I speak to that foreign investment in the US makes sense,” he adds.

Assisting with understanding your US immigration options

The Tier 1 top ranked US immigration law firm, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has now set up a South African focused website and is regularly sending experienced lawyers to meet with South Africans and explain their immigration options.

“While on the one hand I am sad that many South Africans are choosing to leave, my hope is that, with global investment, many will continue to run and expand their South African companies and that the foreign investment will benefit South African trade and exports and create jobs locally,” says Wolfsdorf.

Other countries, such as China and Korea have many immigrants and they continue to drive trade with their ‘mother’ countries. “I expect to see many South African immigrants continue to develop trade and commerce with the US as this huge influx continues,” he says.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative confirms that US goods and services trade with South Africa totaled an estimated $18,9 billion in 2018. Exports were $8,4 billion; imports were $10,5 billion, creating a trade deficit with South Africa of $2,1 billion in 2018.

Some of the top imports from South Africa into the US include precious metal and stone; iron and steel; vehicles; and agricultural products like tree nuts and fresh fruit. However, the strong dollar greatly benefits trade and prices for many South African goods are high.

Why South Africans are immigrating to the US and not Australia

Other factors leading South Africans to choose the US is the fact that Australia and the United Kingdom have been less welcoming to immigrants recently, so while the US has been in third place as a choice, this is likely to soon change soon.

“In fact, Australia is becoming less and less friendly to immigrants on a personal level, with many Australians believing it’s time for its liberal immigration policies to end,” says Wolfsdorf.

“The country is implementing visa crackdown measures to limit work visas and ensure that foreign workers have the right skills and occupational licenses to conduct business. Additionally, with Brexit causing uncertainty, many South Africans have decided to look towards America for a Plan B.”

Joseph Barnett, a partner of the law firm who specializes in EB-5, is currently making his second trip to South Africa in the past six months.

“I really enjoy meeting with South Africans on my previous trip,” he says. “They are friendly, hospitable and hardworking. I’m sure this is the main reason most South Africans seem to do so well in the US.”

Why consider the EB-5 Visa

“The EB-5 Visa remains popular because there is no US employer sponsorship requirement, no education requirement, travel throughout the visa process is relatively simple, and because South Africans can choose to live wherever they desire once obtaining the green card,” the attorney adds.

“In short, the opportunity to live the American dream is open to anyone able to invest $500 000.”

South Africans should be aware that regulations first proposed in 2017 have now reached the final stage of the rulemaking process, review by the US Office of Management and Budget, before being finalized.  The time to act is now.

For more information on how you can begin your US EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa process, visit Eb5greencard.co.za

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Your Skill Set Could Be Limiting You As A Business Manager

Without a cross-functional skill set, business managers will stick to what they know and neglect what lies beyond their scope.

Wits Plus

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Almost 80% of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in South Africa fail within the first three years. This statistic presents a staggering blow to the hopes of the South African economy, which is invested in the crucial role of SMEs in stimulating economic growth and providing relief from a shockingly high unemployment rate.

Entrepreneurs, those that venture forth and create new business opportunities, face extraordinary challenges and dooming statistics in South Africa.

Inside larger, more stable organisations, the management portfolio has expanded to incorporate a whole new skill set. Managers now need to be leaders, who develop their people and innovate, while at the same time stimulating innovative thinking and being informed and prepared enough to be agile and responsive to change.

Related: No Time For Ongoing Learning? Try Online

Intrapreneurs, those organisational managers that display visionary leadership and stimulate the creative thinking that unlocks new business potential, are in high demand and short supply.

What closes doors for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs?

According to a recent study SMEs fail as a result of both external and internal factors. The South African economic and business landscape and the impact of globalisation make it challenging for any entrepreneur to succeed.

As managers of SMEs, entrepreneurs struggle to obtain the right talent to fuel business success. They also lack the knowledge, skills and experience to obtain business funding and manage resources and finances effectively. With no business insight, no money and no resources, even the most visionary entrepreneurs will encounter doors slamming in their faces.

Leaders in organisations are not faring much better. South African leaders are focused on developing their skill set to manage the organisation of the future. Old ways of managing have been disrupted with concepts like collaboration, agility, innovation and cross-functionality.

South African organisational managers face the same battle that the managers of SMEs face – there simply isn’t enough talent to drive business success. Without the skills to unlock potential in themselves or others, business managers are unable to open the doors to new business opportunities.

Skills for visionary leaders

From these challenges, it is clear that managing a small business or a business unit in a large organisation requires a new skill set that will create a well-rounded, informed and visionary business leader.

Related: What Authentic Leadership Really Means And How You Can Become An Authentic Business Leader

Tim Brown, leader of global design company IDEO, proposes the concept of a T-shaped person, who has developed deep technical expertise in their area. These experts in a given area often become managers of either their own business or a business unit because they are just so good at what they do.

However, this deep expertise is not enough; leaders of the future should have a broad skill set, symbolised by the horizontal line of the T. This broad skill set should include people skills, the ability to collaborate across business functions, a basic understanding of other business areas, an ongoing growth that spans across organisations or businesses.

Today’s business managers should be able to understand and leverage the broader business landscape, balancing their expertise with a wide swath of cross-functional business insights that will allow them to play comfortably with others and navigate the broader business landscape.

Without a cross-functional skill set, business managers will stick to what they know and neglect what lies beyond their scope. The resulting imbalance will see areas of the business wither away for lack of attention, fuelling the high failure rates of SMEs and the challenges that keep organisational managers awake at night.

The Wits Plus Business Management Essentials short course provides entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs with a broad view of the business landscape and aims to produce T-shaped business managers, with deep expertise in their own fields, coupled with broad, cross-functional business savvy.

Related: Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

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