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Types of Businesses to Start

Upcycling

Putting waste to good use through up-cycling.

Tracy Lee Nicol

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We’ve all heard of recycling – taking waste, like paper, and turning it into new unexciting material, like more paper.

But a new trend gaining momentum internationally is that of up-cycling – converting waste or useless materials, like sawdust, into completely different and creative things of greater value, like molded designer furniture.

The result is quite literally a new industry taking abundant rubbish, and turning it into a treasure trove for green business ideas. It’s not just environmentally responsible, it can create jobs.

Waste is everywhere.

It’s estimated that 11 million metric tons of floating plastic covers an area of nearly 13 million km2 of ocean. Find that number hard to process? That’s enough rubbish to cover the whole of southern and central Africa. As for southern Africans, we produce between one and three kilos of waste per person, per day.

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Trash is cash

Turning waste into fashion.

Looptworks (2009) is a US company personifying the up-cycling trend. Partners Gary Peck and Jim Stutts were inspired by sustainable manufacturing methods in the apparel industry, but wanted to take it further by forming a closed loop manufacturing process – and they’ve done it through up-cycling. Looptworks uses textile manufacturing excess as source material for its own accessories, gear and apparel.

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As an example, Looptworks gathers leftover wetsuit material destined for the dump and turns it into a $30 laptop sleeve. And, because production is limited based on available materials, items are more appealing to consumers and can command higher prices.

The business employs 12 full- and part-time staff and creates nearly 50 retail offerings.

How to make up-cycling successful

Make it innovative, like a pet’s bed made of a cushion in a banged up old suitcase (around $70 online).

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An appealing space. No one wants to rummage in a junk shop – make the space clean, open, organised and fresh looking.

Look to history. Before manufacturing became as cost-effective as it is to make new material, fabrics were broken back to fibre and re-spun into new material. Even Henry Ford up-cycled, using the crates car parts were shipped in as vehicle floorboards.

More ideas on up-cycling

Check out how these businesses are up-cycling. By Jennifer Wang

  • Company: Equator Coffees and Teas
  • What they up-cycle: Coffee waste to grow protein-rich mushrooms in developing countries
  • Brilliance: Promoting sustainable farming – and good coffee
  • Visit: www.equatorcoffees.com
  • Company: Hello Rewind
  • What they up-cycle: Customers’ favourite old t-shirts are turned into laptop sleeves; profits help sex-trafficking victims
  • Brilliance: A self-sustaining social enterprise that capitalises on a sentimental, one-of-a-kind product
  • Visit: www.hellorewind.tumblr.com

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  • Company: TerraCycle
  • What they up-cycle: Trash to make new retail products
  • Brilliance: Turning trash into treasure, literally
  • Visit: www.terracycle.com
  • Company: Patagonia
  • What they up-cycle: Fleece made of plastic bottles
  • Brilliance: Spawning a clean manufacturing movement among outdoor-clothing manufacturers
  • Visit: www.patagonia.com

 

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.

Company Posts

Business Opportunities In Printing And Signage

The event is taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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In an entrepreneurial environment, people are seeking innovative ways to make extra money. The signage and printing industry offers opportunities for small start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses.

These opportunities will be showcased at the upcoming Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo, which is co-located with Africa Print for commercial print solutions and Africa LED for professional LED lighting. The event is taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

T-Shirt and Bag Printing

Embellishments and glitter help transform a simple shirt into a unique garment, and depending on the specific shirt and techniques used, it could become a high priced item. Shirts and bags can be customised, a key aspect to targeting millennials, who require unique products, want to stand out and want items that are Instagram-worthy. You can target this market with personalised bags and unique T-shirts, which do not require large and expensive equipment to produce.

Mugs and Promotional Gifting

While others may see public holidays as opportunities to relax, entrepreneurs can see them as money-making opportunities. Capitalise on trendy markets and popular holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day by producing themed and personalised gifts. Other profitable options include: shopping bags, decor and invites, promotional, corporate and safety wear, wood, vinyl, paper, plastics, metals, flat substrates like clipboards, binders, notebooks, mouse pads, coasters, business cards, stickers and corrugated signs or posters, smart phones and tablet cases.

Related: Move Your Brand Forward With Eye-Catching Vehicle Wraps

Vehicle Wrapping

Business owners are constantly seeking ways to get their brands noticed. And with all the gigantic billboards, street pole advertisements and other media vying for consumers’ attention, it’s difficult to stand out. Enter vehicle wrapping, which is an effective promotional tool as it’s cost-effective, impactful and long-lasting. Besides cost-effective general wraps for corporate fleets, custom vehicle wrapping offers special effects that create Instagram-worthy wraps that get brands noticed.

Of course, these business opportunities require training and some research. Luckily, industry experts will be available at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo to answer visitors’ questions. There are also free educational features such as a T-Shirt and Bag printing workshop featuring demonstrations by local experts on T-shirts and bags with speciality printing techniques as well as the Textile Experience, which shows how to screen print onto T-shirts.

Opportunities for small start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses will be showcased in daily 30 minute Business Opportunity sessions. For more information about the event, and to register online, please visit: http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSignAfrica.

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Types of Businesses to Start

10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time

Find your perfect match for a successful part-time start-up.

Nadine Todd

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Launching a company – even if it’s operated part-time – is all about drawing on your skills, talents and interests to create a viable business.

What you know and what you’re good at form a good basis for a part-time business because these companies either become an extension of what you enjoy doing most or they are based on your strengths.

Working part-time while still maintaining a permanent job is time consuming and often exhausting, so choosing what you take pleasure in or are good at can keep you focused and motivated. The right fit is important when it comes to launching a part-time business. Selling a service rather than a product does not require large start-up costs, which means you can grow your business without financing until it becomes self-sustaining.

Corporate Communications & Promotions

Corporate communications covers a host of areas, mainly because this is the sector that takes care of how companies look to the outside world – something that is very definitely a service, but also that is not often taken care of in-house. If you can write, edit, have a knack for advertising, can take photographs or create promotional and corporate videos, you can offer your services part-time to companies both large and small that are in need of these services.

Contents

  1. Public Relations
  2. Freelance Photography
  3. Corporate Videos
  4. Small Business Advertising Agency
  5. Writing, Editing and Proofreading Services
  6. Internet Marketing Consultant
  7. Web Design
  8. Tax Accountant
  9. Business Consultant
  10. Business Plan Consultant
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Types of Businesses to Start

A 7-Step Guide To Starting Your Own Trade Business

With that sorted, it is time to get on with the more exciting operational stuff.

Morné Stoltz

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Skilled tradesmen are always in demand. Whether you are a plumber, electrician, cabinetmaker, refrigeration expert, tiler or builder, there is a ton of work out there. For many, the best way to make the most of the opportunity is to open your own business.

Where do you start? The first step is to register your business with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Look for a catchy name that is easy to spell and memorable – you do not want customers to struggle. The CIPC will tell you which names are taken. It is also a good idea to do a trademark search before deciding on a name. Register with SARS and make sure that all your tax affairs are in order.

It is a very good idea to get a good accountant right at the early stages of the game. They can also help you set up the legislative requirements for running a business. The National Small Business Chamber is a non-profit organisation that offers a range of services to its members that aim to help them grow faster, save money and receive the support they need.

With that sorted, it is time to get on with the more exciting operational stuff.

1. Finding customers

You want to find customers in order to grow your business beyond the ones you already have. These days, that means a website and some smart online marketing.

This can be as simple as setting up a Facebook page and any one of several other social media sites (like Instagram and LinkedIn). These services are at no-cost to you and allow you to quickly build up a following of loyal customers. You can share ‘jobs well done’, so prospective customers can see what you are capable of, while your contact details are easily accessible. In due course, consider some paid averts on relevant social media platforms and perhaps a website of your own. It is a good way to get potential customers on board.

At the same time, list your services in community newspapers, noticeboards and newsletters so everyone in the area can easily see that you are available and what it is you do. Also, keep your eye on social media community groups – and ask family, friends and existing clients to refer and/or recommend your services when an opportunity arises.

Finally, there are many government initiatives and non-profit organisations whose aim is to help small businesses succeed – with a particular emphasis on black-owned businesses. This help could range from facilitating access to finance, all the way to mentorship. Spend some time finding out what help is on offer. The SME Movement site also has this kind of information.

Related: How To Start Your Own Artisan Business

2. Stay focused

For those just starting out, there might be a temptation to take any job that crosses your path. Rather stick to your area of expertise to build a reputation based on proven skills. If you are an electrician with a little plumbing experience, for example, tackling a piping job could cause more trouble than it is worth. Every trade is different and you are an expert for a reason.

Leave the other work for experts in those fields – but build up relationships with them so that you can refer work to each other.

3. Ride on your qualifications and references

You have spent a lot of time getting certified. Let your customers know about your qualifications and experience by putting it on your Facebook page, your invoices, e-mails and other communications. The same goes for references; these are valuable and provide evidence of your ability to get the job done. Ask for a reference when the job is complete and then on to social media it goes. The good news with social media, by the way, is that these references do not ever go away.

4. Stay on top of the paperwork

The good old days of doing business on a handshake may be behind us. Providing quotes, contracts, invoices and records of payments electronically makes paperwork a whole lot easier by creating a digital archive where physical copies aren’t needed, but it serves the same purpose, when it is formally recorded, it is far easier to see what has been agreed to, done and paid for. Do not skimp here, even the best customer service provider relationships can go awry if verbal agreements are all you have to go on.

5. Register with your trade association (and invest in CPD)

Being a member of a trade association (like Master Builders, the Institute of Plumbing or other professional bodies) lends credibility to what you are doing. It also provides access to new customers should larger contractors need to sub-contract. Your trade association also formalises training and continuous professional development (CPD).

Related: 6 Tips For Launching Your Global Brand

6. Get business insurance

All too often, this crucial coverage is ignored by those starting out on their own. You want to protect tools and equipment on the one hand and you also want broadform public liability to safeguard yourself, your employees and your business against third party claims should something go wrong on the job. It provides cover in connection with your normal business activities and also your liability if any employees are injured in the course of work.

Putting the right insurance in place can mean the difference between staying in business for the long term or folding the minute the tools grow legs and disappear.

7. Deliver good service

Do not forget that every job is a potential reference and, at the very least, is your entry into that client’s network of friends or business associates. Concentrate on giving good service and actively request feedback so you can remedy any shortfalls. A take-it-or-leave it attitude may be relaxing, but it will prevent your business from growing to what it potentially can be.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)

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