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Aqua Software Solutions: Faghmie Davids

Software solution provides clients with new ways to track time and attendance of staff

Juliet Pitman

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Faghmie Davids

There is no doubt that technology canchange the way companies manage their business, suppliers and staff so it’ssurprising that so many have been slow to take full advantage of it. Those whodo, immediately give themselves a competitive edge and it is theseforward-thinking companies that Faghmie Davids, founder of Aqua SoftwareSolutions, targets with an innovative software solution.Davids’ web-based system helps companies tomanage the time and attendance of employees. It makes use of a state-of-the-arthand-held clocking device that recognises the fingerprint of each employee, andkeeps a record of when they clocked in and out of the business premises. Thisinformation is fed, via the GSM network, to Aqua Software’s web-based system,which generates reports for the client on all aspects of staff attendance,including absenteeism, leave and overtime. The beauty of the Aqua system is theimmediate electronic availability of the data. It takes tracking of time andattendance into the digital age.

In spite of the obvious advantage of usingsuch a system, Davids, an electrical engineer who started Aqua SoftwareSolutions in 2001 and developed the web-based software, says his biggestchallenge has been educating potential clients about the benefits of making useof the full service offering he provides. “It is possible for people to buy asimilar system off the shelf but they then have to go to the effort and expenseof getting someone to set it up for them and then manage it on a day-to-daybasis. What we offer is a full service, installing the software for them andgenerating monthly reports from our web-based system,” he explains.In order to add even more value, Davidscame up with an innovative way to tailor the system to meet clients’ needs.Aqua’s approach is to do a full needs assessment and try to identify ways theycan tweak the software in order to make it more relevant and beneficial toindividual companies. Davids then reworks the software and delivers thesolution to the client. “The basic software system is already there so we canalter it to make sure that we are giving clients a solution and monthly reportthat will really help them to run their business more effectively,” heexplains.

As the business has grown, so Davids haslearned the importance of sales. “I can develop a brilliant system that canhelp business people but there’s no point in doing that if I can’t sell it tothem,” he says. He adds that more education-based sales will be required totruly grow the company’s client base, as many businesses are slow to invest ina new technology until they are sure it will reap business rewards. “We have toshow people that they are buying a service that allows them to stick to theircore business while we stick to ours which is to take care of the technologyside of things,” he explains.In addition, he points out the importanceof keeping existing companies happy. “Part of our growth strategy is to ensurethat the clients we have are happy, as many of them employ huge numbers ofpeople, of which we are only currently tracking a small portion. For example, acompany for whom Aqua currently tracks 1 000 employees actually has 13 000people in total on its books. There is obviously huge potential for growth withthese clients, so we need to make sure the system is working for them currentlybefore we expand into new areas with them,” he says. The reputation developedwith these clients has stood the company in good stead when it comes toprospecting for new clients and, slowly but surely, the business has grown. Thefirst system Aqua installed tracked 50 people – the company now tracks over 3000.

When Davids initially started off, heprovided clients only with the software, while hardware was suppliedseparately. However, this caused one of the company’s other major stumblingblocks. “We found that the hardware wouldn’t work as well as it should, and itwas incredibly frustrating not to have ownership of the full service,” heexplains. Undeterred, Davids set about sourcing hardware himself, so that Aquais now in a position to offer a truly holistic service to its clients.It is this tenacity in the face ofobstacles, and ability to think on his feet and react quickly, that has keptDavids one step ahead of his competitors. “I’m learning all the time,” headmits. With such an innovative product and a plan for future growth, there’s nodoubt that the ingredients for success are there.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.

CEOwise

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Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect

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It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.

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“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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