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Birth of the Most Organised Mother Diary

Alison Deary’s need to organise her life and family resulted in a solution that’s helped people from all walks get on top of theirs through Most Organised Mother Diary.

Nadine Todd




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Two of the most basic and effective start-up tips are ‘do what you know’ and ‘solve a need’. First, because you don’t want to be venturing into completely unknown territory; and second, if it drives you crazy and you’re looking for a solution, chances are, there are other people out there just like you, who are looking for the same solution.

When Alison Deary launched Most Organised Mother Diary in 2010, she ticked both those boxes.

“I’ve always been a very organised person, but five men at home seriously put that to the test,” she says.

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“All four of my boys were in different schools at the time – pre-primary, primary, high-school and college – and keeping their schedules straight was becoming a full-time job. I needed everything in one diary – kids, work and goal setting.”

Like any true entrepreneur, Deary found that what she was looking for didn’t exist, and so she created her own.

Getting organised

“I had a very clear system: I needed space to set up all the information I’d need for the year, including ID numbers, cell numbers, PUK numbers, birthdays, even when each of the kids got sick. Any information I’d need to fill in forms.

“I then needed a goals page, and an area where I could plan high priority but low urgency tasks – the tasks that often get ignored because of more pressing, but less important tasks.

“A third section is to reflect on the previous year – what worked and what didn’t? What should I be taking into the new year?

“I would then review my priorities on a month by month basis, so I needed an opening page at the beginning of each month with any goals or tasks that had to be completed that month. This is separate from daily to-do lists. I’ve found that if you include your top priorities in your daily to-do lists, they get ignored in favour of the simpler and more urgent tasks, and they just end up getting rewritten into each new list, and never completed.

“Finally, I wanted follow-up blocks throughout the month – what have I actioned that I need feedback for before I can continue?” Having established what she needed her yearly planner to look like, Deary created her own.

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Turning a solution into a business

At the time, Deary had sold her book-keeping business and invested in a start-up. Unfortunately, the business faced a number of challenges, and liquidated within a year.

“I needed a plan, and quickly. I reviewed my expertise, my background and what I had at my disposal – and realised that I’d inadvertently created an incredible product for myself that other mothers would find useful: My diary. I had experience in running a business, and I was determined to make a go of it.”

As with any start-up, there were challenges. Diaries are traditionally viewed as freebies from corporates, so Deary has had to convince her target market to spend money on a superior product. She also decided to monetise through advertising revenue in addition to cover sales, although the lead times associated with advertising sales has meant going to print later than she would like.

Matching products to needs

Over the past five years, the business has grown, and her products have diversified, largely because she’s paying close attention to what people need.

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“At first, I created A4 planners, because that’s what I used. I very quickly got feedback from mothers that they needed A5 planners with time slots, so the following year I introduced these.”

Deary has also recognised that mothers, women who aren’t mothers, entrepreneurs and students all have different organisational needs, and so she’s created different planners to match their specific requirements under the ‘Sorted’ trademark.

“We also have plans to develop an app, because people are either paper-based or electronic, and I want to tap into all aspects of the market,” says Deary, as she continues on her quest to help the world become more organised, reach its goals, and be a little less stressed in the process.

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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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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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton



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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton



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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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