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Bokang Seritsane: A Maverick Mindset

Local entrepreneur sets himself apart as a solutions crafter, deal closer and supporter of young entrepreneurs.

Nadine Todd

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Bokang Seritsane began his entrepreneurial journey as a salesman working for other entrepreneurs. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was grooming himself to eventually launch his own business.

Related: The Midas Touch: Hina Kassam & Irfan Pardesi

“As a salesperson, you’re responsible for your own sales and turnover,” he says. “You need to craft a strategy for your clients as well, so what they do and their needs dictate how you approach them and structure your offering. In my case, I sold advertising.

“Marketing managers can spend their budgets without your assistance, so you need to create a need to ensure they spend with you – and translate that need into a service. It was an excellent foundation for entrepreneurship, as that’s exactly what business owners do – find a client need and fill it.”

As an entrepreneur, Seritsane needed to find gaps, create solutions and commercialise them, but soon found that you often need one deal to close the next ten. “Closing that first deal is often what undoes a start-up. You need clients to attract clients.”

Sertisane’s advice?

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Invest in doing work for free. “It might sound counter-intuitive, particularly as you don’t want to set a precedent of doing work for free, but often that first “no” is because your potential big client is unsure of your work ethic or ability to deliver – and you don’t have a track record yet. Offering to do the work for free for three or even six months has two advantages:

“You’re able to prove that you live up to your pitch, and it lends credibility to your subsequent pitches because you can show you’re doing work for a large corporate. It obviously affects your bottom line, but as long as you work with integrity and deliver what you promise, you’ll be building a relationship with a great long-term client.”

Family and friends started asking Seritsane for business advice, which ultimately inspired him to launch Under35Mavericks, a business that builds up young entrepreneurs through its Maverick Mindset Programme.

“The programme is funded through corporate ED funds, so before I could officially launch it, I needed the right relationships in place and to have proved myself as a trusted partner. It took longer to launch, but I’m now working off a much more sustainable base.”

Celebrating SA’s Hot young entrepreneurs

Seritsane has hit on an innovative way to celebrate young South African entrepreneurs while also gaining brand traction with the inaugural Maverick Awards.

 

Related: Clem Sunter’s Take on the Entrepreneurial Economy

As South Africa’s first youth entrepreneurship excellence awards, the Maverick Awards recognise, acknowledge and celebrate entrepreneurial genius and prowess displayed by young, hard-nosed entrepreneurs who are rising up to local challenges and building great businesses as a result.

Visit www.under35mavericks.com for more information.

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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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.

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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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