Entrepreneurs who survived previous economic recessions will tell you that you need to adapt in order to thrive.Whether it’s changing the product mix, adding a new service or coming up with innovative ways to reduce costs, the companies that do well in a recession are the ones that can respond to changing conditions quickly.
This is something the team from Creative Eleven Team design agency understands better than most. Recognising that clients were feeling the financial pinch, the agency quickly added cost-effective service offerings to their line-up. Director Robyn van der Toorn explains: “We’ve traditionally been an above-the-line and print-focused agency,but we realised that the credit crunch means that our clients, many of whom are small to medium-sized businesses, need less costly ways of getting brand exposure.
So we geared ourselves up to offer digital as well, something we hadn’t really focused on in the past.”Her partner Ingrid Blohm adds: “Digital solutions are great for SMEs because they get you good exposure with a variety of audiences for a fraction of the cost. As a simple example, our clients used to want brochures but I can’t remember the last time we printed one. That’s partly a cost thing and partly a trend thing; today a well designed website is all the brochure you need.”
Changes need to be drastic
The act of adding digital solutions to their suite of services is not a groundbreaking one but changes should not always have to be drastic. Indeed, experts advise that companies don’t undertake a complete overhaul during times of uncertainty. Both Blohm and Van der Toon are at pains to point out that they haven’t changed their business into a digital solutions company.
“We have always and still do offer a full suite of services, including name generation, logos, corporate identity,packaging and above-the-line solutions. Digital is just another service we decided to add to these in order to respond to clients’ needs for more cost-effective solutions,” says Van der Toorn.
Understanding market shifts
In other words, stick with what you know, but be flexible enough to make the necessary tweaks where they are relevant. Knowing exactly what tweaks are needed requires being in touch with evolving market needs.
“We own another company called Flowermill and we knew how difficult it was to get the brand out there without a big marketing budget, so I suppose it made us think like our clients. We understood the cost-effective benefits of digital so when the recession hit, it made sense to include it in our offering,” says Blohm.
Using what you have
But responding successfully to changing market conditions is not only about doing something new. Sometimes it’s about repositioning what you already have, as Van der Toorn illustrates. “One of the things we’ve always done well is packaging.
When people are cash-strapped and don’t have enough money for a large marketing campaign, they need to pay extra attention to their packaging and make it work harder for them at point-of-sale.” Blohm adds: “Research shows, for example, that packaging has four seconds to make an impact and sell your product.
When we share this information with clients, they quickly understand how important their packaging is.” It provides the company with another selling point and illustrates the ease with which some entrepreneurs can turn challenges into opportunities.
Being well informed about the current climate is not enough; what Blohm and Van der Toorn have done well is to interpret what the economic downturn means for their business and to formulate a response that’s relevant to their clients.
Reaping the rewards
Experts report that what companies do during tough times will influence not only how well they are able to ride out the storm, but also how quickly they are able to take advantage of opportunities when the good times eventually roll around again.
Creative Eleven has done well in this regard. It hasn’t cost them a lot to implement digital solutions or reinterpret their packaging offering for new market conditions,but these initiatives will continue to benefit the business long after the recession is over.
Creative Eleven Team
Players: Ingrid Blohm & Robyn van der Toorn
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.
“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:
- I Am Emerge Provides An App For Township Spaza Bulk Purchasing
- Tuluntulu Offers High Quality Video Streaming On Low Data Speeds
- SSG Consulting Developed KEY360: A Cloud-Based And Web-Enabled Platform For Managing Large-Scale Construction Projects
- Pargo Solving Last-Mile Distribution Challenges
- HouseME Is A Digital Real Estate Platform
- Olympic Paints Has Developed A Built-In Paint Tray Causing An Unexpected Industry Shift
- Passion4Performance Developed A Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment Concept
- NewSpace Systems Delivers High Quality Components At Lower Costs
- My Online Presence Creates End-To-End Solutions For Online Brand Presence
- Skynamo Offering Insights To Sales Teams In The Field
- RecruitMyMom Creating A Platform For Job-Seeking Moms
- GAAP Provides A Hardware And Software Point-Of Sale And Enterprise Solution For The Hospitality Industry
- HeroTel Bringing Wi-Fi To Low Income Communities
- Saryx Engineering Offers Digitised Compliance and Safety For Companies
- BrightBlack Is An Energy Providing Innovative Solar Energy Solutions
- Howler Is An Event Technology Platform
- execMobile’s PocketWifi Keeps Business Travellers Connected
- Rhino Africa Provides Online Touring Assistance
- Snapplify Is Offering Students Access To Textbooks
- GoMetro A Commuter-Driven Mobile App
- Domestly Connecting Cleaning Professionals and Homeowners
- NMRQL Using AI To Deliver Consistent Returns
- Colony Live Connecting Users Across Multiple Platforms
- codeX Is Growing The Work Experience Of Coders In Africa
- This Is Me – Disrupting By Offering A Unique Business Model
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.
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.
- Elisabeth Bradley
- Sharon Wapnick
- Bridgette Radebe
- Irene Charnley
- Wendy Ackerman
- Paul Harris
- Wendy Appelbaum
- Mark Shuttleworth
- Desmond Sacco
- Giovanni Ravazzotti
- Markus Jooste
- Gus Attridge
- Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
- Cyril Ramaphosa
- Adrian Gore
- Raymond Ackerman
- Michiel Le Roux
- Lauritz Dippenaar
- Jannie Mouton
- Stephen Saad
- Patrice Motsepe
- Allan Gray
- Koos Bekker
- Ivan Glasenberg
- Christoffel Wiese
- Johann Rupert
- Nicky Oppenheimer
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.
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:
- Joe Phalwane
- Nandi Dlepu
- Sonto Pooe
- Michel M. Katuta and Thabo Mphate
- Naledi Sibisi
- Reabetswe Ngwane
- Neo Lekgabo
- Vusani Ravele
- Lulo Rubushe
- Samke Mhlongo
- Sizwe Nzima
- Nicolas Bereng
- Lebo Mphela
- Monalisa Molefe
- Siya Kolisi
- Leah Molatseli
- Nhlanhla Dlamini
- Fhumulani Nemukula
- Itumeleng Mpatlanyana
- Nozipho Dube
- Sarinah Matema-Morgans
- Nneile Nkholise
- Mahadi Granier
- Shalton Mothwa
- Theo Mothoa-Frendo
- Bakani Ngulani
- Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube
- Sandra Mwiihangele
- Constance Mapule Bhebhe
- Ignatious Nkwinika, Mbulelo Mpofana, Shane Curran
- Karidas Tshintsholo
- Mutoda Mahamba and Gavin Waldeck
- Ntuthuko Shezi
- Botlhale Tshetlo
- Dineo Lioma, Loretta Magagula, Danisa Nkuna and Lindiwe Nkosi
- Neo Ratau
- Mpodumo Doubada
- Obakeng Moepya
- Ouma Tema
- Lucky Kgwadi
- Nyakallo Mokoena
- Sibongile Sambo
- Mogau Seshoene
- Sibongile Booi
- Khanya Mzongwana
- Nkazi Sokhulu and Tlalane Ntuli
- Nothando Moleketi
- Nthabiseng Ramaboa
- Lilian Muhammed
- Sunshine Shibambo
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