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DG Properties: Denise Dogon

Realtor Denise Dogon took the plunge and went solo by utilising her savvy selling skills

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Denise Dogon of DG Properties

DG Properties was established in 2002 bywell-known property agent Denise Dogon, who has been a successful realtor on Cape Town’s desirableAtlantic Seaboard for more than 30 years. Before establishing the Dogon Group,she was involved with Durr Estates in 1973 and opened their first AtlanticSeaboard agency. In her 23 years there, she helped turn the company into ahousehold name and won many awards for her area, which was one of the mostprofitable in the group.

In 1995, Dogon joined Pam GoldingProperties and opened their international division in the exclusive Victoria& Alfred Waterfront. She left to establish her own company because shewanted to offer a property company with a difference. “I travel a lot and sawthat the top property companies in the UKand US were branding themselves and marketing their properties very differentlyto how we were doing it in South Africa,” Dogon recalls. “Their marketing wasmore sophisticated and I believed the local industry needed to offer a superiorservice.”That is what differentiates the DogonGroup. Dogon recognised that a high-profile location was required to correctlyposition her company. “A new building was being constructed adjacent to the BayHotel in Camps Bay. I contacted the owners and soldthem my idea of a ‘property café’ which offered a sophisticated lounge area,plasma screens and Italian espresso, where buyers could relax in beautifulsurroundings.”

For the first five months the companyoperated out of Dogon’s home, completing R100 million worth of sales. It wasthe commission from these sales that funded the company’s establishment. The DGProperty Café opened its doors in an exclusive 60m2 outlet in Camps Bayand has not looked back. “It has been exceptionally hard work,” admits Dogon.“I have worked seven days a week, but the results have been worth it.”A fleet of Mini Coopers in the company’scorporate colours was acquired and the cars branded with the company logo andname. An efficient and well-designed website was introduced to the mix.Today the flagship office remains in Camps Bay,but because these premises lack sufficient space, the group’s head office is inSea Point. Satellite offices are in Hout Bay and Kloof Street inGardens. An association with a property company in the UK has alsoyielded a number of connections and sales, says Dogon.The Dogon Group has sold more double-digitproperties on the Atlantic Seaboard than its competitors – and yes, doubledigit is double digit millions. “We have sold numerous properties worth overR10 million and five properties over R20 million. Our turnover in the first twoyears of operation topped the billion rand mark,” reveals Dogon.

So what is it that makes the Dogon Group sosuccessful? “We provide world class marketing and service, we have anoutstanding work ethic and we strive for excellence in all that we do,”maintains Dogon.She is quick to point out, however, that aproperty company’s image is only sufficient to open the door and does notnecessarily ensure success. “Although branding has been very important inestablishing our image, our ultimate success is due to hard work, delivering greatservice and remembering that you are only as good as your last sale.”

Dogon Group agents are renowned for goingthe extra mile and always being available. Dogon’s personal philosophy isstrict adherence to what she calls the five Es: ethics, enthusiasm, effort,energy and empathy. “I believe that if you can display all thosecharacteristics, you will be successful.”Both her sales and leadership style displaya no-nonsense attitude. “I tend to confront things head-on and I always try toact with integrity and respect for each client’s personal views and desires.”

There have been many challenges along theway, including setting up a professional infrastructure and maintaining thegroup’s successful position. “My advice to anyone setting up their own companyis to just do it. The first step is always the hardest because it takes you outof your comfort zone. Remain focused and don’t entertain thoughts of failure.Concentrate on what you’re good at and always remain passionate about whatyou’re doing.”

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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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