Connect with us

Company Posts

Giraffe Sticks Its Neck Out For Job Seekers

To date more, than 120 000 South Africans have registered on Giraffe, a job-finding app designed and developed by two entrepreneurs who took the frustrations of jobseekers and employers alike to heart.

Standard Bank

Published

on

anish-shivdasani-giraffe-south-africa

In a country where the official unemployment rate is running at about 26%, finding out about jobs and then working out how to get your head above the crowd of other applicants can seem like an impossible task. If only there was a better way.

Well, now there is: To date more, than 120 000 South Africans have registered on Giraffe, a job-finding app designed and developed by two entrepreneurs who took the frustrations of jobseekers and employers alike to heart.

When social entrepreneurs Anish Shivdasani and Shafin Anwarsha created a mobile platform on a shoestring budget in 2014, they had two things in common; neither had any experience in HR recruitment and, secondly, neither could have anticipated the excitement and demand that their mobile application would generate.

Their success can be measured by the fact that the service, originally offered only in Gauteng, is now available in Cape Town and Durban where job seekers are already benefiting from the advantages of simple, fast online recruitment.

Related: Trading A Cup Of Coffee For A Day At School

According to Anish, the use of a giraffe as their company’s logo is significant.

“It emphasises that we are an African company and that, like a giraffe with its long neck searching for the best leaves on a tree, we help people lift themselves to new heights where they can find new opportunities. It also emphasises the qualities of a giraffe; it projects an image that is friendly, warm and reliable – it is all reflective of our brand and what it delivers.”

The idea of Giraffe didn’t come about all of a sudden. Anish and Shafin identified that there was a gap in the market, and that they could use technology to solve one of South African’s biggest challenges – unemployment.

The idea was born and the two took the plunge, cashed up what resources they could and began researching and building the Giraffe application.

It was in Gauteng, the centre of commerce and industry in South Africa, that the Giraffe application underwent development. However, the partners had to address the major challenge of getting Giraffe known and trusted in the market.

Not afraid to get stuck in, and with a limited budget, the two took to the streets, townships, major taxi ranks, supermarkets and cafes to take the message to their audience.

Reaching people meant printing and handing out thousands of leaflets telling them how to access the app and register. Good results from happy Giraffe users and word-of-mouth did the rest.

giraffe_twitter_800x320

For employees, the major benefit offered by Giraffe is that they can register and create a simple CV using their cellphone at no cost. Employers are able to submit their vacancies online and the intelligent matching algorithm does the rest, verifying IDs, screening CVs and even scheduling interviews within 48 hours.

Due to the fact that the algorithm has removed the manual process, Giraffe has passed on this cost and time saving to employers, and so delivers candidates at a fraction of the cost and ten times faster than a recruitment agency or employment service.

Related: Female-Power Getting On With The Business Of Building The Nation

Since initial development, the Giraffe offering has undergone a number of changes. Customer feedback and requests regarding the service provided most of the input needed for improvements to be made. These included features that allowed interviews to be scheduled online.

“Ultimately, we learned that we should let our customers design our product for us,” comments Anish.

Among the other lessons learned at Giraffe as it adapted its products and built a following, were:

  • The value of research. “Most start-ups don’t do enough research. It’s great to have an idea, but it’s research that will tell you whether your idea is valid and if there is a market for your service,” says Anish.
  • That focus is essential. Without determination and paying continual attention to detail, things can go wrong.
  • You have to be prepared for the long haul. Success does not come overnight and, as it can take some time for a company to achieve critical mass, entrepreneurs should be ready for the inevitable hardships and challenges that can arise.

Anish shares advice to other entrepreneurs, commenting that when you are creating a company from the ground, you have to wear multiple hats.

“You cannot have an ego. The CEO must go from strategic planning, to talking to managers and HR firms, to delivering the mail. Every day is different. When there are only three of you, you all have to get involved,” he said.

Keeping the business on track has meant that both founders have devoted most of their efforts to ensuring that the business remains relevant and up to date. Their persistence has been rewarded by appreciation not only from the public, but also from the broader business world.

Two major events have put Giraffe firmly on the map. The first major achievement was Giraffe’s win of the ultimate accolade for start-ups; taking the Seedstars Global Award for social entrepreneurs in the face of competition from 63 other international competitors. For the two entrepreneurs who left behind the corporate world and the security of good salaries, the prize of US$500 000 (R7.2 million) in equity investment within Giraffe was a dream come true.

The publicity that followed Giraffe’s win at the Seedstars Global Award event enabled them to spread the message further and faster. Subsequent radio and TV interviews had an astounding impact, with a single radio interview generating 3 000 registrations on the Giraffe app in three hours.

The second major milestone was the announcement that the Silicon Valley-based Omidyar Network – whose founder is Pierre Omidyar, the man who started eBay – had closed a venture capital funding deal with Giraffe. Very gratifying results for people whose automated mobile recruitment application has performed a vital social service by bringing businesses and the ‘medium-skilled’ staff they require together.

Related: 10 South African Apps For Our One-of-a-Kind Country

It is on the subject of funding that Anish is most vocal. For tech start-ups in South Africa, one of the most difficult things to accept is that investment is hard to source.

“Although money and investment is the lifeblood of any company, investors will often be hesitant to part with their money and invest in a start-up. However, they are attracted to success. If you concentrate on getting traction for your business and show what you can do, the investors will come to you,” he says.

This may well be the case, but Giraffe’s most significant testimonial is the thousands of South Africans who have had employers come to them and now, because of a cheap and easy process, are able to support themselves and their families.
Related: Free Job Description Template Download

standard-bank-full-logo

Standard Bank SA is the largest operating entity of Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets. Standard Bank SA provides the full spectrum of financial services, with more than 720 branches and over 7 100 ATMs. Independent surveys of customer satisfaction consistently place Standard Bank at or near the top of their rankings. The personal and business banking unit offers banking and other financial services to individuals and small-to-medium enterprises. For further information, go to community.standardbank.co.za

Company Posts

Customers Are The Heart Of Innovative Businesses

Keep your customer at the heart of your business.

Viga Interactive

Published

on

online-marketing-innovation

One of the main reasons start-ups fail is because they don’t create solutions that meet their customers’ needs. Failure is avoidable. Businesses that understand their customers feelings, challenges, expectations and motivations make themselves indispensable in highly competitive markets because they recognise that true innovation is led by customer insight.

An incredible example of a business that believes in innovation driven by insight is Netflix. They revolutionised the way people watch video content by listening to their customer’s needs. You’ve probably heard the story before: after paying a $40 overdue DVD fee, Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix. He was simply too busy to return his DVD. He recognised that this experience wasn’t exclusive to him, but that it was a problem that many people faced. He saw a gap in the market for receiving and returning videos more effectively, and that is how the $150 billion business was born.

If your start-up doesn’t fulfil a human need, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not enough to have a cool idea. Ask yourself, “What is the market need behind the offering?” and then test ways of delivering your offering in the most user-friendly manner. Talk to your consumers, understand their likes and dislikes and establish your business purpose before haphazardly allocating funds to R&D.

Related: How Netflix Is Now Disrupting The Film Industry By Embracing Short-Term Chaos

You can’t go from being a California based DVD-by-mail provider, to becoming the world’s largest online video streaming service without a business plan. It’s important to recognise the step-by-step process of success. Netflix didn’t go from delivering DVD’s to pouring capital into the production of video content within six months. That sort of development would have bankrupt the company almost immediately. It took 21 years for the business to become content creators.

  • In 1999, the company became a subscription service because they found that customers preferred paying a monthly fee rather than making a once off purchase.
  • Then, in 2009, the company used investor capital to expand their DVD collection because their clients wanted a larger selection of movies.
  • In 2010, the business expanded internationally because they saw a gap in the market across various countries.
  • Finally, in 2013, Netflix created its first original content series because customers craved fascinating content beyond the overused Hollywood archetype.

The point is: Progress didn’t happen overnight. The business had to set goals and objectives. They then had to fund their growth by presenting market opportunities, backed by customer insights, to their investors. Establish your start-up one step at a time and make sure every progression isn’t innovation for innovations sake – it must be inspired by a human need.

13-reasons-whyNetflix was founded by a computer scientist and a marketing director. While one partner focused on Netflix’ service development, the other focused on sales. Since the company’s origin, collaboration and balance have been the cornerstones of the business’ success.

Netflix is currently composed of a diverse team of tech-professionals and designers. They understand the importance of combining technology and design to offer customer-inspired user-experiences.

After conducting consumer research, Netflix discovered that series and movie artwork influences viewing decisions by 82%. This has resulted in the creation of more descriptive and provocative designs. Netflix is known for leveraging human-behaviour to revolutionise their service offering.

As an entrepreneur, you can increase your ROI by partnering with the experts that understand human-based innovation.

Keep your customer at the heart of your business.

Related: What These 5 Digital KPIs Say About Your Business

Continue Reading

Company Posts

Building Customer Relationships

Are you working in a retail environment? Explore the Wits Plus online short course in Customer Relationship Building through the DigitalCampus.

Wits Plus

Published

on

building-customer-experience

Most retail businesses agree that providing excellent customer experience is imperative for a retail store to be successful.

But what is customer experience?  According to Forrester, an independent market research company, customer experience is “How customers perceive their interactions with your company”.

They explain that good customer experiences have three relevant characteristics for the customer:

  1. They are useful, thus deliver value and meet customer needs.
  2. They are usable, so the value is easy to find and engage with.
  3. They are enjoyable, and emotionally engaging so people want to use them.

The customer ‘interactions’ are the two-way exchanges that customers have with the company. A customer will make a judgement as to whether the company meets their needs, is easy to use and enjoyable to do business with. These judgements happen every single time the customer interacts with the company: when they navigate the company website, call the contact centre, enter the retail store, buy company products, talk to an employee, respond to an advert and so forth.

Providing excellent customer experience is challenging. The systems and processes required for excellent customer experience include understanding your customers, building a positive emotional connection with them, capturing and acting on feedback, developing and training everyone in the company and measuring the return on investment. All this is difficult enough to manage in a national company but what does it mean in this age of international and multinational companies?

Related: Customer Control For Entrepreneurs

Providing a superb customer experience is first underpinned by understanding the cultures, history, experiences and sensibilities of customers and then respecting them. Again, this is more manageable if your company is national and its cultural values are aligned with the national values and history. However, achieving this in a multi-national organisation where the historical experience and cultural values of the organisation may not be aligned with the country they are operating in, can be a real challenge.  A diverse workforce is also imperative to providing an outstanding customer experience and the importance of diversity is magnified in a multinational organisation.

This is demonstrated by the infamous ‘H&M hoodie incident’ that happened early this year. In Sweden the only jungle is urban, there are no wild monkeys and the black population is relatively small. As one would expect in a Scandinavian organisation, the H&M group board has good male-female diversity, but there are few black Swedes in senior decision-making positions. Few Swedes have experienced how skin colour can provide an all-pervasive feeling of difference, of ‘us and them’, and they have little, if any, understanding of these issues on a personal level.

However, H&M is a global organisation and therefore needs to have an intimate understanding of the different cultures and sensibilities of their customers in the different countries where they have a footprint; and respect them. The simple expedient of introducing a process whereby a local executive ensures that a new product is culturally sensitive could have demonstrated some organisational understanding of this issue.

The H&M hoodie debacle is an excellent example of how not understanding the customer can negatively impact on customer experience; how it can break the emotional engagement with customers and lose their trust. This incident has made it difficult for South African customers to engage positively with H&M. The importance of diversity in the senior teams throughout a multinational can directly impact the customer experience and the bottom line. In short, one picture and a hoodie nearly undermined the reputation of the organisation in South Africa!

Are you working in a retail environment? Explore the Wits Plus online short course in Customer Relationship Building through the DigitalCampus.

Continue Reading

Company Posts

Entrepreneurs Can Explore Opportunities In Growing Digital Textile And Interior Décor Markets

Those wanting to explore opportunities in digital textile printing can speak to experts at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Published

on

interior-decor

According to Mark Sollman, application manager at Mimaki, ‘Digital printing technologies are revolutionising the interior décor business. Not only can these items be produced more rapidly and with less waste than with traditional manufacturing processes, digital printing offers the ability to customise – or even personalise – interior décor.’

The global printed textile market is huge, estimated at over 32 billion square metres of output annually. Print is widely used to decorate the surface appearance of furniture and surfaces. Digital textile printing is ideal for customisation – allowing consumers to print unique products for their homes or businesses.

There are also emerging niche opportunities. For example, with the wide use of online travel review sites, hotels are increasingly keen to deliver a fresh experience. A ‘TripAdvisor effect’ has been identified, with the claim it reduces the hotel renovation cycle from every seven years to every five years, consequently boosting the market for printed décor.

There are many T-shirt printers offering a web-to-shirt service, where the buyer uploads their own unique image to be printed on to a garment on demand. The printing takes a large part of the value and will be done close to the buyer. For a fashion collection, stock-outs may be avoided by printing and making popular sizes and styles locally in small quantities.

Related: Explore Business Opportunities In Print At The Sign Africa And FESPA Africa Expo

This makes higher manufacturing cost less of a problem, and internet retailers can extend this with only commissioning the product after a sale has been completed online. Increasingly, supply chains are being pressured to provide greater flexibility, which inkjet textile printing is able to provide.

Applications with interior décor include; customised wall coverings and photo wall murals; window coverings and wall decals; curtains and blinds, cushions, lampshades and bags.

Those wanting to explore opportunities in digital textile printing can speak to experts at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre. There are also a range of educational features, including: 

Textile Experience

Visit this hands-on workshop where printers can learn different techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb, who has been in the screen printing industry since 1976, and heads up Taublieb Consulting in Greenwood Village, Colorado, a company specialising in technical screen printing consulting for textile printers. This takes place from 12-14 September, in hall 1 on the Rexx Screen & Digital Supplies stand.

T-Shirt and Bag Printing Workshop

Free demonstrations by local experts on T-shirts and bags with speciality printing techniques, direct to transfer and screen printing. For more info visit http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSignAfrica5

Related: Considerations For Signage And Printing Industry Start-Ups

sign-africa-fespa

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending