In the world of business there’s a lot to be said for choosing one thing and doing it really well. Unfortunately,however, most start-ups are so busy trying to make ends meet that they’ll diversify their offering almost endlessly to land some kind of work.
The upshot of this is that they end up being a generalist rather than a specialist, which makes it very difficult to position themselves in a competitive market.
It’s a dilemma that Kgosi Mahumapelo, founder of branding company Ikageng Solutions, can tell you a thing or two about. The former aircraft mechanic says that focus is one of the biggest lessons he’s learned in business to date.
After furthering his education by obtaining various qualifications in IT, Mahumapelo embarked on his entrepreneurial journey as a freelance web designer, eventually registering his own company in 2003. “Over time, however,I realised that what I was really passionate about was the marketing side of design, and I had to make a decision about the direction in which I was going to take the business,” he recalls.
What followed for Ikageng was something of an identity crisis. “I was doing web design and wanted to be in marketing, but I didn’t really know where in marketing I wanted to be,” he says. Fortunately Mahumapelo had established a strong feedback loop with clients.
“I would always ask clients how they thought I could improve and the feedback was that I was a bit all over the place. It meant I’d made mistakes like wasting money on marketing myself when I really didn’t know what the business’s focus was,” he says. Selecting one area to focus on wasn’t easy.
“It means that you have to turn away work initially because it doesn’t fit in with your focus area, but once I’d made the decision to make branding my niche, I just stuck with it.”The decision proved to be the business’s tipping point and Mahumapelo landed some significant jobs.
Among these were some ever-elusive government contracts. “We came up with the design concept for the Department of Agriculture and Conservation’s Female Farmer of the Year Awards, and did the entire re-branding and re-positioning for the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature,” he relates.
But he’s quick to point out that the small jobs matter as much as the big ones. “Do every project as if it’s the only one you’re working on – that’s our philosophy and it would be my advice to entrepreneurs.
No matter how small or seemingly insignificant the work, you can only get repeat business if you are totally committed to excellence. It’s especially important when you’re doing branding because your work is out therein the public space.
If it’s below par, it reflects badly on your company but if it’s outstanding, there’s a good chance it will generate business. There have been a number of occasions when we’ve got big new clients because they happened to see small jobs that we’d done for other companies.
“We’ve never relied on our black empowerment credentials to get us work. I see so many people making the mistake of relying on their government ‘connections’ instead of the quality of their own work and I can testify that the quality we offer, and the way we present it in tenders and in our marketing material, has spoken for our company and landed us far more work than any connection ever could.”
Being thoroughly prepared for every pitch has also helped. “We’ve learned that you can never be over-prepared, no matter how small the pitch. When we get a call about potential work, we conduct background research on the company, their business, their market and their sector, even before we’ve landed the job.
We try to pre-empt what their needs might be and what we’ll have to know if we do land the job. People are really impressed when you arrive at a first meeting and can already talk intelligently about their business and the potential solutions we could offer them.
It makesa great first impression,” he says. Ikageng’s philosophy is based on the belief that branding needs to deliver on the business imperatives of the client.“Everything we do is concept driven – we don’t believe in branding or design for aesthetics’ sake. We research the end-audience to ensure that our work has the impact clients are looking for and that we can ultimately measure. At the end of the day, companies want justification for the investment they make in branding and our work needs to deliver on that,” he concludes. Contact: +27 11 695 4825; www.ikagengweb.co.za
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
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.
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.
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.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mergeconnect/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mergeconnect/
- Website: http://www.mergeconnect.co/
- Email: Hello@mergeconnect.co
- Number: 072 458 2182
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.
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.
“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.
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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