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Rito Consulting Services: Bertha Dlamini

A communications expert delivers measurable results aligned with client strategies.

Juliet Pitman

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Bertha Dlamini of Rito Consulting

“Stakeholders today – whether they are customers, communities, shareholders, the media or government – are so empowered with information that businesses can no longer prescribe how they are going to engage with them. So the communications strategies that work will be those that enable companies to build collaborative relationships with their customers, and to position themselves as a preferred partner to the stakeholder groups they wish to engage.”

It is on this premise that Bertha Dlamini has built Rito Consulting Services, a communications company with a difference. Creating a sustainable communications solution is something Dlamini knows a thing or two about. The entrepreneur worked in a number of high profile communications and marketing positions before striking out on her own. These included positions as marketing and PR manager for Kagiso Television and Communications, spokesperson for the Bank SETA microfinance skills project, head of corporate communications at The Communications Firm and a secondment as group client services director at Red Cube agency.

Her track record of committed delivery coupled with her fresh approach to communications strategy earned her something of a reputation in the industry. So much so that when she started to consult in 2006 she was approached by the National Credit Regulator to assist them in designing communication strategies for the roll-out of the New National Credit Act. A large contract with the Bank SETA, to roll out the marketing of the Women’s Development Programme followed.

“Within three months of starting to consult, I had three substantial contracts,” she says proudly. It’s more than many entrepreneurs are able to land in twice the amount of time, but Dlamini made sure she didn’t let the success go to her head. “I disciplined myself to drawing a minimal salary while building up reserves in the business. I wanted to have enough in the bank to be able to pay the salaries of two senior communications managers and two junior account managers for six months, before I was willing to employ anyone,” she explains.

This enabled Dlamini to map out the steps to a carefully considered vision. “I never wanted to be just another communications and PR agency. My vision for Rito Consulting Services is to create a company that offers clients the ability to build collaborative engagement platforms with their key stakeholders,” she says. To meet this objective, Dlamini’s strategy is to absorb her clients’ vision in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of their environment and the issues facing them. “There is no set formula – no ‘one size fits all’ – approach to communications. Each company has its own specific environment, its own important stakeholders and its own set of material issues. We design communications strategies according to their requirements in this regard,” she continues.

Dlamini is well aware of the threats to communications firms, particularly in the light of the latest economic downturn.“We all know that marketing budgets, and more specifically PR budgets, are the first to be cut when times get tough,” she says. One of her solutions to the problem involves collaborating with other companies in her field. “Some might call these companies competitors, but the fact is that in the current economic climate, it is about demonstrating collaboration capabilities with complementary organisations in order to become the key partner to clients. At this time, companies need to make sure they are adding exceptional, measurable value to clients – and it’s worth exploring collaborations with other companies in this regard,” she says.

By forming close working relationships with other companies in the communications field, Rito has been able to boost capacity when needed. “We are all experts in our own areas of communications –one company might offer something to your client that you can’t offer, and this means you can concentrate on your area of expertise. At the end of the day, your client wins, which means you win – and that’s what matters, not how you got there or who went along with you,” she explains.

But Dlamini has a word of caution about finding common ground. “As with all partnerships, you need to find people who you can work with – and for us that has meant finding people who have the same work ethic that we do,” she says. It’s a work ethic based on providing measurable, bottom-line results that align with the company’s vision for its clients. Dlamini concludes: “’Rito’ means voice and that’s what we aim to give our clients – a clear and distinct voice.” Her own voice is proving pretty distinct in industry circles and, if her track record and impressive client list is anything to go by, it’s one we’ll be hearing from for a while. Contact: +27 11 442 0788

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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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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