Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

4 Must Know Trade Tips for 2016

If you want to make the most of Trade in 2016, we’ve identified four must-know tips that will take your importing and exporting business to the next level.

Tracy Venter

Published

on

import-export

These trade tips will not only protect you from making unnecessary mistakes, but it will also position you to capitalise on the trade opportunities available to you. Success lies in focusing on the detail, however small it may seem.

Like Vincent van Gogh, the famous painter once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Related: How to Accurately Cost an Imported Product

Tip 1: Manage your Investment

At first, entering the world of trade might seem terrifying, especially after you’ve calculated the final amount necessary to set up shop. More often than not, importing is cash intensive.

High transport costs as well as VAT and duty charges all tally up to a pretty penny. However, there are ways to manage your investment and lower costs significantly.

As a general rule, the more units you import at the same time, the lower the cost per item will be. Some people think that one calculation can be used for all import products, even if they are the same.

Don’t be fooled. Import costs fluctuate according to changes in your input information (quantities, unit costs, shipping dimensions, etc.) For this reason, if managed well, changes in your inputs can significantly lower your costs.

The mode of transport also influences the overall costs of imports – for example sea is typically less expensive than air. These are all factors to take into consideration when managing your trade investment

Tip 2: Protect Your Payment

Cash is King, and therefore your money needs to be protected. Not everyone can be trusted, especially when large amounts of money are involved.

A lot of first-time importers blindly trust a potential seller, without establishing a good, trusting relationship with him/her. You want to be certain that you will receive your order when a payment is made. For this reason, you need to know who you are partnering with.

You also don’t want your money to get in the hands of strangers. Aim to never wire money directly into a seller’s account if have not built up a trusting relationship with him/her. Rather choose a more secure payment option.

A number of the established business to business trading portals offer an escrow service which you can make use of. For the large payments a letter of credit or documentary bank collection may be considered.

See more on how to protect foreign payments here: http://tradelogistics.co.za/making-safe-foreign-payments/

Tip 3: Keep the exchange rate in mind

These days, a lot of noise is being made about the volatility of exchange rates, especially the Rand. The changes in the exchange rate have a direct effect on imports and exports, whether positive or negative.

The good news is there are ways to manage to risk. Be trade savvy in times of a falling rand and implement the following things to minimise your exposure:

  • Transfer the currency risk to the supplier by asking them to quote in South African Rand. Exporters can quote prices in a stable foreign currency.
  • Purchase forward cover to protect yourself from currency fluctuations.
  • Off-set the risk of the loss of profit made on imported goods by including locally manufactured goods in your product line. Locally manufactured goods may also be exported for additional revenue.
  • Add an exchange rate risk to your margins and carry the risk yourself.

Tip 4: Plan Products for Exports

If you have never considered exporting now may be the ideal time to do so. The weak Rand creates a lot of opportunities for exporters. More profit can be made from a sale.

Related: 4 Ways to Source Quality Products for Imports

Due-diligence, however, is the key to success. A lot of research needs to go into the type of product you would like to export. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Culture
  • Traditions
  • Labelling Requirements
  • Country Conditions or preferences

See more information on how to venture into the world of exporting here:

The world of trade is full of opportunities to not only make money, but to also broaden one’s horizons.

If you want to pursue your dream and take hold of what imports and exports have to offer, it might be a good idea to start in 2016.

Tracy Venter started Trade Logistics after being frustrated by the difficulty of trying to find accurate, up-to-date information on how to import and export goods. Trade Logistics, is an online platform offering all the information, basic services and personal assistance needed to start or grow an international trade business. Having strategic partnerships with established experts in the industry including an internationally recognised training provider gives Trade Logistics the edge to be able to serve both emerging businesses and large multi-national companies.

Entrepreneur Today

The Average South African Sacrifices Over R500 000 Worth Of Unused Lunch Breaks Over Their Career

Research released today by online job board CareerJunction has revealed that only one in three South Africans take their full lunch break.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

cost-of-a-lunch-break

The research conducted amongst 3,000 South African working respondents suggests that more than a third of South Africans skip their lunch break altogether between two to four times per week.

 “The average South African works two and a half years overtime during their lifetime due to unused lunch breaks. That amounts to a staggering *R512, 465.00 worth of free work and unnecessary time spent at their desks instead of taking a break,” says Odile Badenhorst, CareerJunction’s Communications Manager.

Despite their being no written rule, employees have an unhealthy belief that it’s expected of them to skip lunch. “In this fast-paced world of work, it’s a common, and unhealthy, mindset that the more hours we work, with no break, the more we’ll be admired or rewarded,” she adds.

The truth is quite the contrary – According to research, it has long been proven that regular breaks, and a healthy, well-balanced lunch break in particular, increase employee productivity, improve mental well-being, boost creativity, and encourage healthy habits in the workplace. The Cost of a Lunch Break Survey confirms this; when asked how skipping their lunch breaks make them feel, most respondents listed unhappy, indifferent and stressed as emotions that accompany them when working though their lunch breaks. So, why then, are we working ourselves until burn out?

CareerJunction says that the research also showed that while the average lunch break allocated to employees is 60 minutes, the average time taken each day by South African employees is only 24,5

minutes. Only 5% take their full 60 minutes and although over two thirds say their employer encourages them to take lunch, 19% claimed they feel pressured not to take lunch, while 38% have too much work. In fact, 73% of participants said the reason they skip their lunch break is because they have too much work to do or an unexpected task cropped up.

A large percentage, 67%, said they eat at their desks while working, with nearly 60% eating leftovers or a packed lunch. And, even though most workers have access to a full kitchen or seating area, many prefer to eat at their desks, with 45% saying they spend under R100 per week on lunch.  Therefore, the fact that 57% of respondents said that the availability of amenities close to work – such as restaurants, shops, delis, convenience stores – has no impact on their choice of job application, makes sense when you look at the majority bringing lunch from home, or not taking lunch at all.

Related: What The Law Says About Employee Leave And Absence

Smoke breaks have long been a contentious issue in the work place with many non-smokers resenting the number of extra breaks smokers get. Smokers in South Africa take, on average, three to four smoke breaks a day with 42% of their colleagues saying they don’t mind if they do. 29% said they didn’t know or care.

So, why aren’t South Africans taking lunch breaks? “While our research revealed that the majority of South African employees listed unexpected work responsibilities or too much work as reasons, other reasons included having to cover for others, sacrificing lunch breaks to leave work earlier, financial difficulties or simply not caring about lunch,” adds Badenhorst.

While it’s encouraging to see, from the research conducted, that the ‘work till burnout’ culture is largely coming from the employees themselves rather than being enforced by employers, Badenhorst is still calling on employers to encourage their staff to take regular breaks away from their desks and enjoy all the benefits that come with this.

For the full survey results, please visit www.careerjunction.co.za/lunch

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Applications For MEST Class of 2020 Now Open To Aspiring Software Entrepreneurs Across Africa

Applications for MEST Africa’s 1-year, fully-sponsored entrepreneurial training program in Accra, Ghana are now open for aspiring entrepreneurs from across the African continent.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

mest-class
Interested applicants have until February 8th, 2019 to apply for the class of 2020. Successful applicants will receive in-depth training and mentorship, access to a global network and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside successful graduates like Anitrack’s Winnie Akoko, Qisimah’s Sakhile Xulu, Bidiibuild’sKelvin Wachira, Kudobuzz’s Kena Amoah, MeQasa’s Kelvin Nyame, Amplify’s Segun Adeyemi and more.
 
“The MEST program has given me the opportunity to focus on developing the technical and business skills I need to succeed in the tech industry,” said Millicent Koranteng-Yorke, a member of the Developers in Vogue 2018 cohort and the MEST Class of 2019. “It is a chance for me to gain practical knowledge, experience and insight into my fields of interest and to develop solutions to the problems I am passionate about.”
 
Truly Pan-African, the MEST class of 2019 is its most diverse yet, representing entrepreneurs from 12 African nations. The Class of 2019 also welcomed the highest representation of women in a MEST cohort to date, at 37%. MEST will continue its strong focus on recruiting female leaders in tech, partnering with organisations including Developers in Vogue (DIV), Yielding Accomplished African Women(Yaa W), and Tech4her.
 
Over the course of 1 year, successful applicants will come to MEST HQ in Accra, Ghana and take part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program centred around business, communication and software development. The training is delivered by global experts and includes extensive hands-on project work, as well as mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and other executives from Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa. The program culminates in an investor pitch for seed funding and the opportunity to grow their business out of one of the Pan-African MEST incubators in Lagos, Accra, Cape Town and Nairobi.
“Our goal at MEST is to enable entrepreneurs in Africa to build scalable businesses – not just apps,” said MEST managing director Aaron Fu. “One of the ways we look to do that is through the significant  Pan-African diversity in our program, which offers our EITs a strong network and a deeper understanding of problems and markets across the continent, from day 1.”
 
“This year, building on our 2018 admission of the most number of female founders in our history, we are also focused on continuing to increase our  representation of female founders, as we recognise the incredible value female leaders provide in tech.”
 
Establishing and expanding its presence on the continent over the past 10 years, MEST has invested over $20million in training nearly 400 individual entrepreneurs, and invested in 50+ early stage software companies from across Africa. MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local, regional and global markets, received follow-on funding from global investors, and been admitted to top accelerator programs such as Y-combinator, 500 start-ups and TechStars.
 
Some MEST portfolio successes include:
  • Qisimah, the first MEST-funded company with a South African CEO, selected as the Best National Digital Solution for the International World Summits Award in Business and Commerce

  • Tress, the all-female team with a product that’s changing the billion-dollar hair industry, recently accepted into Y Combinator

  • Asoriba, the church management startup that’s swept through West Africa, recently partnered with payments giant, Interswitch and has been featured on CNN, BBC, Forbes

  • Meqasa, Ghana’s number one real-estate portal which went on to raise $500,000 from Frontier Digital Ventures, and recently acquired Jumia House in Ghana.

  • Kudobuzz, an advertising and marketing software, was selected as one of the 14 ventures to represent Africa at the 2017 edition of PitchDrive, and recently acquired MEST-backed company AdGeek.

  • SynCommerce, a start-up helping customers sell across channels and keep inventory in sync, recently won the gaming and entertainment category at TechCrunch in Nairobi.

Related: 7 Factors That Influence Start-up Valuations

The Application Process
  • Attend a local MEST information session

  • Complete the application form

  • Successful applicants are contacted for a phone interview

  • Qualified applicants are asked to complete an aptitude test

  • Top candidates in each region will be invited for an in-person interview in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya or Cote d’Ivoire

  • Applications for the class of 2020 close February 8, 2019

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Eskom Competition Winner Targets More Growth

The Eskom Development Foundation is tasked with implementing Eskom’s CSI strategy in sectors including enterprise development, education, healthcare, social and community development.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

eskom

After recently winning a competition for small businesses, South Side Plumbing and Construction is looking at growing its brand and expanding its operations. Two months ago the company scooped R125 000 in prize money after winning the trade and services category of the 2018 Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC).

The company, which is based in Eldorado Park (Johannesburg), provides specialised services in plumbing and construction. Director Peter Lengweng started the business in 2015 with his partners, Jonathan and Cathy Khan, and they now have 45 permanent and 20 part time employees.

peter-lengweng

When the company was started, they primarily wanted to attract clients in the insurance sector and that’s how they got most of their clients. They devised a clever way to get their end-user clients by approaching and securing contracts with insurance companies. The insurance companies receive claims from their clients, and the ones that require services that Lengweng’s company provides are then assisted through this relationship. The company also does domestic work but most of their business is generated through the insurance companies.

Lengweng has a strong background in marketing and he believes no company that is serious about succeeding can go about its business and actually achieve maximum success while completely ignoring the importance of marketing it.

“We are going to be using a big chunk of our winnings from the Eskom BIC to rebrand the company. When we started, I did the company branding myself, which is not my forte, so winning a competition such as this one that comes with this kind of cash injection gives us a great opportunity to do things right in that respect and also augment our cash flow. We also want to grow the company by opening branches in other provinces as we currently only service the Johannesburg area in Gauteng,” says Lengweng.

Read next: Is Venture Capital Right For You?

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

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

Trending