At the centre of these trends is the way that technology is giving the consumer more power to shape brands than ever before.
Shared value continues to rise
Today’s consumers scrutinise brands and seek out those with a commitment to creating value for their customers and society at large. Companies can no longer focus only on maximising profits for shareholders, but must also show alignment with customer values and commitment to creating shared value for a broad range of stakeholders.
Social innovation will be at the heart of any brand’s competitive advantage. No longer will companies be able to claim that consumers, employees, and the community are at the heart of their business – they’ll need to prove it.
Look out for: The rise of shared value auditors, who score and certify companies’ shared value outcomes.
Tech objects embedded in everyday life
Mobility isn’t just about smartphones and tablet computers any more. The “Internet of Things” is taking shape as more objects featuring embedded sensors, image recognition technologies, NFC payment and wireless connectivity are connected to the web. Innovations like wearable computers, touch and gesture interfaces, are creating more intuitive ways for users to connect with the world and interact with computers.
Many of these technologies may offer strategic business advantage for early adopters or bring potential for significant market disruption. Companies need to use these tech innovations to power smart applications that help their customers and employees to improve everyday life. Once again the challenge brands will face is to create real value, rather than creating and adopting tech products just for the sake of it.
Expect technology to become embedded in more objects we use every day – from fridges and televisions to cars and clothing. Consider Google’s Project Glass, a set of computerised glasses that lets users take pictures and find information, or the cool head-up display embedded in Oakley’s Airwave ski goggles for monitoring speed and reading text messages, for example.
The web gets even more social
Mobile technology means that people are always available and connected – consumers can connect anywhere and can plug in anytime, allowing for social integration on the go. People carry their social identities on their mobile devices. With a portable online identity, users can share their data between sites to build, maintain relationships and stay up to date with the people they know and the things they care about.
Brands need to learn to tap into the social identity and integration frameworks that drive the mobile Internet. They must apply social thinking at every level of their businesses to speak to and engage with mobile consumers.
The most successful brands will embrace the world of social mobility both inside their businesses for internal collaboration and communication as well as with the consumer.
The power of meaningful data
Social media and always-on access to the Internet means that companies are able to capture mountains of data about their customers. 2013 will be the year which challenges organisations to work out what to do with all the “big data” they have at their disposal.
Marketers have the opportunity to take personalisation to the next level – they can better understand the needs of their customers; predict consumer behaviour; and ultimately, personalise, refine and optimise marketing to each customer’s desires, behaviours and interests.
The true data analyst will have one of the most coveted skills sets on the market since companies will need him or her to make more sense of the customer journey.
The retail experience is everywhere
Consumers are embracing online comparison shopping, mobile payments and other new technologies as part of their shopping experience. They don’t necessarily need to feel and touch to buy, but they do demand a shopping experience they can access wherever and whenever convenient.
Consumer behaviour together with new technologies means brands must rethink their “retail space”. Today, retail could go nearly anywhere, thanks to mobile
Look out for the power of “AND”. Consumers are continuously demanding value, freebies and novelty in their shopping experience.
Urban life gets even smarter
Governments and businesses are looking at ways to leverage technology to offer more sustainable solutions and better lifestyles to city dwellers around the world. Such solutions drive smarter, greener cities for an increasingly connected global citizenry that is informed and aware about the environmental and social impacts of urbanisation.
2013 will guide the rise of a new world of connectedness, networks, central databases which is already resulting in cities providing e-services – e-health, e-education, e-traffic, e-home, e-government and e-offices.
Look out for: The likes of Siemens and IBM are involved in creating collaborative solutions to proactively manage urbanisation, but consumers will demand more from governments and businesses alike.
Start-ups Require A Strong Legal Foundation Webber Wentzel Ignite
Entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups are a lifeline to South Africa’s economy.
Entrepreneurs, start-ups and scale-ups are a lifeline to South Africa’s economy. It is however a harsh environment and many entrepreneurs find themselves in a situation where they are wearing many hats and navigating potential pitfalls without the knowledge that many professionals have from years of experience.
This is especially true from a legal point of view where entrepreneurs are faced with real world regulatory challenges that could have far-reaching consequences on their fledgling business, such as financial regulatory, tax, exchange control and intellectual property.
A common example is that start-ups often forget to secure the rights and licenses they need to operate. For example, would you invest or partner with a company that:
- doesn’t have a legal right to use their brand
- doesn’t have proprietary technology; and/or
- is reliant on a third party agreement that doesn’t permit commercial use?
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These avoidable shortcomings often result in failures at critical junctures. The specialist legal services needed to avoid these problems are typically not easily accessible to start-ups.
With this in mind, Webber Wentzel has launched a project called ‘Webber Wentzel Ignite’ – a legal incubation programme that will provide selected entrepreneurs and innovators from any sector with:
- tailored legal services valued at up to ZAR 100,000;
- bespoke mentoring and training support – focused on legal knowledge and developing key legal skills relevant to start-up businesses; and
- targeted networking and profile-raising opportunities.
Video about Ignite
Webber Wentzel is not asking for equity or exclusivity; only an opportunity to connect and make a difference as a trusted advisor over the long-term. It is a wonderful opportunity that will set the selected entrepreneurs apart in the marketplace. Applications close on 15 January 2018
SMMEs So Much Focus On Funding, But What About Skills
A study by StatsSA which surveyed households and obtained evidence relating to skills development and unemployment between 1994 and 2014 showed the following.
I think we can all agree that the funding of small businesses is only part of the solution. What is possibly more important (as an enabler) is the initial assessment of the level and adequacy of skills existing within new or developing enterprises and to evaluate what further skills development or training is required to ensure a firm business foundation and sustainable growth is achieved.
A study by StatsSA which surveyed households and obtained evidence relating to skills development and unemployment between 1994 and 2014 showed the following:
- During this time frame across the South African working population of households there was an increase in skilled labour (21% to 25%), with a shift away from semi and low-skilled labour.
- What is interesting to note in the growth of skilled labour is the disparity within the different race groups.
*For the purpose of this analysis, the occupation types were used to infer skills levels based on the Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Skilled: manager, professional, technical. Semi-skilled: sales and services, clerk, machine operator. Low-skilled: domestic worker.
This is clear evidence that the role of enterprise and supplier development is a crucial one needed to up-skill and train the broader population. It is one thing to provide finance and access to markets, but without the appropriate skills development to make these investments sustainable is would be a fruitless exercise.
The role that the private sector plays in post investment business support and capacity building is incredibly important. There is a requirement to build both technical skills as well as overall business management skills. This in my view is when we will start seeing real impact. In order for the enterprises to be effective in the contracts that they are awarded a focus on skills development (by both parties) is required.
In an economy where growth has crawled to a near halt, SMMEs cannot be expected to be the holy-grail for job creation. Making an impact in increasing the potential salary earning or employable workforce is key and therefore skills development requires a multi-faceted approach:
- From early education phase – where emphasis must be placed at school level for entrepreneurship training and opportunities is a key enabler. Entrepreneurship should in essence become a career option to consider. Innovation must be incubated. The world is changing and the skills required to be productive are changing as well.
- Clear regulations and commitment to quality interventions should be stipulated at policy level to incentivise skills development/ skills transfer from large corporates to small businesses.
- Without looking at the bigger picture these developmental areas are without support – so a holistic approach to skills development – mentorship, networking and overall business acumen are skills that often distinguish between those who do well and those who don’t in business. It needs to all work harmoniously and as an effective and efficient ecosystem reliant on each other’s strengths and support and mutually beneficial objectives.
At the end of the day, an enterprise should leave an ESD programme empowered to stand and survive in the business world. We know that we are losing the challenge when time and time again we see developing enterprises moving from one ESD programme to another with nothing to show for it. Monitoring and evaluation of these enterprises is therefore also essential to track growth and success – but also to identify areas of weakness or need for further intervention.
At the heart of ESD is the notion that larges businesses/ corporates should move beyond compliance (aka box-ticking) and toward the heart of transformation. Intertwined here is the responsibility to use development interventions and activities in a deliberate and focused manner so that the skills level in small businesses can move upwards and ensure the longevity and success of growing enterprises.
Become The Number One Pitch Hustler With The ENGEN Pitch & Polish Programme
The ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme, hosted by Engen Petroleum Ltd and Nedbank, powered by Raizcorp and supported by national media partner, Caxton Local Media, is based on teaching entrepreneurs to present a winning pitch that is clear and focused.
The word “hustle” comes from a Dutch word that means “to shake things up”. Traditionally, the English word “hustler” was used to describe a dishonest person, who would do anything to make money. Hustling is, however, no longer a dirty word; nowadays, a hustler is someone who makes things happen. Hustling is about movement, activity and shaking things up in a positive way – the very things that entrepreneurs need to succeed!
Successful hustlers exist everywhere, and all entrepreneurs have much to learn from those who have mastered the art of the hustle! Whether they are building a business, selling a product or offering a service, hustlers focus on their goal and do whatever it takes to achieve the goal. Hustlers put in the hours and don’t waste time doing things that don’t contribute to their success in some way.
Hustlers grab every opportunity to pitch their business to potential funders and clients. They are seasoned pitch artists, and having secured the opportunity to pitch, know exactly what they want to say. Hustlers present a polished pitch! For this reason, the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme, hosted by Engen Petroleum Ltd and Nedbank, powered by Raizcorp and supported by national media partner, Caxton Local Media, is based on teaching entrepreneurs to present a winning pitch that is clear and focused.
Related: What Type Of Pitcher Are You?
“With us you are number one”, the headline sponsor Engen’s slogan, could just as easily apply to the hustler’s attitude towards his clients and business. Hustlers put their clients first. Their elevator pitch is ready to go and hustlers, always thinking on their feet, can adapt their pitch to meet the needs of different audiences.
Nedbank, a co-sponsor of ENGEN Pitch & Polish, encourages people to “make your money hustle for you”. Hustlers know how to do this. They think carefully about their pricing model, know how to calculate profit, and make their money work for them!
Hustlers do not give up when they hear “no”. They see rejection as an opportunity to be overcome, not a roadblock. At ENGEN Pitch & Polish, entrepreneurs are subjected to many “no’s” as they learn to perfect their pitches. Those who learn to use this feedback to their advantage – are the hustlers!
The pitch that was delivered from the heart, with the greatest ease, confidence, and precision – as well as energy and enthusiasm – were the qualities that caught the eye of the judges, and resulted in Bruce Diale, from Polokwane, winning the 2017 ENGEN Pitch and Polish programme, at an exclusive and prestigious event, held in Johannesburg, on 30th November. Bruce’s Agri-consulting business has developed, and patented, Gardenizly, an innovative vegetable gardening product, which is both water and space efficient.
This was not the only reason for his victory. “We chose Bruce as this year’s winner,” says Joe Mahlo, GM for Sales and Marketing, from Engen Petroleum Ltd, who was one of this year’s judges, “because he was clear on the value that his product and business will add to his clients and, indeed, to the world.” This is yet another indispensable quality of the hustler. Watch this space. A hustler has been born!
Second place was awarded to Refilwe Matsaneng, from Welkom, for her hair products business, GloLooks. Third place went to Renschia Manuel, from Cape Town, for her portable urban veggie growing boxes, GrowBox, business.
“It’s intimidating and unnerving to ask for money,” says Grace Govender, Head of New Business and Support for Relationship Banking, Nedbank. “To overcome this, entrepreneurs must focus on being properly prepared and authentic.”
To further help the entrepreneurs, Caxton Local Media, with over 140 publications, whose roots, too, are deeply embedded in the country, awarded the winner with R20,000 in advertising. “Caxton is firmly established in, and supportive of, local communities in South Africa and the partnership with ENGEN Pitch & Polish, along with Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp, is a natural fit. We all believe in building small business, from grassroots up,” explains Dejane Poil, Head of Innovation at Caxton.
There was magic on the night as esteemed guests offered these three entrepreneurs further opportunities for growth and expansion.
ENGEN Pitch & Polish’s power lies in its ability to identify, through their pitch, the entrepreneurs that are number one hustlers. “These are the entrepreneurs who demonstrate the ambition to excel and the motivation to put in the work,” says Allon Raiz, the originator of the Pitch & Polish concept, now in its eighth year of identifying entrepreneurs who truly understand what it means to up the hustle!
For more information, visit www.pitchandpolish.com.
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