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Ariston Global Voted Small Business Champion

Ariston Global recently received the coveted National Small Business Champion Award, which is awarded by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC). Entrepreneur spoke to Ariston Global MD Reginald Pillay, Strategy Director Suran Moodley and NSBC CEO Mike Anderson about the award.

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  • Company: Ariston Global
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 465 9300
  • Visit: ariston.co

On the 5th of November 2015, Ariston Global received the National Small Business Chamber’s Small Business Champion Award. Although the NSBC awards haven’t been around terribly long – about eight years – they have established a respected reputation.

“The NSBC is the largest organisation representing the SME sector and the fastest growing organisation of its kind in the world. The NSBC is the driving force fuelling small business growth. The real purpose behind the organisation is fostering the sustainability and growth of the SME sector, driving job creation, alleviating unemployment and nurturing the country’s entrepreneurial spirit,” says NSBC CEO Mike Anderson.

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“The South African Small Business Awards is the largest awards programme of its kind that recognises the tireless journey, hard work, outstanding achievements and vision of small businesses and entrepreneurs within the SME sector,” continues Anderson.

“It is a celebration of the most outstanding businesses and the exceptional businesspeople behind these successful and growing businesses.”

The National Small Business Champion

While NSBC gives out a number of awards, its most prestigious annual award is the National Small Business Champion Award. “This is the ultimate award recognising an outstanding small business. It is given to a business that has demonstrated vision, uniqueness, exceptional growth and sound business principles,” says Anderson.

“We’re honoured to be the recipient of this award and humbled to be recognised by the NSBC,” says Ariston Global MD Reginald Pillay. “The way that the NSBC not only supports small businesses, but also provides accolades for achievement is great.”

What made Ariston Global stand out? According to Anderson, it is the company’s passion and obsessive commitment to doing a job well that has made it such a successful business. In fact, Ariston Global has enjoyed year-on-year growth of 250%.

“This is what I believe other SMEs, and, indeed, larger companies as well, can learn from Ariston Global: The money that you earn is a by-product of what you do well. Focus on helping others and providing value. Be unique and different, work hard, keep moving and never give up. By doing this, you will always arrive at where you want to be,” says Anderson.

A True Champion

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Ariston Global directors Keith John Barrett, Reginald Pillay, Suran Moodley and Avis Naidoo with master of ceremonies Katlego Maboe (centre).

The award is fitting, since Ariston Global has not only shown itself to be an exceptional SME in its own right, but has also been championing other small businesses, providing them access to services and insights that they otherwise would not have been able to tap into.

“Ariston Global has proven to be a trusted strategic partner for SMEs, providing innovative multidisciplinary integrated solutions that add enormous value to a very important facet of every business. They have grown their client base exponentially, which has created many new job opportunities for young entrants into the job market. Ariston Global is a full-circle success story that is carried by enormous talent,” says Anderson.

“We started off largely providing tax, payroll and accounting services,” says Strategy Director Suran Moodley. “In 2014, however, we identified a gap in the market: We realised that SMEs quite often do not have access to the insights and information needed to be competitive.

“When it comes to its core focus, an SME might be able to provide an excellent service, but it can struggle when it comes to legislation and other tricky aspects of running a successful organisation. Large advisory firms can help, but the average SME does not have the money to make use of their services. We aim to fill that gap.

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“Ironically, it is even more crucial for smaller businesses to have access to advisory services, since they don’t have the funds needed to absorb inefficiencies – something that large corporates can do.”

It is a strategy that has worked well for Ariston Global. As mentioned, it has enjoyed immense growth, and has helped many clients grow just as successfully in the process.

“Our aim is to grow alongside our clients,” says Pillay. “Seeing them grow and evolve provides us with immense joy.”

Ariston Global (Pty) Ltd. Started operations in January 2007 as Ariston Financial Services offering Tax and Accounting Services. In October 2014 a strategic Merger and Acquisition was concluded in order to create Ariston’s unique competing space. In November 2014 it was decided to rebrand in order to reflect the organisations diverse solutions. Our future growth plans include expanding our footprint into Africa and the International market.

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Building Customer Relationships

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Business opportunities will be showcased on various exhibitor stands at the upcoming Sign Africa and FESPA Africa Expo, taking place from 12-14 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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Opportunities for start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses will be showcased in daily 30 minute sessions on the hour. These sessions are free of charge. A range of topics relating to T-shirt printing, signage, branding, working with acrylic, doming and wide format printing will be covered.
TIME WED 12 SEP TIME THURS 13 SEP TIME FRI 14 SEP
09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems. 09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems 09H30 Gawk hall 3: Take your textile printing to new levels with Triga Max and the all NEW Triga Go fabric tension display systems
10H30 Midcomp hall 3: Work smarter with the HP R2000 10H30 Midcomp hall 3: Business opportunities in branding bottles and more. 10H30 Midcomp hall 3: T-shirt printing on the DCS 1800 mini Flatbed printer.

 

11h30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: T-shirt graphics using Poli-flex Turboflex Heat Transfers. 11H30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: Working with Plexiglas – A variety of tools will be onsite to demonstrate correct working techniques. 11H30 Maizey Plastics hall 3: Doming using UltraDome
12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Start or expand your own corporate gift branding  business 12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Investigate adding white toner T-shirt printing vs traditional printing. 12H30 JG Electronics hall 1: Investigate adding white toner T-shirt printing vs traditional printing.
13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown. 13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown. 13H30 Uprint hall 1:  Start up or value add to your business for a TOTAL print solution system on all Promo goods. Demo’s will be shown.
14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb 14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb 14H30 Rexx Hall 1: Visit this hands-on demo where printers can learn screen printing techniques all taught by Charlie Taublieb

For more information, and to pre-register online, please visit http://bit.ly/EntrepreneurSignAfrica4.

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Related: Business Opportunities In Printing And Signage

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