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Budget’s Tight? Don’t Cut Your Travel Just Yet

The future of business just became a whole lot more uncertain. Especially if you’re still in the start-up and growth phase of your company.

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The news is full of it…

“The Rand is plummeting” and ”We’re being downgraded to junk status”.

The future of business just became a whole lot more uncertain. Especially if you’re still in the start-up and growth phase of your company.

So, where to from here?

When do you start re-assessing your budgets and what is the first item you’ll cut?

Before you decide to axe your business travel, here are five ways you can tighten up on your expenses to avoid this:

Eliminate hidden travel booking fees

Have you ever booked a cheap flight online only to find you have to pay thousands of rands to change your flight when you miss it because of the traffic to the airport? Times this by the number of sales managers in your team and it quickly adds up!

Don’t waste precious time

Wasting precious time in your day on Google searching for the best flight, car hire and hotel room. You could be spending these hours crunching numbers, closing deals and bringing the money in!

Related: 2017-Proofing Your Business: 3 Tips For The Year Ahead

Consolidate expenses

Consolidate all your travel spending and improve your cash flow by paying everything on one credit account.

Add a level of transparency into travel for your business

You need to be able to see and track your spend on business trips. This means having one holistic view of what all your managers are spending when they travel and have the right measures in place to ensure they don’t overspend.

Partner with one travel management company

Stop paying separate agencies for your visa, passports and travel requirements. By partnering with one travel management company who can provide you with all these services, you can save on paying separate fees.

You can do all the above in one simple step – by partnering with Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT)!

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, they have global negotiating strength and long-standing relationships with the world’s top airlines, hotel chains, car rental companies and travel providers, giving them the power to offer you the best options at the best prices.

And sometimes the cost savings isn’t just on a better rate for a flight or hotel.

Almost 45% of all business trips are changed at least once and usually at the last minute. FCBT assigns a dedicated account manager who is available 24/7 to every business account, so any last minute changes can be made at any time of the day and that’s where most of your savings come in.

Plus they offer flexible payment options to business travellers. These include options like company or personal credit card payments, travel lodge cards and interest free credit accounts.

Related: 5 Bad Decision-Making Habits That Can Destroy Your Business

A travel lodge card helps manage your travel spend by consolidating and sorting all your travel expenses into one simple monthly statement.  So you can see exactly what you’ve spent on airlines, accommodation and car rental on the same statement.

FCBT also offer bill backs, a service where they cover all your travel costs, consolidate them, and bill them back to the company. This basically means the company doesn’t have to deal with lots of little expense claims after a business trip. For a risk conscious, growing organisation, this is a huge way to reduce fraud and control travel spend.

But, the most worthwhile reason to consider enlisting a travel specialist is they will have the right knowledge and experience to help you develop a solid company travel policy. Flight Centre Business Travel can set up your company travel policy to streamline staff travel and secure preferred suppliers. This ensures that all flights booked have been duly authorised and are within the allocated budget, reducing your financial risk significantly.

FCBT can help any growing business with their business travel – even in tumultuous times!

To partner with Flight Centre Business Travel and learn more enquire here  or call 0877 40 51 61 to speak to a specialist today. Visit their website on www.fcbt.co.za

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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Win A Business Makeover With Retail Capital To The Value Of R250 000

Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000.

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Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000. During the summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.

While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors – starting from the end of September. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”

According to recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s retail sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year in August 2017, following a downwardly revised 1.6% gain in the previous month and above market expectations of 2.3%. It is the biggest gain in retail trade since August of 2012.

Related: How To Raise Working Capital Finance

“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.

For many small businesses, however, continually adapting to market changes requires cash injections that they don’t often have.

The prize includes the following:

  • Business plan/consulting
  • Marketing strategy
  • Design and branding
  • Website and social Media and,
  • R50k capital to gear your business.

Westvig explains that the summer campaign tagline ‘Your Vision. Our Belief’ really speaks to why Retail Capital first opened its doors. “Our goal is to see the potential of small businesses and to work with them in making these become a reality.”

He adds that the idea is not to simply help one business during the campaign either. Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”

“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media – even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” he says.

He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach – and that’s where social media comes in.”

But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”

Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants. This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.

“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realise their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.

Related: 6 Great Tips For A Successful Shark Tank Pitch

Who we are and what we do:

“More than R1.25 billion has been extended to a range of businesses including food trucks, hair salons, restaurants, spas and franchised retail stores. Many of these businesses have not been able to raise funding in any other way, other than to go to unscrupulous lenders,”says Karl Westvig, the CEO Retail Capital, a company that provides working capital with the help of innovative lending technology.

“We have also estimated that for every R160 000 we lend, we create a new job. This means that 625 jobs have been created purely by enabling small businesses to get the funding they need for working capital requirements or expansion opportunities.”

Retail Capital’s system, which enables it to advance funding to small businesses, based on real time information on credit card transactions, is providing a new funding alternative to entrepreneurs who have previously been turned away by banks. Because it is able to get actual sales information, it can approve funding immediately, and allow for flexible repayment options based on sales cycles of the particular businesses it is funding.

“This creates significant opportunity for small business owners to focus on their business and grow volumes or look for expansion opportunities rather than spend their time frantically trying to repay debt or keep the business alive after debt repayments have eaten away at any cash reserves they might have had.”

Retail Capital funding is repaid by it taking a percentage of a business’s recorded credit or debit card sales, with repayments fluctuating in line with their business cycle. This has the effect of ensuring that it isn’t overburdened with debt.

“In the past six years since starting the business, small businesses have had the benefit of R1 billion in funding they would have been unable to get through traditional channels,”says Westvig.

Against the backdrop of recessionary conditions in South Africa, Retail Capital’s client information reveals growth in informal sector turnover across a number of industries.

“We believe that growth in the informal sector is outstripping that of the formal sector,”says Westvig.

As a large proportion of the businesses it funds are women- and black-owned, there is evidence that entrepreneurs who have previously been excluded from access to finance are now enjoying success now that their access to finance problem has been solved.

Win A Business Makeover with Retail Capital

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