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Maximises Business Productivity

Five reasons why uncapped internet is ideal for business owners.

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Business owners are increasingly reliant on the Internet and an uncapped Internet account makes technology like Voice over IP (VoIP), cloud computing and website management more affordable.

Carolyn Holgate, MWEB Connect GM, says the cost of doing business is a primary consideration for Small Office Home Office businesses (Sohos) and so, any solution that lowers costs while improving business productivity is worth considering.

In her view, there are five key reasons why uncapped Internet is ideal for business owners:

1)    Window on the world

One of the most used elements online is browsing, which opens up a world of information. By mastering search tools, search engines enable business owners to quickly find the information, people and companies on which they require more details.

The Internet is also most Sohos’ primary news source, providing access to local sites like Fin24 and Mail and Guardian, along with video sharing sites like TED Talks or YouTube.

With uncapped Internet, you can also build your brand with business pages on Google +, Facebook  and Linked-In while using Twitter and sites like Google News to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world – all without worrying about how much data you’re using.

2)    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

VoIP is a fantastic product because of the collaboration dynamics where conference calling, (with video or just voice), file sharing and instant messaging are all combined in one application for true collaboration over the Internet.

VoIP enables small businesses to make meetings with business partners and clients completely virtual, lowering communication and travel costs. Uncapped Internet removes the concern about the cost of bandwidth or the need to top up bandwidth to prevent being cut off during an important video or VoIP call.

Furthermore, VoIP traffic is prioritised on the MWEB network, which improves call quality (as long as you’re on a 1Mbps or higher line.)

3)    Cloud computing and storage

Cloud Computing is a third extremely valuable element for business owners, allowing you to access email from wherever you are via hosted exchange solutions.

“You can have a synchronised copy of your email across your PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone (without worrying about the bandwidth costs of downloading email to multiple devices) and respond to email from whatever device you are on,” says Holgate.

Cloud storage also enables documents to be saved on servers in the cloud.

“This allows you to retrieve key documentation from anywhere as long as you are connected to the Internet, as well as for redundancy in the event of device failure. Backups can be done to the cloud on a daily basis without being concerned about bandwidth costs,” she says.

Cloud computing also ties in with the collaboration elements mentioned in point two. While conversing over the Internet, documents on the cloud can be opened and modified in real time by several people simultaneously.

4)    Website maintenance

Websites are vitally important to extend your reach and a well maintained website can make your businesses accessible to thousands of people.

Given the cost consideration of outsourcing website development, most businesss owners maintain their own websites.

“As line speeds improve in South Africa, it becomes far easier to load multimedia content onto websites, making them far more visual-based and compelling to visitors to the site,” she says.

However loading this type of content onto your site on a regular basis can quickly eat into your bandwidth allotment and your budget if you don’t have an uncapped account.

5)    Predictable costs

“Lastly, uncapped Internet is convenient for business owners because the fixed monthly cost makes budgeting far easier and removes unexpected expenditure on telecommunications. As your business grows and more people need to be employed, all of the above points are amplified as more employees are added to the home office. With uncapped Internet, the cost remains the same,” says Holgate.

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Entrepreneur Today

The Ins And Outs Of A Good Exit Strategy

The thought of parting with a business you’ve grown from the ground up may be unsettling, but Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says that it is better for both your business and yourself to plan for this as early as possible.

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“The challenge that business owners often face in this respect is comparable to the difficulty that many new parents have with imagining their children grown up and leaving for university. Imagine, however, if parents did not plan ahead for the cost of their education – that would be detrimental to the future of their children. The same could be the case for your business.”

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy is about sustainability and being able to measure your business performance against the goals you have set for it. “It’s really about being able to say, ‘this is when the work is done and I can exit the business or take on a different role – this is what success looks like in terms of monetary return on investment and other business growth indicators’.

“The lack of an exit strategy could be telling of a fundamental lack of measurable business goals and this needs to be addressed,” she says.

From immediate liquidation to liquidation over time; family succession; selling to staff or external investors; the open market or another business; or the gruelling but profitable exercise of taking your company public – there are many different ways in which an entrepreneur can exit their business, but Mjadu says that whatever the process, a strong and solid strategy is essential.

She shares five key points of a good exit strategy:

1. It tells you when you are done

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy should reflect a core understanding of all the intricacies of your business and should be able to tell you when the lifecycle of your business (or of your involvement in the business) should come to an end. This is usually done by including a set of tangible measurables or objectives so that it is easy to ascertain when these have been achieved.

Related: When Do You Know It’s Time To Sell Your Business

2. It sets out the right environment within which to exit

A good exit strategy considers the economic, social and political environment at the time of your exit. Mjadu says that this is important in order to plan for a secure financial future.

“Failure to think about this could result in short-changing yourself by exiting during a tough economic climate when the risk to buyers reduces the value of your business.”

She references the case of Victoria’s Secret when founder, Roy Raymond, sold the failing business for $1m unknowing that it would later grow into the multi-billion dollar empire it is now. “While Raymond’s exit was ultimately necessary for Victoria’s Secret’s growth, he sold it in 1982 during the global recession of the early eighties – one of the world’s biggest financial crises and this influenced the selling price at his exit”.

3. It compensates those who have contributed to the life of your business

It is important to consider the impact your exit could have on investors and staff, says Mjadu. “Closing shop for example, means that your staff no longer have employment at your business. Selling could mean the same.” She adds that it is important to consider ways in which your exit could also benefit these stakeholders – for example, selling to a bigger business could mean more career opportunities for your staff, as well as continued job security.

4. It compensates you

Mjadu says that entrepreneurs often struggle to recognise their own true worth, especially when this involves attaching a monetary value to what has been achieved. “The time of exiting a business is no place to short-change yourself. You need to get out the full worth of what you put in,” she says, explaining that this means ensuring that you are financially secure before and while you go into your next venture.

“Your needs for retirement and medical insurance, as well as the maintenance of your living standard, should be met at your exit.”

Related: Want to Exit the Company? Here’s Your Shareholder Exit Strategy

5. It sustains your entrepreneurial drive

Mjadu says that while you may be nearing the end of one journey, your exit should enable and encourage you to continue to be an entrepreneur – and to look forward to the next journey. “Your entrepreneurial skills and capacity do not end when you exit your business and whatever your strategy, it should egg you on to more entrepreneurial activity including becoming a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Mjadu says that exiting your business should allow you a good retrospective look at what you have done over the years – and so planning the strategy early on in your business lifecycle will set you up in regards to what you hope to achieve. “Upon exit, you should be able to say that you have done what you set out to do, financially and socially, and you have some energy left to do more elsewhere.”

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Search Is On For SA’S Online Retailer Of The Year

World Wide Worx in partnership with Platinum Seed, Visa, Heavy Chef and the Ecommerce Forum of Africa, launch new awards to recognise online stores that promote shopper trust.

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World Wide Worx today announced that it was launching a new awards programme — called the Online Retailer of the Year — to honour online stores in South Africa that grow trust amongst digital shoppers. The awards are part of a broader project to boost online shopping by World Wide Worx in partnership with Visa, Platinum Seed, the Ecommerce Forum of Africa and Heavy Chef.

“Online retail in South Africa has consistently grown above 20% since the turn of the century but only passed 1% of overall retail in 2016. Research shows that trust is a big factor in ecommerce growth, which is why we want to recognise online retailers who help to grow the entire sector by ensuring the kind of ecommerce standards that engender trust with online shoppers,” Goldstuck says.

“But once online retail passes two per cent it crosses an essential psychological barrier and this often leads to a tipping point in emerging economies. That’s when we see online retail snowballing. It gathers real momentum and everyone in the sector benefits,” Goldstuck explains.

To be eligible for entry to the Online Retailer of the Year, owners of digital stores are urged to participate in an essential survey of local online shopping being run by Goldstuck’s World Wide Worx, together with Visa and digital growth agency Platinum Seed.

To participate in the research, local online retailers can go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/OnlineRetailSA

All online retailers who participate will be entered into the award. However, participation in the survey is not a precondition for entry to the awards. However, only online retailers who operate from within South Africa’s borders are eligible for this local award.

The awards will be made at a Heavy Chef event in Cape Town on Thursday, October 01 2018. At the same event, World Wide Worx’s Arthur Goldstuck will lay bare the state of local retail, with Brad Elliott, CEO of Platinum Seed, and Visa.

Related: Up To R1 Million In Funding For Tech Solutions To Early Childhood Challenges

Goldstuck, who is judging the awards, will present the following awards:

  • Online Retailer of The Year
  • 1st runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
  • 2nd runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
  • Best New SA Online Retailer of the Year.

The winners of the Online Retailer of the Year awards will be given a digital badge that the online store can display online. The winners will have bragging rights for a year — until the next award is made in 2019.

Judging criteria for the awards include trust, innovation, customer service, digital excellence, customer engagement, product excellence, and the online reputation of the digital store. Visa, Heavy Chef, and Platinum Seed will oversee the judging of the awards. The Ecommerce Forum of Africa will audit the results.

Retailers or entrepreneurs who want to attend the awards and presentation of the research results by Goldstuck can purchase tickets from Heavy Chef.

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Up To R1 Million In Funding For Tech Solutions To Early Childhood Challenges

Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.

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Innovation Edge, an early stage investor and venture builder, has launched a call for tech solutions to problems faced by young children and those who care for them. The most promising ideas stand the chance to receive up to R1 million in funding and will have access to a range of incubation support. Qualifying ideas will address a defined need within early childhood and have a sustainable route to scale that includes families living in poverty.

Deadline for submissions is 19 October 2018.

The human brain is naturally wired to learn, but the brain’s capacity to absorb new information and learn new skills is most pronounced in the first 5 years of life. During this period of development, not only does the brain learn best, but it gets wired in ways that impact lifelong learning. Experiences during early childhood literally shape the architecture of the developing brain.

Sonja Giese, Executive Director for Innovation Edge, explains why investing in solutions to early childhood problems is critical; “ Eight out of 10 Grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning. Six out of 10 Grade 5 learners cannot do basic maths. These scores are predictive of final school outcomes, meaning that by the age of 10 years, a child is on the educational trajectory she will most likely follow.”

“There is no conceivable way in which South Africa will realise its development goals, including increased employment, radical economic transformation, reduced crime and dependable leadership, without significantly altering the current trajectories of our youngest citizens. This sector is desperate for innovative solutions that offer impact at scale.”

Related: The Truth About Venture Capital Funding

While Innovation Edge welcomes submissions for any bold ideas at any time throughout the year, this call is specifically focused on tech solutions to early childhood challenges.

Examples of the types of challenges that applicants are invited to respond to include the following :

  1. Paper-based systems of recording classroom attendance are time-consuming and lacking in accuracy. How might you create a tech solution that enables pre-school teachers (in both high/mid and low income environments) to quickly capture verifiable classroom attendance for children aged 3 to 6 years?
  2. Young children’s (birth to 6) developing brains thrive from having daily positive back and forth conversations with their parents. How might you create a tech solution to help parents (in both high/mid and low income environments) embed this behaviour into their daily lives?
  3. Approximately 33% of women living in adversity will experience a mental illness (primarily depression) during or after pregnancy.  What opportunities could tech offer to support mothers, particularly those in low-income environments, who are suffering from depression?

Applications from individuals, non-profit and for profit organisations are welcome. Innovation Edge accepts early stage ideas pre or post proof of concept phase.

To submit a proposed solution and for more information on Innovation Edge visit http://innovationedge.org.za/opportunity-hub/.

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