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Poor Business Thinking Ignores Social Media

From nice-to-have to a business necessity.





Is Michael Porter’s thinking redundant? It’s a fair question. In a business world where everything is changing: marketing; project management; HR and customer management; even funding models and opportunities for innovation – business needs a whole new paradigm for success.

“One of the drivers of this change is social media,” says Dave Duarte, the programme director of Social Business Strategy at the UCT Graduate School of Business. “Yes, it has been around for a while, but evidence is that it has gathered momentum in a way that makes it impossible for business to now ignore.”

According toDuarte, Forrester Research shows that spending on social business software is growing at 61% per year, and will do so right into 2016. In that year it is estimated that spending on these products will be over $6 billion.

Investing in social media

But what exactly is it that these companies are investing in? “Well, transformation and opportunity really,” says Duarte. “They’re buying their ticket to becoming what everyone from the Economist to the McKinsey Global Institute is calling a ‘networked enterprise’.

“In some cases the term ‘extended enterprise’ is used to describe organisations that have adopted so successfully these technologies that they have practically blurred the boundaries between the organisation, the customer, and partners and suppliers.”

Many companies are starting to report that this investment is paying dividends. The latest web 2.0 annual survey by the McKinsey Global Institute surveyed more than 4 200 global executives, across an array of industries, and found that there is an increase in the amount of companies investing in these technologies – and that most report that, if deployed strategically, this is benefitting them in some way.

Based on the responses, 86% of high tech and telecommunications companies, 77% of business, legal, and professional services companies, 74% of public administration as well as pharmaceutical companies, 69% of retailing companies and transportation companies, 67% of healthcare and social services companies, 64% of manufacturing companies and financial services companies, and 62% of energy companies, use at least one social media technology such as blogging, microblogging and social networks.

The survey also showed that those companies that fully integrated the technology into all aspects of their business, including into employee work processes, experienced most gain.

Using technology

Out of 1 949 companies using these technologies for internal purposes, 74% of them experienced an increase in the speed to access knowledge, 58% reduced communication costs, and 51% increased the speed of accessing internal expertise.

Among those that used the technologies for customer relations purposes, of which there were 2 227, 69% increased their marketing effectiveness, 475 increased customer satisfaction, and 43% reduced marketing costs.

For external purposes, companies that used the technology for relations with partners, suppliers, and external expertise, of which there were 1 142, 655 increased the speed of access to knowledge, and 61% reduced communication costs.

Overall respondents felt that social media technology offered competitive gain and improved organisational performance. Some saying that if organisational barriers to the adoption of social media technologies – buy-in, trust, uncertainty, and resources, for example – had to drop, they could become a strategic core of how the business operates.

Using social media wisely

But it’s not all a one-way ticket to success. “The research also shows that some organisations experienced a drop in benefits, due mainly to a strategic fault,” says Duarte. “The effort to maintain social media within an organisation is a complex and difficult exercise, especially in integrating them into the workflow of every employee, and if left to slack reaps little benefit or can even cause harm.”

According toDuarte, to reap the full benefits of social media technologies, leaders must realise that it is an essential, strategic element in a business. More than a mildly effective marketing tool or just another tactical element, it is a whole new way of getting things done. And as more companies enter the space competition intensifies.

“Businesses that are not doing it yet need to get in on the act. Start small, so any risk is contained, while educating people across the organisation – who are already using these platforms anyway – to use them more effectively. What is required here is a small-scale adaptive, responsive approach.”

Going the way of the networked or extended organisation is a good bet – there’s enough evidence to support this. If done right, it makes business sense. “Everything from employee performance to matching certain skills with certain projects is enhanced; logistical planning and project management is improved, made easier; connecting to customers and finding new opportunities are made far more possible and are greatly encouraged. One just needs be strategic about it.

“In fact, IBM is calling social media in business a ‘necessity to survive today’s volatile business climate’.

“It used to be called a nice-to-have.”

Dave Duarte is the director of the Social Business Strategy – Adopting Social Media in Business programme at the Graduate School of Business.

Dave Duarte is the programme director of Social Business Strategy which runs at the Graduate School of Business on August 1 and August 2.

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Entrepreneur Today

This Is A Call To The Curious – Applications For The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship Programme Are Open

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is calling on all young, entrepreneurially-minded South Africans to enlist in the most comprehensive and stimulating Fellowship opportunity in Southern African. Applications opened on 22 January 2018.





The Foundation takes a holistic approach to entrepreneurial development and believes that entrepreneurially-minded individuals with ethical values and strong leadership skills hold the key to change in South Africa and the globe. The Foundation supports entrepreneurs to improve the socio-economic landscape of Southern Africa. Further, it provides youth who demonstrate the highest potential access to education and assists them with cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Fellowship’s entrepreneurial and personal development programme runs throughout the academic year alongside the Candidate Fellow’s university studies. The Fellowship provides access to university education and includes comprehensive tertiary financial support to selected students.

Criteria for Grade 12 Learners

  • Level 5 in Pure Mathematics for Grade 11 final results
  • Level 6 average for your final Grade 11 results (excluding Life Orientation)
  • Completion of the National Benchmark Test by 30 September 2018
  • Under the age of 21 in your application year
  • South African citizens.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Intention to study towards a degree in Commerce, Science (excluding Medicine), Engineering, Law or Humanities (majoring in Politics, Philosophy or Economics) at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS); University of Johannesburg (UJ); University of the Free State (UF); University of Cape Town (UCT); Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Rhodes University; the University of the Western Cape (UWC); University of Stellenbosch or the University of Pretoria (UP).

What it covers

  • The full cost of university tuition
  • The full cost of university accommodation, meals, books and tutor allowance
  • A monthly living stipend
  • Academic support and access to entrepreneurial and personal development programmes
  • Mentorship from individually assigned Foundation staff as well as business mentors
  • Access to potential postgraduate funding for graduated Candidate Fellows
  • There are no postgraduate contractual obligations with the Foundation.

Related: 9 Top Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

How to apply

Visit to download an application form or SMS “Gr12 and your fax number or email address” to 36777. The application closing date is the 11 May 2018.

Watch this video to learn more about the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. More information is available at and

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Entrepreneur Today

Facebook Launches A Classifieds Marketplace In South Africa

Facebook has launched Marketplace in South Africa, offering users a single destination on Facebook where they can easily discover and buy and sell goods with other people in their local community.





Available in 47 countries, with more than 550 million people from around the world visiting Facebook to buy and sell goods each month, Marketplace makes it easier for people to trade with others on Facebook.

Using Marketplace

  • To use Marketplace, tap on the Marketplace icon
  • To find what you’re looking for, search at the top and filter your results by location, category or price
  • To sell something, take a photo, describe your item, set your price and you are done
  • Buyers and sellers can communicate with each other using Facebook Messenger.

Related: 10 Motivational Quotes from Facebook Genius Mark Zuckerberg

Trading Safely

Facebook helps you trade safely on Marketplace by offering safety tips, privacy controls and easy-to-use reporting tools.

Top tips for trading safely on Marketplace:

Commerce Policy

Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook Community Standards and Commerce Policies. Please view the list of items prohibited on Facebook.

Verify the item

When buying an item, examine it carefully for quality, condition and authenticity before paying. For high-value items (watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase.

Related: How You Can Avoid The ‘Facebook Effect’

Be shipping savvy

facebook-shipping-productsIf the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase. You can use a service such as Standard Bank’s Shepherd to arrange safe payment and shipment. Shepherd keeps the money for a transaction in a trust account and releases it to the seller once the buyer verifies he or she has received the correct item in good condition.

Meet in a safe location

Don’t invite buyers or sellers to your home. Meet in a public place like a coffee shop or the mall. Before going, tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cell phone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.

Use cash, COD, or person-to-person payment methods

Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash or person-to-person (P2P) payments. If you choose to pay electronically using EFT, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website. If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal or FNB eWallet.

Protect your privacy

Don’t share your financial account information (example: Payment login and password, bank account info) with buyers or sellers. Additionally, make sure your Facebook Privacy Settings are up-to-date. These settings help limit what other people can see (example: status updates, location, photos) on your profile page and what you share on Facebook.

Report someone

If you’re having a problem with someone in Marketplace, you can report them.

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Entrepreneur Today

5 Things SME’s Need To Be Thinking About In 2018

In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.





In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business says “Small business success becomes a monumental task when there’s arguably very little to no real economic growth overall. However every challenge presents an opportunity, and in South Africa, not only are we fortunate to consistently have SME development as a key objective on the national government agenda, but most corporates are also  hungry to shift spend to smaller businesses as part of the procurement policies.”

Weinberg says as 2018 begins in earnest, there are some important insights that business owners should consider in order to grow their businesses.

The digital economy is in full swing

SME’s that are comfortably operating without adopting digital technology in their business will likely be outperformed by their competitors unless they adapt to the current reality. Across the globe, consumers and businesses are rapidly migrating services to digital channels for its sheer efficiency, convenience and scalability. This includes basic elements like digitising accounting processes with software, through to using social media to campaign to customers.

If you’re ever unsure where to start, start by observing your customers and listening carefully to how they expect to be dealing with a business like yours – you can’t go wrong by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and then reflecting on your business through their eyes.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

Expect little to no help from the economy

The Word Bank recently predicted that SA will grow at roughly 1.1% in 2018 and while this is not cast in stone, it’s a relatively firm indicator that SME’s will have to do the hard yards to engineer any form of business growth. The focus should thus mainly be on differentiating your business, products or services from your competitors through marketing or even innovation if possible.

Maximise your banking relationship

Banks are investing a lot of time to understand the needs of businesses and have some of the tools to help SME’s run efficiently. The relationship should not be only be limited to just banking. With the multitude of rewards and value-add services offering by most banks, with just a bit of time spent understanding the offerings, great value can be derived for you and your business. Examples of these offered by FNB include eBucks rewards, free Instant Accounting software and CIPC registration services.

‘Think Local, Act Global’

Your business may be based in South Africa but its potential to scale shouldn’t be hampered by your location. In other words, be open to the opportunity of growing your business beyond South African shores, especially if your service or product has universal appeal and relevance. With global marketplaces such as Alibaba and AirBnB, the world market has never been more accessible and easier to do business with.

Related: SchoemanLaw Shakes Up The Legal Industry To The Benefits Of SMEs

Avoid the race to the bottom

Market forces continue to show that consumers aren’t only focused on the cheapest product or service despite the tough economic conditions. These days offering great service will build trust and loyalty with customers and keep them coming back. If you combine this with good quality, accessible products and services you will generally have an edge over your competitors offering the same or similar products and services.

“Even though 2018 is unlikely to come with an SME development boom, a solid homegrown business can still grow sustainably. More than ever, business owners need to arm themselves with as much information and insights as they can to grow their businesses or even reduce the risk of total business failure. With South Africa’s level of unemployment showing little to no signs of reduction, we need to sustain the spotlight on growing our SME sector and offering as much support to it as possible. SME’s represent one of the most effective ways to create employment in local communities, especially if these businesses find ways to trade with customers beyond their normal operating territories.” says Weinberg.

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