Some moments of change are so easy in hindsight. When people made the switch from outdoor long drop toilets to inside flushing units. From big box TV’s that took up half the lounge, to flat screens that could be mounted on the wall.
And yet at each of those moments in history, the switch was not instant, nor obvious. I know it sounds crazy, but it took time for people to get used to the idea that going to the toilet indoors was not only ok but better than walking outside on cold rainy days.
And while this resistance comes in many forms (too expensive, not sure it will work yet, let others try it first) most often it is just the plain old resistance to change.
And here I own up and raise my hand as a late adopter. In most circumstances what I know, and am comfortable with, is just great thanks.
Until, under pressure from a friend or relative, I try the ‘new’ and realise what I have been missing all along.
My first lessons in investing were from my grandfather. As a young teenager, he took me with him to his share broker, who spent hours going over what seemed to me endless tomes of paper. When he joined some friends in buying a small industrial building he showed me the files the lawyers had sent over for him to sign – in a box, because there was too much paperwork for even the biggest envelopes.
He taught me some key principles. Work smart and hard for your money, then make your money work smart and hard for you. Even if you start small just make sure you start. Spread your risk. Invest for the future while ensuring you have a bit of fun now.
The principles remain true for today, though what has changed and continues to change constantly, is the tools and systems that we can now use to invest, and manage our investment. Financial Technology (FinTech) is here and changing quickly. Soon we will consider the old systems of investing as old fashioned as tube TV’s.
The recent FinTech Africa Awards held in JHB show cased the best of these modern online based investment platforms, with two SA companies taking first and second prize. Easy Equities makes it easy and affordable to invest in shares, while Wealth Migrate opens the world of global commercial real estate to all online investors.
And the change these platforms bring is ease of use, convenience and just a radically better way of doing things – like the difference between an old outhouse in my garden vs the end suite in my house.
Fintech platforms make smart investing exponentially quicker, easier, cheaper and with far more functionality.
Smart algorithms match my risk appetite and link my share preferences to similar shares.
I can now be part owner of an individual commercial building in New York or London that has been carefully selected by global experts for great returns, at the swipe of a finger and within the starting range of the smallest investor – even if you start small, make sure you start.
Fintech platforms remove the middle man, significantly reducing fees which means more of my money goes directly to my investment, and brings me greater returns – make my money work smart and hard for me.
With a range of Fintech platforms I can choose to be a smart, savvy investor in a wide range of local and global investments – spreading my risk.
And for me most importantly I can do this all from anywhere. I can be looking after the future of my family making smart investments and managing my money while taking a break on the beach with my kids.
Even for a slow adopter like me, it is clear. The time to make the obvious switch was yesterday.
Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.
As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”
This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.
While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”
Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.
“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”
But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.
Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This
Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?
For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.
According to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.
To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:
1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?
Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.
2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?
The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.
We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.
3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?
Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.
4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?
We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.
5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?
This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.
6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?
The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.
7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?
In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.
8. What was your sales strategy?
For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.
9. What were your biggest learnings?
We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.
10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?
Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.
Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.
The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.
Research also found that:
- 69% Of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding
- 33% Of new hires leave before their first anniversary, yet companies with an engaging onboarding programme retained 91% of their first-year workers
- Onboarding programmes can improve employee performance by 11.5%.
Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.
When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.
Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:
Make them feel welcome
Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.
Focus on the benefits
Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.
Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them
This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.
Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.
Show genuine interest
Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.
Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.
People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.
Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.
Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth
The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.
Openly communicate any changes in the business
Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.
Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.
Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work
But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.
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