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Two Major Trends to Watch Out for in 2013

The lean start-up and the connected economy are the two biggest trends to watch out for in 2013.

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Angus Robinson, director of mobile, content and community divisions of Native, says the rate of change is ever increasing. Consumers are adopting new technology faster than ever before and their behaviour and expectations are changing.

Businesses have to respond. And there are two trends emerging that will help companies do just that – the lean start-up movement and the connected economy.

Up until now that response has been a slow and measured, with businesses adopting a cautious approach to innovation trying to get things ‘as near to perfect as possible’ before implementation.

This results in lengthy lead times in product or service development and to innovation in general.

Businesses should consider rethinking this approach and lean start-up is one of the preferred approaches to deliver on this challenge.

TREND #1 – Lean start-up

Lean start-up is a new way of managing a more uncertain environment in a more scientific way. It assists businesses in testing project-related hypotheses as quickly as possible.

A hypothesis is a set of assumptions deemed as the starting point for further investigation.

So for example a number different product offerings, payment options, value propositions or even digital platforms could be presented to potential customers in order to get feedback and responses.

It’s about changing the way you measure progress and revolves around learning.

By using the concept of getting a ‘minimum viable product’ to market in the fastest possible time is the ideal way to test what you are trying to prove. What do customers want and how are you going to make money?

We need to constantly be learning about what value is for customers and who their customers are, based on a hypothesis rather than perfectly executing a plan that is flawless.

Success should be based on how much validated learning is happening and how quickly this is happening through experimenting and learning from your customers.

Lean Startup is cyclical in nature moving from the idea to building the product, to measuring the data, learning from it and then using it to generate the next idea and so on.

A great international example of the success of Lean Startup is Zappos.com – an online shoes and clothing store renowned for its great customer service.

Instead of waiting to bring a flawless site to market, the creator decided to rather visit a shoe store, take pictures of the most popular shoes, and put them online to test the assumptions around selling a product such as shoes online.

These included, would people buy shoes online, how are returns handled, what information do potential customers want about shoes, how to they compare shoes online, how are international sizing complexities handled, and many more.

This basic site gave rise to a billion dollar business that was eventually acquired by Amazon.

TREND #2 – Connected economy

Another trend that businesses should be keeping their eye on is the much-spoken about connected economy. And, the connected economy is powered by connected devices.

What’s most important is how businesses will apply this concept to their organisation in the coming years. The introduction of smartphones into our daily lives has opened the possibilities of connecting to peripherals.

Peripherals are small, portable objects that can be plugged into or connected to a device. Smartphones have all the computing power needed to run other devices and innovative products are hitting the market almost daily.

The medical industry is benefiting from peripherals such as the IBGStar – a blood glucose-testing device that is plugged into an iPhone and, together with the Diabetes Manager App,  helps users track blood glucose, carb intake and insulin dose.

The possibilities to use this info, not only from one user but linking multiples users, can provide the industry with trends and statistics that will lead to ground-breaking innovation.

Along with peripherals, the rise of sensors is changing the world dramatically. Sensors are devices that read environmental factors and present them in understandable formats or analysis, recording or comparison.

We find sensors in almost everything from cars and shoes to industrial units and mobile phones. Using information gathered from these sensors, organisations, cities and even countries could drastically change the way processes are managed, maintenance is done and business is run. The potential for cost-saving and reducing the environmental impact is vast.

So what does this mean for business owners? Firstly, decision-makers need to determine how sensors can gather information or data to help improve business operations and customer experiences.

They also need to look for peripherals that could result in more efficient job tasks and how the networked devices impact business effectiveness.

Most importantly – be agile and realise you are part of a changing world. Consider new ways of doing things and keep an eye on what is hot and happening in your industry.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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Empowering Township Entrepreneurs

Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.

The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.

Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.

“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”

Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.

“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.

Related: FNB Kicks-off Global Entrepreneurship Week By Engaging Township Entrepreneurs

“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.

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Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips

Closing Date: 30 November 2018

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Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.

Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.

Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.

Applications link:

https://www.investec.com/en_za/welcome-to-investec/corporate-responsibility/our-community/Entrepreneurship.html

The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.

By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles: https://www.investec.com/en_za/focus/young-entrepreneurs/sa-entrepreneurs-return-inspired.html

Related: En-novate Goes Toe-To-Toe With The Best In The World

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Business Lessons From Women For Women: If You Have To Fail, Fail Forwards

Lessons from three young black South African women on how they have turned an idea into a profitable business.

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Just 70 years ago, black women in SA were largely regarded as legal minors with no power to open bank accounts, lease property or conduct legal transactions without their husbands’ permission. Some remnants of this legacy remain, but, increasingly, traditional roles are being subverted and women are building businesses.  However, women entrepreneurs still remain part of a small minority of thriving business success stories.

The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found women in early-stage entrepreneurship decreased by 15.7% in 2018 and only 18.8% of all business owners in SA are women. Suffice to say there’s more to be done, and a lot of it starts with support. When Lebogang Ndlovu, owner of Amare Beauty Hub, announced her intention to start a small business shortly after matric, her parents weren’t happy. She forged ahead despite the lack of support and tenaciously founded three different ventures, which all, unfortunately, failed. She then decided to attend consumer financial training offered by Santam through Mzansi Financial Education. From this training, she learned to ‘fail forwards’ and started her current company – a highly successful Soweto-based spa. She credits the support and mentorship she received as imperative to this success.

That says Tersia Mdunge, Santam’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, is what Santam’s Consumer Financial Education (CFE) is all about, “To grow entrepreneurship, South Africa needs to provide enabling conditions, opportunity and support. As the cornerstone of our economy, it’s pivotal we do so. At Santam, our Consumer Financial Education and Mentorship programme helps young, black entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their ideas into tangible businesses. We’ve assisted 1 595 individuals so far, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to do so.”

Although Africa has the highest growth rate of female-run businesses globally, according to the World Bank, South Africa lags behind countries like Ghana.

Here, three women entrepreneurs from Johannesburg share their entrepreneurial journeys and the difference mentorship made:

1. Lebogang Ndlovu, owner: Amare Beauty Hub

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Although young, Ndlovu knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur after matric. It was tough convincing her parents to get on-board. “I come from a typical black family background where the norm is to be employed and not create employment.”

After getting her parents on-side, she used the allowance they provided to start a home executive concierge service. That, unfortunately, failed, and she tried two other ventures, which also didn’t last. It was then that she decided to attend Santam’s training. She did thorough research before jumping into yet another business. She realised that, “It does not matter how many times you fail, learn from your mistakes and move along.”

Ndlovu finally found her passion in beauty. She currently runs Amare Beauty Hub in Soweto; a fully-fledged beauty and health spa that focuses on “beauty on a budget”. With her business partner, she’s already considering expanding the business into micro-franchises to empower other women who are interesting in the beauty industry.  

Related: Watch List: 50 Top SA Business Women To Watch

2. Nthabeleng Nhlapho, owner: Afro Kids Salon

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Before 2016, running her own business was just a dream for Nhlapho, even though she always knew that she was an entrepreneur at heart, because of her family background.

“Getting into business has always been an idea I have toyed with, and after many years of procrastination, I finally decided to take that leap of faith. My dad’s side of the family is quite entrepreneurial as a number of my brothers have started and are sustaining their own businesses. So, in a sense, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur.”

After doing research, Nhlapho saw a gap in the market for an ethnic hair salon for kids. Having a daughter with ethnic hair herself, Nhlapho says, “It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have the patience with children.”

Nhlapho’s Afro Kids salon is based in Sandton. She opened her door in September 2016 soon after she attended Santam’s training sessions. She gives credit to the mentorship she received and to support from friends and family for her success.

3. Phumzile Nala, owner: Pumzi’s Pretty Petals

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Phumzile Nala’s grandmother inspired her love for flowers. “My grandmother loved flowers and used to do flower arrangements at friends’ and family events, which is where I was introduced to flower arrangements.” 

Nala attended the Santam CFE workshops in Vilakazi Street in April this year. Her mentor, Martine Solomon, says, “Phumzile started the training with the hope that she would go into public speaking and training and development, however, that changed when she realised her passion for flowers. Phumzile was very helpful during her time in the programme, assisted with the roll-out of the CFE programme as well as CFE training and development.”

Now, Nala is a proud owner of a beautiful flower shop in Roodepoort called Pumzi’s Pretty Petals. In just six months, the business is showing steady growth. Nala’s other mentor, businessman Donnie Koetzee, played an instrumental role in this growth, helping Nala buy stock and get through start-up hurdles. Nala says, “At the beginning, I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open.” 

Even though Nala cannot compete with big retailers in terms of pricing, she gives her clients a far more personalised and meaningful experience. “We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings, and that is something they will not find in bigger stores.”

Nala found her unique value proposition, which is something that all entrepreneurs need to identify in order to compete. She also gives credit to social media as she makes use of it to advertise her flowers. Her dream is to open four stores in the four major cities of South Africa.

This programme is a direct response from the Department of Treasury for financial services companies like Santam to educate their clients and prospective clients on financial knowledge.

“We went above and beyond what is required of us and turned this into a successful initiative that empowers many to fulfil their dreams. Our programme has been dedicated to empowering our people to becoming financial savvy consumers and entrepreneurs. We have also made it our mandate to focus on risk management and understanding business insurance. Many small businesses do not consider the risks that come with running a business and how they would bounce back if they would be faced by a law-suite for instance;” concluded Mdunge.

For those who would like attend Santam’s Consumer Financial Education, please look out for an invitation on Santam’s website, the requirements are that as a consumer you need earn less than R250 000 and as a business owner, your business need to have a threshold less than R10 million.

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