You’re on your first date: You must make the initial impression the best one in order to lock in a second date: You employ all the skills you have at your fingertips; and voila!
- Short-term goal for a second date: Secured
- Long-term goal for a relationship that lasts: In progress
Like dating, pitching your business or business idea to potential investors or possible partners also relies on a number of basic fundamental truths: Being confident without being cocky; being approachable without seeming desperate; being passionate without being immoderate; and having the facts and numbers at your fingertips; and voila!
- Short-term goal for a second meeting: Secured
- Long-term goal for a mutually beneficial relationship: In progress
When dating, certain fundamentals should be avoided, such as answering your phone, belching or arriving dirty. Likewise when pitching your business to a prospective investor, below are the basics of what NOT to do:
Avoid buzz words and jargon
These can sound the death knell of any new interaction. Use easy-to-understand language, crisp, concise and simple. Include actual anecdotes and humour; be witty without being corny or sarcastic; and never ever talk down to anyone because you think they won’t understand your ideas. Be genuine, be real, be sincere.
Go easy with the PowerPoint presentation
Yes, we all know that it looks good, sounds good, is professional and pleasing to the eye. But it’s you they want more of, rather than the accoutrements, just as when on a first date it’s the impression you make as a person rather than the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the art you own, that captivates the heart.
Rather ensure that the initial attention is focused on you and your ability to share your exciting venture; and only then bring on the PowerPoint, as the dessert rather than the main course.
Don’t ignore advice from those around you
You sound out your best friend about what you should wear, which restaurant you should visit – and even if you don’t take all the advice, it’s comforting to know that two heads are better than one and could work in your favour during the date. So too when preparing your pitching message, play it first to a captive but honest audience – family, friends, colleagues – that will criticise positively and help you see the errors that you missed because you’re too close. In this way you will gain perspective, confidence and practice.
From first base to home run
- First base: you approach the date with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation, hoping there will be a connection. The initial pitch too, is nerve-wrecking, as you want to come across polished and succinct, listen and connect.
- Getting to second base: will she/he be responsive enough for you to push ahead? Will the company show increased interest and commitment to invest, or at least want to know more, more detail, more faces?
- Third base: will the connection deepen or is rejection imminent? Patience is the key ingredient during this stage. Hopefully there have been indications of joint moving forward – great excitement but muted till there is more confirmation.
- Fourth base: You scored! Birds of a feather, shared interests, common path – it’s working! You receive positive input and constructive feedback; introductions to other partners / stakeholders; supplying necessary and additional information; ready to forge ahead.
- Home run: Marriage? Strong business relationship; contracts signed for commitment from both sides; agreement on necessary financing needed; both parties fired up with enthusiasm and ready to move forward.
You deserve to win. It all begins with the first pitch!
You’ve read all the above – you’re eager to start – so now the best way is to register for the 2015 ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop and competition which is looking to discover the nation’s most promising local entrepreneurs by teaching them to polish their pitch.
While on the course you will learn business fundamentals and be shown how best to access funding through your ability to share your vision effectively. Then, at the close, your polished pitch is ready to go. You will also stand a chance to win prizes and money.
Register now to attend or compete. Sms PITCH to 45901 (charged at R1.50 per sms) or register online at www.pitchandpolish.com.
Uber-like Insurance Platform Is Revolutionising The World Of Insurance Claims
the 4-Sure platform, which was launched two short years ago by actuary Shalen Moodley and a collective of seasoned tech gurus, is to provide value-added services that benefit the financial services industry. All partners had substantial success across Africa introducing loan origination platforms for leading banks before deciding to tackle the problems existing in the insurance claims fulfilment process.
A multi-sided, digitally-driven business platform that has been wholly-developed and launched in South Africa is ‘uberising’ the local short-term insurance industry by transforming the traditional claim fulfilment landscape.
Developed locally by Insuretech sensation 4-Sure and headed up by actuary-turned-entrepreneur Shalen Moodley, the 4-Sure platform seamlessly connects the claims ecosystem consisting of the customer, broker, insurer, service providers and suppliers and manages all complex interactions and sequencing required to deliver superb customer experience, optimal claim cost and fast turnaround times.
“The new system, which eliminates virtually all the manual processes and “waste work” involved in dealing with a claim, also provides enhanced opportunities for small businesses to compete for insurance claim work traditionally only available to a select few. Simultaneously, it reduces the fraud risks associated with the manual allocation of claims, and reduces costs across the board”, says Moodley.
“There are several weaknesses inherent in the appointment of the traditional insurance panels, “says Moodley. Relationships between the insurer’s agent and supplier base can result in some contractors being favoured above others. The payment of “incentives” by service providers as a reward for getting work can also skew the allocation process and drive massive cost inflations. Furthermore, costs can vary for similar jobs and the use of assessors for approval of routine jobs results in time delays and increased administration costs.”
“Most seriously for most insurers, is that contact with the customer is lost during the claim fulfilment process – they are disintermediated. Often, the result is dissatisfaction on the part of the customer, disrupted processes, unnecessary delays and often the possibility of an unhappy customer withdrawing their insurance and other investments with the associated brands of the insurer.
After extensive discussions with the industry regarding problems faced with settling claims, 4-Sure concluded that reformation of the system should be based on shorter, effective communication structures, the ‘democratisation’ of the panel system and the strategic use of technology to improve customer delivery and satisfaction levels.
The answer was the building of an entire ecosystem based on the use of sophisticated regressive algorithms that made the ‘Circle of Service’ between insurer and claimant transparent and frictionless. Creating an extensive database, making software available to service providers and connecting suppliers of raw materials as well as early payment mechanisms completed the service circle. As well as speeding up claim response times, the process was also efficient and fundamentally more effective.
Taking inspiration from the concept launched by the Uber transport system, the insurance platform includes a vastly increased list of qualified and rated service providers. As in the ride-sharing service, becoming listed requires that several stringent criteria are met by service providers. When a claim is registered – including the time when the customer requires assistance – it drops into the platform. Appropriate service providers listed can then respond and confirm their availability. They are then required to be on site at the time stipulated by the customer, undertake the work and then complete a Mobile App-driven reporting process for the insurer’s records (including before and after photographs, assessments and costings).
To participate in the platform a service provider must have a smartphone and the software, provided free by 4-Sure. Part of the package includes a service provider ‘scheduler’s’ desktop package that enables job scheduling, field technician allocation and all the information relating to the job to be collated and electronically submitted for payment to the insurer.
“For a sole trader or SME, one of the greatest challenges to building a sustainable business is controlling cash flow. Service providers on 4-Sure do not have to carry an extensive array of raw materials to fulfil allocated insurance claims work. Once they are on site, have assessed the repair work and had it approved within minutes, the service provider is able to visit a 4-Sure approved partner supplier (Builder’s Warehouse, Penny Pinchers, Buco, Plumblink and others) and pick up the required stock.
“They are then using their 4-Sure Mobile App to get the necessary materials and the outlet then bills the insurance company concerned directly through the 4-Sure software for the expenditure. Because of the volumes involved, we have been able to negotiate favourable prices for these services which are now on offer at more than 400 service points across the country. The service provider bills only for the time and labour spent on the job at the agreed rates. Their bills are then submitted using the 4-Sure software, go directly to the insurer and are generally settled within 24-48 hours.”
“As smaller operators are no longer waiting between 30 and 60 days for their money, they are happy to complete routine jobs for a set fee. Depending on the service they deliver and the ratings they receive, they are in control of just how much work comes their way. As a job is loaded on the system and service providers then bid for the work, competition is assured and opportunities for work are equal across the spectrum of service providers – a new paradigm which rewards performance with more work and manages the non-performers off the platform.”
Further value is added to service providers by free access to geo-positioning systems, which not only plots their way to their closest parts supplier but also to the customer’s property. Jobs that appear on their systems also cover the areas in which they choose to operate. As is the case with their Uber driver colleagues, those closest to the customer can make their presence known and compete for the work. Those who feel the costs of reaching the site do not make a job worthwhile simply do not respond to the job alert,” says Moodley.
For insurers, who can track the response times of service providers in real-time and contact them electronically if they are late on site, the major benefit is that the loss of customer contact at the point of handing over a claim to an incident manager no longer exists.
The typical flow of a job is made easier by:
- Insurers were able to use a sophisticated eco-system that is a centralised platform connecting all players in the supply chain, facilitating a seamless claims fulfilment process.
- Customer contacts their insurer via their contact centre, their website, or a digital self-service channel and this claim, is electronically dropped into the 4-Sure to facilitate the claim process automatically.
- A claim’s details being logged directly on the 4-Sure platform instead of being referred to an incident manager. The message enables specific skills, customer location, a time required for service and other factors to be selected so that it can be responded to by competing service providers.
Explains Moodley, co-founder of 4-Sure and one of the innovators behind the home-grown platform that caters specifically for local needs and is believed to be the leading services of its type anywhere in the world:
“4-Sure has succeeded in becoming the first, fully-digital insurance claims platform to provide a truly customer-centric experience. The system is flexible and although the present focus is on non-motor claims, other avenues, including motor insurance and non-insurance opportunities are being investigated and developed,” says Moodley.
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Off The Beaten Track
What Tourism Month means in South Africa and how Mango Airlines is focusing on local opportunities.
This September, being Tourism Month, we have so much to talk about in South Africa, and so many people to engage with, both domestically and abroad. We are privileged to be able to leverage a broad range of destinations – arguably world-class in nature, and they expand way beyond a beautiful mountain, and an ecosystem of game.
The vast majority of leisure tourists, however, remain attracted to the Mother City and various Safari destination, while business tourists tend to stick to hub cities for short durations of time before departing again.
“There is a golden opportunity to expand on the same offerings – while not detracting from them in any way. Our responsibility is to drive tourism into new areas, really emphasising the differentiators that are incredibly attractive to local and international tourists,” said Benediction Zubane, Head of Marketing at Mango Airlines.
“Often tourists visit one of the more well-known sites in an area, and are completely unaware of the other features and destinations close by. We’re seeing a lot of success in township tourism which goes to show how diversifying can really drive new tourism opportunities,” explained Zubane.
According to Statistics South Africa survey on Tourism and Migration, nearly 3.5 million international travellers visited South Africa in August 2017. Top numbers were tourists from USA, UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands, with African visitors primarily coming from SADC countries. Zubane added, “This means there is vast opportunity to begin engaging with travellers in new countries across the globe. We need to become our own best ambassador, talking-up our famous and lesser known destinations, proudly showcases our uniqueness. We should also be tourists in our own country and start exploring the wonders of the Rainbow Nation.”
Mango is passionate about helping its SMEs and entrepreneurial community to successfully overcome the unique challenges facing the tourism industry: “There has never been a more opportune time for small businesses and entrepreneurs to benefit positively from tourism in South Africa, and we hope to celebrate alongside our SME community as they fly high – both literally and figuratively,” he concludes.
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