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Naming Your Business

Seven ways to choose the right name for your business.

Bertie du Plessis

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Did you know there are only a limited number of options to name an enterprise? What a relief, isn’t it? As a matter of fact there are only seven really different ways in which you can create a name for your business or product and I am going to show them to you. However, before we get to the seven ways, we must first get a strategic issue out of the way. Going through the seven options with the wrong strategy will only help you from the frying pan into the fire.

So, let’s quickly play a game.

What would you choose?

Upfront I offer you a name that won’t harm your enterprise.  Take it, off you go to a flying start! It is not a “Wow!” but it will work. Most importantly it won’t harm your business.

However, I also have a secret name in a box. If you reject the “plain” name that I offer you upfront, you may choose the name in the box. But, wait, here’s the trick! In the box can be either of two names.  Name A is an absolutely fabulous, mindboggling “Wow!” name for your venture.  Name B on the other hand is a very inappropriate, “ouch!” name for you business. For our experiment’s sake you will have to use whatever you choose. Once taken you can’t discard.

What do you do? Take the appropriate, but uninspiring name and get off to a flying start? Or do you take the chance and choose the box – at least you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting a fabulous name for your business?

What you should do, is choose the appropriate if uninspiring name, because a name alone will not guarantee business success. A business is by far too complex for that. A bad name, however, may positively harm your business. I have seen some really bad names for businesses which the owners justified by saying that “they wanted to be different.”  Yes, we need to differentiate, but if we are too different your market will fail to make the connection between their needs and your offering! Many things will differentiate your brand. The onus is not on the name alone! When you come to a professional agency for name development, the greater part of the fee will be for preventing you choosing a name that will make you look foolish and harm your business!

Before you even begin to name you enterprise, make the right strategic decision. If, by luck or inspiration you do stumble on a “Wow!” name, good for you! You are lucky, but don’t over estimate the power of a name in business success!

Now we get to the tricks of naming a business or enterprise.

1. A personal name

If you are in the services industry, your first choice should always be your own name. Only when there are compelling reasons to the contrary (for instance: you are afraid if you fail, your name might be tarnished), should you choose anything else. Take your name in the real world, for instance Sue McGregor and add the description of your business, for instance “Sue McGregor Financial Advisors.”   Your biggest advantage in small businesses is you yourself; especially in services. Use your name to give personality and a face to your business. Personalise, personalise, personalise!

2. Combine two words to create a metaphor

Take two words and combine them to make a new word with a new meaning, “airbus,” for example.  A bus transports passengers in bulk on land. Combining the word bus with the word air creates a new meaning, bulk passenger transport by air.  You use a part of the meaning of one or both of the words.

3. Combine two units of meaning (morphemes) to create a new word

“Provita,” the name for the well-known health biscuits come from “pro” meaning “for, on behalf of” and “vita” life. This is very powerful.

4. Create an acronym from the first letters of a description

This is very popular way with technology companies.  “Intel” comes from “Integrated electronics.”  “Modem” comes from modulator emulator.  The important thing to remember is that the name must sound like a real word. This means that you should have vowels attached to consonants as in In and tel.  Don’t, don’t have only consonants such as BRD or RDF.  “IBM” only works because it first was Industrial and Business Machines, became well-known, and was then abbreviated. You are not IBM!

5. Take a part of what you do and use it to refer to the entire enterprise

“Staples” is only an (insignificant) item on the list of office supplies, but it is the name of a large supplier of all kinds of office supplies in the US. Windows is only the obvious visual part of the office software package.

6. Take a well-known word from one area of life and apply it to your enterprise

“Diesel” is the name of type of fuel, but it is applied to a well-know clothing brand. In this case the word carries emotional overtones of “rugged” and “working class.”  “Apple” is another example. The trick here is to choose words with emotional associations that will support your enterprise.

7. A totally new word that has not existed before

There is a strong case to be made that this may yet be the best of all options for a product or large enterprise. Examples are “Exxon,” “Sony” and “Kodak.

Finally your biggest no-no is to be generic.  You can’t be “Our Game Farm” or “The Pharmacy” or “My wine.” As an individual you don’t want to be known as “My father’s son.”  You want to have a name! The Internet has not changed this at all.  Remember, books.com got nowhere, but Amazon did!   Search.com got nowhere, but Google did!  It’s counter-intuitive but indisputable true!

Bertie du Plessis founded his successful consultancy firm, MindPilot, 17 years ago. He names several of South Africa’s blue chip corporations among his client list and has taught as a lecturer and guest lecturer in six different disciplines at tertiary institutions. His fin24.com blog is the most read business blog on the 24.com domain. Visit Bertie Du Plessis's website for more information.

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Executive Education Geared For Industry 4.0

The Johannesburg Business School (JBS) was established in 2017 as part of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg.

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JBS offers a range of innovative executive programmes, expertly designed to develop effective, ethical and enterprising African leaders. With an emphasis on contextual intelligence, leaders are equipped to successfully navigate and overcome the complexities of today’s world, while advancing the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of their organisations and society.

All programmes designed and delivered by the JBS are grounded in the African context, with a strong global connection, for disruptors, entrepreneurs and managers alike. Business with purpose and an impact on the community, increasingly part of day-to-day business in Africa, underpins what JBS represents and does.

JBS is built around three pillars:

  1. Delivering world-class business education with a focus on the African context.
  2. Designing programmes geared for Industry 4.0 and the future world of work.
  3. Providing a platform to stimulate and inform purpose-driven business practices towards a collective impact across the continent.

We are authentically African with disruption and innovation at heart

At JBS we believe higher education is vital to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ensuring that Africa becomes ‘future fit’. As such, the JBS partners with entities outside of the conventional business education space, with the idea to innovate and reinvent leadership development and education in an ever-changing business environment.

Our Executive Education portfolio provides managers and leaders with offerings that are relevant to the complex and disruptive nature of work, arming them with the skills to successfully navigate the rapidly changing business environment.

Our programmes are delivered with best in class faculty who encourage critical analysis and thinking, while emphasising contextual intelligence and conscious learning. The aim of our offerings is to advance the evolution of the business environment for the benefit of organisations and society at large.

JBS offers bespoke training programmes aligned to organisational strategic imperatives and people development frameworks. Our short courses are designed to equip entrepreneurs and leaders with functional excellence across the practice of management.

The JBS Masterclass offerings is growing in popularity and is available in cross-disciplinary fields, like Strategy, Marketing, Human Resources, Innovation, Coaching and Mentoring, to name a few. These 3-hour interactive sessions provide delegates with the latest insights and a practical view of shifting trends and their impact on business.

Visit www.jbs.ac.za for more information on upcoming programmes

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Entrepreneur Today

3 Stealthy Tax Hikes Payroll Managers And Employees Need To Take Note Of

By Rob Cooper, tax expert at Sage, and chairman of the Payroll Authors Group of South Africa

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“Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.” 

The adage summarises the difficult decisions government and the Finance Minister faced when balancing the country’s books, rescuing state-owned enterprises, and reviving the growth of our economy. Given the economic pressure that most taxpayers are facing, government ideally needed to achieve all of that without direct increases to personal income tax in the most recent Budget Speech.

Personal income tax has comprised at least a third of South Africa’s total tax revenue in recent tax years, despite growing unemployment. The 2019 Budget, presented in February, forecasts that personal income tax will account for nearly 39% of tax collected during the upcoming (2019/20) tax year. Given that we are in an election year and that the tax base is fragile, it’s not surprising that the Finance Minister and the National Treasury avoided direct increases to the statutory tax tables used to calculate PAYE for employees in the budget.

Nonetheless, government has made inflation work in its favour to impose some tax increases by stealth. Here are three ways government is raising more revenue without direct tax increases:

1. Bracket creep

The statutory tax tables used by payrolls and employers have not been changed for 2019/20, nor have the brackets been adjusted for inflation. This effectively amounts to an indirect tax increase that will yield a revenue saving of approximately R12.8 billion for government’s coffers.

It is not unusual for government to use ‘bracket creep’ to effectively raise more revenue. But unlike previous tax years, even low- and middle-income earners are not getting much relief. Rebates and the tax threshold are being increased by small amounts to allow some relief, but many people this year will feel the pain as inflationary salary increases push them into a higher tax bracket.

2. Medical aid credit not adjusted for inflation 

As proposed in the 2018 Budget, the Finance Minister did not apply an inflationary increase to the Medical Tax Credit, which allowed him to raise an extra R1 billion in revenue for the year. Surprisingly, these funds will be allocated to general tax revenue rather than ring-fenced for healthcare. In previous tax years, revenue generated from below-inflation increases on medical scheme credits was used to fund National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot projects.

There is still no clarity on how the NHI is going to be funded except for a general statement that the funding model is a problem for the National Treasury to solve, and that the principles of cross-subsidisation will apply. One wonders if any real progress will be made soon, given the fiscal constraints government faces.

3. Business travel deduction left untouched

The Budget leaves the per-kilometre cost rates used to determine tax deductions for business travel untouched. By not increasing travel rates to account for inflation, government effectively increases income tax collection at the cost of the taxpayer. This will be a blow for people who need to claim from their employers for business travel in their personal vehicles. This change has slipped through largely unnoticed and the budget does not provide numbers for the expected increase in tax revenue.

Closing words

Amid political turmoil and uncertainty, the Finance Minister presented a balanced budget for 2019/20 that offers hope for the future along with some tough love. With government taking steps to accelerate economic growth and improve revenue collection, we should hopefully see a steady improvement in government finances, which will translate into less pressure on the taxpayer in future years.

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Entrepreneur Today

SMEs: Staying On The Right Side Of The Taxman

Remaining SARS compliant can be a constant challenge for small- to medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially when they are trying to focus on growing their businesses and streamlining their operations.

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EasyBiz Managing Director, Gary Epstein, says submitting taxes can be a seamless process that does not have to take up more time than is necessary. “If business owners understand what is required of them and they put a few processes into place to deal with their tax submissions properly, their lives will be so much easier.”

What are the top three considerations for SMEs when submitting tax returns?

“Firstly,” says Epstein, “SARS returns must be accurate and submitted in terms of the relevant Act. Secondly, returns should be submitted and paid on time to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest, and thirdly, business owners must follow up on queries issued by SARS. “Do not ignore these queries, act on them as soon as possible”.

What are the major SARS submission deadlines for SMEs?

Epstein points out that small business owners need to adhere to various tax deadlines, each with their own particular dates for submission. “It is important that business owners diarise the dates (and set advance reminders for themselves) and/or enlist the services of an accountant or financial adviser to help them keep abreast of requirements.”

Value-added tax (VAT)

VAT payments need to be submitted in the VAT period allocated to the business, according to various categories and ending on the last day of a calendar month. This may mean making payments once a month, once every two months, once every six months or annually, depending on the category.

Provisional taxes

Provisional tax should be submitted at the end of August (first provisional) and at the end of February (second provisional) – for February year-end companies.

Employee taxes

In addition to submitting an annual reconciliation (EMP501) for the period 1 March to end of February for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Skills Development Levy (SDL) and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), employee tax, in the form of an EMP201 return, needs to be submitted by the seventh of every month.

When can SMEs get extensions and is it worth it?

Epstein says SMEs can apply for various extensions, but these are subject to the Income Tax Act and Tax Administration Act.

“It is best for SMEs to consult their tax professionals to get advice regarding extensions for their businesses.”

What is SARS not flexible about?

SARS is not flexible when it comes to late returns and late payments.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for SME owners to ensure their tax returns are submitted on time. In this way, they will avoid the inconvenience and expense of additional fines and interest,” notes Epstein.

What skills do SMEs need in their organisations to be able to submit to SARS efficiently?

Business owners often don’t have the time or expertise to deal with tax submissions throughout the year. If the business cannot afford to employ a full-time accountant or financial services expert, it would do well to outsource its tax requirements to a registered tax practitioner.

“I would recommend that even if they are not submitting the tax returns themselves, business owners should have a broad understanding of the tax regulations and what is expected of them. There is a lot of helpful information on the various Acts and tax requirements on SARS’ website,” says Epstein.

How does the right software help SMEs remain SARS compliant?

SME’s (and their accountants’) jobs can be made easier by using reliable accounting software to calculate accurate VAT reports. These reports are only as accurate as the data entered into them, which means care needs to be taken when inputting data into the accounting programme. Epstein says a good accounting software package must be reliable, easy to use and functional.

“SMEs need to check that the software has thorough reporting capabilities and can interface with other software solutions. Of course, it is also important to find out whether the software is locally supported by the vendor or not.”

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