How to come up with a killer small business idea

For many of us, the idea of starting a small business is a daunting one. What if it fails? What if I’m not equipped enough to handle it? What if something goes wrong? All of these ‘what ifs’ are completely understandable, of course, but you shouldn’t let them stop you from reaching for your dream.

 

For many of us, the idea of starting a small business is a daunting one. What if it fails? What if I’m not equipped enough to handle it? What if something goes wrong? All of these ‘what ifs’ are completely understandable, of course, but you shouldn’t let them stop you from reaching for your dream. Somewhere out there, someone could be looking for the exact product or service you’re thinking of offering, and you’ll never know where that could lead unless you put yourself out there. So now that you have this idea, how do you put it into practice? How do you get that killer business idea down to a tee?

 

Establish the demand

 

Businesses succeed when there is a sufficent demand for the product or service they offer. As you’re coming up with your business idea, look at what’s out there: potential competitors, similar business models and whether or not there is a gap in the market. You will probably find that there is a demand for what you have to offer, but there are also a number of other businesses who are already attempting to meet that demand. You need to look at how you can package your idea differently so that when it comes down to it, customers would want to choose your product or service over that of anyone else’s.

 

Develop a network

 

Networking is an incredibly important part of developing a business. As a part of your business idea, you need to look at who you can form relationships with. This means everyone from suppliers to delivery services, depending on what you want your business to offer. Developing a business idea means that you will have a chance to establish a strong connection with other reliable businesses. It’s always smart to look around and see who may be able to help you along the line – mutually beneficial relationships can be an important part of a business’s ongoing success.

 

Don’t over think it

 

It’s often said that the best business ideas are the ones that just come to you. If you find yourself getting frustrated at not being able to fully think everything through, put it away for a while. Don’t rush into it – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sure, a successful business idea requires a lot of thought, but if you feel yourself complicating things unnecessarily, take a step back. Overthinking things, particularly a potential business idea, can affect your passion and drive so sometimes you just have to go with your gut and take the plunge.

 

Starting a small business is never easy, and coming up with a killer idea can often prove to be trickier than we’d like it to be. However, it’s important to remember to take your time with it, make smart decisions regarding who you align your business with and take note of what the market needs and where the demand lies. At the end of the day, your business needs to be something that you are incredibly proud of, as this is what will serve you well in the long run and ensure that you keep putting the required effort in.

 

 

Featured image: http://businessfirstfamily.com

Top 5 business books to read I Career advice

Each month we recommend 5 books that we feel will encourage, inspire and educate you, whether you are the CEO of an international business or a start-up working from home. One should never stop learning. 1. And then they fired me by Jannie Mouton, 2012 Losing is not a word in Jannie Mouton’s vocabulary.

Each month we recommend 5 books that we feel will encourage, inspire and educate you, whether you are the CEO of an international business or a start-up working from home. One should never stop learning.

1. And then they fired me by Jannie Mouton, 2012

Losing is not a word in Jannie Mouton’s vocabulary. One of South Africa’s greatest success stories, Jannie Mouton built his business from scratch after getting fired at age 48. Straight-talking Mouton tells the inside story of how he started PSG, turning it into a triumphant success in only 15 years. Today the companies he is involved in have a market capitalisation of R61 billion.

2. Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell, 2011  

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Available at any Exclusive Books.

3.  Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to work by Paul Babiak, 2007

Let’s say you’re about to hire somebody for a position in your company. Your corporation wants someone who’s fearless, charismatic, and full of new ideas. Candidate X is charming, smart, and has all the right answers to your questions. Problem solved, right? Maybe not.

We’d like to think that if we met someone who was completely without conscience — someone who was capable of doing anything at all if it served his or her purposes — we would recognize it. In popular culture, the image of the psychopath is of someone like Hannibal Lecter or the BTK Killer. But in reality, many psychopaths just want money, or power, or fame, or simply a nice car. Where do these psychopaths go? Often, it’s to the corporate world.

4. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative By Austin Kleon

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

Available at any Exclusive Books.

5. Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organisations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown

The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.

This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short‚ design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative.

Available at any Exclusive Books.

Five South African start-ups to watch

It has to be said that South Africans are nothing short of innovative. This is evident more than ever in the number of start-ups that have exploded on to the scene in the last few years. More and more people seem to be taking the plunge into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, much to the delight of their fellow South Africans who luckily get to reap the rewards of some seriously fantastic ideas that are being made into realities.

It has to be said that South Africans are nothing short of innovative. This is evident more than ever in the number of start-ups that have exploded on to the scene in the last few years. More and more people seem to be taking the plunge into the exciting world of entrepreneurship, much to the delight of their fellow South Africans who luckily get to reap the rewards of some seriously fantastic ideas that are being made into realities. Here are just four of the many fledgling South African start-ups worth keeping your eye on.

Mellowcabs

The brainchild of Neil Du Preez and Kobus Breytenbach and inspired by alternative means of transport available in Europe, Mellowcabs is an exciting Franschhoek-based taxi start-up. Tapping into the niche market of “last mile commuters”, Mellowcabs offers an ecofriendly, efficient, urban micro transportation option, and the best part is, it’s free. How do they make money then, you ask? Through banner ads, of course. The ads appear on the sides of the electric mini cabs and give advertisers a unique opportunity to promote their brands. The cherry on top has to be the on-board tablets that utilise geo-location software that trigger location-specific adverts. The taxi industry just took an exciting turn.

GUST Pay

Co-found by Joe Botha, Werner van Zyl and Jan Pool, GUST Pay is essentially a quick and easy mobile payment alternative. The Stellenbosch-based start-up brings the idea of wearable technology to life with its NFC wristband technology, making payments at festivals and other large-scale events quick and painless. The GUST Pay mobile application is available on both iOS and android phones, and transforms a usually lengthy and fairly complicated payment process into a simple and fast one. Ultimately, it means shorter queues, cashless transactions and an overall seamless ticketing experience for both buyers and sellers. In a game where convenience is key, GUST Pay delivers.

Tuluntulu

The high costs of broadband and data connections across Africa is a nagging issue and one to which many South Africans are unfortunately more than familiar. The low data speeds mean lagging video steaming and ultimately, frustrated users. Enter Tuluntulu – a content distribution application for mobile phones. Launched by founder Pierre van der Hoven in 2012, Tuluntulu “is designed to meet the challenges of the developing world’s congested mobile networks and low-bandwidth environments”. Its main aim is to deliver users a viewing experience that is both inexpensive and uninterrupted. It’s built with South Africans in mind with the vision of combining low data speeds with video delivery in a way that allows access to TV anytime, anywhere.

SPOTTM

Wherever you are in South Africa, there tends to be a strong sense of community. SPOTTM is a private social platform created for you and your neighbours that allows you to fight crime as well as connect socially. Think of it as a virtual notice board that can be used to report crime in your area, find your lost pet or invite your neighbours to a neighbourhood gathering. As SPOTTM says: “Our aim is to use technology to create safer and socially engaged neighbourhoods.” It’s an excellent way to connect with your neighbours, help prevent crime and hopefully live in a safer, more close-knit community.

South African talent is manifesting in a number of exciting and innovative small companies that are really going places. There’s no doubt that there will be many more start-ups to follow so watch this space.

SME’s can enjoy simplified online accounting and payroll options with the assistance of Sage One Accounting.

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Sage simplifies online accounting and payroll for SME’s

One Perfect Pitch: Win with Sage One

Have you got a brilliant business idea that you think will set you apart from the rest? Do you feel you’ve got what it takes to run your own start-up company? Are you an entrepreneur at heart and you’re just waiting for the right moment to share your talent and ideas with the rest of the world?

Sage One believes in giving you the support and confidence you need to run a successful enterprise, so it comes as no surprise that it’s giving young guns out there the perfect opportunity to make your business dreams come true with the One Perfect Pitchcompetition.

Here’s what you need to do to enter:

  1. Have a clear, unique business idea
  2. Pitch this fantastic idea to Sage One in ONE minute or less
  3. Record your perfect pitch and upload the video to the Sage One Facebook page
  4. Cross those fingers!

Entering is really easy and if your Perfect Pitch is the one chosen, you’ll walk away with the following ijncredible prizes:

  • Sage One software for a year – the perfect way to get started.
  • An Apple iPad Mini – manage your business on the go, wherever, whenever.
  • R2 500 Sunglass Hut voucher as well as a R2 500 ZARA Clothing voucher – ensure you always look your best as you enter the business world.

This is your chance to sell that big idea during an impressive pitch. It’s not about the visual part of the video so much as it’s about the quality of your idea and the ease with which you present it. In other words, it’s not about creating the perfect video, but rather the perfect pitch. It should be as natural as possible, as if Sage One is a potential investor you’re trying to win over.

This amazing competition will run from April to May 2015, with the lucky winner being announced at the end of May. You can enter more than one video (so more than one business idea) but each video will be judged individually, so uploading each video once will automatically put you in the running.

ONE idea. ONE pitch. ONE minute. ONE winner. Win with Sage ONE with your#oneperfectpitch.

Best of luck to you!

Ts & Cs apply. Visit the Sage One South Africa Facebook page for all the competition details.

 

Featured image: http://ecommercerules.com