Six quick secrets to start-up success

Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that there are numerous secrets to start-up success, let alone six. They’re also likely to tell you that even if you follow all the advice in the world when it comes to starting your own business, there’s no guarantee that it will succeed at the end of the day.

Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that there are numerous secrets to start-up success, let alone six. They’re also likely to tell you that even if you follow all the advice in the world when it comes to starting your own business, there’s no guarantee that it will succeed at the end of the day. As with most things in life, it can be a gamble, but one that ultimately pays off if everything lines up in your favour. There’s no way of knowing the outcome at the beginning, but you can definitely put your best foot forward right from the start with these few tips.

Have a plan

Foundations are everything when it comes to starting a small business. If you don’t have a solid base from which to launch your idea, chances are things will crumble quickly. Know who you are, what you’re capable of and most importantly, what you want to achieve. Once you have a strong grasp of these elements, you can then start thinking about how you’re going to go about achieving them. This includes running your business idea by people you trust, conducting necessary research and then finally, coming up with a business plan. In order to give yourself the best chance at success, you need to have a clear idea of where you’re headed and how you intend to get there.

Take action

Many people have excellent business ideas but then never end up acting on them simply because they’re waiting for the perfect moment. The truth is: there’s never a “right” time. Once you’ve got everything lined up, it’s best just to take the plunge then and there – there’s no way your business will ever succeed if it never leaves the ground to begin with. So stop talking about it, and just DO it.

Build a strong team

In order for a business to move forward, flourish and succeed, it needs to have the right people behind it. For this reason, it’s your responsibility as the business owner to build a strong team of people during the fledgling stages. You’ll need employees who are committed, driven and experts in their fields, but most importantly, they need to share your vision. They are ultimately the ones executing your idea and bringing it to life, so you want to invest in people who have the skills required to do so, as well as the right attitude. Because your team also helps to shape the identity, culture and core values of your business, you need to ensure it consists of diverse and innovative individuals who will have a positive impact both now and in the future.

Don’t be afraid to fail early

Every business has its ups and downs, and if it’s going to encounter any major hiccups, it’s best that it happens early on. In most cases, small businesses take a few years to get up and running, let alone becoming successful. The key is to identify problem areas early on and make the necessary changes to improve the situation, and that’s only possible if things don’t work out as planned sooner, rather than later. Use the early years to learn from your mistakes so as to avoid them in the future and rather take your business to where you’d like it to be.

Equal parts passion and patience

As the saying goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This is something all entrepreneurs should remind themselves of on a regular basis, especially in the early stages. It’s easy to let frustration take over, but it’s important to remain as patient and as positive as possible. It helps to surround yourself with people who inspire you and keep you motivated, and the best thing you can do for yourself, your team and your business, is to stay passionate. It’s your passion that got you here in the first place and it’s that same passion that will give you the courage to take risks, to stay motivated and to never give up – so hold onto it and keep fuelling it.

Share the load

It’s impossible to take on everything yourself, so be sure to delegate and share the load with others. The last thing you want is to burn-out and so the only way to build a sustainable business is to entrust others with certain responsibilities. This will allow the business to be managed more effectively and for you to achieve your goals faster. Plus, you can’t be an expert in everything – rather let the people who are most suited to certain tasks handle them. That way you’ll get the best job possible done in the end and you’ll also be able to build the trust levels between you and your co-workers.

Succeeding in business takes time, money, resources and plenty of hard work, but if you’re lucky enough to turn your small business idea into something great, then you’ll know it was all worth it.

Another secret to start-up success is undoubtedly the reliable accounting and payroll software available from Sage One. Get in touch and find out more today.

Featured image: http://thestrategygroup.com.au

Turning your meetings into money I Business advice

Whether you’re a startup veteran or a newcomer to the game, you’re going to have to sit face-to-face with potential customers or distributors and money lenders at some point and convince them to trust you—there’s just no way around it. Luckily there is wisdom on the subject shared by Claire Blyth, director of UK-based business consultancy and PR firm Red Setter.

Whether you’re a startup veteran or a newcomer to the game, you’re going to have to sit face-to-face with potential customers or distributors and money lenders  at some point and convince them to trust you—there’s just no way around it. Luckily there is wisdom on the subject shared by Claire Blyth, director of UK-based business consultancy and PR firm Red Setter.

Respect is key

Firstly, be mindful of showing respect for the decision makers you’re going to face. Do not cancel or reschedule and avoid trying to morph into a super-salesperson on the day of the meeting, says Blyth. “No one likes to be sold to, but we all enjoy an expert listening to our needs and providing a good solution.”

Active Listening

According to Blyth, first meetings require you to do more listening than talking—active listening, that is. “This involves thinking about what is said and how you can use it to direct the conversation in the right way. Asking for clarification or amplification of a point does not make you look stupid or nosey; it makes you look interested and engaged.”

Upfront and honest

When asked directly about yourself, your company, its culture or your accreditation, don’t respond as if challenged, says Blyth. “Far from evidence of a lack of interest, these questions are almost always loud and clear buying signals. They suggest that the buyer is comfortable with you personally, is impressed by what you have to offer, and is looking to overcome the final obstacles to purchase

Keep moving forward toward a common goal

It’s perfectly natural to outline your objectives for the meeting. All involved will likely find it easier to move forward in the meeting if they have a point to move forward to. “Then steer the meeting, gently but clearly in that direction,” Blyth says. “Above all else, ensure you leave with agreement on next steps – ideally a second meeting at which you will present your solutions.”

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2014/06/19/5-tips-for-turning-meetings-into-money/

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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Start-up challenges: Common problems most start-ups will experience in the first year

Every business, big or small, is bound to encounter problems at one time or another, be it during the early days or further down the line. Challenges are, essentially, an everyday part of business – they are inevitable yet it’s how they are tackled that is the important part. Even when things get really difficult, the focus needs to be on finding the right solutions for the business’s current problems.

Every business, big or small, is bound to encounter problems at one time or another, be it during the early days or further down the line. Challenges are, essentially, an everyday part of business – they are inevitable yet it’s how they are tackled that is the important part. Even when things get really difficult, the focus needs to be on finding the right solutions for the business’s current problems. Starting your own business is both exhilarating and demanding, and because you’re new to the game, you may not entirely know what to expect once you’re up and running. That’s why we’re here to enlighten you and give you a heads up on a few of the problems you’re likely to face in your first year of business.

Cash Flow

Experts say that the chance of a start-up making a profit in the first two years of business is slim. Many entrepreneurs start their own businesses thinking that they’re going to make an instant profit, yet this generally isn’t the case. Cash flow is bound to be a problem at the beginning, so it’s best to enter into business with the right expectations when it comes to the finances. It’s also advisable that you prepare for the worst right from the start: make sure you have adequate funds to sustain you for at least the first two years. If business does boom in those two years, then that’s excellent, but if not, then at least you’ll be as prepared as possible.

Time Management

Many entrepreneurs struggle to manage their time effectively once they launch their start-up. This can be due to the fact that they’re in unfamiliar territory or simply because they haven’t planned things thoroughly. It’s vital that you manage your time wisely so that you are able to maximise it – something that will allow you to run your business more efficiently which will hopefully lead to growth and profitability. Things can and do pop up unexpectedly but the chances are that you’ll be able to deal with anything that comes your way provided you stick to a well-thought-out and achievable schedule.

Acting Alone

All too often, small business owners believe they can take on everything themselves, without the help of others. This may work initially, but as the workload begins to increase, it becomes more and more difficult to manage alone. It may save you a little money in the beginning, as you won’t have to pay others if you’re doing the work, but ultimately, you’re likely to see a drop in the quality of work being produced if you’re doing it all on your own. You by no means have to hire an army, but having a few extra pairs of hands helping out will ensure that fewer mistakes are made, the quality remains intact and you as the business owner can hone in on things in the business that require your attention and passion the most.

Lack of Knowledge

It’s one thing to have a brilliant business idea, but it’s another to turn that idea into reality. Preparation is everything when it comes to starting your own start-up and without it, you’re bound to run into trouble. Part of ensuring you’re well equipped to venture out into the business world is having ample knowledge of the industry you’re hoping to break into, which includes having a solid understanding of your competitors, how the market works as well as its current trends. Knowledge is power and very often entrepreneurs may encounter problems in the first year or two that highlight their lack of it. The best thing you can do is to stay on top of industry news, changes and trends, and expand your business skills however and wherever you can.

Poor Marketing

Having a solid marketing plan in place goes hand in hand with having a solid business plan. Right from the beginning you should make a plan to allocate a budget towards marketing – it’ll play a vital role in promoting your product or service. New businesses can end up suffering unnecessarily in the early stages due to poor marketing, so once you have a clear idea of who your target market is as well as your competition, you can decide on the best approach for your business and choose the most suitable media through which to advertise. You need to get your name out there and marketing is key.

Starting your own business is hard and more often than not, you’ll find many an obstacle in your pathway to success. It helps to be as prepared as possible and to remember that it will take time before you start reaping the benefits of your hard work, so be patient. In the meantime, arm yourself with plenty of knowledge and keep those expectations in check – it will all hopefully be worth it in the end.

One problem you’re unlikely to encounter in your first few years of business, is trouble with your accounting system – all thanks to Sage One Online Accounting software.

You may also be interested in: Tips for Growing Your Small Business Successfully

 

Featured image:  http://under30ceo.com