Tag Archives: success

5 things to know before approaching investors

Starting a business is fun until you need to finance your idea. While it might seem scary to search for financial assistance, but if you’re able to put your idea in front of the right people who believe in your idea, they will assist you in providing the funds you need to build your dream. Before you approach potential investors, you need to understand the role of an investor and exactly what they expect from you and your business idea. Here are a few important tips to take into consideration:

Do a background check on them  

When you approach a specific investor or lender, you need to have a clear understanding of their background. For example, who they’ve worked with before and what type of experience they have in funding businesses. It’s important to know that they are a successful, thriving business and are able to assist you. If you are approaching someone specific in a company, it’s even more important to go the extra mile and learn more about the individual. This will help you to understand the type of person they are, and it will also make the sales pitch easier when you know who you’re speaking to. At the end of the day, you are selling your idea to someone who will hopefully “buy it”. Personalise your approach according to the person on the receiving end, as that will help you to appeal to the investor’s interests. If there are any concerns or issues that might arise during your pitch, having some knowledge on their background will help you to communicate with them on a more personal level about your business.

Look at previous investments of theirs

During your research process, you will learn about the businesses your potential investor has invested in before. This will give you an understanding of the type of business they’re interested in and want to contribute to. For example, you cannot approach someone who invests in security software with your quirky product that can assist with travel automation and queries. You need to align your needs with someone who wants to help businesses like yours grow. Pitching your idea to the wrong person is not going to solve your problem, so make sure that you’re approaching the right investor for your business.

Make sure you’re ready for an investment opportunity

When you learn about your potential investor, you will need to secure a meeting when you are at the right stage in your business. Every private investor or investment business has their own requirements that they favour, and this usually refers to your business’ growth. For example, does your potential investor want to invest in businesses during the seed stage or the early stage development of a business? Many investors want to be able to see an established business whereas others want to invest in the startup idea and help your business grow in the beginning stages. It is not recommended that you approach a company if your business does not fall into their investment interests so be sure to do your research.

Choose according to the investment amount

The next step in your process is finding how much your potential investor or lending company is willing to offer you. This all depends on what you are seeking finance for in your business. For example, if you need to buy equipment and machinery with your funds, you will need to see how much you would qualify for beforehand. Use an online asset finance calculator available to South African businesses to see how much you would qualify for at your preferred lender.

Believe in yourself and your business

The amount you see on the asset finance calculator is not always guaranteed. So, don’t give up on yourself or on your business idea for that matter because of what you see or think you might only be able to qualify for. Do your homework and make sure that you put yourself in front of the right person or company. If you are a first-time finance seeker, this is going to be an overwhelming experience, but practice makes perfect.

How to ensure your startup is a success

Every day there are hundreds of thousands of startups which open their doors and hope to succeed. But with a sea of competitive ideas, there’s a differentiating factor between those which fail and those which succeed. It’s always tricky taking a leap of faith, but to succeed, you need to have that “X” factor.

Not every thriving startup is supported by investors. Success is about the habits you develop in your startup to (hopefully) achieve greatness. But either way, whether you’re supported by venture capitalists or not, a successful business takes dedication to keep your business relevant and competitive. It also requires an effort to attend innovation and tech conferences in Africa to see what trends are out there.

Here are a few tips to consider when looking to increase the odds of your startup’s success.

Start with a clear purpose

You constantly need to focus on your goals to ensure that you’re working towards them. Have one core idea, without feeling the need to focus on several areas of your business. This is the quickest way to lose focus of your purpose and forget the reason behind your startup dream. You need to stay committed to one idea and constantly work at bettering it to meet the needs of your customers. If you have a clear understanding of where you’re headed, you will always be able to measure your performance.

Take advantage of different challenges

When most startups open their doors, they tend to have a niche market they want to explore. Usually, you specialise in certain areas that you’re confident in. And you try to keep within those boundaries. While this is the safe way to do business, startup owners need to take advantage of difficult challenges. These are the projects that are going to differentiate you against your competitors. Try not to limit yourself to what you do, without trying to succeed in other areas. If you don’t take the opportunity to develop your skills and grow your business offerings, you’re going to be overtaken by other companies which are willing to test their limits. You need to be open to innovation. After all, you are a startup. People will understand a mistake on something you’re not a professional at far more than if you were a massive corporate company.

Include innovation in your business plan

You need to embrace the latest digital technologies to help improve your business. And you can find out more about this by speaking to influential leaders in the industry or by attending tech startup conferences near you. It’s important to note that successful business owners have a clear understanding of who their customers are and what they want. It’s about being able to identify their pain points and structure your approach to solve those pain points. If you’re able to provide a product or service that really adds value to your customers’ lives, you will constantly be able to build around that foundation. There are so many entrepreneurs in the world with brilliant ideas and expertise. The ones who succeed are the ones who are willing to go out of their comfort zone to try new things and educate themselves about the market.

Build a diverse team

As a startup owner, you need to hire people to assist you. It’s impossible to wear several hats for a long period of time as you will not be able to touch on everything. This may even lead to burnout. So, the beauty with hiring talent in the startup space is the ability to offer people opportunities based on their skills, not necessarily their experience. You are able to mould someone into the ideal employee you want. It’s also important to hire employees out of absolute necessity as you don’t want to over capitalise on your overhead expenses. You also need to focus your energy on hiring diverse employees.

Seek funding where needed

The reality of any startup is that you need capital. You need money to build your business and to keep it afloat. Often times, businesses think that they can keep themselves going as long as possible before they seek funding. But that is usually too late. You need to realise that success doesn’t happen overnight. Most startup companies give themselves two to three years before they see a difference. And, unfortunately, not every company is able to wait that long to see the return on investment (ROI) on their bottom line.

Be patient. Always.

On the back of the previous point, you need to be patient and you need to be motivated by the right things. By this, it means that you need to have a clear understanding of what you want. Of course, every business owner is motivated by money. But think about other motivating factors during this time. For example, your reputation, your idea (and how it’s impacted your customers’ lives) and your growth potential. Focus on the positive, and encourage your team to learn new skills to help make your business more resilient. Visit technology conferences and digital marketing talks where you will learn from other startups. The vision you have for your business is going to take dedication and plenty of hard work.

Why office morale is so important

Office morale is something that is sometimes overlooked by managers and CEOs. While they do have important tasks to focus on, employee morale should be an important aspect of any manager’s concern. Having happy workers means that your workplace is more productive and that your company culture is positive and inclusive.

 

You can send your employees on a variety of courses, such as information technology courses, communication courses or management courses to boost morale and to show them that you value their ambition and want to build them up to new heights. If you are wondering why you need to concentrate on keeping your employees happy, outlined below are the reason why office morale is so important.

Productivity levels increase

When employees feel positive and enjoy their working environment, their production levels will naturally increase. This is because they will not have a lot of stress holding them back and they will feel comfortable in the office and among their colleagues.

 

High productivity levels are not only great for managers who are looking to achieve departmental and organizational objectives, but they are also good for improving employees’ overall happiness during the working day. It can also benefit your employees by increasing their compensation (for salespeople) and their chances of being promoted.

Absences will decrease

When your employees enjoy coming into work, you will notice that the number of absences among your staff will decrease significantly. This is because motivated employees have fewer reasons to miss work.

 

If an employee is taking part in a course, such as a diploma in information technology part time then this will not count as an absence, in fact, it is part of a motivated employee. Absenteeism in the office costs the company thousands of rands in production expenses, which is why boosting employee morale is so important. You will save yourself from incurring these costs and will be creating a stress-free working environment at the same time.

There is more attention to detail

When someone enjoys what they do, they will pay attention to the details of their day. This is beneficial to your company as it means that the work which is being produced is of the highest quality and that your clients will feel that your company is truly listening to their needs.

 

When morale is low, people generally become distracted easier and will make more mistakes than usual. This will not only affect their work but also the productivity levels and the client-company relationship. Encourage your employees by praising their work and offering them rewards for hitting targets (doughnut day, anyone?) and be sure to note anyone who is falling behind so you can ask them what they need to help them work better.

More opportunity for employee collaboration

Employees who are happy and feel supported by management are more likely to enjoy working together. This means that there is more opportunity for collaboration between teams, which can lead to fantastic project ideas for clients and tight deadlines being met.

 

High morale usually collates with greater feelings of teamwork and a shared vision. This creates positive working relationships, which leads to a more collaborative workspace. You will find that your employees are more willing and happy to work together, leading to targets being met ahead of time and client projects being finished by the deadline and with extra creativity added. This helps to boost profits as well as productivity and will show clients that your staff take their work seriously and are willing to go the extra mile.

Attract and retain talent

Having high morale in your office will help you to attract and retain young and up-and-coming talent. This is because young workers are looking for a company culture that suits their needs and provides them with a stimulating and collaborative environment.

 

Talented people will not stay long if the morale of their workplace is low. You will need to provide them with opportunities, such as sending them on information technology courses in South Africa to build their skills or by allowing them to take managerial courses to train them for future roles. Having high company morale will attract new talent and continuing this morale will retain them as loyal employees.

Put your employees first

Company morale is a vital aspect of any successful business. This is because it helps to boost productivity, decrease absenteeism, encourage attention to detail and allow for more collaboration opportunities among colleagues. As a manager or CEO, you will need to ensure that your employees are happy in their roles and satisfied with their responsibilities. You will be able to retain any new employees you get because of your positive office culture and high levels of morale. Ensure that you put your employees’ needs before your own, as this will show them that you value their input and that you have their best interests at heart.

Vital leadership skills every small business owner needs

Being a small business owner means that, other than entrepreneurial spirit, you will need to have leadership skills to succeed. You will need to be able to lead your team with ease and have an understanding of all aspects of your business, including financial accounting and marketing. If you are not sure what, exactly, being a leader entails, below are just some of the vital leadership skills you will need as a small business owner.

Organisation

Arguably one of the most important leadership skills you will need is organisational skills, and this pertains to every aspect of your business. Keeping your workspace neat and tidy will help to calm your mind, and keeping your business data in order will help to make your work more streamlined.

Keeping everything organised will help you to quickly access information and make quicker business decisions. You will need to be able to organise your contact information, tasks, sales information, and all the other moving pieces involved in bringing in new business, as well as understand your financial situation. This can be done by taking a diploma in financial accounting. An organised business is one that performs well and provides customers with outstanding service and experience.

Effective communication skills

Being able to communicate with your employees and your customers is essential to the smooth running of any small business. Communication is equal parts talking and listening, with listening being vital for meeting with employees and clients.

As a business owner, you can build your success by being able to communicate your goals clearly to your team so that they are able to implement them. Listening to the opinions of the people on your team will also enable you to become a better boss, and it can improve your business operations. Without the ability to communicate your value to potential clients, you are unable

Confidence

Confidence is more of a personal attribute than a skill, but it is important nonetheless. Without confidence, you are unable to inspire trust and respect in your employees and customers. Leaders need confidence in order to make decisions and stick to them.

Self-confidence is important for small business owners as you will need to convince clients to use your skills and buy your products. If you are not confident in your business and in yourself, this will shine through in your business and will increase your profits. Confidence is an attribute that is inherent in entrepreneurs and can be built on with courses and conferences.

Strategic thinking

Thinking strategically is important to  the success of any business. This means that not only do you have a vision for your business but the ability and drive to move forward with this vision. You are able to think on your feet and use all the information available to come up with a plan of action to reach your goals.

Strategic thinking is a leadership skill that can be applied to your entire business, such as marketing and finances. Strategic marketing means that you will look at what is trending in the media and use this to your advantage in your campaign. Using strategic thinking financially could mean that you take financial accounting courses in order to better understand your bookkeeping process.

Emotional intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means that you are able to understand and control your emotions. It will help you to understand yourself and those around you, namely your employees and your clients. It also means that you are able to act diplomatically rather than simply following a whim or an emotional reaction.

Having empathy is a part of having emotional intelligence, and empathy is what drives a small business that wants to connect with customers and give them the best customer experience possible. You should be able to effectively demonstrate emotional intelligence and use it to form connections with your employees and clients. Emotional intelligence also means that you are better able to make smart business decisions with your head rather than your heart.

The ability to adapt

Having the ability to adapt to difficult situations is vital for any small business owner. Change in the economic environment is constant, and being unable to adapt to these changes is highly detrimental to your business success. The ability to adapt also means you need to have the ability to embrace change, too.

Leaders are also able to implement changes easily and efficiently in their business. You should be able to do this without disturbing the organisation’s balances and should provide your staff with help as they strive to adapt to these changes too. Adaptability is highly important in this digital world we live in, especially for small business owners.

8 things productive people do before bed

Ever wondered why some people are seemingly more ‘successful’ than you are? Well, it’s simple. They have their own daily habits that contribute to a happier, more organised routine. Productive people understand that their success is all dependant on their mental and physical well-being, which is why they always take the time to reflect and adjust their strategy each night before bedtime. In order to be just as productive as the person you admire at work, perhaps you should consider trying the following tips:

They sit back and review their day

According to Steve Jobs, everyone should always strive to do something wonderful. Hustling through life to be the better than the person next to you is a great motivator, but when you’re so focused on your career you’re likely to become obsessed which is dangerous. When you think, breathe and live your job, you forget about the finer details in life: the part where you contribute to society or your community at large. Understanding and living your purpose are the first two steps to making a difference. Before you go to bed at night, try and think about your contribution to the world and how that effort is directly aligned with your goals for a happier and healthier life. The simple act of laying down and thinking back on your day will inspire you to be better each day, which will guide you to achieving your goals and aspirations

They write down their thoughts

Often times you lay awake at night thinking for hours. If you simply took the time to write down your thoughts and emotions, you will be able to sleep better and it will allow you to analyse yourself and your actions more accurately. Many successful leaders tend to do this because they get the time to review what they did or didn’t do in the day, or how they spoke to someone in the workplace. Writing down your thoughts will help you to clear your mind and slip into a peaceful, much-needed sleep.

They read interesting books

Great leaders and influential people read before bed. More often than not they’re reading self-help and learning books to give them advice on particular areas in their lives, but either way, reading something that provides you with something to incorporate into your life is well worth the time. Reading is also an ideal way to distract your mind and work your brain in different areas.

They set priorities for the next morning

Many people can vouch that one of the first steps to a successful day is making your bed. If you feel disheartened because of your bedroom setup, buy yourself some new duvets and comforters available for sale in South Africa to keep yourself motivated and inspired.

Wake up, make your bed and go over the list of tasks you need to get done for the day. Knowing you have things to attend to the following day will make you feel more prepared and ready to tackle the new day. Every minute you spend planning in advance saves ten minutes in execution.

They spend quality time with people who matter

Whether it’s family or friends, never neglect the people who matter most because of your job or business. While life is about earning a living and being successful, success can be showcased in various ways. Never give up quality time with your family for something that could be completed the following day. There are always going to be times when you need to work overtime, but you cannot be stretching yourself beyond capacity. Life is already stressful as it is. Don’t miss out on ‘life’ because of something temporary.

They get things done

Productive people use their skills and talents to reach their full potential. Simply by planning ahead to get things done, they make it their mission to work hard and commit themselves in every department of their lives. No matter what industry you’re in, there are going to be days when you’re feeling unproductive and slower than usual, but you just need to push through and try your best.

They go on a digital detox

Something that has become extremely popular is digital detoxing. While digital plays an important role in how we operate and do business, coming home and spending time on your mobile is not the way to go. In order to rest your body, mind and soul, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. Spending plenty of time on social media is wasted time that you could be spending with your family.

They spend time outdoors or meditating

Spending time outdoors is a wonderful opportunity to clear your mind. Sometimes when you’re feeling down or stressed, going for a walk or meditating can help you turn off your thoughts for the time being. These activities are also good in moments of anger as they allow you to calm down and rethink a particular situation Taking the time to unwind will leave you feeling focused and rejuvenated.