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Perfect your startup pitch with these helpful tips

Depending on the type of entrepreneur that you are, starting and running a business without sufficient capital is a daunting task. If this is the case for you, some or other time, you’re going to need to find an alternative way to fund your idea which may result in a pitch in front of a group of investors. Whether you choose to seek financial help through crowdfunding platforms or by approaching investors, you will need to carefully plan your pitch. The point is to convince people that your idea is worth their time and money.

The idea of a perfect investor pitch is being able to discuss your idea in a limited amount of time. You will need to refine your pitch to ensure that you cut out all of the unnecessary information and focus on what really matters to the audience. Here are a few ideas to consider when preparing your investor pitch:

  • Learn to master your one-liner

To own a business, you need to be passionate about your idea. You need to be able to explain your entire business model and concept in one line that concludes your business’s mission. It might not come easy at first, but having some sort of idea will make your pitching experience easier and more valuable. You need to hook someone from the very beginning, so be sure to sit down and think about how to make the most of your brand and advertise it in one powerful line. In this process, try to avoid using too many buzzwords.

  • Understand your audience

Whether you are speaking to one individual or a group of people, you will need to be able to adjust your pitch to suit the audience. If you are pitching to a group of investors, research each individual to give yourself a clear idea of who they are and what they’re looking to gain from this experience.

Most people will be impressed by your knowledge if you do so. And having some background knowledge of each individual will also help you put together a few questions that might prove necessary after your pitch. If you are speaking to a crowdfunding audience, you will need to simplify your pitch to make your idea understandable to the average Joe who might not (completely) understand your industry’s jargon.

  • Practice makes perfect

One of the most important tasks to do when preparing for your pitch is to practice regularly. Practice alone, in front of your team, to a mentor or to a friend. Once you’ve created your pitch, consider how long it will take you to get your point across. If it takes 10 PowerPoint slides and a six-minute speech, you’ve lost your audience. Avoid using big words, and opt for phrases and words that you use on a daily basis.

Once you’ve perfected your pitch alone, make sure you speak to an audience. The reason for this is that your loved ones, friends or team members will be able to be honest with you about your pitch and give you the friendly criticism you need to improve it. When you’re finished, ask them questions about it. For example, whether it made sense, if it’s easy to understand or unique, and if it’s missing anything.

  • Use figures and pictures

If you spend the majority of your pitching time talking, you could bore your audience. Take the time to structure your presentation to include both talking and imagery to backup your facts. On-screen visuals and numbers will help to maintain the audience’s attention, as well as keep them interested. Try to tell a story if you can, by keeping things interesting and conversational. You need to show that you are truly confident in your idea when trying to persuade influential people to invest in your startup.

Final words

Startup funding takes plenty of time and effort to attain. With so many incredible, and similar, ideas out there, you need to be able to show investment companies why your startup is so unique. While you might be one of the more introverted entrepreneurs who aren’t confident behind the mic, you will need to learn how to master your own pitching technique to successfully win over the hearts of the people you need to support you. During the early stages of your startup, before you look at crowdfunding platforms or investor opportunities, make it your mission to connect with influential leaders in the industry who can help you. Professional advice is always needed, so be sure to seek guidance and support wherever you go.

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.

Helpful money management tips for first-time business owners

Living paycheck to paycheck is a common cycle for many South Africans. People want to save but they also love to splurge. If you speak to any financial advisor, you will see that saving a portion of your salary every month is critical for a comfortable future. However, if you have started your own business or want to launch a unique concept, you need to break away from this cycle. To invest in the future of your career and your personal wellbeing, you will need to live according to a strict budget.

Here are a few tips that will help you to set good behaviours in motion and meet your goals:

  • Understand the importance of being organised

When it comes to being an entrepreneur, you are in charge of your finances. You will need to prioritise planning and organisation skills in order to stick to a goal. Start categorising your savings according to your needs. For example, future and immediate goals. Once you have a plan set in stone, you will need to effectively manage and follow your progress to ensure that you achieve what you set out to achieve.

  • Check your credit record

No matter where you are in the world, having a poor credit score will affect your next move. While saving and budgeting might be the long-term solution, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan to help you achieve your dream faster. Or at least lift it off of the ground. The reason why you will need to settle for personal loans, if anything, for your startup is that banks and financial brokers are wary of granting loans to small businesses. So, the minute you start working steadily towards your financial goals to kickstart your business, you will need to think about requesting a credit report. The outcome will determine your ability to apply for a personal loan, as well as how to improve your credit score.

  • Save where you can

If your business concept or idea is something that you’re passionate about, you will need to make a lifestyle change and do your best to cut back where possible. There are several ways to reduce your spending when it comes to daily habits and spending trends, so you will need to make a conscious decision to help yourself. If you are already running your own business, you need to postpone personal rewards and think realistically about your cash flow. It certainly is exciting when you start to notice an interest in your product or service, but you cannot reap the benefits just yet. Do not burden yourself with salaries, employee benefits or any other traps when your success has not yet been achieved. You will also need to cut your salary and live as cost-effectively as possible to set an example for anyone who is working with or for you. Reduced cash flow is key in the first couple of years.

  • Set long and short-term goals

Setting goals is effective when working towards something. Having a goal in mind will motivate you every day to wake up and do your best to be better and succeed in life. But the problem with goal setting is that people are puzzled by them. Short-term and long-term goals both take time, effort and dedication. You cannot think you’ll achieve your goals in the shortest period of time. Look at the SMART goal setting technique as this will help you achieve the feedback you need to keep moving forward.

Another tip for first-time entrepreneurs is to try to diversify your business by investing in alternative sources. Many business owners try to put all their eggs in one basket, without having a plan B. If you are going to look at personal loans, be sure to have a plan on where you’re going to distribute that money. You can look at a loan calculator or instalment calculator to see how much you’ll qualify for, and based on that, you will be able to put together a failure plan as well as alternative investment plans.

  • Think about finding a mentor

Whether you’re struggling to manage your personal finances or you need some inspiration to go ahead with your business, try to consider finding a mentor during this process. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to your finances, and something like this can dent your ego and cause you to feel inadequate. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you will need to consult with someone who can help and guide you. Much like everything in life, managing your finances take practice and time.

Final thoughts

Managing your money for the first couple of years will be a draining process, but once you start seeing the benefits, you will also start seeing the benefits. Starting a business is not easy. There will be times when you want to hit a wall from frustration as well as give up, but you are not alone. Keep pushing through and take advantage of your support system and mentor to help keep you motivated. If you stay focused and determined, you will easily be able to reach for the stars and achieve your dream.

Things to consider before buying a new laptop

When it comes to laptops, there is such a vast range to choose from.

A few of the most common and influential factors when purchasing electronics are size, space and brand.  Of course, the type of product you buy is determined by its use, but ultimately, it just needs to suit your needs. The first thing you should consider before splurging on a new laptop is your budget.

These items can range from R5000 to R50 000, so if you’re not sure on what your needs are, and the different features you require, it can quickly become an expensive affair. For example, do you plan on using your new laptop for work in a PowerPoint presentation or on the weekends for gaming? These (amongst others) are the types of questions you’re going to need to ask yourself.

Luckily, the latest technological advancements have ensured that each and every laptop produced is equally good-looking, so even if you can only afford something cheaper, it will still look sleek and modern. Here are a few tips to help you wrap your head around your laptop needs:

Size: When you think of a laptop’s size, you usually refer to its actual shell. If the ‘size’ of your laptop is the main concern, you should consider a notebook that is either light in weight or has a small screen. There are various sizes to choose from, and smaller or thinner laptops don’t always mean that it’s slow and offers little space. For future, the thinnest and lightest systems are 11- to 12-inch screens which weigh an average of 1.5 kilograms. The bigger the screen, the more the machine will weigh.

Screen quality: When you decide to purchase a new laptop, you also need to consider your health. You cannot simply buy something cheap because you can’t afford more. This will affect your eyes. Most people who use a laptop will be in front of it for many hours in a day, so you need to make sure that the screen’s resolution is good to look at and comfortable on your eyes. A glossy screen will lead to a reflection, so refrain from buying a laptop which has a touchscreen incorporated into it. Newer technology offers different viewing angles, so experience a collection before you make your pick.

Keyboard quality: Having a notebook is ideal for quick typing sessions, for example, sending off an email here and there. If your job or hobby requires you to spend hours typing away, you will need to have a high-quality keyboard which can withstand all the typing you’re going to be doing. Your keyboard should also be responsive in touch when you type and let the keys go, and the entire board should offer backlighting to help you see the keys better in poorly lighted areas.

Processor and graphics: Now, a little more technical. The processing unit and the graphics card your computer possesses will contribute to its efficiency. Again, if you’re going to be using your laptop to play games or watch movies, you’re going to need to purchase a laptop which is more powerful. (Many laptops come with already built-in graphics cards.) While these two elements are important for visual usage, RAM and storage are more important for the average laptop user who simply wants to store large files and not have to deal with a laptop that freezes every now and then.

RAM and storage: If you’re using your laptop for work purposes to store plenty of files, you might need to consider more storage space in the years to come. However, if you store most of your information on online platforms such as Google Drive or the Cloud, you won’t need to create new storage space. With RAM, on the other hand, the faster your laptop is, the better. These upgrades will come with time.

Battery life: Having a laptop with a reliable battery life is essential. It’s important to know that you can rely on your laptop when you’re travelling around, without having to send it in for repairs after a few months because it’s been overworked. When you research the laptop you are interested in, be sure to find out about the battery life and how much a spare battery would cost down the line.

Conclusion:

As you can see, gone are the days where you simply buy any kind of electronics straight off the bat. Make a checklist of all the features you need, and keep looking out for any laptop deals which could meet your requirements. Try and find something brand new before you delve into second-hand goods, as new laptops for sale will offer the warranty you need.  

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.