How much money do you *really* need to start your company?

Scott Kveton

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

I keep hearing startup entrepreneurs tell me “We need funding. If we just had $XXXk of investment, we’d be killing it right now.” I press them with one question: what would you do with the money if you had it? Inevitably the question is met with a blank stare. Most of the time people haven’t thought about it. The answers that do come feel a little half-baked:

“Buy a bunch of ad words to get people to our site – that’s all we need”

“Build the product”

“Finish the product”

“Hire a bunch of sales guys”

Sure you have an idea and investment is flowing right now. Unfortunately, your idea is totally worthless. I repeat: your idea is totally worthless. If you can turn your idea into a product that people want to pay for, that’s a different story.

via How much money do you *really* need to start your company? « Scott Kveton.

Entrepreneurial solutions for a thirsty planet

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

Image via Wikipedia

WHEN you can stroll over to a tap whenever you like and help yourself to a glass of clear, cool water, it is hard to believe that one of the biggest business opportunities of the 21st century, and one of the best opportunities for business to give back to society, lies in supplying fresh water.

But global demand for water has grown six-fold over the past century, while the population has quadrupled. If this trend continues, our current resources and infrastructure will not be sufficient to supply enough water to meet demand. While the global water industry is diversified and, in terms of committed capital, ranks on a par with the oil, gas and electricity industries, it has not attracted much private investment. It’s time for entrepreneurs and business leaders to get involved, because finding creative solutions to these challenges will require not just great political leadership and innovative research, but a transformation of business itself.

The perception of plenty is only an illusion: most of the earth’s fresh water is frozen in the polar ice-caps, trapped in the soil or in deep, inaccessible underground lakes; only 1% of all fresh water is available for people to drink and use. For the most part, the water sources we rely on — lakes, rivers, reservoirs and underground — are renewed by rain and snowfall. Our use should be sustainable in theory, but in some cases, we have already crossed the line and are depleting these sources. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population will lack fresh water for drinking and cooking.

If you are an entrepreneur hoping to make a difference in your community or society, this is a sector you should consider. With so many people in need, and different challenges facing every region, there are limitless possibilities for innovation: new and better means of supply, delivery, recycling and treatment. The related area of water conservation touches on every aspect of life, from how people brew their morning tea to how companies manufacture goods.

via BusinessDay – RICHARD BRANSON: Entrepreneurial solutions for a thirsty planet.

Starting your own business

Motsatse, of Boksburg, was working at a gym when she came up with the idea to start her own cleaning business.

She realised many people wanted to hire somebody else to do their cleaning and laundry, but were apprehensive to employ domestic workers because of security concerns and they wanted privacy in their own homes.

Motsatse started Lamasha Cleaning and Projects in 2009 with just three cleaners, offering services to residential homeowners in Gauteng.

“Between June 2009 and April 2010, while I was busy making presentations to property owners, I got my breakthrough at the Parkland Estate,” she said.

Soon after that Motsatse secured her first long-term contract with a church in Pomona, Kempton Park.

Motsatse said she attributed her business success to having attended a Nedbank Small Business seminar.

“I used to throw all my receipts and other documents at our bookkeeper without worrying about the details of my company’s performance,” Motsatse said.

After attending one of Nedbank’s small business seminars in Gauteng she has never looked back, she says.

In 2004 Nedbank decided on a strategy to make make a difference in the small business sector.

Sibongiseni Ngundze, managing executive of retail relationship banking at Nedbank, said the bank went through an extensive process to determine what it knew about the market and the intervention it would make in the small business sector.

Ngundze said a lack of funding was the biggest threat facing more than 30% of entrepreneurs.

“One of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs is the access to new markets and their ability to be competitive,” he said.

The seminars are free of charge and provide a variety of skills to entrepreneurs, including, among others, writing business plans, human resources management, marketing and cash flow management.

An estimated 15000 entrepreneurs have attended the seminars since 2004.

Entrepreneurs also get the opportunity to be mentored and coached by experts in various business sectors. Dates and venues for the seminars are advertised in the media.

Ngundze said most Nedbank branches across the country offered small business support services to help entrepreneurs.

via Business skills key to her success – Sowetan LIVE.