How to create a powerful brand

Quick shot of the sign of a small Lloyds TSB b...

Brand guru Stephen King famously once said: “A product can be quickly outdated, but a successful brand is timeless.” For a business to be recognised, grow and succeed it needs a defined identity: a brand. This is a promise of what customers can expect from your business, and what your enterprise stands for.

Who are you?

While the branding process is not complex in itself, it calls for strategic thinking about what you want to achieve from your business. In many ways, defining your brand values as early as possible in your business journey can actually help to define your business plan and long-term goals. For example, to create a brand that resonates with your target customers, you’ll first need to define who you are targeting and why. This will require thorough market research and competitor analysis.

According to Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brand Analysis: “This research should also help you to identify any gaps in the market. It’s not always who you are targeting, or even what you are producing that is the most important thing when it comes to successful branding. It’s about standing for something recognisably different.”

via Brand new thinking: how to create a powerful brand | Small business network partner zone Lloyds TSB | Guardian Professional.

eCC – PtyInstant can assist you with a trademark application – see Products and services above.

Access to credit still easy in South Africa

Woman in small shop Ghana

According to the World Bank‘s 2013 Doing Business Report, South Africa has been joint-ranked, along with Malaysia and the United Kingdom, as the easiest country in the world for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access credit.

Gerrie van Biljon, executive director of Business Partners Limited, says that this will be the third year in a row that South Africa has achieved the ranking and that that it is a very encouraging sign for small business owners locally.

He says that there is however evidence that a lack of SME financing still exists, despite the reported easy credit access. “Access to finance remains the number one hindrance for SMEs, regardless of this high rating. This is most likely due to the fact that SMEs are unsure of how to apply for finance, or that they do not qualify for the type of financing that is available. It is therefore of utmost importance that SMEs understand the stringent credit conditions that need to be fulfilled to obtain financing.”

via Access to credit still easy in South Africa – World Bank report.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An entrepreneur become a business person

It all starts with an idea.

Over time, your idea gathers momentum, causing a cascade of emotions in the process that very few non-entrepreneurs will ever get to experience. Anticipation, excitement and even terror are just some of the words that immediately come to mind; it’s a veritable (self-inflicted) emotional rollercoaster. But deep down you know, your idea will be a success.

My idea for Tourism Radio started in 2005 – probably before then actually, as I had been involved in the tourist industry for some time already. Today, my idea operates on three continents and works with some of the world’s leading brands; creating location-based audio experiences for their clients. I’ve been both financially and emotionally invested in the company for seven years.

But am I still an entrepreneur, or have I crossed over to the realm of a real businessman? A little bit of both I think.

via When does an entrepreneur become a business person? | ventureburn.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hope for small business

Anna Phosa's workers

Port Elizabeth small business owners were given a boost on Wednesday following a gathering where up and coming local entrepreneurs got the opportunity to grow their firms.

The Hope Factory, a hub for entrepreneurs in the city, hosted two events at North End in a bid to strengthen entrepreneurs’ capacity in growing and sustaining their enterprises.

Sipho Ntlangu, one of The Hope Hub entrepreneurs, said the programme had made a positive impact in terms of business growth.

The Hope Factory launched The Hope Hub a year ago with the purpose of helping small business owners to showcase their products.

“It also provided me with more exposure for business, as many people are now aware of the whereabouts of my business. There is a great potential to increase sales and to make profits,” said Ntlangu.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study, there are few South Africans who try their hand at entrepreneurship and only 2.6% survive through the three-and-a-half year mark.

“Some of the reasons for this failure rate include a lack of skills, limited access to markets, no seed capital, a lack of work experience and a lack of confidence.

via Hope for small business | The New Age Online.

Small-business ministry coming

Greenhouse tomatoes

The development of small businesses — which industry players say is retarded by unnecessary red tape and lack of access to finance — is seen as key to reducing the country’s unemployment.

Official statistics put South Africa’s unemployment at about 25%. If people who have given up looking for work are included goes up to more than 40%.

via Small-business ministry ‘a step closer’ | Business | BDlive.

Small business owners innovate to stay ahead

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22:  Junior Minister for ...

Small business owners are increasingly diversifying and innovating as they look to capitalise on the busy summer of events in the UK and improve their bottom line, according to Avivas bi-annual SME Pulse.

The numbers of SMEs putting on sales and discounts, diversifying into new areas or reducing overall prices have all increased in the last six months, with the desire to capitalise on the busy summer of sporting and other events likely to be one reason for this.

via Small business owners innovate to stay ahead in tough environment | Easier.

SA business owners look and learn.

Saica welcomes Companies Act

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) on Thursday welcomed the new Companies Act as good for small business.

Small and medium-sized companies which had previously been obliged to bear the cost of an audit might now be exempted as the act introduced new criteria, said Saica.

The decision would depend on a newly-introduced public interest score.

“Under this system, a company is allocated points according to the number of its employees, its annual turnover, its stakeholders and the level of third party liabilities at the end of the financial year,” Saica spokesman Ashley Vandiar said.

Points are given for the average number of employees throughout the year, one point per million rand of debt financing, one point for each million rand of turnover, and one point for every individual with a beneficial interest, including shareholders.

Companies with 350 points or more must be audited.

Any company, regardless of point scores, with more than R5 million held for a client in a fiduciary capacity also had to be audited.

Companies scoring between 100 and 350 points must have an independent review conducted by a registered auditor or a chartered accountant.

Those scoring less than 100 are required to have an independent review conducted by anyone who qualifies as an accounting officer, unless circumstances indicate otherwise.

Close corporations are treated the same way as companies.

The cost savings for companies exempted from an audit should be ploughed back into the business or used to reduce debt, said Vandiar. – Sapa

via Saica welcomes Companies Act – Business News | IOL Business | IOL.co.za.

Enhanced by Zemanta

What Most Startup Entrepreneurs Get Wrong

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup, London Edition

Eric Ries calls it a MVP or minimum viable product in his book “The Lean Startup”.  Again, call it whatever you want.  But the point here is to start serving your target customer in small ways; and sometimes at no cost to them.

via What Most Startup Entrepreneurs Get Wrong – Forbes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Top 10 Rookie Mistakes for Entrepreneurs

Clifton House Regional office for Tenon; a lea...

Many people who start businesses, including me, have little or no experience and just jump in. Over the years, I have compared notes with many fellow entrepreneurs, and I have seen them make the same mistakes over and over again — I recognize them because I have made them all, too. Here is my list of the biggest rookie mistakes:

1. Keeping your rent as low as possible. The key to business is to keep expenses low, right? Wrong. Sometimes it is worth paying more rent if it will generate more customers, if it gives a better image and inspires confidence, if it helps attract the right employees or if it makes it easier to deal with suppliers. In retail, this one mistake can determine success or failure.

2. Hiring someone you know and trust. Competence is more important. While hiring friends and relatives can work, it severely limits the pool from which you choose, leaving out people who could be much more qualified. Friends and relatives can also carry baggage. They can also be very hard to manage, which leads to my ultimate advice: if you can’t fire ‘em, don’t hire ‘em.

3. Buying used equipment to keep expenses down. This, too, works sometimes, but it is often shortsighted. For example, buying a used truck with 100,000 miles on it will guarantee that you will spend valuable time and money fixing the truck when it should be out taking care of customers. Can you really afford downtime with any machine?

via The Top 10 Rookie Mistakes for Entrepreneurs – NYTimes.com.

Big chance for small business

Small Businesses Girvan still has many small i...

BizLaunch was unveiled yesterday in Johannesburg by Clive Pintusewitz, Standard Banks director of small enterprise development.

The new package, aimed at businesses within their first year, will enable small businesses to keep track of their cash, pay suppliers, deposit funds into a business bank account and get basic advice – all for just R90 a month.

Businesses that have been operating informally can also get BizLaunch, even if they have been in existence for over a year.

Other impediments that lead to closure include access to funding and markets, and cash flow management.

“We know that there is a big issue with small businesses and we want to see them grow. What we have done is to look at the needs of those businesses and packaged a solution that brings a lot of support to those businesses,” Pintusewitz said.BizLaunch offers unlimited transactional banking. They are targeting 80000 businesses in the current financial year.

“We have partnered with Softline Pastel, who are the leading accounting software to offer MyBusiness Online, which is a solution built specially for start-up businesses. What we have seen is that one of the reasons businesses fail is because they cannot track their finances and cannot manage invoices and payments,” he said.

“In our interaction with our clients we have learnt that small businesses fail because they do not get revenue. The second is managing your cost and stock. Also, when they have ordered the stock and the customers take time to pay, it creates a cash-flow problem.”

BizLaunch will be available at all Standard Bank branches.

Pintusewitz said for those who do not have access to a computer there was a mobile version if they have a smartphone, and soon an offline version will be available.

via Big chance for small business – Sowetan LIVE.

Enhanced by Zemanta