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July 13, 2018

Generally, the most common outcome for entrepreneurs who hire friends is ruined friendships. So, can we really mix business with friendships? Can we effectively navigate both, with the knowledge that business relationships gone sour can ruin friendships?

Research suggests that social connections such as close friends are critical for our wellbeing as good friends help us put things into perspective. These are the people we speak to when we feel overwhelmed; they help celebrate our wins and enable us to move on from losses with our heads held high.

Essentially, our success is improved when we are supported by strong and stable friendships because for the most part, friends become advocates of our businesses.

This said, being a good friend doesn’t always equate to becoming a good employee.

While friends are likely to support your vision, work long hours, or accept less salary to help you build your business in the beginning; they can also have a negative impact on the business by bringing pe...

June 27, 2018

McKinsey Global Institute has identified four groups of consumers driving most of Africa’s consumption growth between now and 2025: those earning more than $50,000 a year in North Africa and South Africa, Nigerian consumers, middle-income consumers in East Africa, and middle-income consumers in Central and West Africa. Similarly, Economists project that by 2060, Africa’s middle - class population, which is currently around 300 million people, will triple to about 1 billion people. While this may present a lucrative market for products and services that entrepreneurs, large companies and multinationals are eager to access; this data cannot be used in isolation to predict consumer purchasing power.

Consider South Africa for instance; given the current tough economic conditions; consumers are shopping less frequently, spending less and buying bigger packs for better value. They are also becoming less loyal to brands as they seek out the best prices for the day-to-day practical usage. Essen...

April 16, 2018

While passion doesn’t necessarily guarantee business success, it is one of the key and essential ingredients in entrepreneurship. It is your passion that determines your level of commitment and enables investors to have confidence in your vision, it is your passion that attracts customers and motivates you and your team to keep going during tough times.

Essentially, when you have passion you breathe in positive energy, excitement, enthusiasm and fire up commitment to succeed regardless of any obstacle. However, the same passionate disposition that drives you as an entrepreneur toward success can sometimes consume you if not properly managed. According to Psychologists, business owners are vulnerable to the dark side of obsession.

Basically, given our passionate disposition and the business pressures we deal with, we are more likely to also experience the strong emotional states such as despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of motivation and suicidal thoughts.

So, at what point does...

March 17, 2018

One of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs and SME’s alike is how to handle clients who pay late or do not pay at all. So, how do you ensure that you get paid for the services you render to your clients?

When do you draw a line between preserving the relationship and risking a big fallout by taking things further to collect an outstanding payment? Furthermore, if an invoice is overdue, how should you address it? Especially if you still value the relationship and want to work with the company again. At what point do you need to involve a lawyer?  

Firstly, the best and the most sensible way to ensure you get paid is to work only for reputable clients so, it’s important to vet who you do business with. Despite your best efforts, there may be times when a client (including a reputable one) misses a payment deadline. How you deal with the situation makes a huge difference.

Here are a few points to consider:

1. Payment Policy and Contract 

Have a contract or payment policy in place...

February 19, 2018

Thomas Edison once said anything that won’t sell, he doesn’t want to invent because a sale is proof of utility and utility is success. Similarly, unless you have a good base of customers that are raving about your product or service and are willing to buy and use it; you do not have a business.

While it is important for entrepreneurs to possess some level of mental toughness that enables them to succeed regardless of the obstacles; it is just as important to know when to exit or pivot. Staying too long with a losing venture is a common problem with most entrepreneurs despite clear signs that it is time to change.

Hence, learning to quickly adapt through a well thought-out pivot is essential. Whether this means changing your business model, pricing strategies, outsourcing or leveraging innovation or moving from one customer segment to another until you find what works.

Here are some points to consider before pivoting:

  • Define what success looks like – how will you know you’ve arrived

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