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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's in a valuation?


A couple of times last month I found myself embroiled in heated debate with clients about the pros and cons of getting their businesses valued. “I’m not trying to sell my business!” was what they were arguing because according to them the only reason to get a valuation was if you wanted to sell some or all of your business. The way I see it, there are at least 3 other reasons why entrepreneurs should consider getting a business valuation done periodically.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What your business can learn from gymnastics


The word ‘flexibility’ probably popped up in all your minds when you read the heading, but there is a lot more to it than that. One of the reasons acrobats and contortionists can do what they do, is the months and years of training that they have put in to perfecting their routine. It wouldn't be possible to put in that much hard work if they weren't dedicated and totally focused on their objection. Ultimately, the reason they are able to literally bend over backwards to please their customers is because they have taken time to master how to do it without hurting themselves.

A start-up that feels pressured to twist and bend every which way just to win or hang on to a customer, could be

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Story of the Floss- Who would you rather be?

Many times we bog down our entrepreneurial ambitions by trying to get everything right the first time. Much like Clem in the Story of the Floss  an entrepreneur needs to be bold enough to churn out a 'skeleton' of his product and allow the public to test it and use real life feedback to build in the flesh. If the skeleton does the job, then equate the flesh to the value ads that will will make you money.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What’s your excuse?


Everyone I know has an excuse for why they haven't actually started a business yet. They all know what they would like to do, even down to the market niche they would target, but when it comes down to why they haven’t done anything about it its usually the same story. In almost all the cases, lack of start-up capital is named as the culprit, even though very little effort was put into actually trying to raise what they needed. It’s as if people do some arithmetic, arrive at a figure, look at it, shrug their shoulders and simply give up without even trying. 

Most start-ups are funded by a combination of personal savings, credit card debt and loans from friends and family. The ones that require more money than that are forced to consider inviting investors. The main thing that Investors want is a reasonable return to offset the risk that your idea isn’t as hot as you think. It's not as daunting as it looks if you know how and where to look for funding. This is where we come in.

So the next time you hear someone citing lack of funds as the only reason they haven’t started their business, just know it was really because they gave up on their dream. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are meetings killing your business?

Trying to stike a balance between the conflicting forces in your life is hard enough as it is without the strain of sitting in meeting after endless meeting. In well established firms bad meeting habits are often passed down from generation to generation, but the new entrepreneur has the opportunity to get things right from the word go. These Seven Ways to Kill Your Meetings and Unleash Productivity are not new, but if followed religiously can keep your team energised and focussed. Another thing to avoid as the leader of the business is the tendancy to micro-manage. Long, slow meetings are often the result of an overbearing boss who wants to participate in every level of operations. Two critical things you need to learn to do as the CEO are (1) Prioritize (2) Delegate. Prioritize what needs to be done by you and Delegate what can be done by someone else. So Identify, Recruit and Train people with the right attitude and skills for your business. NB. Time spent coaching & mentoring a team member to enhance performance is more beneficial to your business in the long run than time wasted reviewing everything yourself in a 4 hour meeting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Start Up tips for returning expats.

The number of Africans relocating from the diaspora has increased significantly in the last 8 years. The reasons they are flocking back are various, but generally it seems an air of optimism about the continent has a lot to do with it. Though some go straight into formal employment, most end up plunging head-first into business, where they encounter the same challenges that local entrepreneurs dread. If you are one of those planning to start a business when you get back home, it’ll help to take note of the following tips, even if they have a sparkling business school diploma.