Business wellbeing

When family businesses spread their wings

Family businesses have an excellent reputation in the world of entrepreneurs, and for good reason. They are robust and can achieve near miracles of rising from kitchens and back yards into high streets and central business districts, but they also face particular challenges on their growth path. The firm grip of a family that is so vital to the survival of a business in its early years can easily turn into a stranglehold later on. Or, as the bus...
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Leadership under fire

Owning and running a small business is challenging, even at the best of times. But with the economy under serious pressure, the small business owner's skills as a leader are being tested like never before. With effective leadership, the entrepreneur can steer his company through rough seas without too much collateral damage, and the following attributes will bring out the best in any leader. Don't be afraid to lead Panic will get you nowhere...
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The easy way to lose your business – Part 2

Not listening. Entrepreneurs normally have strong personalities with specific viewpoints and stick to what they believe in. That is good, but it is also wise to step back and listen. Listen to what your customer is telling you. This will give you a very good indication of what they want and need, and the problems they encounter. Let us start with what they want. I remember when I was running my own business I wanted to manufacture what...
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The easy way to lose your business – Part 1

The minute you take your eye off the ball you risk your business. Many entrepreneurs work very hard to establish and build a business and after a while they feel confident that they have it all under control. They have built up the expertise necessary to manage the business and it becomes second nature, but eventually they fall into a ‘comfort zone’, which is the start of the demise. I remember a client of mine saying: “I keep the ke...
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Do you need a mentor?

When it comes to finding accurate information about starting or running a business, it can be hard to know who to ask or where to look. Reading and researching are a very good place to start, but it can be even more valuable to find an expert who can give you face-to-face advice. As an entrepreneur, it's important that you establish a "database" of information sources that can help you run your business effectively. This could be other sma...
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Running a business from home

There are a number of factors that make this the age of entrepreneurial thinking, not least of which is a turbulent economic climate that is forcing many school leavers, and an increasing number of unemployed South Africans, to test the SMME waters. Many of these adventurers start their businesses from home, which has its pros and cons, and these must be well thought-out before taking over the garage or spare bedroom. "There are definite advanta...
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Refine your leadership skills

As a business owner, it's important that you are a confident and effective leader. This will establish your credibility in the eyes of your employees, the people you do business with and in the SME industry on the whole. The truth is that very few people are born leaders and in these trying times, even the strongest of leaders are struggling to present a brave face and lead successfully. In the opinion of Nazeem Martin, the recently appointed 'le...
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How do I as entrepreneur grow my business beyond start up?

During start up, a company tends to be very sales driven – operations are fast paced, highly flexible and often chaotic as people experiment with new ideas, stay close to customers, and do whatever it takes to grab opportunities to increase sales. At this stage the entrepreneur is doing everything: Design the product, call on customers, negotiate the bank loan, sign the cheques, appoint staff and probably even make the coffee! This situation is...
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Tough times never last, tough people always do

Lean times, mean times, down turn, recession, tighten your belts… The messages are not so good. Tell you what, how about looking at some of the great sayings we all know, and maybe some we don’t know, and turning our faces to the sun - there's plenty of that in our country. And that’s actually a great Maori proverb. It goes something like this: ‘Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you’. Mike Lipkin used this proverb i...
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