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It has been a busy year – goodbye 2015

road01It has been a busy year

Over the last 12 months we have had 196 coaching appointments resulting in just over 400 hours of strategy development with individual entrepreneurs across all sectors.

To add to this we have been privileged to complete 145 hrs of mentoring to groups of Entrepreneurs as well as run 31 different workshops and had the honour of presenting 12 different key note addresses to various groups of people.

Over and above this we have developed curriculum for a School based Entrepreneurship programme with 10 modules, an Idea Generation workshop, a 12 module Supplier Gap Analysis programme for Shanduka Black Umbrellas and a new, yet to  released, Start-Up School programme.

As you can tell it has been a busy year for the whole team. Next year brings a huge work load as we begin a new internal business strategy that will not only increase our business and staff size, but bring a vast new array of service offering to all our current and new clients.

So between now and the start of 2016, we will slow down a bit, rest a little, take time to refocus and then hit the new year road running.

Many blessing to you all our clients, readers and supports for this Christmas season. We will see you on the other side.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:14+02:00December 15th, 2015|General|0 Comments

Mark Cuban’s 12 Rules For Start-ups.

Mark Cuban1. Do not start a company, unless it’s an obsession and something you love.

2. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.

3. Hire people who you think will enjoy working there.

4. Sales cure all. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.

5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them.

6. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk.

7. No offices. There is nothing private in a start-up

8. As far as technology, go with what you know.

9. Keep the organization flat.

10.  Never buy swag.

11. Never hire a PR company.

12. Make the job fun for employees.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:15+02:00December 14th, 2015|Start up school|0 Comments

Tune into the needs of your customers before its too late

Last056 week I had the task of joining another South African queue, this time at the Home Affairs office in Wynberg. When I got there, I was issued with a queue number: No 92, and told it would be about 2 hrs until I was attended to. So we stood and waited like many of others around us. Now the number system thing allowed us to not have to stand in the actual queue to claim our position, so many wandered off to get breakfast or to browse the local shops in the centre.

One shop caught my attention and perked my interest: a local coffee chop. They say location is the secret to success in retail, and this coffee shop, although small in size was located right next to the Home Affairs office and had a daily captive audience of over 300 people standing waiting right outside their doors. What an opportunity for any small business. But they have just not seen this as any sort of marketing strategy at all. The 4 hours that we were there in the queue (another story for another time) they only had one customer (in picture) who spent a whopping R15 on a take away cup of coffee.

Take a look for a moment at the photo. See the frustrated people in the queue. No look at the coffee shop, nothing, no customers, no invitation to come in, no pleasant greetings at all. Cafe Ombre needs to open their eyes and see what is right outside their doors. The owner/manager sits behind that small curtain area all day doing who knows what and the floor waitress was often just walking around the centre and not even in the shop.

A few marketing strategies are required, here are my suggestions:

  • Understand the needs of those in the queue
  • Market directly to them with a take away menu that allows then to eat and drink whist in the queue
  • Offer them a small discount if they can show their queue ticket
  • Co-brand your products with what is on their minds. Something like ID application coffee or passport cheese toasties
  • Invite people in to the coffee shop for easy fast meals that they can eat before their number is called

This is just an example of many other businesses that we come across each week that have failed to engage the opportunities that often sit right outside our doors. A simple SWOT analysis exercise will reveal a whole new world for this coffee shop.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:15+02:00December 14th, 2015|Bruce on Business, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

5 ways to make customers eat out of your hand: Part 3

Here is part 3 of the excellent customer service skills you must have to have your clients eat out of your hand.

 

customer+service

1. Have time management skills

Managing your time properly as a customer service representative can ultimately mean the difference between falling behind in minimum calls required and excelling in the position you are holding.

2. Know your organization

Interacting with your colleagues and being friendly with them will help you if you ever face complex problems. The more people you get to know in your organization the easier it is to work together to ensure that customers are satisfied.

3. Be friendly and compassionate 

Your friendly and caring attitude will surely help in creating the right atmosphere for coming to the best solutions.

4. Be a leader 

Showing that you are capable of providing new solutions fir customers proves your leadership skills and increases your professionalism.

5. Learn from mistakes 

Taking time to reflect on any mistakes you have made is a way for you to gain insight in to how to properly manage customers and effectively communicate at all times.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:15+02:00December 11th, 2015|Business Resources|0 Comments

Learn from mistakes

MistakesAs Scott Berkun puts it, “It’s never easy to admit you’ve made a mistake, but it’s a crucial step in learning, growing, and improving yourself.” So, as the year 2015 comes to an end, most people take some time to look back at what happened throughout the year and spot the mistakes that they might have made and so on.

Taking time to reflect on any mistakes you have done can be a way of you gaining insight in to how to best manage customers and effectively communicate at all times. You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you’ve made it. Nobody can claim that they do not make mistakes; after all, to err is human isn’t it?. So, admitting to your mistakes is crucial. As soon as you distance yourself from your mistake, you are missing an opportunity to learn and grow.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:15+02:00December 9th, 2015|Business Resources|0 Comments

How to not suck at presenting

Richard MulhollandLast night we attended the Heavy Chef session hosted by World Wide Creative. This month’s guest speaker was Richard Mulholland from Missing Link. Richard share with us How to not suck at presenting.

Apart from the wonderful antics and stories he shared, there were some gems of wisdom, in particular his four pillars to a great presentation. Here is a short summary of those points:

  1. Give your audience a reason to care.
  2. Give them a reason to believe.
  3. Give them what they need to know.
  4. Give them what they need to do.

We will share more on this and how to create a kick-ass pitch for your business in the new year. If you want o view the video and download the slides from Richard’s presentation hen head on over to www.heavychef.com

By |2016-11-01T10:20:15+02:00December 9th, 2015|Business Resources|0 Comments

Bruce On Business episode 7

It’s the end of the year, and at this time of the year many people psychologically st themselves up to be tired and drained. it make sense because all we had to do all year is to chase the goals that we made for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Now its time to pause and check if those goals were achieved.

For entrepreneurs, it is also a n important period of the year because that is where we press pause to look at the way things went in the business. Few things that you can do as an entrepreneur is to evaluate your company’s goals and achievements. come up with a top 5 list of achievements and top 5 non-achieved list. find out what worked and what did not and the reasons why.

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the company’s performance, talk about challenges and accomplishments and plan for the year ahead. Have a meeting with the stuff members before your holiday party so that the festivities don’t have to involve talking business. Bring everyone to the table and set goals for 2016. stand up and seize all the opportunities with both hands.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00December 7th, 2015|Bruce on Business|0 Comments

5 ways to make customers eat out of your hand: Part 2

Good Service makes the difference Chalk IllustrationLast week we went through part one of the customer service skills that every employee or business owner  must master. This is a five part series that we are going to be sharing with you over the next few Fridays. Here are this week’s  5 excellent customer service skills that will make your customers stay loyal to you:

1. Become an expert.

Learn everything about each product or service you provide. Spend time studying the product as well as the various solutions you are offering for various circumstances.

2. Have a good body language.

Maintaining a good body language is important even when when you are talking with your clients over the phone. Smiling frequently and expressing happiness and laughter in your conversations helps to improve the customers’ experience.

3. Be confident.

If you sound confident in your conversations over the phone, then convincing your customers for any kind of deal or solution will become easier.

4. Handle surprises very well.

Being adaptable within a customer service environment is essential in order to fully prepare for any kind of surprises you may encounter while on the job.

5. Is the customer happy with the offered solution?

Double check with your customer to ensure that they are completely satisfied. This will improve your reputation with the client.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00December 4th, 2015|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

5 ways to make customers eat out of your hand: Part 1

imagesCustomer satisfaction is very important in any kind of business. The success of your business depends not only on your hard work, but on the satisfaction the customers. Their satisfaction is the best indicator of how likely they are gonna be loyal to you and will make a purchase in the future.

Hang around with us as we share with you a five-part-series on skills you must have in order to have an excellent customer service. Having all these skills will surely make your customers eat out of the palm of your hand.

1. Be a good listener
Listen intently. Ask questions and summarize the answer of your customer. This will surely show that you care and want to offer the right solution.

2.Have great communication skills
Learn how to effectively communicate with your clients. Know when to listen, when to speak and how to speak. I will make the communication process much simpler any time you talk with a customer.

3. Be calm and patient
Try to manage your emotions and stay calm. This will help to deal with disgruntled and confused customers. When you are calm your customer will feel more respected.

4. Keep your promises
Develop the ability to manage expectations of customer complaints. Stay up-to-date with company policies to ensure that any promise you make for a customer can be delivered.

5. Be honest
Being honest and transparent with your customers proves that you truly care about their happiness and satisfaction.

Develop this skills to excel in any customer service position, regardless of your responsibility, your industry or type of customer you are working with every day.

We will be sharing more on this topic for the next few Fridays, so stay tuned as we continue to learn together.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00November 27th, 2015|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Looking back to plan forward Part 4

TasksThis week we will take a short journey through a series of exercises that we use to cement the leanings from the past year and prepare for the quantum leap into 2016.

The final part to this planning exercise is to make a list from your outstanding issues that needs and can be addressed in the remaining time this year. So many of us just write off December as down time and spend far too much time playing Angry Birds and not getting the small items off the list.

Take your list from Part 2 of this series and write out all the A items that need to be addressed and sorted before the close of the year. Add to this any items that need to be done. Often small items around the office such as backups, cabling, lights or equipment servicing can be included and done during this time.

Then allocate resources; actual names and dates to each item. Good time for a staff coffee meeting and let everyone have a copy of your list. Communication, feedback and accountability is always a great way to get things done. Celebrate when the list is done and take the afternoon off to do your Christmas shopping. Do not forget to get me something.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:16+02:00November 26th, 2015|General|0 Comments