The Choices We Make For Our Kids

Being a parent involves a bunch of activities that you would never get to do otherwise. There are those tasks at the beginning that include poop, power and pee but they get better as time goes along. Or do they?

Making decisions on behalf of your child has to be one of the toughest. The pre-school we select will determine the first friends your child makes as well as the first educational foundation. Get this wrong and you will have an under-achiever in education for the rest of your life. Then it is the primary school followed by which high school to select. But it is not the way it was when I was young when you just went o the nearest school and that was that. Today there is a selection process, interviews, written portfolios and money up front before selection.

One of the schools we looked at only take applications for Grade 1 after the second trimester of pregnancy and with an R10k non-refundable deposit: Flip, how insane is this?

Each decision for schooling has an effect and either limit or opens the choices they have later in the education and career funnel. Get this wrong at pre-school and sorry-for-you you reap the choices of the bad decision for years to come.

I am at the stage with my son now after many choices, of having to select what to do after Matric. He finishes up with school this time next year and in 2020 he will enter his next phase of education.

So where do we begin to ensure that any progress made thus far is capitalised on to ensure some form of success in his future? We have the gap year, College, University, Tech, Learnerships, or a number of private colleges. Each one offers what they describe as an education for the future, but I am sure all they are thinking about is filling their quota and paying their bills way before they are thinking of their student’s futures.

The correct choice comes from pounding the pavements and going to open days, unpacking the often complex handbooks and websites and doing a full comparative analysis on what is best for a future that no one knows and that will contain jobs that have not yet been invented using education geared for jobs that will no longer exist.

But what about being an Entrepreneur? This is my first choice today, but it took me 5 career changes to find my niche and today I have a job that did not exist when I was in school. After all this, my conclusion is that education does not or may not be an indicator of the job you spend most of your life doing. But it does give you an advantage of being selected for the job you will want. And a good education will only teach you to learn and then embark on a lifelong journey of continuous learning that will lead you to the perfect job and income protection.

Watch this space and we embark on making the future a reality.

 

By |2018-10-10T16:13:30+02:00October 10th, 2018|Bruce on Business|0 Comments

Innovation is both expensive and frustrating

We get a lot of people knocking on our doors asking for help to take their ideas to market and make then a truck load of money. Mostly by this time they have already spent a fortune on their new idea and come with cap in hand begging for some advice to get them to the next stage.

Here is some advice we offer them:

Come sooner rather than later: we know where it is that you need to spend money and where you can save a whole bunch. It is what we do.

Know the problem you are trying to solve: you will need to have done a full research assessment into the problem you are trying to solve and into the product you are trying to develop. It is a waste of time just reinventing the wheel that someone else has done before. If we find a similar business or product we cannot help you with the development of yours unless it is unique or very different.

Keep your ideas secret: Once you have made your ideas public, it becomes very difficult to register any form of IP. Anyone you work with or share your ideas with needs to sign and adhere to a Non-Disclosure Agreement. We have an Engagement agreement we sign with all our clients, this covers the NDA, work for hire and IP transfer and our fees. Be very careful who you talk to.

Develop your networks: It is very difficult, if not impossible to develop an idea and get it to market on your own: you will need a good team that adds value to your business and product development cycle.

Be aware of scams: the web is full of getting rich with your invention scams. Never trust anyone who demands fees up front or offers riches in exchange for your idea. In reality, it is a long and often expensive road to your first payment. We will navigate this with you and tell you truthfully if it is not worth perusing or ready to market.

With all this in mind, we recommend that you engage with us as soon as you have that idea, we can advise you on the best way forward and who to talk to from 3D printers, mouldings, IP issues, Business development and saving money.

By |2017-08-21T16:14:00+02:00August 21st, 2017|Innovation|0 Comments

Never Lose Balance

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Riding a scooter in traffic and the wind is a challenge that very few get right. Mastering the skill of riding between cars, trucks and taxis whilst being blasted by our southeaster wind takes time, practice and skill to perfect.
So what has this got to do with Entrepreneurship? Balance is key to being a successful business owner. Finding time to work in, on and out of the business requires good planning and often an accountability partner. All this whilst being blasted by customer agendas, business maintenance, staff issues and compliance chaos often resulting in us getting off track and losing balance.
Here are some tips that I have learnt from the scooter that can be applied in business.
Never come to a gradual stop and coast up to a destination. In business drive as hard as you can to get to the point you need. Once there stop, access and move on to the next agenda. Slowing down will find you losing focus and balance.
When stopped, plan for the next move. At a stop on the bike it is essential to line up toward the next destination, looking ahead for any obstacles and define your path to avoid obstacles. Taking time to plan your next business move is critical. Look ahead and plan for any known issues or obstacles that may be in your way. Having a contingency plan B or C and maybe D is just good project management. Make sure you and your team are all pointed in the right direction before you set off.
Balance on a windy day in Cape Town traffic is hard work as you are blown from lane to lane between trucks and buildings. In our business opportunities and issues arrive on a regular cycle. All these need to be assessed and decisions made as to take action or go with the flow. Experience will teach you when to lean into an issue to avoid being blow off course and when to go with the flow that will change lanes to better business opportunities.
Think bike, think business.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:28+02:00January 29th, 2015|Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Disambiguation Strategies

The issue of being stuck in a rut is often the cause of confusion and lack of development for both individuals and businesses. Striving for clarity in this fog of confusion requires a set of disambiguation strategies that will lead you into the clear sky and back on track to progress. So what are some of these strategies that you can employ

One: Do something different to get a different result. Change something in your routine or how you are working. Do not implement wholesale changes, this will only get you more in trouble. Change one thing at a time and then look for results. These changes can range from simple activities like moving your desk around, change that way you travel to work, have a new hair cut. Often small simple physical changes will help trigger change in behaviour and thinking.

Two: Share with someone who cares. Sharing your situation with someone is just good therapy. We don’t necessarily need to pay huge bills for a therapist, just a friend or family member will do.  If it is a business issue then a coach or mentor may be able to shed some light on the situation for you by asking the right questions.

Three: Write things down. This simple effective activity allows our brains to place things in order. One of the common strategies amongst successful people is journaling. Taking time each day just to jot down things in a journal helps retrofit ideas into strategies. You could also just write a letter or email to someone sharing the situation, again sharing is therapy, even with yourself.

Four: Using one of the many thinking tools that are available. Mind mapping is one that has been great for me for many years. The simple exercise of mapping out a situation or new ideas gives clarity as the map develops. New online apps make this a very simple effective way to think in pictures linked to the way our brains work.

Five: Hire a consultant. This is often the first course of action for corporate and government, but could be costly for smaller businesses. But consultants have their place in a situation that requires specialist thinking and situations. If you are moving into areas that will find you way out of your depth in expertise, then the consultant route is the way to go.

Just some simple ways to work your way out from an ambiguous situation to clarity.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:30+02:00September 9th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

How to beat the odds of failure in business?

What if there was a cheat code for starting a business. All you needed to do was enter the code A43F6T48 into your phone app and you instantly became invincible and financially enabled. Then you could launch whatever business idea you have.

Seems unlikely in the real world, but are there ways to beat the odds of start up failure. With up to 80% failure rate of small emerging businesses in South Africa, it is still a wonder why we see so many new registered businesses each month. Your odds of winning at the Lotto seem almost better and a whole lot cheaper.

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But there are stats that depict a reversal of these odds with up to an 80% success rate for businesses who participate in a good quality Incubator. A successful Incubator with a solid methodology for business development accompanied by experienced start up coaches and a network of associated practitioners who will guide and lead you to the right places towards success.

If there were such places, why do so many people still risk the odds of trying to go it alone and beat the system? Maybe for the same reason that there are long queues at the Lotto each week, or hundreds of people at the casinos each evening. The faintest of hope drives people to play the odds and try to win, knowing deep down that it is almost impossible.

But beat the odds we do. Here at the Entrepreneur Incubator and Academy we have a very well versed plan of action to start any business. Our Steps to Success guides our clients together with solid coaching and mentoring along a road that will ask all the required questions to lead to points of Viability through Feasibility to Sustainability. Each step is equipped with Go/No Go scenarios and we will never waste time trying to pursue an idea or product that does not match up to the rules. This assists in failing fast and not wasting time, energy and money in the process.

Actually come to think of it, there is a cheat code to business success. It is simply and email to admin@ei.co.za to book your first session. We look forward to your success.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:31+02:00September 2nd, 2014|Business Resources, EI Clients, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Sales Techniques for Effective Entrepreneurs

Just last week we published our latest online course titled: ‘Sales Techniques for Effective Entrepreneurs’. This course has created such a buzz with 960 people signing up in the first 4 days. Our greatest launch to date.

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The course covers aspects of selling that are not normally covered in marketing workshops. We look at how to define your product, create a scripted sales pitch based on a defines sales funnel and the sales cycle. We chat about how to ask the right questions using the right content for the right audience at the right time. The course concludes with a look at a template to use for all future marketing campaigns. All together a very comprehensive course.

With Spring just around the corner for us in the south, we are offering a chance for you to participate in this course for half price using our spring coupon. Click HERE to access the course and pay only $10 for lifetime access to all the videos, handouts and notes.

This coupon is only valid until the end of September with a limited number of places, so first click first learn. Our gift to you, Enjoy Click HERE

By |2016-11-01T10:20:31+02:00August 21st, 2014|Business Resources, EI Clients, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

15 tell tale signs that you may be an entrepreneur

This insightful article on Entrepreneur.com this week gives us an insight into what signs to look out for that could mean you may be an Entrepreneur.

The 15 signs are:

  1. You take action
  2. You’re insecure
  3. You’re crazy
  4. You’re obsessed with Cash Flow
  5. You get into hot water
  6. You’re fearless
  7. You can’t sit still
  8. You’re malleable
  9. You enjoy navel gazing
  10. You’re motivated by challenges
  11. You consider yourself an outsider
  12. You recover quickly
  13. You fulfil needs
  14. You surround yourself with advisors
  15. You work and play hard

Read the full article here

By |2014-08-20T12:47:19+02:00August 20th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Google is tracking your every move

What if you could keep track of any movement you made anywhere across the globe by recording the movement of your phone?
Google does this for you. Most smart Android phones or tablets require a Google account when activated. Simple enough, this gives you the ability to download mail, contacts and calenders. But it also uploads your GPS position every few minutes to some giant server somewhere that keeps track of where you have been, when and for how long.
Check out my movement for the last 30 days in and around Cape Town.

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This has a bunch of positives linked to this. I can track myself, my staff and people I want to keep an eye on. I can also use this to find my phone if stolen or lost. But it also brings up a huge list of negative issues about privacy and personal protection.
Google could actually compile a list of all people who are at any one location at any time. This includes meetings of importance, events or places of interest. Spooky if you ask me. This sort of information in the wrong hands could be devastating.
Do we now cancel our mobile device links to Google or embrace yet more personal information saved on their servers about our habits?

By |2016-11-01T10:20:31+02:00August 19th, 2014|Business Resources, Techno Tuesday|0 Comments

Presentation Skills 101-4 Tips on Visual Aids

Just few words on the use of visual aids before you start with any slides for a presentation. There are unwritten rules for the use of slides and other visual aids. Once again the Simple rule applies. We will look at PowerPoint a bit later, but as for Flip charts, Live demos, instruments or whatever else you were hoping to use, ask yourself this: Do I really need it to add value to my presentation? The best speakers I have seen use only themselves on the stage. The more you add to the stage the more complicated it becomes and increases the chance of stuffing it all up. So select your visual aids well and make sure they work and you know how to fix them if they stop working.

Here are my top tips when using PowerPoint

  • Less is more – do not clutter your slides with graphics and colours
  • Use a simple colour background with a contrasting font colour
  • Design a good cover slide
  • Display your logo on every page
  • Use no more than 6 points per slide
  • Have no more than 6 words per point
  • Your slides are a visual aid, not a text to read from
  • Do not use sound effects or fancy transitions
  • Do not use automatic timing on the slides
  • Keep any animation to a minimum
  • Remember simple is good

Now go out and practice, practice, practice.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:31+02:00August 18th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments

Presentation Skills 101-3 The Business Elevator Pitch

A business pitch is slightly different to the personal pitch. You get to expand this to 60 or 90 seconds, but the basic rules still apply.

If you can’t tell someone what you do in less than 60 seconds then you do not know yourself. The use of a well prepared elevator pitch is similar to an automatic weapon strapped to your waist. Always ready and well oiled ready for any situation.

The format of an elevator pitch is simple, if you get to know the format, you can adapt it for any situation and audience.

  1. Introduction
  2. Tell us you name
  3. Tell us what business you are from
  4. Tell us what your business does
  5. Tell us who your clients are
  6. Tell a Story
  7. What makes you different
  8. Share a specific example about your business
  9. Ask for Business
  10. Hone in on a specific need that your business is looking for
  11. Call to Action
  12. Give specific instructions
  13. Memory Hook
  14. Repeat your name
  15. Repeat your business
  16. Tell us your slogan

Your pitch should remain the same in respect to the format but be prepared to adjust the focus to become relative to your audience. Your story and call to action will be very different if you are speaking to a women’s convention or a businessmen’s breakfast. Learn beforehand who you are speaking to and be able and prepared to adjust this to capture the attention of your audience. Remember the six questions at the beginning of this document.

And once again practice, practice, practice, until you are confident.

By |2016-11-01T10:20:31+02:00August 14th, 2014|Business Resources, Entrepreneurship|0 Comments