A business radio jock asked a business consultant what were the three most important things for the creation of small enterprise. The business consultant said they were access to finance, access to markets and access to business knowledge. Yes, there is some truth in this but it was interesting that the business adviser started off with access to finance. It came in late to the conversation but one wonders whether or not this business adviser is attached in some way to a lending institution. Access to markets makes it sound as if there were people or other institutions preventing the small business owner from entering a market. In a free market the only real barrier to entry is competence and economies of scale. Access to business knowledge is an interesting one because to get real business smarts, you don’t have to attend a business course. Real, actionable business knowledge and information can be found from those who have run small businesses, creating them from scratch and business mentors. Continue reading “Business radio jocks, business advisers and other small business myth makers”
I was speaking to a visual merchandiser a while back who was leaving for a week to go help open a new retail store in his region. His biggest complaint was how difficult it is for branch staff to do their jobs. There are not enough branch staff because of the austerity measures the company has put in place and the staff are woefully lacking in training.
The problem with this retail chain is that the people in head office with big titles are given training on a silver platter. But the staff at the branch where the interface is with customers, where the sales take place, where the money is made, receive little or no training at all. Isn’t it ironic, he said, that those who float around in the head office with fancy titles receive all the training but the people who ring up the cash registers receive very little or nothing at all? Continue reading “Why do staff dealing with customers get the least amount or no training?”
When I have visited the small coastal town of Fish Hoek in the Western Cape I have noticed local artists selling their paintings in shopping malls. What stands out for me is the wonderful, almost idyllic, beach scenes. The beaches are pristine, the sea blue and the mountains fresh and vibrant. It’s a kind of unreal world that reminds one of how things used to be, not as they are now.
You never see these local coastal scene artists with paintings that depict the rough reality of today. Go for a walk on the beach and you likely to see pickpockets and sunbathers leaving their trash in the sand. Go up a little further to Jagger’s Walk where the subway is and you will catch the stench of urine and find unsavoury characters lurking in the shade of the tunnel. This is not to say that the beaches aren’t cleaned up before the holidaymakers arrive but with high-density urban living the picturesque coastal towns just aren’t what they used to be. But many people would rather have the idyllic coastal painting than the sordid reality. Continue reading “Small business reality series – what information or advice to can you trust?”
I went fishing in the Vaal River near Parys. We got up early and started out in small rubber rafts at 7 AM. We rowed upstream for about a kilometre and then we anchored the raft below a rapid up river.
It was a beautiful early summer morning with a river otter sighted as well as a leguan lizard, (get spilling from Internet),cormorant birds, yellow finches and the occasional swirl of yellow fish rising to the surface. This time of the year the banks are green with the tall Eucalyptus and Populus trees. Even the reeds alongside the banks are green. Continue reading “Be careful about the advice you give, it may come back to bite you”
A few weeks ago I attended an awards function for entrepreneurs and was highly impressed with what they had achieved without any support from the sponsors of the event. The entrepreneurs were being acknowledged for their innovation and excellence despite not receiving funding, technology or initial encouragement from various public and private institutions.
These entrepreneurs had pulled themselves up by their own boot straps. They had done it by themselves. Only after they had achieved success did private and public institutions rush in to celebrate the achievement. Yes, it’s a long and lonely road as an entrepreneur. Continue reading “What makes an entrepreneur?”
An artist who organised a large exhibition in the old part of Johannesburg was asked how she and her business partner managed to pull together a large exhibition and celebratory evening.
She said, “You’ve got to make it happen otherwise nothing happens.”
That statement says a lot.
It reminds one of the energy that is required to get anything off the ground, to start something from scratch. Continue reading ““You’ve just got to make it happen otherwise nothing happens””
I came across a business owner the other day, someone who now owns a franchise in a large national chain, but on his LinkedIn profile, he said he was still open to corporate opportunities. It makes one think about small business ownership and whether it can satisfy people who have been in the corporate world and enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s not by choice or design that people buy a franchise that because circumstances in their career in a large company have changed. Continue reading “Are you really a business owner or still trying to be someone else?”
In these hard times, this is extraordinary.
How did he do it?
Through the applied creativity that comes from identifying a market gap. Creating the right value-for-money product. And, most importantly, friendly, helpful customer service. Continue reading “Are you in need of help in these hard times?”
I had a problem. A small problem. A problem that kept nagging at me.
What was irritating me was when I would sit outside on the metal outdoor bench, when I would get up in bench would jump up slightly from the one side. I wondered how I could fix this problem. What could I use to stop the wobbling?
I gave it some thought about couldn’t come up with anything that was an elegant solution. Sure, you can find something in your house to stop a table or chair leg from wobbling but will it be unnoticeable and effective? You don’t want to continually have to get bits of plastic or other material and keep putting it under the bench leg. Continue reading “Here’s a product that may give you inspiration for coming up with something of your own”
A small business owner who was a “marketing expert” started a small business but soon ran into trouble. The reason was basically because the small business owner had not worked in the retail food market before. But being a “marketing expert”, he thought he knew better.
Within 18 months the small business had to be shut down, the equipment sold to cover unpaid expenses incurred by the landlord and plenty of frustrated customers who wondered why the business had been opened in the first place. Continue reading “A business owners’s experience and skills triumphs over another who just pumps money into their small business”