Has your start-up or small business lost touch with your local community?

IMG-20120819-00125The other evening I was at a restaurant where the waiter staff were a mix of full-time waiters and youngsters from the community earning some money on the side. One of the waiters was a special needs youngster who looked proud to be doing a real job at a restaurant.

It made me wonder what local businesses are doing for the communities to help young people, especially with the high youth unemployment, the competition for jobs and the restrictions placed on young people to earn a livelihood. Continue reading “Has your start-up or small business lost touch with your local community?”

Hot Karoo town feels the heat… from foreign competition

024I am sitting in the Wimpy at the Engen 1 Stop in Beaufort West, a town in the semi-desert Karoo. It is 3:45 PM and the temperature outside is 32°C. I have driven four hours from Cape Town seeing the vast landscapes of shrubs, hills and blue sky.

The wind is blowing outside and the poplar trees swaying with their green leaves shaking about. My food is already 15 minutes late and I open the local community newspaper because I know my chicken and salad is going to take at least half an hour.

I flip through the newspaper and my eyes stop at the editorial on page 4. This is what interests me: Continue reading “Hot Karoo town feels the heat… from foreign competition”

Sustainability – a must-have or simply an add-on for start-ups?

When a partner and me launched a start-up in the grocery trade a few years back most of our initial time was spent planning – thinking about things like setting up a small distribution centre, identifying larger customers, working out whether our range was big enough and doing sums to see that our sales would be profitable.

As soon as we got going, all our time was spent rushing out to customers from early in the morning until late in the evening, selling and distributing our products. We had almost no time to think about our strategy, financial objectives and marketing.

If you have been involved in setting up a start-up business, then you will know that a new business venture is a complex process which involves spending a lot of time on planning and preparation. Once you get started, your time is eaten up by serving customers, checking your expenses, cash flow and re-ordering. Continue reading “Sustainability – a must-have or simply an add-on for start-ups?”