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Ten tips for startups

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The last quarter of the year is around the corner and it is time fore small businesses to take stock of the year. MIKE ANDERSON of the National Small Business Chamber shares these top ten tips to help get SMEs into action.

As we approach the last quarter of the business year, small businesses everywhere need to take stock of the year, do some spring-cleaning and make final plans for a last push in 2015.

The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), launched Small Business – a movement by the NSBC in association with Nedbank, has shared ten tips for springing into action:

“At times like these it is always good to revisit your business and double check a few essentials before moving forward,” says Mike Anderson, CEO and founder of the NSBC.

1.    Do you still love what you do?  – It is a tough time of year and you need to make one more push until December. Remembering why you are in the business and the reasons you love it, will help energise you and find a renewed way forward.

2.    Take small steps forward – Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the task at hand, keep it simple and take tiny steps forward. Inch by inch we move closer to the goal and this consistent movement forward will help you gain good ground.

3.    Be decisive – Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

4.    Don’t do it alone – You need a support system while you’re starting a business (and afterwards).  There are organisations such as the NSBC who can help with advice and inspiration, as well as quality networking opportunities. When you’re starting a business, experienced guidance is the best support system of all.

5.    Never Stop Networking. Don’t Give Up – Never stop networking, never stop pushing, looking for business or providing the best service.  It’s hard to always believe, but as a self-employed person, you simply have no choice.  Never stop.

6.    Be ruthless with money – it won’t always be there – Saving habits are the foundation of all financial success. As Warren Buffet put it – ‘Do not depend on a single income, don’t buy compulsively and do not save what is left after spending, spend what is left after saving or investing.’

7.    Use PR as your secret weapon – If you are a local small business, use a good PR consultant and look at local media for PR. Read those publications, forge relationships, find out what types of stories the journalists are covering, and offer yourself up as a thought leader on a topic.

8.    Knowledge is power. Collect data – You need to know your business inside and out, so collect information that will help you manage the business, especially when you hit panic mode.  Go back to the numbers and then work on a solution. Also collect customer information or leads. Having a good database is a common weakness in most businesses.

9.    Be different – Challenge the status quo, get out of your comfort zone, do things differently and stretch your abilities. Stretching your abilities will make you great.

10. Take action and just do it! – If you have an idea that you really believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action, your idea will remain worthless. And of course, support Small Business Friday!

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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