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Five steps to being a better entrepreneur

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Keeping a close eye on the day-to-day happenings of a business is key to becoming a good entrepreneur. But just what to you need to monitor?Entrepreneur DARLENE MENZIES, CEO of SMEasy  gives five steps to help owners keep their company going.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”  Lincoln’s productivity secret was good preparation and using an effective tool for the task.  It’s the same for entrepreneurs, adequate preparation and effective tools are key to business success.

Here are a few tips to help you become a more efficient and productive entrepreneur.

Be well prepared at the start of the week: A very helpful tip for entrepreneurs is to set aside your Sunday afternoon to prepare for the coming week. Attend to the emails you haven’t answered, write checklists and prioritise them – including setting time aside to communicate with clients or staff who need your attention or instructions. Doing your Sunday prep will clear your mind for the coming work week and will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks if the week becomes chaotic. “The only way to be proactive is to prepare. Positive ordinary preparation precedes extraordinary accomplishment.

Check your bank statements every morning: Cash flow is the life of any business and without sound money management things will unravel quickly. Keep an eye on what payments have been paid, what payments are outstanding and determine how much cash you still need to bring in for the month to meet your commitments. Staying on top of the business’ financial status will ensure that you can easily detect anomalies and take the necessary steps to correct them immediately and also give you the necessary time to arrange finance to bridge any cash shortfalls you may have.

Your mobile phone is key: Mobile phones are important business tools for every entrepreneur, ensuring you can get hold of clients and they can get hold of you is paramount. Your mobile phone is crucial to maintaining good relationships and eliminating delays in communication when it comes to urgent issues. A flat battery during your business day can be very costly. A helpful tip is to buy a spare battery for your phone and to carry it with you at all times, that way you are never unreachable when your clients need you. Sending your email to your mobile phone is another helpful way to make sure you are kept updated at all times and can be in constant contact with your staff and clients.

Raising finance: When trying to raise finance for your business, potential lenders want to look at both your business finances and your personal finance to gauge your eligibility for the loan. As such, it is important to ensure that your salary payments from the business are paid consistently each month into your personal bank account. If your salary is not reflected each month then it is likely that your business loan will be rejected. A tip if you have a month when the business can’t afford to meet all it’s month end expenses is if it pays you your salary is to make sure your salary payment is done first before all the other business expenses are paid. Then once it is reflecting in your personal bank account you can then loan it back to the business so it can cover the other expenses. By doing this you are providing proof that your monthly salary is guaranteed which will assure lenders that you are low risk. In so doing, securing finance will become much easier.

Offer early payment discounts to clients: Most clients make payments 30 to 90 days after receiving your invoice. That’s not a problem if your company has a large cash reserve to cover expenses, however, if you don’t have a cash reserve, you could run out of money. This is a common situation for many businesses and affects small and large companies alike. There is a simple solution to this problem: offer your clients an incentive to pay quickly. Offering a discount to clients for making immediate payments can improve your cash flow, often in a short period of time. It’s simple to implement and very effective. While you may receive less money, you will have the available cash needed to cover month end commitments. It can prove cheaper than paying interest on bridging finance.

If you are running a small business, then becoming a better entrepreneur should be your goal. Make sure you prepare well for each new week, keep on top of your finances and your email admin and look out for effective tools and smarter ways to grow your business.

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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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