Win a free ticket to the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week #TNEW

I was invited to speak at the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week, which happens from 27 to 31 August 2012. And of course, I wanted to spread the love.

 

Here’s the deal, I have one ticket to give away here and another one over at WordStart. There’ll be one more spot ticket given away on Twitter. Before we go any further, I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday 14 August. The tickets are valued at R750, per day.

If you win this one, you get to pick a day from Monday to Friday. The only day that’s excluded is Wednesday, 29 August.

The conference has an awesome line-up of speakers.

Here are some of the people you’ll hear from:

On Monday (27 August 2012)

Douglas Kruger, an author and four time Southern African Public Speaking Champion

Magdalene Moonsamy, COO of the NYDA (National Youth Development Agency)

Tuesday (28 August 2012)

Abbey Mokgwatsane, CEO of Ogilvy – South Africa and once

Brenda Roopai, CEO and Founder of City Of Choice Tours

Wednesday (29 August 2012) is free during the day, but Dr Trevor Manuel will be presenting in the evening and they have limited tickets on sale.

Thursday (30 August 2012)

Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi, GM for incubation at the Innovation Hub

Zadok Olinga, Engineer and Entrepreneur

Friday (31 August 2012)

Khaya Dlanga, whose talk is entitled ‘Social Media: The Next Generation’.

Olga Meshoe, Senior Consultant at Transcend Corporate Advisors. She was also the youngest and only black chairperson of a subcommittee of the South African Securitisation Forum.

And, of course I also speak on Friday. The talk is about how some of the world’s most successful, some small and unknown, startups defied the rules to make it big.

How to score a ticket:

  1.  Tell me why you, or someone you nominate deserves the ticket – as a comment below.
  2.  Share this post on Twitter and add a by @Mongezi just so I pick it up.
  3. If you nominate yourself, ask a friend to come post a comment supporting your self nomination.
  4. As part of your comment, also tell me which day you’d like to check out. The details and full conference are here.
  5. Check back on 14 August to see if you’ve won.

You can also check out WordStart, where we’ll give away one more ticket over the next few days. If you would like to know more about the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week, check out their website here or their Tweets, and tell a friend about it.

Easy, right?

That Elusive Dream Client

So, you wake up one morning with an idea to start your business and having high profile clients call you up all the time. Days become weeks, they turn to months and you haven’t had access to that dream client.

What now? You’ve tried everything you know how and exhausted your network calling everyone who knows someone. And still. Nothing!

Being the enterprising mind that makes things happen, of course, you are nowhere near giving in. That first morning with that ‘great idea’ starts to fade.

One of many things can happen, and 2 of them are:

a. Offer some pro bono work to the dream client

What I relearned again this morning was – Free work means you put your branding next to it. This is instant access to the client for more work at a later stage. It also associates you with them, in which case your credibility is built and they add to your references.

b. Compete for the client as everyone else with references

Well……this is actually a no brainer, especially if your business is highly conceptual and aims to compete against established market equivalents. Without a “credible” background, seeing that you are still a startup, it is difficult convince clients that you are worth working with. Make that damn near impossible.

Most companies that we target have a template according which they measure service providers. And if there is one thing that frustrates me more than people working from templates, it’s people who discredit your work without thorough understanding. Then rejecting you, because you don’t their template requirements.

Proving you are confident about your concept and breaking through the red tape of template workers, may mean doing free work. At least where I am now.

What are your ideas around breaking into the market and getting that dream client? Better yet, how did you get through to that client?

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Image by: annais on Flickr

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What customer? News Cafe Is A Giant

The first thought was to begin this post with – ‘It seems News Café have suddenly become too big their customers’. Then I took a quick glance on Hello Peter, only to realize they’ve become giants and the customers does not matter.

We went to the News Café at the Emperor’s Palace recently after a comedy event, on a month end Saturday evening. Not being a restaurant owner, I would guess the last Saturday of the month would be one of the busiest times. It takes a whole franchise, 15 years of experience in the cocktail bar industry and experienced managers to conclude they need fewer waiters for that time of the month.

We got in, sat ourselves at a table that needed to be cleaned and thought it was temporary. A waitress finally attended to us 20 minutes later – still leaving the table dirty with empty glasses, till we called her back.

Our order

o   A glass of Coke

o   A double tot of Chivas

o   Double Jameson

o   And another soft drink

We then requested her to bring ice on the side.

What she heard

Take 30 minutes with our drinks. And oh, let the ice melt in them almost completely.

The long and short

We sat there for about 3 hours with every round of drinks taking no less than 25 minutes to arrive. The explanation was “the bar is busy this evening”, which the manager echoed after we spoke to him about the problem.

When I read on Hello Peter, it became clear that 54 complaints – in the past year – ranging from robberies to assaults by staff, revealed a different story.

Waiters and managers normally get grief from “fussy customers”.

While sitting there watching tempers flare from all the other tables, something else came to mind.

A flawed system is screwing your staff

Someone, other than me, also reported a similar issue on Hello Peter and it occurred around the same time. Guess what? It was for the same branch. Surprised?

Your system is inefficient when customers have the same problem. People would report the waiter and the manager without considering how the franchise puts this in place.

If you happen to be from News Café, or know someone who knows someone. . . . Please tell them to stop turning away customers in their shorts and go read Hello Peter here. They might get some insights from their customers.

Photo by: Dan Orbit on Flickr

NetwebTV [episode #8] Mentorship for business growth

While technical skill is important to develop a business, it is not the most significant element for survial. In this episode with Dumisani Nkala we uncovered things entrepreneurs are not told. Dumisani is the M.D of Zinandi Telecommunications a company that was bootstrapped from the ground.

She shares her insights with us in this video.

We also have audio version below, feel free to share.