Friday, September 21, 2012

Have you ever heard of the brand Native Yard?

Have you ever heard of the brand Native Yard? Not yet, just wait! A small business sent me their profile and they wanted to do a new radio station and information service for Guguletu, one of the oldest townships in South Africa. I didn't like their business idea but OMG what a brand. In Guguletu all the streets are name Native Yard or NY, and this is what people know. Now there is a shift towards changing the NY system to "real" names. The reason for changing the name is a political issue rather than a business or marketing issue. But not necessarily a good business or marketing decision. What the people who are changing the names don't realise is how business and clever marleting works and how South Africa is a very brand oriented culture. Most of us still buy the old products our mom's bought because of brand loyalty and then south africans get very excited by new brands such as loxion culture. We love brands. So in South Africa what is really important for a new business is a great brand that resonates with all south africans and specifically the mass market. So let me come back to Native Yard and these new business entrepreneurs. I love the brand, i mean i really love it! It also becomes so much more desirable as the weenies want to get rid of the name altogether. This opens the door for someone like them to trademark the brand and add it to, restaurants, clothing, anything. What is important as a lesson is that sometimes creating an innovative business may be difficult but creating a unique brand may be easier and much more profitable as well as creating the profile and history all in one shot. Native Yard! Watch this space. if you think you have a great brand send it to me. I would love to see it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How to pitch your idea for success

I have been watching the dragons den on TV an old program from the UK actually but just arrived on our shores....Basically the dragons ( very rich business people) hear 3 minute pitches of new business ideas most of which are inventions ( no services actually)....
The prospectives make their pitch and then the dragons decide to invest and mostly take equity.
The biggest lesson in the program is how to pitch and how shockingly bad most of the pitches are.
Most of the people stutter around and are really bad at answering the questions of the dragons.
To be an entrepreneur the pitch is sometimes the most important thing you may do and doing it well requires skill and preparation. Most of all preparation. The people in the UK TV program defintely dont look prepared. I have been asked to help the Cape Talk 567 Small business awards in the art of pitching so here are the tips that I will be giving them in their preparation to win. When you pitch it is a winners take all approach. Tip 1: Preparation of the pitch. The pitch needs to be 5 minutes max.
Outline of a pitch:Start with a great story and if its funny then even betterOutline 4 main points:
  1. Who you are. Your credentials
  2. What makes your business or business concept unique and special
  3. What is your market and how you will get that market or if you are an existing business how do you keep your customers
  4. How much turnover and profit you are making or expect to make
Each point should be short and sweet and tell as many stories as possible.
Conclude with an ask for a normal pitch: what it is you need to make the business even more succesfull.Once the pitch is done the people evaluating it will ask some questions and they are usually quite standard and you can prepare for them.These are some of the prep questions:
How much or how many of the product or service will you sell and over what time period
What is your profit margin?
Why should we invest in you?
Will you spend every waking hour on this business?
What are the risks in this business and how will you deal with them?
How many customers do you have already?
How many have you sold?
Most importantly dont argue with the panel, when they are critical say, “i accept that, and will address the problem by....”
If you cant answer a question, say, “I'm not sure but I can find that out”If an investor asks you what you need, you are almost there....Give away equity.....10% of a business is better than 90% of nothing!