What entrepreneurs need to know about business

Running a sustainable and successful business starts with the right mindset, sound legal advice, solid business strategies and effective financial management, say the experts who will deliver workshops at the upcoming Business Entrepreneurship and Franchise Expo, presented in partnership with Eskom.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming Business Entrepreneurship and Franchise Expo, experts in law, accounting, business strategy and franchising say having the right knowledge and advice can make all the difference between success and failure for the business owner.

Craig Steward, New Business Development Director at expo organisers Thebe Reed Exhibitions, says: “In our 22-year history of developing and promoting small business in South Africa, we have found that most new entrepreneurs make the same mistakes. This is why the Business Entrepreneurship and Franchise Expo presents in-depth workshops and talks to heighten awareness and give entrepreneurs an overview of what they need to know to start or grow their businesses.”

This year, in-depth training and workshops will be delivered at a Business Bootcamp, Watt-A-Buzz Zone, E-Commerce & Tech Theatre and Full on Franchising Theatre.

The free Business Bootcamp, to be staged daily, from 10 -13 September at the TicketPro Dome will cover all the basics entrepreneurs need to know before starting a business – from choosing a name and registering a company through to drawing up a business plan, seeking funding, ensuring legal compliance and finding customers.

For those considering an e-commerce business, or wanting to expand their existing business through a digital presence, the free E-Commerce & Tech Theatre will examine the laws, technologies and best practices around using the internet to boost your business.

Today, every business has an online presence, and it’s quick and easy for entrepreneurs to sell goods online. But few entrepreneurs realise the potential legal risks they face if they launch an online presence that does not comply with local and international legislation. Whether you simply gather customer information in order to send out newsletters, or actually carry out transactions online, there are a number of laws governing how you transact, and protect and store information. “Not knowing is no excuse,” says Christiaan Steyn, specialist ICT attorney at De Kock Attorneys and one of the expert speakers at BEFE. “The penalties for non-compliance can be substantial.” At the E-Commerce & Tech Theatre, Steyn will explain some of the key legislation online businesses must comply with, and how to go about protecting your business, site and customers from risk.

Trademarks are another legal area many startups overlook. “People think that because they registered their company under a particular name, the name belongs to them. This is not the case. Years later, another company could come along and register that trademark, forcing the first company to change its name.” Steyn will elaborate on how and why to register a trademark during a Trademark workshop in The E-Commerce & Tech Theatre.

BEFE’s annual Watt-A-Buzz Zone showcases the latest in business trends, advice and inspiration. BEFE visitors can gain free access to this zone to learn about sales, versus profits, versus cashflow; How to access procurement and Business Opportunities for Small Businesses in Government and Private sector; an entrepreneurs mind-set; The four fundamental questions to answer before you spend your marketing budget; The 5 things you need to remember when planning your media and marketing campaign, and The Art & Science of creating wealth.

Robert Jewell, accountant at Accounting 4 Entrepreneurs and a speaker at BEFE, says small businesses make a number of mistakes that can result in inefficient financial management, too much tax being paid, or even in penalties being incurred. “For example, a very common mistake is for the business owner to ‘live out of the business’ instead of drawing a salary. This complicates financial management later. Many small business owners do not realise there are tax benefits to splitting the income when family members co-own a business, or that they can be more tax efficient in the way in which they structure salaries.”

Failing to register for employees’ tax at the appropriate time, or not registering for VAT can incur unexpected cost and penalties. And focusing on sales at any cost, versus focusing on profit, can prove to be counter-productive for business success.

Jewell will deliver workshops entitled ‘Top 10 Financial Mistakes which can destroy your business’, ‘Tax Tips for SMMEs’, ‘Top 10 financial driving tips for your business’ and ‘Sales vs. Profit vs. Cashflow’ at the Eskom Watt-A-Buzz Zone during BEFE 2015.

Entrepreneur and professional speaker Simon Mtsuki, the youth entrepreneurial ambassador for the Eskom Foundation, believes budding entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the growth of their own businesses. “We hear a lot about insufficient funding, or insufficient resources and support. But the truth is that to be successful, you have to take responsibility for growing your own business, and learn from overcoming the challenges.”Mtsuki will speak at the Watt-A-Buzz Zone on the “Five key steps for the budding entrepreneur”.

As a serial entrepreneur with seven business launches under his belt, business coach Neale Roberts of Mentors Business Enablers has learnt a great deal about success factors in business. He believes getting the right advice at launch is crucial. “I could not find the help I needed at first. Consultants were too expensive, and there was the question of which type of consultant do you go to with a small business issue?” Business coaches are the ideal solution for start-ups and SMMEs who need a broad range of business advice, says Roberts. He will discuss the role of business coaches and give useful business tips in his talk at the Watt-A-Buzz Zone.

For businesses seeking to grow their portfolio and entrepreneurs exploring a franchising business model, the Full on Franchising Theatre, presented in partnership with the SA Franchise Warehouse, will be staged daily with an entrance fee of R200 per delegate. This theatre will deliver in-depth workshops on franchising models, how to evaluate and fund a franchise, and the legalities of franchising.

Belinda Bradley, Training and development director at SA Franchise Warehouse, explains: “Many people don’t realise that not all franchise models are the same. There are important questions they need to ask before they sign up for a new franchise opportunity. These in-depth workshops are a first for BEFE, and are designed to get entrepreneurs started or growing in the world of franchising,” says Bradley. Attendees will also have an opportunity to discuss exciting franchise opportunities with some of South Africa’s best-known brands.

For more information about BEFE, to be staged from 10 – 13 September at the Ticket Pro Dome, and for the full workshop and information session agendas, visit www.befe.co.za. Entrance to the expo is free if you pre-register online or R 50.00 at the entrance.

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