So you want to be an entrepreneur?

Well that’s just wonderful – in South Africa we need entrepreneurs – people willing, able and capable of taking a risk to create something new, create their own work, and in doing so, create employment.  With unemployment sitting at roughly 60% in 2017, and a technical recession, the economy needs every single individual doing more, creating more and building more – whether it’s knowledge, services or products.
If we think of the most famous entrepreneurs, the names Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jay Z come to mind.   Some up and coming South African entrepreneurs like Inga Gubeka and Douglas Hoernle ( are great examples whose lead we should follow.  All these people built something unique, something special and most importantly followed through.  It’s about the persistence – the tenacity for forge ahead regardless of difficult times, mental strain, financial woes or discouraging words.


The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.  In the past few years, entrepreneurship has become a very cool term to throw about.  In fact, corporate businesses have even coined a term – intrapreneurship – a manager or business exec who has the characteristics of a business owner – innovative, risk taking and so on – with the support of a larger corporate.
But what does entrepreneurship really mean to you and how do you define your journey?


To be an entrepreneur you need to:

  • Be able to wear multiple hats (or do everything in the beginning)
  • Take initiative
  • Delegate to those better than you or get help when you need to
  • Have a clear and non-emotional relationship with money
  • Learn from failure and fix things fast
  • Feel comfortable with the unknown
  • Be strong on execution (more than talk about ideas)
  • Communicate effectively and respectfully
  • Have a firm belief in your business idea


Finally, my belief is that entrepreneurial and business success comes from a place of deep spirituality.   Many of the most successful (who are successful in their life as well) live a life of service and a life where the journey is more important than the goal.  In learning and doing better day by day, we form part of a collective that helps improve our world.  When what you are doing in steeped in honesty, authenticity and goodness, the success of it will find you.


Keep striving.  Keep going.  Keep healthy and keep strong!

Business Trends for 2016

Another year of immense possibility awaits.  Leverage marketing efforts and catapult your business and brand while tapping into the trends for this year.  What does the 2016 landscape look like in the marketing world?

The top 5 biggest trends are:

  • Know your customer.  This is becoming increasingly relevant as the competitive landscape expands.  Understanding a customer’s lifestyle is just as important as understanding their product requirements.  Being relentless about great customer experience builds loyalty.   There are many different options for the discerning information seekers, which shoppers and consumers have become.  They now have the power to choose not to interact with traditional retail, and instead opt for an online shopping trip.

How will this impact brand development? 

The challenge is, to apply an integrated method of marketing while using multiple communication mediums and engaging with the shopper throughout the journey to purchase.  People consume information at different times and with a host of applications.  From online adverts, Facebook, print media, TV, Trailer advertising…..there are a host of new channels for brands to market their products.  The evolution in communication, up-weights the demand for interesting content that is desired for consumption.

  • Differentiation with Products and Services. People are looking for something different and relevant.  Differentiation also extends to how brands engage with the target market from recruiting new users to service delivery.  Agile adaptation to the lifestyle of the consumer, makes applying an integrated marketing approach much more relevant.  Lack of relevance can quickly become noise and just means wasted brand investment with a lower hit rate.
  • Continued adoption of Digital Platforms. In fact, digital marketing dominate most trend analysis and innovation news.  Social media as a powerful support channel for the overall brand strategy and is expected to grow in 2016.  (1) estimates the social media spend, to jump 24.6% to 41 billion US dollars by 2017.  This trajectory is expected to continue in the years following 2017 as the adoption of digital continues.  Marketing knowledge is needed to apply social media to the brand strategy and implement in a way that’s relevant to the target market.  Communication should be planned and needs to be broader than being just about the brand.
  • Video and real time video streaming is increasing in popularity. The growth of associated apps with Snapchat and Periscope indicate how much this type of content is sort after.  As per Huffington post, a recent Comscore found that Snapchat had achieved a 32.9% penetration.  Major brands have caught onto this space in the digital landscape and are seeing results.  For and interesting read, look at:
  • Innovation in terms of bringing new concepts to the market on product and advertising to consumers will receive focus in 2016. Brands are trying new flavours, fragrances, packaging, routes’ to market and communication.  This is being well received as indicated by the amount of niche innovation coming into the market and the growing adoption of non-traditional media.  This is also in line with the demand from consumers for differentiation.  The ease of entering into product categories has made it easy for new suppliers to bring concepts to the market.  Retailers embrace this innovation to bolster their differentiation amongst competitors.

Another key lifestyle trend is the movement towards healthy living and good for the environment.  We see premium retail adapting to this more and more and shoppers are guided accordingly.  There is a higher consideration for composition of products.  The environmental impact has increased influence on the decision to purchase.

The battle for visibility continues as the widening landscape for consumer talk, increasingly expands.  More people are expected to adopt digital mediums, thus changing what they want to listen to and see.  This also influences how people shop, as we see an increase in online shopping experiences.

So we end with a recap.  Customer Centricity is key throughout the path to purchase.  Break free with innovation.  Understand your target market and their lifestyles.  Know how the brand integrates into the consumer’s life.  Differentiate on customer experience.  Lastly, apply modern and current advertising and communication techniques.  With this approach, you should be on trend for 2016!





Written by Emiryl Paul, she is a trade marketing specialist. She has worked in the FMCG industry for 12 years and has built capabilities with cross functional roles. She has worked on market leading brands and medium sized brands. Emiryl has an interest in entrepreneurship having assisted start up companies, within local and Africa markets.