APP development Business Business Plan Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Investment Pitch Shared Office SME Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Seeking investment? The Supper Club Angels’ Tips to a Winning Pitch

    The Supper Club is the UK’s leading membership club exclusively for fast growth entrepreneurs of mid-sized businesses, encouraging business leaders to inspire, support and challenge each other in the pursuit of business growth. http://www.thesupperclub.com/

    By The Supper Club (UK) 

    Are you seeking investment?

    Raising money for SMEs and start-ups is not an easy job and one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. Angel investors can be a valuable option and source of funding, support and expertise.

    Our Investment Club runs twice a year, offering you the opportunity to raise investment via our panel of vetted and experienced entrepreneurs. With a combined turnover of around £150M our Supper Club Angels can offer expertise in a variety of sectors such as; technology, gaming, property, logistics and business services.

    In such a competitive environment, having the right information is your best tool. Here are our Supper Club Angels’ top tips on working up a winning pitch:

    Investors often look to invest in the people ahead of the business. Be confident, speak in plain English and ensure you come across as polished. Make sure you explain who your team is and why they are the right people to drive success.

    The scalability of your venture is what will appeal to investors so aim for an exciting but realistic outlook. Emphasise existing revenues and customers if you have them as these will give investors a lot of confidence. Be clear on the risks and how you will address them.

    State what your own personal investment in the venture has been or will be. Investors will not put money in if you haven’t put in some of your own cash and time. Investors will place a premium on you if you work in your venture full-time as this demonstrates your commitment.

    Keep your business plan short, around 2-3 pages, be concise, focus on what the reader needs to know and remove any fluff. The plan should explain clearly how you deliver value to your customers and extract value from them along with a realistic financial projection.

    Get to grips with the finances! Whoever you are pitching to will want to see that you have a very tight plan, know every future figure and know when you’ll see return etc. Avoid a hockey stick plan that relies on sudden massive growth – it won’t be believable.

    Investing in a business is never going to be something an Angel takes on lightly. Of course your pitch needs to reflect you and your business, but the recipe to success is based on your power to inspire confidence, reliability, passion, ability and integrity.

    Follow The Supper Club on Twitter for more great tips on growing your business @TheSupperClubUK

    October 06, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    THE FUTURE OF COWORKING AND WHY IT WILL GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A HUGE EDGE

    deskmag-coworking-3342

    HERE ARE THE NUMBERS THAT SUPPORT THE CASE FOR COWORKING–AND WHY IT’S NOT JUST FOR STARTUPS OR FREELANCERS ANYMORE.

    Fun. Friendly. Inspiring. Collaborative. Productive. If you wouldn’t define your workplace with any or all of those terms, you may have to ditch your own desk and take a seat at a coworking space near you. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur or freelancer, the benefits of coworking, according to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, are pretty hard to ignore: 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, while 62 percent said their standard of work had improved.

    The study also found that half of all coworkers access their work space around the clock–with only 30 percent preferring to work during normal business hours. “The future of work should not be dictated by space or place, but by the individual and the tasks that he or she has to deliver,” Regus CEO Mark Dixon tells Fast Company. “Many employees are now measured by output and productivity, and not just 40 hours spent sitting at a desk. Workers and the companies for which they work are increasingly realizing that they need to provide and utilize a wide range of workplaces to accommodate an increasingly diverse workforce with very different expectations of what work is, and where and when it should happen,” he explains.

    That’s why Dixon says, companies such as Google, Amazon, Twitter, and half of the Fortune 500 offer their staff temporary spaces at Regus to hold meetings or to get work done on the road. Regus offers flex space to more than a million people a day worldwide.

    Dixon notes that coworking allows for businesses to test new markets relatively risk-free. “Our research tells us that today anywhere between a third and half of all workers are flexible and mobile. Four years ago flexible working was the reserve of quirky marketing agencies and IT shops. Today, it’s a way of life influenced by the growth of the freelance economy and the need to expand the top-line by market expansion,” Dixon explains. For example, Regus plays host to real estate agencies that ironically don’t have their own real estate. Instead, they give all the agents cards to check into a nearby coworking center when they need to print materials or get paperwork done.

    Compared to a traditional office, Deskmag found that an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of coworkers said they got a self-confidence boost, likely due to the fact that many spaces are filled with supportive communities that enable creative collaboration.

    Dodd Caldwell, founder of Loft Resumes and MoonClerk, has been coworking for two and a half years in Greenville, S.C. Most recently, he’s sharing space with otherstartups at Iron Yard. “We’re a pretty curated coworking space, so even though we’re made up of different companies, we’re all fairly kindred spirits,” Caldwell asserts. By running his small businesses in a curated coworking space, he says, “I get the advantages of the culture of a medium-size business without having to deal with most of the downsides that come with it, like bureaucracy.”

    I GET THE ADVANTAGES OF THE CULTURE OF A MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESS WITHOUT HAVING TO DEAL WITH MOST OF THE DOWNSIDES THAT COME WITH IT.

    One of the main advantages to coworking, Caldwell says, is the ease of collaborating with other companies sharing the space, many of which don’t have more than three people. “Sometimes that’s just tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it may be a 15-minute whiteboarding session with a developer on another startup.”

    The ability to approach problems from a variety of angles is the undercurrent running through coworking spaces like Secret Clubhouse. Originally established by Rick Webb (cofounder of The Barbarian Group) in September, the Secret Clubhouse addresses a simple, but critical, need for entrepreneurs in the already crowded coworking scene in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn: it gives them a place to sit every day and take advantage of being elbow-to-elbow with other startup impresarios.

    In the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, those seats were filled with staff from Gawker, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Vimeo, whose offices didn’t have power. Now that things have settled down, manager Alison Vingiano says Secret Clubhouse isn’t quite filled to capacity of 35 desks, but those who are working from there can work alone or plug into the local tech community through hosted events or just from hanging out in the basement lounge, which is appointed with a pool table, musical instruments for impromptu jam sessions, as well as food, drinks, and cushy seating.

    Vingiano says that while collaboration is now a main focus of Secret Clubhouse, “a lot of it happens naturally.” Between hosted meetups and skill-sharing events, Vingiano says Secret Clubhouse members are encouraged to announce positions for hire or talk about what they are working on.

    Contrary to popular opinion that an open environment like the Secret Clubhouse is just as distracting as a coffee shop, 68 percent of those polled by Deskmag said they were able to focus better, and almost as many (64 percent) reported they were better able to complete tasks on time.

    Scott Hinson, lab director at Pecan Street Inc.’s new Pike Powers Commercialization Lab, is going to be in the unique position of fostering collaboration in the space, while also helping the companies working there to stay focused and retain privacy.

    The $1.5 million lab, located in northeast Austin, will be officially opening in May to promote research, commercialization, and education tied to smart energy grids, advanced information technology, clean energy, and health care applications. As the nation’s first nonprofit smart-grid research lab, it’s going to give smaller businesses the ability to use equipment like a spectrum analyzer that would cost roughly an engineer’s annual salary, without the huge investment.

    The challenge, according to Hinson, will be to keep proprietary projects a secret. But he’s not overly concerned. “We just have to be conscious of who can’t be around whom [when scheduling work],” he says. In addition, the facility has security controls such as thumbprint readers and secure Internet access. If need be, says Hinson, they can wipe all data from computer terminals every time someone new sits down to use it.“As long as we set the right expectation we can minimize challenges,” Hinson says. “If you set the expectation you get a place to do really cool stuff and there might be some other folks that are doing that too, so we can avoid it from the get-go.”

    Dixon believes that the flexibility to “work your way” is leading to greater productivity and job satisfaction. He points out a recent survey conducted by MindMetre in which 64 percent of U.S. employees are happier with their jobs today than they were two years ago because of the increased flexibility and shift towards a clearer work/life balance. “In addition, there is a plethora of research that shows flexible workers experience lower levels of work-related stress and higher levels of work satisfaction,” Dixon adds. “The healthiest option for employers and employees is to continue to work together to redefine the parameters of work, and how it is conducted and rewarded.”

    –Do you cowork, and how has it changed your career? Leave your tips in the comments below.

    September 22, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Settled in our new home!

    Happy Spring from our new home here at CTO. The move was quite painless and the reward simply awesome. What a space LEVR creations have given us. Light, airy and spacious with a beautiful shared kitchen that’s definitely big enough to swing more than a cat in, light and airy bathrooms and a meeting room big enough for 6 people comfortably.

    I’ll not bore you with too much text, let me rather show you!

    We have spaces open, so give me a shout & spread the word. R1,500 a month and that includes internet & meeting room.

    Have a great month folks.

    Lizelle

    3 Man Pod

    Renderheads Pod

    Looking to the entrance

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    Great size desk with option for a shelving unit to right

    IMG_20140818_072737

    Desk with a view? Sunrise…

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    Middle 4 Man pod

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    Lunch/Coffee bar counter area

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    Reception

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    Spacious communal kitchen

     

    Our entrance

    Our entrance

    Early morning light.

    Early morning light.

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    The Dudes

     

    September 01, 2014
    Business Cape Town co-working Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Shared Office Start-up

    CTO2.0 (update)

    Our shiny new office space is taking shape. It’s been a struggle at times but all the hard work is paying off. Our opening date is on track and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on our opening party of course.

    20140606_092208

    On site.

    The space. Once we cleared all the previous debris this is what we were left with. A blank canvas. LEVR creations have been doing a fantastic job managing the project and seeing their design come to life is just amazing. Tobias and Ann-Marie have surpassed our wildest expectations not only on the design, but cleverly making use of absolutely every bit of material for the project. Their ethos and mission as designers and architects is to reuse and recycle as much as possible by giving it new life and this is absolutely true on this project.

    The interest has been phenomenal already with at least 6 enquirers coming in weekly to view the space. Interest in exploring co-working as an alternative to traditional office space keeps growing. Reservations on the new space is in full swing, so get in touch if you’re interested. Nearly 60% of the new space has been booked!

    I can’t wait to move in!

     

    June 27, 2014
    APP development Business Cape Town co-working Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up Uncategorized

    Who’s who in the CTO zoo

    What I love most is the variety or eclectic mix of of folks in here at CTO. This was one of my biggest drivers, to ensure that we didn’t exclude professionals / entrepreneurs etc. from the space. Here’s a list of the “who’s who in the CTO Zoo”. Please do check out their websites for more on the work they do.

    Amy, one of 2 graphic designers in CTO and works for a London based agency Top Left Design

    Dylan & Meagan – represent a US based company, OrderTalk, providing telephone support for their US customers

    Brandon – founder & owner of ASA Media who’s most recent creation is the smart phone APP, Awesome South Africa *be sure to check this one out*

    Shane, Richard & Rhido – 3 very talented developers who work for a UK based company, RenderHeads creating some very clever augmented reality and interactive digital displays.

    Michael – Owner of Solutions WEB and our only resident website designer providing Internet Solutions to SME’s

    Angus – African Storybook Digital founder and also Producer: Carte Blanche. Category Winner: CNN Africa Journalist of the Year

    Denise – our most recent member at CTO is here from Germany doing a post doc project for the University of Johannesburg 

    Brigitta – runs an independent knitwear company with her mom which is supplied to some top brand retailers in SA

    Ronelle – our 2nd graphic designer in the office with her company, Graffic Traffic and also the founder / creator of TREK Survival Gear that is stocked by Cape Union Mart and Outdoor Warehouse across South Africa.

    Scott & Daniel of BETVIP – Bitcoin enthusiasts operating a secure, licensed (Curacao) enterprise-grade sportsbook solution with a full team of customer support representatives, bookmakers/traders and developers.

    Rob – a financial analyst who works for UK based hedge funds, which is mostly pouring over spreadsheets 😉

    Sean a former Durbanite who runs the sales and marketing for a US based company, Alcobond in Cape Town

    Annie – Tour operator in Cape Town for a UK based company, Jacada Travel “Private Luxury Tours & Safaris”

    John – founder and owner of Big Blue Sky Tours… he’s out alot so we only see him when he is catching up with his admin 😉

    Lizelle(that’s me) operating LVR business to business Ltd from CTO – Marketing/Lead Generation/Telemarketing services

    entrance CTO

    April 30, 2014
    Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Start-up

    CTO 2.0

    Greetings all you lovely people out there. First off the obligatory apology for taking sooooooooo long to get an update to you all, but it’s been a summer of note this side, hoping you’ve had a good one too.

    So, a quick recap. We’ve seen a few new faces join the CTO crew over the past few months, The Renderheads crew from Liverpool have set up camp here – do check out their work. We’ve also had the guys from OrderTalk (US), BetTech and JacadaTravel join the fold at CTO. So, with our regular crew this means that CTO is full till September 2014 which is just fantastic. What’s even more brilliant is the amount of inquiries that keep coming in so we’ve decided it’s time to EXPAND.

    CTO 2.0 will be on the 2nd floor of 62 Roeland, but a much bigger space than the original. We’ve got 2 super talented designers/architects on the project and cannot wait to share with you all what the final layout/design will be. Renovations will start in earnest after the crazy period of long weekends are behind us and fingers crossed we’ll open our doors come July 1st. I suspect a wee cocktail / launch party might well  be in order for that, so keep an eye on your inbox.

    Other exciting news is one of long standing CTO members, Awesome SA are doing really well having launched the APP in January they already have 2,500 downloads and recently received the proverbial “nod of approval”  from WESGRO which is just brilliant! For those of you who don’t know this already, I decided to join the Awesome team with Brandon Wilson (Founder) at the helm bringing sales, marketing and general operational help to the party. It’s been one of the most challenging and exciting projects I’ve worked on, bar none! One of the biggest reasons for opening up CTO in the first place was to foster an environment where collaborations between entrepreneurs can take place and AwesomeSA is a great example of just that. Through the various stages of the project we’ve drawn on the help and expertise of a few CTO members for help on design, development and mostly morale support! You simply can’t beat being in the community of fellow entrepreneurs.

    I’m already taking in bookings for CTO 2.0 – so if you’re interested or know anyone who might be looking at a collaborative space to work from, please do send them our way. Our rates are simple, R1,500 per month is what it is and there’s no extras on top. Access to a meeting space, communal kitchen area of course and inclusive internet as well.

    Have a super shiny rest of April and for all you South Africans reading this… I hope you all cast your vote on the 7th of May!

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

    April 29, 2014
    Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Paperless: dream or possible?

    Weird topic right? But the other day I had a pleasure of spending time in a similar space to Cape Town Office, 88mph located in the (uber trendy) Woodstock Exchange. A good friend of mine has taken over the running of the space and what a space it is. I won’t bore you with the details only to say that this is a space for tech heads, start-ups to be exact.

    Sitting with my mate I couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of shelving / storage and so asked him about this. I wondered whether there were perhaps lockers or cabinets elsewhere where they could store their paper work. The answer I got was simply, no. This is a paperless office.

    When I got back to my office and saw the amount of paperwork on my desk I wondered to myself whether it was possible to lead a 100% paperless office.

    ADMIN

    I work online and receive as much as I can (bills etc.) via email, but still I have paperwork that I need to file, so even in this day and age my question is whether this is simply an ideal we strive for or whether it’s possible to truly have a paperless office.

    So, send me your thoughts / comments and pictures of your desk to compare.

    Can you go 100% paperless?

    Have a great week,

    Lizelle

     

    October 07, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Start-up diary: Collaborative workspaces are great for growing businesses c/o The Telegraph

    Forgive me for “borrowing” this content, but this is a great read for those of you still trying to work from home. This might just be what you needed to hear.

    Deciding where you’re going to base your business is a massive headache. With little money coming in to begin, with you feel you should work at home. I did this for a few weeks but found it a distracting existence. Due to the close proximity of my kitchen and internet recipes, I found myself becoming a better chef rather than a better entrepreneur.

    What was worse, though, was feeling that I couldn’t switch off when the working day was done. So I went through the business owners’ rite of passage of looking for office space.

    Initially I was not looking forward to this. I felt I would be faced with serving my time in a broom cupboard. Yet due to the huge growth in single-person businesses, up by 500,000 between 2008 and 2012, a whole industry has emerged that provides workspace to this group.

    Collaborative workspaces are the hot new trend for one-man bands. These are spaces in which like-minded communities of entrepreneurs work in the same area and help each other. This concept is attractive because they naturally create a sociable environment by bringing together companies that have things in common.

    A central theme of my business is to ensure that the operation of 100 Bodycare is as environmentally friendly as possible in terms of its ingredients, packaging and production, so when I was looking for space I sought a community of social entrepreneurs and soon came across The Hub.

    This concept was launched in 2005 in a converted warehouse in Islington and has grown to have workspace on five continents. Anna Levy, who co-managers the Hub Islington, describes Hub entrepreneurs as “having a shared set of values in wanting to make a positive social impact with their businesses.”

    The Hub was my first proper office. I found it particularly useful in moulding the initial structure of my business before I started trading. The Hub is setup to foster communication between its businesses and I benefitted from its monthly Hub Club meetings in which entrepreneurs present business problems to each other. I made a presentation about measuring the carbon footprint of my packaging and as a result got the feedback and contacts I needed.

    Entrepreneurial business space is increasingly transient in nature. Community-based spaces have contributed to this trend as certain environments can suit your business at different stages in its lifecycle. Therefore many small businesses have a nomadic existence going from one community to another and sometimes back again depending on the needs of the business at a point in time.

    This was certainly the reason I left the Hub. When I started trading I recognised that I had a big knowledge gap around digital technology. In order to compete with the larger companies in my industry, this was something I really had to learn. As a result, I sought out a workspace called ‘The Accelerator’ based in Shoreditch, London.

    The Accelerator is publically funded to support high growth businesses which use digital technology. It develops the digital knowledge base of its community and helped me via courses they put together from the learning of the businesses that work there.

    In addition the Accelerator provides strategic advice to its entrepreneurs via a team of experienced business people that coordinate the workspace. Richard Celm, who manages the Accelerator, also explained that he sometimes facilitates access to finance.

    “We have private and public contacts that have helped Accelerator businesses such as ‘Tweet Photo’ and ‘Fitness to Life’ recently get the funds for growth,” he told me. “Being publically-funded makes our willingness to help entrepreneurs more credible as we’ve got no commercial agenda.”

    Collaborative spaces aren’t perfect for every type of business. The byproduct of the vibrancy of a collaborative space is that they’re often very noisy and distracting. Also there can be an issue of employee retention as the close proximity of the community can lead to people moving from one company to another. Nevertheless, for my business at the moment, as I seek to evolve my business model, the contacts and knowledge I’m gaining offset the disadvantages.

    I hope my thoughts were of use and if anyone wishes to contact me I’m very happy to help on www.100bodycare.com

    To comment on the original piece, please visit The Telegraph website here.

    Happy October folks (or should that be #Ocsober)

    Lizelle

    October 02, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Shared Office

    The Daily Commute

    So, I have a question for you – how long is your daily commute? Do you travel to work by car, bike, train or bus and generally speaking is a pleasant journey?

    My brother in-law is visiting us for a week. He lives in Pretoria and truly is one of those busy Gauteng’ers who never seem to sit still. Last night, over dinner, we chatted about this and that and the topic of commuting came up. His journey / commute however is quite different. He tells me that he will spend an average of 3 hours EVERY DAY commuting on that dreaded highway between Pretoria and Joburg to get to work and the stress is enough to drive anyone nuts.  He has been doing this for nearly 4 years now, so in some ways it’s become as normal as brushing his teeth.

    On-the-tube-in-London

    When I speak to my London mates, making a 45 minute tube journey to work in the morning (squeezed, in like sardines) is pretty standard and acceptable. They even find ways of reading while they do it!

    Now, by Cape Town standards my commute is almost worthy (to most locals) of packing “padkos” – a whole 25kms from Muizenberg to Roeland Street. I’ll admit that some days it’s trying, especially on rainy days when people seem to forget how to drive, but for the most part I really enjoy the the scenery along the M3 and some lovely tunes as the soundtrack before the madness of my day begins. It raises an interesting point I thought. What is an acceptable commute in this day and age?

    Perhaps its conditioning or sorts. We find ways to adapt and make the best of it, but at what price? When do we stop to ask what this daily schlepp is really costing us. Is it worth the paycheck at the end of the month?

    Here are some interesting reads I found highlighting the negative effects of commuting.

    1. Commuting makes you unhappy – c/o The Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/06/perils-commuting
    2. Your Long Commute May Be Hurting Your Marriage http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/08/your-long-commute-may-be-hurting-your-marriage/6483/
    3. 5 ways to stop your commute from killing you  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41175749/ns/health-heart_health/t/ways-keep-your-commute-killing-you/#.UkKUPpKR9sk

    So how long is your commute?

    September 25, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Start-up

    When the theory just works

    Maverick-Digital-Labs-Logo

    I’d like to share a bit of a feel-good story with you all.

    In December ’12 I was approached by someone looking for temporary shared “office space”. The conversation went along very familiar lines; how does it all work at Cape Town Office, what kind of professionals are in the space now and of course the most important question of all… how much does it cost?

    The underlying theme here was quite familiar. This was a start-up and like so many start up ventures they faced a heap of challenges and if you work in this space you’ll be very familiar with some of these…

    • Company registration
    • Tax clearance [SARS]
    • Systems and processes
    • Sales & Marketing
    • Recruitment
    • New business

    But perhaps the biggest and arguably most tedious of challenges the start-up faces is office space, so when M4verick Digital found the Cape Town Office, they immediately understood how this would benefit them.

    They moved in on the first day of 2013 with a team of just 4 – not knowing where this venture would lead, how long it would take for them to establish themselves and ultimately whether it would work, but at least they had an office space that didn’t tie them into a long and expensive lease, they didn’t have to furnish their office and they didn’t have to arrange internet. (Love you Telkom, but you’re hard work sometimes)

    They walked in – sat down – and started work.

    And my goodness, did they work hard! Early mornings and late (very late) nights, weekends too and so it was no surprise that they were quickly rewarded with more customers. Being in a space where they could scale up (or down if needed) meant that taking on extra staff was easy. Easy on the cash flow and easy to manage. I’ve watched them grow into what is now an established player in the digital field with a growing list of blue chip clients and outstanding quality of work. With a strong full time team of 6 and a network of freelancers they can outsource to it was time for M4verick to move into their own space. Luckily they haven’t gone far… just 2 floors up, but we do miss them here in the office, that’s for sure!

    Check them out http://m4verick.co.za/clients/

    The bottom line is that from my perspective it puts into practice the theory of co-working, of sharing costs and sharing a work space. It works. And that makes me very happy indeed.

    Happy Spring everyone 🙂

     

    September 10, 2013