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With the advent of laptops and increasingly accessible and fast internet connections, working at home is a huge success. Many digital nomads take advantage of their freedom to change offices regularly. Some of these entrepreneurs choose coworking, the benefits of which are more numerous than one might think. This article will elaborate on coworking and office sharing experiences and their advantages.

Coworking saves money

Sharing offices often happens for economic reasons. Office rent can cost a lot of money per square metre, especially in big cities. Adding a few more workstations to the premises will allow you to optimize the work space, thus reducing the cost.

Similarly, there are many ways to diminish other fixed and variable costs associated with business management. These include the consumables related to the basic management of the company (coffee, electricity, internet, printer, maintenance expenses, etc.).

A group meeting room, with a reservation system, also allows you to fully exploit the space that you are renting.

Why not also consider sharing software licences? Creating an additional account is better than subscribing to a new full subscription.

If your businesses are successful and the coworking goes well, you can consider renting bigger spaces for your growing companies. It will enable you to increase the standard of your office without costing too much.

 

Say goodbye to loneliness

One of the main problems of entrepreneurship is loneliness. Therefore, another main advantage of coworking is the possibility to meet people.

By “crashing” into offices that are not your own, you can meet other people and no longer work alone. These meetings can often also generate additional business for you or your host. Coworking with people in a field of activity close to or complementary to your practice is a smart move. You can respond together to requests from customers or simply seek help from those around you.

 

Shoot for your business’ growth

If you trust and get along with your coworkers, try to organise regular meetings. For example, you can have breakfast together on Friday mornings and talk about what happened during the week. These meetings would allow you to discuss problems and think up solutions, like a team. This is a great way to come up with fresh ideas that you maybe would have never thought of alone.

Incubators are particularly suited to this practice and are the ideal place to find coworkers.

 

Prerequisites for problem-free coworking

For coworking to work, you have to get along with the other parties. This is why a lot of people choose to cowork with friends. However, strangers can also make for perfect coworking partners.

For instance, open spaces are places where everyone can work together as long as they follow the rules. The aim is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. These rules should include noise restrictions and security measures. You can also create a contract to make sure that everyone abides by the rules you define.

If you can find the right coworkers and working environment, your business will evolve in a dynamic space. This is less socially taxing and more beneficial in terms of money and growth than working at home. Ultimately, the key is to follow the rules and get along with each other for a smooth coworking experience.

Entrepreneur is a job, and as with every job, it has its requirements. While this career path does allow for a certain degree of flexibility and uniqueness, some attributes still remain essential. Here are five of the most common and important qualities of an entrepreneur.

1. Entrepreneurs are brimming with determination

Entrepreneurs should be resolute about going through with their projects. Once they create their own company, they must know how far they want to go with it. They should do everything they can to make the start-up grow.

A determined person will find no excuse not to move forward.

However, one should not confuse determination with obstinacy. Determination is about having a specific goal and doing what it takes to achieve it. Obstinacy is repetitively doing something that does not work and thinking that it will work someday.

You have to accept failures as necessary steps in your path to success. An entrepreneur also has to accept criticism and should not yield to discouraging comments or events.

 

2. Do not be afraid of running out of money

Starting as an entrepreneur is not always easy. Unless you are setting up a web business via a blog, you will probably spend quite a lot of money. You might even have a loan to repay and sales will not flare from the beginning.

Entrepreneurs are not afraid of not getting a salary in the early months. They have already planned savings and know that the company’s income goes to its growth first and foremost. Profits will come in later when the entrepreneurs manage to find enough clients for their business.

 

3. Be organized & create plans

Entrepreneurs are also very organized, know exactly when to go to work and precisely what to do.

They also have everything planned in advance, be it their daily schedule or their company’s yearly goals.

Of course, we cannot plan everything. There will be contingencies and the entrepreneurs will then have to use other skills to improvise. However, dealing with these unforeseen events does not imply forgetting the plan and the objectives!

 

4. Entrepreneurs want to be free

In general, entrepreneurs have a strong thirst for freedom. They wish to take control of their life, their future, and do not want to be accountable to anyone. They are willing to work hard even at the expense of a big salary, all for the sake of freedom. Without being tied to a boss, to a regular nine-to-five job, the possibilities are endless.

 

5. Being disciplined

Entrepreneurs are also disciplined. This attribute follows organisation closely. Once again, entrepreneurs put a lot of emphasis on planning appointments and tasks weeks and sticking to that schedule.

What differs discipline from organisation is that it affects the entrepreneur’s decision-making and undertaking skills. They can set their feelings apart when necessary so as to be objective when taking important decisions.

Also, when managing a team of employees, discipline is important to maintain a certain order. However, it should not be overbearing so as to not create a suffocating atmosphere. Finding the right balance is key.

 

There are surely many other qualities that entrepreneurs generally possess and that accompany them on the path of success. Sometimes, they display all of these attributes and sometimes just a few. As mentioned earlier, each entrepreneur is unique and will have their own way of making their company grow. This freedom is, after all, the appeal of entrepreneurship.

Communication is the key to promoting your start-up. However, getting a website, promoting via phone calls and/or advertising through the web are not enough in 2019. There is a lot of work involved in making your start-up known to its market/audience. Take a look at the alternative marketing strategies below for a glimpse 2019’s advertising trends:

 

1. Develop a content marketing strategy for your start-up

Content marketing is one of the best strategies you can turn to. Not only is it affordable, it is also effective and renders tangible results.

To attract the attention of your audience, you can create any kind of content. These can be blog articles, infographics, videos, podcasts, guides, white papers, etc. You can also distribute the same content through various forms of media. People are more likely to share interesting content on social networks and make it become viral. This will likely garner the attention of your potential clients and will eventually lead to sales.

However, any content marketing strategy requires special attention to SEO. It is essential to boost your visibility on search engines. You can call on SEO professionals for this task.

A content marketing strategy should allow you to:

  • Become a reference brand in your industry
  • Be credible in the eyes of netizens
  • Inform your audience about the products or services you sell
  • Improve your SEO and your site’s traffic

Make sure you know your target before you start creating content. You should also regularly measure the performance of your strategy to improve it.

 

2. Go for videos and webinars

The video format is currently extremely popular and versatile. You can use it to create all types of content: interviews, testimonials, presentations for your company, and even webinars!

You can present your company, the products or services you sell and their features and benefits live on Facebook or YouTube. This allows your audience to react in a more immediate way. You can also answer their questions and thus get closer to your customers. Make sure to promote your webinar a few days or even weeks in advance for a bigger audience.

As long as you make your videos or presentations interesting and lively, you are sure to reap great results.

 

3. Use influencers to advertise your products

Similarly to videos, influencer marketing is in full hype. While famous influencers are expensive to hire, you can still increase your visibility with micro influencers.

For this strategy to be effective, choose web stars who communicate to target that you want to reach. This will allow them to effectively promote your products to a wider audience.

Another advantage of using this method is that it will make your company appear trendy. Your audience will see your start-up as innovative and it will gather more interest. It also increases your chances to go viral and gain the attention of investors.

The above-mentioned strategies can help increase your visibility as well as your credibility. Depending on your target audience, some methods might work better or less well than others. Carry out research about your competitors and differentiate your business from them. While tactics will work for your 2019 audience, the future is still open to innovations. Therefore, do not hesitate to adapt your method according to the changes in your market.

We currently live in a world led by communication and new technologies that are being developed at a dazzling rate. Mobile applications, which emerged in the 1990s, have become an unavoidable global phenomenon. These even compete with websites and attract millions of users. Each year, companies who want to access this market delve into marketing strategies that focus primarily on apps. So, what makes apps so appealing and what can they bring to your business?

Mobile apps: a way to improve your brand

The way your customers view your company matters. By getting an app for your business, you will develop a modern and innovative corporate image. This will help in the branding process and will later appeal to the majority of global consumers. You will also specifically respond to the needs and desires of consumers in terms of communication, modernization and accessibility.

A way to retain and acquire new customers

Speaking of accessibility, apps allow you to remain closer to your customers. They provide your clients with an easy and fast way of contacting your company. Unlike a website or a phone number, the application is always within their reach on their phones. This will also reduce chances of your customers going to competitors. Mobile apps increase your company’s credibility through reviews and comments, which will attract potential clients.

Enhanced communication with your regular customers

Access to mobile apps is easy. You can download an app within seconds and use it at home, at work or while on the move. In addition to being accessible, they allow you to communicate with your clients in a way that websites do not. Notifications, for instance, are incredibly useful to remind your customers about events and sales. They appear directly on your clients’ smartphones and make for great advertising.

Mobile apps increase productivity

Apps are also popular among entrepreneurs for management purposes. They help to optimise sales, increase communication among employees and improve productivity. Aside from an app for your business, you can consider creating one to manage and relay information. From booking to accessing product information, everything is more readily available to your staff. Your customers may also find apps easier to navigate, thus reducing the risk of dissatisfaction.

Intelligent apps to offer better services

Why carry out surveys among your customers when your app can do it for you? Intelligent apps are very useful to collect and analyse information. This includes:

  • the number of times the application is used
  • the frequency of use of certain features
  • the location of your clients
  • the products they prefer

The list goes on. Apps allow you to understand your customers, their tastes and their needs better to offer a customised service. In addition, mobile apps have perfect synchronization with social networks. This enables consumers to share content from the app directly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. By doing so, they are providing free advertising for your company, leading to increased sales and popularity.

In short, it does not matter whether you are a large company or a local business. Acquiring a mobile application will allow you to meet the expectations of the current market. Decide on the services that you wish to offer via the app and encourage its use among your clients. The results are bound to be positive.

Should you start your own business? If you are asking yourself that question, you are almost ready to go for it. This is how the biggest adventures begin: weighing the advantages and disadvantages, the benefits, the risks, etc. There is no lack of motivation when it comes to becoming your own boss. Rather than asking yourself “if” you should launch a start-up, why not ask “why” you should do it? So, why start your own business?

Becoming an entrepreneur to earn more money

Money is one of the primary factors that most people consider when thinking about launching their own business. It is, of course, a valid motivation. However, starting a business often means making less money at first, or even no money at all. Subsequently, entrepreneurs end up earning more or less the same amount of money they did when they were employees. Profits and growth depend on the economic model, the market, the sector, etc. That being said, bosses still generally earn more than the average wage earner. Therefore, you can start your own business to make more money. You just have to be patient and to remember that it can take time.

Launching a business to become your own boss

This factor is motivating enough. Do you want to manage your own schedule? Want to be independent and accountable only to your clients? Are you tired of following someone else’s strategy? Want to take control and test your ideas? If yes, the time has come to create your own company. Entrepreneurs need to have a certain drive and thirst for independence to thrive for success. Being an entrepreneur means having to do everything on your own, taking on all the risks and moving forward. Some may find it too taxing while others will flourish through it.

Creating your own company for the sake of passions and dreams

Another reason people often choose to become entrepreneurs is to devote themselves to their passion. In these cases, other motives and constraints become secondary factors. The only thing that matters is to do what they want to do. While launching your business for this purpose can be a bit risky, passion is a quintessential element in entrepreneurship. It is what will help you overcome obstacles and hard times. If you are passionate about what you do, you will easily convince your customers, partners and employees. Your entrepreneurship experience will also be much more fun and fruitful.

Simply for the sake of work

If you cannot find a job, create one. Jobseekers make up a big portion of entrepreneurs. They often start a business with work as the sole motivation, which is just fine. These entrepreneurs who create their own jobs have a lot to gain in the long run. They end up acquiring experience and knowledge about the world of entrepreneurship. Gradually, they also become more motivated to grow as entrepreneurs.

Or because of great timing

Several elements often become major catalysts in a person’s pursuit of entrepreneurship. One may have every type of motivation and the economic backing to want to launch a business. However, sometimes the conditions are not met. Factors that one might overlook become crucial turning points. The market or the suppliers might not not ready. Even the season or the general local business atmosphere can affect the success or the launch of a business. In other words, timing is important and can be a motive all by itself.

There are a myriad of other reasons why you should open a business. The driving factor however still lies within you. Do you want to become your own boss? Do you feel confident about your service or product? Will you be able to work on your own? Are you willing to learn everything about becoming an entrepreneur? Do you have the patience for it? All of these, any many more unlisted questions, are determining factors that you may want to consider. Entrepreneurship is an adventure. It is up to you to join.

Marc Israel is Turbine’s newest addition to the team of coaches who accompany our startups. He’s an engineer by qualification, having majored in Robotics which he claims was not a very sexy choice at the time that he was in university. He made up for that by serving in the French army for some time.

He has subsequently developed a very impressive professional track record in launching his own IT services company which he sold with the intention of catching a break from the hustle and bustle of his Parisian life, little did he know, he would never be returning there as a resident.

Marc started consulting for Microsoft and was subsequently appointed as Director of Marketing in Cloud Computing there. After 17 years of service, he left Microsoft last year. He explains that he had been experiencing an increasing amount of pressure from the corporate world and that he felt the need to start something of his own again. He moved to Mauritius and now has a company in Technology and Digital Transformation in companies around cloud computing and slowly exploring AI.

Mauritius being a tiny market, he was lucky to have had Mauritius as a target market when he was working at Microsoft. This means that he knew a lot of people in the industry before starting his own venture. Despite this, he was still bootstrapping at the beginning. He knew that he had to expand beyond Mauritius and use technology as a leverage for that.

Our incubated had quite a few salient questions that Marc candidly responded to. Here are a few of them:

  • How do you convince your customers that the solution you are offering is the right one?

He asks for pain points within the company, he explains. Be it in the production line, or in IT, or in anything that they can come up with. He says it is important to know to ask the right questions that need solutions. This may not come over night, but can become apparent after a couple of meetings. Once this process is complete, he says it is important to obtain a proof of concept for the proposed solution.

He emphasizes that there are still certain myths around AI. This is the reason why he has decided to launch a series of Talks called AI Tuesdays: To educate more people in Mauritius around AI.

 

  • When you don’t have a big brand’s credibility behind how do you go about creating trust with your target market, especially Mauritius?

First of all, it isn’t always the best thing to be associated to a big brand, beyond positive brand equity, it can have tons of opponents. If your target market is Mauritius, then you need create awareness around your project.

If your target market is not Mauritius, then forget about Mauritius and try tackle international markets. Scale from the get go. Think about what you can offer for free now that you can get money from later: Think about how you can attract as many people as fast as possible. Scale is the essence of the game.

It is also important to give some thought to your value proposition and think about what you are you offering that other people are not and how you are doing it. Think in terms of customer benefits, don’t fall in love with your features.

 

  • With regards to scaling to Africa, what is the advice you would give?

One of the first things to keep in mind when thinking about scaling to Africa that Africa is a continent, not a country. Often what works in one country will not work in another. Target is key!

Secondly, it is also important to note that out of approximately 1 billion people in the entire continent, you will probably only be target about 30% to 40% of the population, which as a percentage seems small but would still represent approximately 300 to 400 million.

As a final piece of advice to entrepreneurs wanting launch their startups Marc suggests to go swift and to go fast. Acquiring business is one of the main priorities that you must set for yourself.

To raise money and start a small business, there is nothing better than investors. These individuals and/or companies pour money into your project, leaving you free to make it thrive. However, sponsors do not provide funds easily. They may also not invest at all if they do not find the idea to be profitable enough. To raise your chances of getting sponsored, you need a truly brilliant idea and solid preparation. Find some tips on ways to get funding below:

Consider joining an incubator for your start-up

You just got your idea for a start-up and you are new to the idea of entrepreneurship. If your project is an innovative one, you can consider joining an incubator. These organisations assist entrepreneurs and help them grow their idea into a flourishing start-up. They provide various types of facilities, such as access to legal services and to a work space. These incubators, such as Turbine, can help you to connect with like-minded individuals and thus create a professional network. They will eventually provide you with the means to get funding for your start-up to grow.

Make your activity visible to investors

Sometimes, businesses do not need much funding to launch on a small scale. Once this is done, you can attract investors by making your activity as visible as possible. Become trendy. Get media attention and work on your popularity on social media. Use influencers and SEO tactics as much as possible. Getting popular in Mauritius is easy since its population is quite small. Journalists are also always on the lookout for innovative subjects to cover. Make your business famous even before you present it to potential investors. This will considerably increase your chances of getting a sponsor.

Know your business from A to Z

The key is to arrive to your presentation well-prepared. If you are unsure about your idea and/or your charts and figures, you will not paint a reliable picture of yourself. The investors will not deem you capable enough to carry out the project. In other cases, they will not deem the project itself worthy enough. An investor is looking for a leader, a ship’s captain. A captain who does not know its ship cannot lead it on a successful journey.

Prepare a rock-solid business plan and revise accounting and management basics. Work on your public speaking skills and rehearse your presentation before the actual day. Focus on communicating your vision and on displaying its potential. You already know your project and your market by heart. So you need to impress with figures to bring credibility to your project.

 

Once you obtain funding, you should work on building sales rapidly. A start-up will only become a fully-fledged business if it demonstrates rapid growth. Investors will also be more at ease about sponsoring your project if they see quick and satisfying results. A fast-growing company will give less opportunity to competitors. Aside from sponsors, you can consider other options to raise capital. These are crowdfunding, money-saving and loans, amongst others.

Social media has been gaining more and more importance across the years with the rise of digital advertising. At the local level, various Mauritian entrepreneurs have opened sustainable social-media exclusive businesses. Others have boosted their start-ups thanks to well-timed and focused social media marketing strategies. Others still use their accounts to create online portfolios for their products. What makes these communication and socializing platforms so lucrative and advantageous to entrepreneurs? Find the answers below:

 

Social media is free/inexpensive

Be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, all of them enable users to create free accounts. Entrepreneurs do not have to spend a rupee to set up their business online via these platforms. The advanced advertising options also do not cost much. This makes them especially convenient for beginners and small businesses who cannot afford an actual website. They do not have to pay monthly rent, labour costs and/or invest in merchandise to display. For instance, various on-demand food businesses have flourished with these low-cost options.

 

Social media is user-friendly

Most of the popular social media platforms are easy to use. They are designed to make users comfortable and they make business-running easy. Young entrepreneurs excel at working with these sites and apps and can expertly launch their start-up online. On the other hand, some members of the aged population might find the technology daunting. However, if taught properly, they will surely be able to use the platforms. Busy people also find it easier to use online means of browsing and shopping. Social media is, after all, less time consuming and location-sensitive than traditional brick and mortar stores.

 

The platforms have a large daily user-count

Social media platforms provide entrepreneurs with access to an important number of local and foreign potential clients. They offer opportunities for mass viewership and for a considerable rise in popularity. This also applies in vice versa. Users can easily access information and pictures about entrepreneurs and their businesses. This helps to build a reputation and increases communication between businesses and clients. Additionally, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence and databases, potential customers receive advertisement campaigns according to their interests. This maximises chances of them visiting the advertised page and buying the product.

 

Social media is a trendy form of doing business

The contemporary society is very receptive of innovation. Social media businesses embrace this trend and become part of the online community. Incidentally, the rise of influencer marketing perfectly highlights the increasing popularity of digital advertising. By using influencers to promote a product, entrepreneurs target the local population in a very trendy way. This can also work to increase the credibility of the business, thus attracting more customers.

As seen above, social media offers a wide range of opportunities to entrepreneurs. From setup to marketing to customer management, these platforms work to facilitate business creation and development. Entrepreneurs who wish to evaluate their start-ups before investing also sometimes turn to social media for a test run. Various other advantages include employee communication, instant company updates, maintaining an online presence, keeping track of the competition, etc…

Developing your business abroad seems simple thanks to the Internet. However, internationalisation can fail without a good prior study of the competition, the market, and/or cultural codes.

Digital activities are continuing to grow internationally, partly due to the facilities that the Internet offers to entrepreneurs. It is easy to slack off with the advantages of technology. It allows you to create an activity with the prospect of developing it internationally, all without moving from home. This does not mean that it is effortless. To expand on an international scale, you will need to grow your expertise and multiply collaborations. Therefore, staying at home and taking it easy is not a real option.

Below are some key steps to take when planning to launch your business abroad.

Analyse your business’s performance with regards to the local market

Before considering the expansion of your business on the international scale, you should conduct a study about its current performance. Are local customers happy with the services that it offers? Is your business successful at the local level? If the answers to these are yes, you should try to understand what makes your product/service appealing to consumers.

If you are unfamiliar with the local market or the behaviour of your customers, you can ask them directly. Set up a feedback form on your website, e-mail your clients with questions or conduct a satisfaction survey. The information that you gather will allow you to identify what makes your product attractive to your consumers. This data will be crucial when you start working on internationalisation.

Understand the expectations of the target foreign market

Your product may be the best and most attractive in its local market. There is still a possibility that it will not work at all in a new geographical area. Various entrepreneurs face this problem when they attempt to expand abroad without carrying out prior research.

Determining the readiness of the target foreign market to accept your product is easier after studying its demands. It is also helpful to determine whether the competition is already established and powerful or not.

Be patient and take your time to determine the above factors instead of rushing in unknown territory. If you are lucky, you might struggle a bit in the beginning and learn as you go. With a little less luck, you will most likely fail to go with the trend and you will fall behind.

To avoid wasting your time and effort in an unsuccessful foreign business adventure, study carefully and prepare a viable plan.

Make your business adaptable

Observing the market and understanding it will also allow your company to adapt to its differences.

Adapting is necessary for the successful integration of your business in its new market. Be they languages, symbolism, colours or messages to convey, some are not well accepted in certain cultures. As they, your company should work to blend into the cultural mould of the destination market.

The prior research that you carry out will enhance your adaptability. You will be able to both merge with the culture and offer something new to the market. This is one of the formulas for success that are perfectly calibrated to an international deployment.

 

International growth is one of the most exciting and complicated stages in a business’s life. It can open up the market and the number of consumers within the enterprise’s network. It can also be catastrophic for development if it is poorly managed. Take the time to analyse and understand the new market, its cultural codes, its competition and its consumers. As said above, your product may be the best locally, but it must adapt to succeed internationally.

Behind every successful enterprise lies a controlled communication strategy. It is essential to integrate this type of strategy into most of your processes. This applies when exchanging with current customers, potential customers, service providers or your employees. Why such a focus on communication? That is because without consistent communication, you will not be able to build the trust of your audience. It will then be difficult to drive commitment and make your business profitable.

How to effectively communicate with the parties involved in your activity? This article provides answers to this question.

Communicating with potential customers

You must be particularly careful when exchanging with potential parties. Below are some rules to build their trust and turn them into clients:

  • Consumers want solutions. No matter what product you launch, highlight its ability to solve a problem or meet a specific need.
  • Focus most of your content on the value that your product or service can bring to consumers.
  • Be creative in your communication. Think about entertaining or inspiring your audience while conveying your idea. Clients will easily remember this type of message and will automatically think of your product when there is a need. Consider using online tools to create excellent visuals or videos. If necessary, you can also employ a graphic designer.
  • Experiment by interacting with the public through questionnaires, surveys and an active presence on social networks.

Communication with customers

Acquiring new clients is much more difficult than keeping the ones you already have. To sustain your business, take care of consumers who already trust you. Here are some tips to help you communicate with them and strengthen their loyalty:

  • Always thank a customer who buys your products by sending a personalized message. You can easily automate this practice if you sell your products or services online.
  • Ask customers to return after using your products and services. Also, consider getting their feedback regarding customer experience. Example of questions are: How did they choose your service? Did they find it easy or complicated to order on your site or to contact you?
  • Set up an irreproachable customer service. Returns, reimbursements and transactions must be smooth and quick.
  • Add a live chat on your website to facilitate communication with customers.
  • Recruit and train customer relationship agents with care; they represent your brand.
  • Ask your customers to produce content (testimonials or recommendations in video or image or text format) on your various platforms. They find enjoyment in doing so and you can easily share high quality content!

 

Communicating with your team

Be it your in-house staff or your service providers, you must always motivate your team. If the people who work with you are satisfied with their objectives, they will become your best ambassadors.

  • Your team needs to know your short and long-term goals. It is important for them to know where you’re going and what you want from them.
  • Get reports from your team members on a daily basis. This can be done either through face-to-face meetings or via video conference. Always ask what you can do to facilitate their job.
  • Develop personal relationships with your team through your communication. Share your life outside of work and encourage them to share theirs. Such a relationship encourages your staff to take initiatives and dedicate themselves to the company.
  • Involve your team when problems arise or decisions need to be made. Ask for their comments and ideas, even if you don’t use them in the end.
  • Openly congratulate and reward team members. Praising a team member in front of his peers is the best way to boost him for the future.

Take care of your communication with all the parties in your company. From customers to suppliers, colleagues and potential customers, all require special attention.

With the myriad of existing means of communication, you can make your business thrive and grow.