Best advice for SA entrepreneurs – other entrepreneurs


Image credit: [Hinterhaus Productions]/[Stone]/ GettyImages

When starting a new business, it helps to learn from other entrepreneurs who have been there. In fact, 72% of ecommerce entrepreneurs say other entrepreneurs have had the greatest impact on their business.

The Heavy Chef Foundation, in partnership with xneelo, recently published Heavy Chef’s eCommerce Entrepreneur Training Report, with the aim of helping entrepreneurs to successfully run their online businesses. The report draws on 298 first-hand accounts of the unique challenges faced by e-commerce founders, and how they overcame those hurdles.

We’ve picked out five key tips that we believe will benefit your business the most and help you avoid potential potholes down the road.

1. Find a partner who shares your vision

“[Partnerships] are truly the heart of your brand. Partnerships will make or destroy your business. Tshepo Mohlala, John TSHEPO

Choosing the right partners is crucial to the success of any online business, whether it is a member of your supply chain or a financial partner, such as a business incubator or a training program. development of business suppliers. According to the report, 52% of e-commerce entrepreneurs recognize the power of partnerships and networks and have made accessing operational and financial partners a top priority.

Fifty-two percent of e-commerce entrepreneurs recognize the power of partnerships and networks.

Heavy Chef eCommerce Entrepreneur Training Report

Share your brand history and the vision and relationship building with your partners can have a big impact on your business. Partnerships with other entrepreneurs can lead to new opportunities, increased word of mouth, and ensure your business has the support it needs to get through times of disruption.

2. Listen to your customers

“Our best characteristics have come from listening to our customers, iterating and then repeating this cycle. ” Aisha Pandor, South sweep

Every business has the same main function: to deliver a product or a service to an end user. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and the success of yours rests firmly on their backs. Taking a customer-centric approach to your operations means thinking about your customers’ needs every moment: from the moment they discover your website to the moment they check out and beyond. Plan your customers’ journey on your website and make every interaction they have with you as easy and smooth as possible. Most importantly, identify your customers’ demands and make sure your supply meets that need.

Delivering an exceptional customer and product experience will cement your relationship with existing customers and drive growth. According to the Gartner report, Create a high impact customer experience strategy, customer experience generates more than two-thirds of customer loyalty, while product experience has the greatest impact, accounting for over 36% of attitude change.

3. Make the most of your experience

“It always comes down to being obsessed with the essentials: customer service, quality and handling your money. ” Annette Muller, Flexyforce

Successful e-commerce entrepreneurs rely on their existing skills and foundational knowledge of running a business to get their online businesses off to a good start. “You can understand the success of e-commerce by reading our shopping malls”, says Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx. “It is fascinating to see how the physical point of sale is an integral part of the online retail space. “

The establishment of basic systems, processes and value chains is the basis of any successful start-up. And tapping into old adages like “the customer is always right” will never be outdated. In fact, most successful businesses put the customer at the heart of their business.

Use your business acumen to make the necessary decisions with confidence. After all, South African entrepreneurs are known for their tenacity and innovative thinking. A good example of this is the local e-commerce brand. John TSHEPO, who quickly diversified their product line online to include face masks to survive the disruption caused by COVID-19 and inadvertently created the season’s most requested fashion item.

4. Don’t be afraid to try something new

“Getting started is never easy, but I learned the basic programming on my own, built the prototype and never looked back. »Marie De Wet, Exam

Entrepreneurs are known for learning on the job and for doing things their own way. The report echoes this sentiment by asserting that most entrepreneurs are masters of self-directed learning. Part of this learning is to take bold action in unfamiliar territory like Sales and Marketing. One of the learning habits of successful entrepreneurs identified by Heavy Chef is to include marketing and sales skills in budgets, however small, to give their ecommerce sites a chance. In fact, 52% of entrepreneurs surveyed for the report wish they had invested in digital tools to bring their products to market sooner.

Learning a new skill can seem daunting and invest in unfamiliar activities like paid advertising and even more digital marketing campaigns, but taking the smallest step towards gaining a competitive advantage will benefit your business in the long run.

5. Use your contacts

“Team up to bulk ship, co-promote, cross-sell – you have to work together to survive. ” Justin Drennan, Parcel Ninja

One of the biggest challenges facing entrepreneurs is the lack of government and institutional support. As a result, many e-commerce companies have realized the potential of collaborating with other entrepreneurs to increase their influence and bargaining power. Relying on the support of the network can also reduce costs, foster relationships and generate lucrative business opportunities that might not have been available otherwise. Heavy Chef’s eCommerce Entrepreneur Training Report states that e-commerce entrepreneurs are actively seeking opportunities to connect, learn and share with their peers precisely because of the positive impact it will have on their business.

South Africa has its fair share of e-commerce success stories. Innovative companies like Take a lot, Yuppiechef and Superbalist continue to grow from strength to strength. Remember, these giants were once start-ups too.

Learn from the experiences of others, find and engage with entrepreneurs who have followed the same path, and mentor those who are just starting out, and your business could be South Africa’s next ecommerce success story.

If you are starting an ecommerce business or are already at an advanced stage in your professional journey, xneelo is here to help you with affordable hosting packages to suit every business.

The Heavy Chef E-Commerce Entrepreneur Education report was created by the Heavy Chef Foundation and xneelo to identify the learning needs of e-commerce entrepreneurs in South Africa.

“Xneelo is passionate about empowering South African entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge they need to start and grow their businesses. We are proud to be associated with Heavy Chef and their community of entrepreneurs. We believe that every successful business creates a multiplier effect for the company to thrive, ”said Philip Delport, CEO of xneelo.

To download a copy of the report, visit

Image credit: [Hinterhaus Productions]/[Stone]/Getty Images


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