As corporates and smaller firms around the world reel from the effects of the global economic downturn, Shell LiveWIRE International – a network designed to inspire and develop enterprise in young people – has released results of a survey that everyone but an entrepreneur will find amazing.

According to the study, one in three entrepreneurs says his or her business confidence remained unchanged during the depths of the recession; while more than six out of ten expect their businesses to perform “significantly better” over the next 12 months.

The message is clear: “Entrepreneurship will save the world,” says Mark Levy, Co-founder of Linkbook.

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One of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make when they employ staff is to make them part of their extended families. Do that and you have lost control from the get-go.

Maintaining control of your staff is critical to ensuring that everyone works well together, in the same direction and towards a common goal. Most importantly, it will ensure that everyone is working to maintain the highest quality of service and/or quality control.

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Your business has reached that crucial stage: do you hand some of the management responsibilities to someone else, or insist on retaining absolute control at the expense of growth? Nikki Viljoen offers some insights for those in this situation.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Entrepreneur” as ‘Person in effective control of commercial undertaking; one who undertakes a business or enterprise with chance of profit or loss; contractor acting as intermediary’ and “Manager” as ‘Person conducting a business institution.’ As you can see they are quite similar, but very different.

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altThe idea of working from home appeals to many people who long for some flexibility in their work schedule, or don’t enjoy corporate culture, or who want to start their own business. Robin Wheeler shares some further insights into why working from home can be a good move.

Running your business or freelancing from home makes sense on many levels. It is worth considering and adapting to, for you, your clients and the planet.

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Large companies and groups are generally able to offer lower prices due to economies of scale. SMEs can, and should, play the customer service card. Follow these tips to give your customers the royal treatment.
 
Customer service is a phrase so well worn that it has almost become meaningless. Every second business on the planet promises it, but very few get it right.  So what constitutes excellent customer service? Adhere to these principles and you’ll be off to a good start.

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Why is expansion always the goal? Maybe the right size for your company is five people – or just you and a laptop …

The following is an extract from the book Rework, as reviewed and summarised by Tim Ferriss on www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog:

People ask, “How big is your company?” It’s small talk, but they’re not looking for a small answer. The bigger the number, the more impressive, professional, and powerful you sound. “Wow, nice!” they’ll say if you have a hundred-plus employees. If you’re small, you’ll get an “Oh … that’s nice”.

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altOfficeworkers everywhere now have the opportunity to add their contribution to eco-friendly workplaces. The week of 19 to 23 April is to be Green Office Week in South Africa, and is intended both to raise awareness of the importance of eco-friendly offices as well as inform office workers that they too can make a positive impact on the environment whilst at work.

An initiative by Dictum Publishers, the aim is to encourage employees throughout South Africa, in big and small organisations, whether in the public or private sector, to take a look at their daily routines and realize the economic benefits of reducing energy and resource requirements.

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As a small business, how do you get noticed among all the other entrepreneurs out there? And once you’ve been noticed, how do you keep your customers happy and coming back for more? Jules Newton of Avocado Vision shares some ideas.

Small businesses really don’t often have the money or expensive marketing skills to promote themselves in the way we are used to seeing multi-million rand companies do. What we really need to do is to figure out clever ways to talk to your own target market in a way that gets them excited or intrigued about what you have to offer. Obviously, the type of business you’re building will determine how you will approach your market.

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