This is Part two of our series where top South African entrepreneurs share how technology is helping them run more efficient and profitable small businesses.
See below what tech has had the biggest impact on their businesses, and their advice for other entrepreneurs.
- Sibu Mabena, founder of Duma Collective, a 100% black female owned creative communications agency.
- Boitumelo Monageng (founder) and Thabang Kgopane (managing director) of Swypa Delivery, a township-based door-to-door delivery app.
- Lebeko Mphelo (founder) and Thabang Wessie (COO) of Whoosh Innovations, a 100% Black, Youth-owned payment solutions provider based in Tshwane.
- Bilal Kathrada, founder of coding education platform, IT varsity, and Xander Apps, which develops educational apps for kids.
- Tiang Moabelo, founder and CEO of LoadALot, an innovative technology-based moving company.
- Tumediso Lobelo, MD of Crystal Partners, a majority female-owned and led investments entity. It has has been established as the alternative investment arm of Beryl Group.
SEE ALSO: You should be using tech in your business. For the next month we will be challenging all the tech myths that are holding you back from investing in business software. Follow our #debunkingtechmyths series on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, to learn more.
What are your three biggest considerations when making a purchase?
“Features, free trial, and price.” – Lebeko Mphelo and Thabang Wessie
“Definitely price, features and functionality.” – Boitumelo Monageng and Thabang Kgopane
“Price; how many people I can have using it at one time; and FAQs (what do people complain about the most and can I handle that headache).” – Sibu Mabena
ROI – “When purchasing technology, we looked into the following:
– Is there a need to have this specific technology today and is it what the market needs, i.e. is it solving an existing problem, timing?
– How much will it cost and can we self-fund it or will we need to raise capital, price?
– How will the technology improve the business model and profitability, return on investment.” – Tiang Moabelo
“So my three biggest considerations are, firstly, that it does really good at what it does; and secondly, it integrates with other applications. Like for example Outlook integrates with Zoom, Slack integrates with OneDrive, that’s also very good to us,
Lastly, price does play a role, especially with a small business like ours, we don’t have unlimited budgets for software.” – Bilal Kathrada
“The key considerations for Crystal Partners when making a purchase are value, features, flexibility (ability to customize) and security.” – Tumediso Lobelo
Which software do you use for the following tasks (if applicable):
Boitumelo Monageng and Thabang Kgopane
- Accounting – Xerox
- POS system – Yoco Pro
- CRM – Euphoria Telecoms
- Payroll – Xerox
- Business banking – ABSA/Discovery/FNB/Capitec
- Web hosting & app development – Invoke Solutions
- Ecommerce – Website builder
- Others– For customer care we use WhatsApp Business. As the Swypa Delivery app is currently still in testing stages, WhatsApp Business is what we primarily use to communicate with customers, they are able to place their orders, and communicate if there were any issues with their order and we communicate with suppliers via WhatsApp for now until the APP is ready.
Lebeko Mphelo and Thabang Wessie
- Accounting – XERO
- POS system – Whoosh
- CRM – Pipefy
- Payroll – Whoosh
- Business banking – FNB
- Web hosting & domains – Xneelo
- Accounting – Strategic Accounting
- POS system – Strategic Accounting
- CRM – Mail Chimp and paid Instagram occasionally
- Payroll – Accountant uses Sage
- Business banking – FNB Business Enterprise
- Web hosting & domains – Our IT company, Rhest handles all of this for us and use some software we not aware of.
- Ecommerce website builder – N/A
- Other (let us know please) – Google Drive, DropBox, SmallPDF
- Accounting – Xero & hubdoc
- POS – Xero, Snapscan, Yoco & Ozow
- CRM – Slack
- Payroll – Simplepay
- Business banking – Standard bank
- Web hosting, cloud and domains – Afrihost & Microsoft Azure
- Accounting – Sage
- POS system – N/A
- CRM – N/A
- Payroll – Sage
- Business banking – Standard Bank & FNB
- Web hosting & domains – XNeelo
- Ecommerce website builder – N/A
- Accounting – Xero
- POS system – N/A
- CRM – Zoho CRM
- Payroll – Simple Pay
- Business banking – FNB online
- Web hosting & domains – Our server is our business, we use Xneelo (previously Hetzner). We’ve tried many hosting providers, some were mediocre, others were downright pathetic, their security was absolutely terrible; we’ve been using xneelo for two years, excellent service and excellent systems.
- Ecommerce website builder – We don’t do ecommerce but we teach on WooCommerce. I think WooCommerce is excellent for small businesses, because it gives you so much independence, it’s a plugin to your existing WordPress website, it’s simple to use and really professional, with countless of its own plugin
- Others – We use a whole host of other software, because of the fact that we are online. one of the primary things, in the online space, people are working remotely, people are working from home, they tend to feel lonely, they tend to feel isolated, that’s why we use Slack, we have a thriving buzzing community on Slack. Slack has become our head office, let’s put it that way. For elearning, our learning management system is Moodle. For project management, we use Microsoft Planner, for task management we use Microsoft To Do, we use these because they integrate nicely with Outlook. For calender we use Outlook. For normal office stuff we use Microsoft Office, Excel Word PowerPoint. For managing our remote storage we use OneDrive, because it came bundled with Microsoft Office, we get one terabyte per person. For our video editing we use a program called Camtasia. We’re very big on video – as you can see on social media – and our courses are video based. For audio we use Audacity,which is free software. We use Vimeo to host our videos not YouTube because Vimeo gives more security than YouTube.
What would you say is one piece of business software that has had the biggest impact on your business?
“Pipefy as it has enabled us to design and track processes for various facets of our business. Keeping track on the status of certain projects and customers are always a challenge and having a tool that helps us manage that on a day to day perspective is key to monitoring progress and success.” – Lebeko Mphelo and Thabang Wessie
“Euphoria Telecoms has had a great impact on the business as we have established a top class call centre and we saved on costs.” – Boitumelo Monageng and Tha—-bang Kgopane
“Microsoft Office Suite because we simply cannot function without Excel, Powerpoint and Word. We just can’t!” – Sibu Mabena
“Definitely Moodle, it’s our learning management system. It’s our campus, it’s our university, it’s where everything happens, it’s where our learners go in and do their learning. That’s from an education perspective.
“From an operations perspective, it has to be Slack. We don’t just have our staff on Slack, we have our entire student body on Slack, we have a separate Slack account for students, our students can come in and ask questions and within minutes have those questions answered. So it’s not email, they don’t have to wait days or weeks for an answer.” – Bilal Kathrada
“One area that a business like ours struggles in is information management. We interact with numerous internal and external stakeholders leading to countless pieces of paper that need to be stored. Document and information management automates collection, storage and archiving of information making is easily accessible when needed. It allows us to comply from a governance perspective with legal rules in this regard.” – Tumediso Lobelo
Finally, what do you think is keeping business owners from making use tech and what can be done to change this?
Costly – “The biggest misconception which makes small business hesitant to purchase technology is that tech is very expensive.” – Boitumelo Monageng and Thabang Kgopane
Complicated – “Tech is expensive and complicated. We want simple and easy solutions to our business problems. Everything just seems so complicated. If South African tech companies could offer affordable solutions that can be integrated and easy to streamline into our eco-systems …we’d probably spend more on them.” – Sibu Mabena
Magic pill – “The biggest misconception is that software will magically solve your business’ problems, or will magically resolve all the inefficiencies in your business. Trust me, there isn’t any magical software in the world that can do that, you first need to sort your real world problems out, you need to streamline your business, you need to apply your mind to streamline your business in the real world and then find software that will assist in that streamlining…
“You need to first create order and systems in the real world, then you will find that the software will become a blessing to you, rather than a frustration,
“Also, as much as I said YouTube can be used as a resource, it can also become a confusion, so be wary of that, ultimately it comes back to the self-awareness of what your business is, what it needs, what it requires, and then you look at the software, don’t get caught on the hype of something new coming out, there’s always something new coming out, when you’ve made a decision, stick to it. We change if they.” – Bilal Kathrada
Not small business friendly – “The biggest misconception I would say is the notion that technology is expensive and complex. There are applications available that are very cost effective and specifically designed for use by small to medium sized businesses. Corporates like ourselves have the option to use a blended model of proprietary and open source solutions that helps us become more efficient without breaking the bank. Moreover, subscription based models assist in keeping capital costs low by moving budgets to a monthly consumption model. Outsourcing non-critical functions is also an option if your information or industry is not highly regulated like the financial services sector.” – Tumediso Lobelo
SEE ALSO: You should be using tech in your business. For the next month we will be challenging all the tech myths at are holding you back from investing in business software. Follow our #debunkingtechmyths series on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, to learn more.