“Have your documentation ready for when you meet a potential funder,” advises Marang Marekimane, one of the speakers at the FundEX event hosted on Thursday 16 August 2018.
The one-day event will give entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about how to seek funding for business expansion. Attendees also have a chance to meet different funders.
FundEX 2018 which is themed “Secrets of Scale” is hosted at the Riversands Incubation Hub in Johannesburg.
The theme of Marekimane’s talk at FundEX is “Digital Tools to Scale”. Marekimane started her business Business Processes Mechanics in 2014.
“I used to do this work for corporate. We would change the way corporate would do things. For example, when I worked for FNB, it was about changing the way people do banking. Instead of going to a branch office, you can go on to a web platform to do your banking,” she explains.
“I realised that no one was doing it for small businesses. Every time I talk to people who have started their businesses, they were struggling to keep up with their work, or trying to improve their products or services, but they had no guidance.”
She left the corporate world to help SMMEs instead. “I started with documenting business processes. We document what needs to be done in the business. Show you where you are wasting time and money, and suggest different systems you can use.
“At the end of the day people started feeling calm leaving the office, because there is a training manual left behind for the staff members to use.”
Marekimane says for a business to grow, you need different digital tools. “For instance, with skills and capacity point of view, you refer your staff to learn from Udemy; it’s where you access online courses to get a qualification – some are free, but definitely cheaper than university.”
Have documents ready on a memory stick or an email folder for when you meet the right people
Another element to look at is your financials – the way you make money. “There are apps out there that track finances, but there are a few that has your business plan tracked on it,” says Marekimane.
According to her, Lean Business Platform structures ideas into a business model and allows you to track your growth objectives. “There will be tasks that I have to do to get my business to the next level. This tool allows me to do that.
“When people go for funding or pitching, you can get a PDF document from that platform. It’s real up to date data of the business, especially when you are asked a question like ‘is your business profitable?’ The financial section of the tool will show how much revenue you are making.”
Meanwhile, it is revealed in a report by Finfind that some of reasons identified for SMMEs not accessing formal funding include lack of skills and knowledge to produce financial statements, the inability to produce high quality business plans and lack of access to markets.
The report by Finfind (data of the site www.finfindeasy.co.za), where entrepreneurs go to seek funding includes 148 funders who provided 328 different finance products. A filtered amount of 11 033 completed funding requests was analysed from the total 2017 Finfind data set.
Marekimane explains: “Have documents ready on a memory stick or an email folder for when you meet the right people.”
She adds: “Understand what type of business you are and what type of funding you need. You need different type of funding for different stages.”
According to Marekimane, it could be a turn-off for a funder that you have your personal- and business bank accounts mixed. “It says a lot about you and how you do business if you have your stuff mixed up. It asks the question: ‘are you going to be spending the funding on personal or business expenses?’”
Marekimane says entrepreneurs should be aware of how much money you need and what it is for. “What are you going to do with it?”
Her advice: “Ideally you want to be predicable in how you deliver to your customer. Predictable meaning ‘I know what quality to expect and it’s consistent.’ Also knowing where the revenue is coming from is predictability.
“If you are winging it, you can’t plan ahead for the business. Processes are there to reduce the inefficiency.”
When it comes to funding, Marekimane says: “If I’m giving you money (as an investor) or I invest in you, I need to know and be able to predict how I will get a return. If the business’ processes are not predictable, it’s a higher risk.”
Go as a group of three people, for example. Walk around and make multiple connections. Each of you being each other’s marketer; look out for one another
Marekimane believes that networking for growth is one of the greatest tools in entrepreneurship. She says before a conference like FundEX, she’d look at the speakers’ profiles and engage with the speakers. “I’ve had people do this when I am a speaker; they’ll say ‘I’m looking forward to hear you at this event’ on social media and those people stand out.”
Another tip she gave is to talk to your circle of entrepreneurs. “Go as a group of three people, for example. Walk around and make multiple connections. Each of you being each other’s marketer; look out for one another.
The one-day event runs from 09:00 to 16:00. The tickets are available online and are priced at R350 per person. Riversands Incubation Hub is located off William Nicol Drive near Dainfern.