Business Lessons I learned since my primary school hustling days…

Sometimes I feel like maybe I have indian blood in me. I just love selling things, negotiating and trying to make deals. The idea of looking for opportunities and capitalizing on them has been with me since my early childhood. I have started over 10 business ventures and have learned a lot on the way

Negotiation 101
My 1st business venture was in grade 3 when I exchanged my lunch box for protection from bullies. Great investment with high returns. Learn to open your mouth

Be the main supplier
My love for the Nokia brand goes way back to my high school days. My cousin introduced me to selling phone accessories. He taught me how to be the main supplier. I learned fast and started selling cell phone covers to my fellow students. The 3310 device will remain my favourite because I made a killing with that device. 500% profit killing. I ended up supplying stock to others.

Control the market
In tertiary I graduated as an entrepreneur and started selling empty cd’s/dvd at different student residents. Hired a friend(David) to help me sell and we used his room as our main “Warehouse”. He later became my partner and we gave the competition a run for their money. Some even closed because we reduced the prices which forced every other seller to come down to the prices we set. We went a step further and gave specials which we knew the rest couldn’t offer. Mafia style

Never run out of stock
My partner and I went a step further and started selling airtime. It was common for students to sell airtime on campus but the problem was that most of them always ran out of stock. Not us. We made sure we had stock EVERYDAY in high supply. We never wanted to lose a customer. That’s how we beat and shut down the competition

Advertise your business and EXPAND
We really wanted to own the different residents at TUT and be the main providers of airtime. Your campus vodacom,mtn and CellC

So we did some hectic advertising which cost us around R20(clean papers,a black marker and prestick). We put up our cheap adverts on as many residents as possible. We knew the competitors would take them down which they did but we got the word out

From there we started paying more people from different residents to sell for us. That was our expansion method

Build a relationship with your customers
We had those regular customers who always wanted airtime even if they were out of campus. So we started selling to them on credit which they would later pay. This made them always buy from us and we never charged them for sending the airtime voucher

Don’t get high on your own supply
We charged ourselves every time we would use own stock of airtime. We even bought the airtime at the usual price whenever we needed to use it. Nothing was for free

Sell convenience
Anybody who went to tertiary with me will tell you that if you wanted your secondhand textbook to be sold Mixo was the guy to call. I didn’t make the customers(clients) come to me,I went to them and I would keep them updated on what is happening with their textbooks
All they had to do was give me their book then later collect their money or give me money then pick up their book

Spoil yourself
Business was so good that we would cash-in every week and made sure we spoiled ourselves. That is really important. You need to taste the fruits of your labour

I applied some of the strategies already mentioned by always negotiating the best price for my clients, controlling the market and making sure that supply was always on point. Expansion was also great because I would be selling books on different campuses. Yes I did bunk classes

Plenty more lessons to learn

Brainstorming4Success

GeekStarz..

I have been trying to do something like this for some time but for many reasons I have been postponing it. I think its high time I did it because there are so many smart students out that are really working hard and making a huge difference in their communities and institutions but don’t get the proper recognition

So GeekStarz will give them that platform to shine. I will expiriment with a few platforms from Google hangouts, skype, video interviews and articles to get the message across.

I hope to put 4 GeekStarz on the platform each month so we can all decide who deserves to be GeekStar of the month. We will eventually have GeekStar of the year and they will walk away with a really cool prize

So if you think you are the next GeekStar or if you know someone who deserves that platform to shine then send the details through

Brainstorming4Success

Brainstorming4Success

LETS GET HIRED….Part2

What do you think of the last company you worked for?

You should stress the positive aspects of your last company saying that they were a good company to work for. Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.

Why did you join your previous company? Did they live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?

Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new company will wonder what you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits the bill!

Explain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fitted into it?

This sort of question may be used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills which would be required for the next step.

How long have you been looking for a new job?

If you have been unemployed for a long time this may be a rather tricky question to answer. But be honest. If you have been away on holiday or done some voluntary work you could mention this.

Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?

Remember where you are! If the company interviewing you is a small to medium sized company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere with a good team spirit. At a large company say that you enjoy the stability of working for a large and established company.

What are you looking for in a new job?

Make sure your answer fits in with the company who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would be that you are looking for a new job where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones.

What would your ideal job be?

Again, remember where you are! Describe the job in terms of the criteria they have used to describe their job. An ideal job might include things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay for the job, nice colleagues, good career prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to learn new skills, apply old skills, etc.

Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

If you are say so, but do not give too many details away – it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do not have any other job offers at the moment just say that you have a few irons in the fire.

What did you think of your manager/supervisor?

Say that he/she was the sort of person you could learn from and you communicated well, which meant that the task in hand was completed on time.

What did you do on a day to day basis?

Stress the positive things you did including your achievements. Even if some or much of it was paperwork, you can still show your interest in the way it was tackled.

Did you increase sales or profits in your last job?

This question is only relevant for senior managers or sales people. If you have increased sales and/or profit then do not be afraid to shout about it. If you have not increased sales say why not, e.g. general downturn in the market, etc. It might then be a good idea to mention an achievement in a previous job if your performance was better there.

How would you describe yourself? / How would others describe you?

Pick your best attributes and achievements from your career.

Do you consider yourself successful?

You should say you do. Pick some work related achievements that are in line with the position that you are discussing.

What was your greatest success? How did you achieve it?

You should pick an achievement which is related to their needs.

What has been your biggest failure?

Try to pick a failure which you were later able to correct or something that is not really important. 

How could you improve yourself?

Do not mention anything negative about yourself – the interviewer is looking for a chink in your armour.

Did you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?

If you progressed faster than normal you should say so. If growth was not as good as expected then be careful how you phrase this.

Are you a leader?

State how you have successfully acted as a leader, giving examples of your successes.

How do you handle criticism?

Your answer should be along the following lines: “I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve any areas which my manager/supervisor highlights. Do you have regular staff appraisals and a staff development plan?”

What sort of manager are you? / What makes a good manager?

You should say that it is someone who listens to other people and can delegate whilst maintaining overall control of the task at hand, bringing in the project on time and to budget. Good planning skills are essential.

Do you work well with others? Or are you a loner?

Some jobs mean that you have to work very closely with other people whilst other jobs mean that you are largely working on your own, so you need to say that you are happy in both situations.

Do you need other people around to stimulate you or are you self-motivated?

You need to say that you are self-motivated.

Are you accepted into a team quickly?

Hopefully you can answer a resounding “Yes” to this question.

Can you act on your own initiative?

You should say that you can. You could ask how much responsibility you would have

How do you run a meeting?

You could say that you must start with an agenda and stick to it. You could add that you would try to get the views and ideas from everyone present, working in an air of co-operation. If people moved off at a tangent you would bring them back to the item being discussed.

What motivates you?

Our suggestions are career growth, opportunity to learn new skills, good co-workers, etc.

What management style gets the best results out of you?

Try and think about how you have reacted to different managers and which factors have motivated you. Do not say too much in reply to this question, because if your answer is contrary to the management style of the company they will not be keen to employ you!

Do you know how to motivate other people?

Hopefully you can say “Yes”, and say that you have to find out what motivates a person and give them recognition for a job well done. You should always give them encouragement and help them when required.

Are you competitive?

Your answer depends on the sort of job you are doing. If you will be working as part of a team you will need to show that you can work in the best interests of the team and not just for your own benefit.

Are you aggressive?

If you mean by this someone who gets things done, then the answer is “Yes”. You need to defuse the implications of this question.

What do you dislike doing?

Say that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done well and on time and try to do disagreeable things first to get them out of the way rather than putting them off.

What problems did you encounter in your last job? What annoyed you about your last job?

Stick to the problems that you were able to solve, i.e. “I had problem X, which I later managed to resolve by doing Y”. Show that you are a person who can solve problems rather than someone who lets things get on top of them.

What would you like to avoid in your next job?

You need to be positive here and say that there is nothing in particular that you would like to avoid.

Do you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?

Show how you have progressed throughout your life and how you have accepted and taken on responsibility for the actions of yourself and others. If you have not really had many work related responsibilities you can mention other responsibilities you have had outside work.

Can you work under pressure?

You need to say that you can. You could ask how much pressure the job involves.

How many hours are you prepared to work?

You would be prepared to work the necessary hours to get the job done on time.

Let’s Get Hired…Part1

INNOvatorz.IT is actually helping quite a lot of people, especially students in finding jobs. That really brings us great joy. I hope more people will continue to be called over for interviews with eventual placement. There has been a huge request from people asking me for interview tips, what questions they ask and how to prepare for an interview. Well I feel they are asking the wrong person for such help because recruitment isn’t even close to being my field of specialty. Luckily I managed to get help in compiling a series of interview tips and advice which I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. I hope it will help someone ace that interview and land a job.

Feel free to add onto everything that I have added, after all I am no expert. For those that are still waiting for that call up for the interview, whether it’s your first or not this will be perfect for you

Acing the Interview- Part 1

Why do you want this job? 
Think carefully about this question. Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.

What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.

Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These would not endear you to a prospective employer.

What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run-down of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.

What interests you about our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.

What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money. Stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.

You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?
Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Why should we employ you?
The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements which relate to the company. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the interviewer for their opinion.

How long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contribution to the team/company?
If you think that you could contribute from day one then say so. Then turn the question round on them and say how soon they would expect it.

How ambitious are you? Would you compete for my job?
Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer’s position.

What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.

Why did you choose a career in …?
Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.

Why are you changing careers?
This question will only be asked if you are making a radical change in your career. Always stress the positive aspects of the change rather than the negative aspects of your previous career – you do not want to come across as someone who is moving just because you hate your old career. Say why you think you will be good in the new career – this should come from your experience and achievements, stress the transferable skills you have, such as leadership ability, etc.

How much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are the differences?
The interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit in to the position you are applying for. So you should stress the similarities rather than the differences. When it comes to discussing the differences it will help your case if you can show that either you have done something similar in the past or that you can quickly pick up the new skills.

Mix4tune

RHoK…African Solutions For African Problems

I managed to book myself a seat at the Random Hacks of Kindness event, famously known as RHoK, that was held at the University of South Africa )Unisa in Pretoria this past weekend. I must say I did think twice about going considering that they put a lot of emphasis on “Open Technology” and Android which happen to be areas I’m not familiar with or know much about. Then again one shouldn’t be scared to learn something new and accept challenges

 
The RHoK is a worldwide event that takes place in different countries on the same weekend and this year 45 different cities took part. The aim is simple: A bunch of developers, NGO’s, technologists, educators and students come together ,pick different problems, have nice food, drink lots of coffee and spend the weekend tackling the problems presented and come up with innovative solutions for those problems. It’s a great event to really understand and seethe words ‘Team “and “Collaboration” in action.

 
The theme for the Pretoria RHoK was dubbed “African Solutions for African Problems” and we all know the different problems we have that range from education, water sanitation, crime, agriculture and health. The 45+ attendees at the RHoK Pretoria grouped themselves and worked on different problems like “Online Learning Material and Exercises on low cost devices presented by http://www.KhanAcademy.Org ”, H2O Detective presented by SEESAW(NGO), Virtual Science Laboratory for resource Constrained Schools presented by UNISA and Suspected CarFind presented by www. House4Hack.co.za just to name a few.

 
Once the groups split it was down to some serious brainstorming. What I found interesting was the energy and vibe in the room because even though some were not familiar with the different projects and technologies nobody became a spectator. Even the event conductor, Jabu Mtsweni got down and dirty. Ideas were broken down and coding started taking place.

 
I was glad to see lots of females in the house, for work related purpose ofcos. If I’m correct there were about 12 of them which was really a huge number considering how the field is dominated by their male counterparts. It would be really nice to see that number grow.
Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the last day of the event but the different groups presented their solutions to the judging panel. Not all the problems were completely solved but I’m sure come the next RHoK event which will be held in December there will be plenty of solutions.
Everybody who took part is a winner in their own different ways but someone has to go home with a price. H2O Detective, composed 7 members (4 males and 3 females) took the 1st price for their “Android application that enables field agents to track, log, and visualize households based on their water usage patterns using geo-tracking and average consumption data from the local municipality”.

 
To read more about the different problems presented and the winners visit http://www.rhok.org. I’m looking forward to the next event. Let’s continue “hacking for humanity” and coming up with “African Solutions for African Problems”