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

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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

Waze,Traffic Outsmarting navigation app…

I met some interesting guys from Waze at Tech4Africa and they should me some really cool useful traffic navigation app called Waze. It helps you navigate to through traffic, find the best route, know where the traffic cops and camera is and also see how hectic traffic is

So can you download the app, which is available for FREE on Blackberry, Android and Apple(ipad and iph0ne) devices. I think there is one for Nokia devices with a Windows Phone on the way. I played around with Waze  on all platforms and liked the iPad more.

You enter your preferred destination through your preferred navigation map and search engine. It will give you an estimated time that you will take to reach your destination. It will also show you the traffic flow via colour with orange being ok traffic and red being  heavy traffic. I love how it works at nice, it really comes alive

You also get to see other Waze app users called Wazers that are around you. Another cool part is that other wazer users get to report accidents that are happening and where they are happening so you know where to avoid traffic. So everybody is constantly updating each other. This is crowdsourcing at its best

Another cool feature is that you can help map out South Africa. So if there is a new place that isn’t available on Waze you can just add it, or as Waze users say, PAVE it

Tired of speed traps or not knowing where the traffic officers are hiding? Just take out Waze and it will help you stop them from playing hide and seek

There is a whole lot more to this cool app that I didnt mention but worth checking out. Read more about it on www.waze.com. You can also follow them on Twitter via @WazeSa and connect with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WazeApp

BE WARNED…ITS REALLY ADDICTIVE AND FUN TO PLAY WITH

ARRIVE ALIVE

Here is a video I took of the WazeSA guys explaining and showing how it works. Click here to watch the video

I have been slacking

It’s been a while since I blogged.Only if one could buy time but no excuses. I will try my best to keep the blog updated from now on and if there is anyone out there who is interested in being a guest blogger then give me a shout

A lot of things have been happening and will try my best to fill you in.

I will be covering things like the past m2Work Hackathon at mLab. If you don’t know what mLab is I or what it does don’t worry, I will tell you about it

I missed an opportunity to blog about women’s month but still feel the need to address our sisters out there

Development of mobile apps is really growing fast.Plenty of new smartphones are coming our way.Which phone handset has gotten you all excited?

I’m also excited about Windows 8 which is currently being cooked so it can be ready for launch next month

We will also continue focusing on the youth and share ways on how to get prepared for those interviews

There has been a lot of great and amazing things that have been happening to INNOvatorz.IT so I will touch a lot on that so that I can also explain what INNOvatorz.IT is and where its going

We are finally on twitter so do follow us @INNOv8torz.IT

Plenty of competitions and events have happened and are still in the pipeline.Just keep your eyes opened

So many things worth sharing.

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”

iPhone’s Siri just be honest with us

One of the major topics last week,well in the mobile platform world, was about iPhones latest technology called Siri

For those who are not aware Siri stands for (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) and its used to answer questions and make recommendations.

Siri was asked “what is the best smartphone ever?” and surprisingly it suggested iPhones rival. No,not Samsung but the Nokia Lumia 900.

But it seems even smartphones have a tendency of behaving like humans and can lie or at least change their minds. This week Siri claims the best smartphone ever is “The one you’re holding”, referring to the iPhone 4s

Siri come clean

Tablets in schools….Do we really need them?

I love technology and all its advancements.lt betters our lives and make things simple for us but it can also have a negative effect on us

There have been stories on leading news papers about how schools are adopting technology, especially in the form of tablets.One private school in Johannesburg has even given the parents of the pupils a deadline for them to make sure their kids have ipads to use in class by June.

The use of tablets isn’t just restricted to the elite schools of South Africa,they are also being taken to rural areas with the help of private schools and iSchoolAfrica with the aim of improving the matric pass rate.

Introducing such technology to schools will really improve access to studying material and can reduce the delaying of text books to schools because the text books would be just installed as eBooks.There will be certain legal issues to go through like publishers getting their share though im sure that can be fixed.Students would have access to really time information through the internet and learn fast through seeing images and sound. They would grow into the digital age and have access to a whole range of learning resources like Microsoft Learning Suite,Google edu an educational games like Apples Mathletics which helps students to solve maths problems

There are drawbacks to introducing this kind of technology to schools.Last year I had a debate with a friends and she said she wouldn’t allow such technology to replace the traditional way of schooling like using a pen and normal text books.I disagreed with her then and I still partially disagree with her now.It did take some personal experience to actually feel she might have a point. Lately I have become too lazy to write proper English, my spelling skills are horrible and my handwriting is a mess simply because I’m always texting and typing and have access to a wonderful tool called predictive text.

Another major drawback is that internet access in our country is expensive and not a lot of people have access to it.The government would have to sort this out and maybe introduce WI-FI connection at disadvantaged schools or else there will be a major gap in our education system

This will be a major problem with the introduction of tablets at school.Yes they will allow faster and better access to information but will also kill certain important educational skills a pupil needs.I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the tablets taking over.I just hope a balance is kept