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BusinessLink Newsletter Number 27: Starting a Business: How to find the perfect idea



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In this week’s issue

Starting a Business: How to find the perfect idea

It’s Tax Clearance application season once again

Young Graduate Entrepreneurship Program ready for take-off


Signing on the dotted line: The importance of employment contracts

Don’t miss the BusinessLink Networking Breakfast meeting on Wednesday 27th June

The One Big Illusion

How should you take advice?

Supervision Training Courses

Vacancies / Student Attachments Wanted and Available

Starting a Business: How to find the perfect idea

 You know you want to start a business, but what do you do next? Here’s how to find the perfect idea for your business.

Many people believe starting a business is a mysterious process. They know they want to start a business, but they don’t know the first steps to take. In this chapter, you’re going to find out how to get an idea for a business–how you figure out exactly what it is you want to do and then how to take action on it.

But before we get started, let’s clear up one point: People always wonder if this is a good time to start their business idea. The fact is, there’s really never a bad time to launch a business. It’s obvious why it’s smart to launch in strong economic times. People have money and are looking for ways to spend it. But launching in tough or uncertain economic times can be just as smart. If you do your homework, presumably there’s a need for the business you’re starting. Because many people are reluctant to launch in tough times, your new business has a better chance of getting noticed. And, depending on your idea, in a down economy there is often equipment (or even entire businesses!) for sale at bargain prices.

Hundreds of businesses are started each year. Yet for every person who actually starts a business, there are likely thousands more who begin each year saying “OK, this is the year I am going to start a business,” and then don’t.

Everyone has his or her own roadblock, something that prevents them from taking that crucial first step. Most people are afraid to start; they may fear the unknown or failure, or even success. Others find starting something overwhelming in the mistaken belief they have to start from scratch. They think they have to come up with something that no one has ever done before–a new invention, a unique service. In other words, they think they have to reinvent the wheel.

But unless you’re a technological genius–another Bill Gates or Steve Jobs–trying to reinvent the wheel is a big waste of time. For most people starting a business, the issue should not be coming up with something so unique that no one has ever heard of it but instead answering the questions: “How can I


improve on this?” or “Can I do this better or differently from the other guy doing it over there?” Or simply, “Is there market share not being served that makes room for another business in this category?”

Get the Juices Flowing
How do you start the idea process? First, take out a sheet of paper and across the top write “Things About Me.” List five to seven things about yourself–things you like to do or that you’re really good at, personal things (we’ll get to your work life in a minute). Your list might include: “I’m really good with people, I love kids, I love to read, I love computers, I love numbers, I’m good at coming up with marketing concepts, I’m a problem solver.” Just write down whatever comes to your mind; it doesn’t need to make sense. Once you have your list, number the items down one side of the paper.

On the other side of the paper, list things that you don’t think you’re good at or you don’t like to do. Maybe you’re really good at marketing concepts, but you don’t like to meet people or you’re really not that fond of kids or you don’t like to do public speaking or you don’t want to travel. Don’t over think it; just write down your thoughts. When you’re finished, ask yourself: “If there were three to five products or services that would make my personal life better, what would they be?” This is your personal life as a man, woman, father, husband, mother, wife, parent, grandparent–whatever your situation may be. Determine what products or services would make your life easier or happier, make you more productive or efficient, or simply give you more time.

Next, ask yourself the same question about your business life. Examine what you like and dislike about your work life as well as what traits people like and dislike about you. Finally, ask yourself why you’re seeking to start a business in the first place. Then, when you’re done, look for a pattern to emerge (i.e., whether there’s a need for a business doing one of the things you like or are good at).

They Delivered
Here’s a business startup story that’s a great example of seeing a need and filling it. Entrepreneur magazine is located in Irvine, California, a planned community. Many years ago, there weren’t many fast-food restaurants in the business area. Most were across town, where the neighborhoods were. Two young men in Irvine found this lunch situation very frustrating. There weren’t many affordable choices. Sure, there were some food courts located in strip centers, but the parking lots were really small and the wait was horrendous.

One day, as they were lamenting their lunch problem, one of them said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get some good food delivered?” The proverbial light bulb went on! Then they did what many people don’t do–they did something about their idea. Coincidentally, they purchased one of Entrepreneur‘s business startup guides and started a restaurant delivery business.

To date, their business has served more than 15 million people! It’s neither a complicated business nor an original one. Their competition has gotten stiffer, and yet they’re doing phenomenally well. And it all began because they listened to their own frustrations and decided to do something about them. Little did they know that research cites the shrinking lunch hour as one of the biggest complaints by American workers. Some only get 30 minutes, making it nearly impossible to get out, get lunch and get back on time. So while these young entrepreneurs initially thought they were responding to a personal need in their local area, they actually struck a universal chord.

That is one way to get ideas–listening to your own (or your co-workers’, family’s or neighbors’) frustrations. The opportunities are all there; you just need to search them out. If your brain is always set in idea mode, then many ideas may come from just looking around or reading. For instance, if you had read an article about the shrinking lunch hour, and if you were thinking entrepreneurially, you would say “Wow, maybe there’s an opportunity there for me to do something. I should start researching it.”

Inspiring Moments
Inspiration can be anywhere. Here’s another classic startup story: Ever get charged a fee for returning a video late? Bet you didn’t do anything about it. Well, when Reed Hastings got a whopping $40 late charge, instead of getting mad, he got inspired. Hastings wondered “How come movie rentals don’t work like a health club, where, whether you use it a lot or a little, you get charged the same?” From this thought, Netflix.com, an online DVD rental service, was born. From its start in 1999, Netflix has grown into a big business with revenues topping $1.3 billion.

Getting an idea can be as simple as keeping your eyes peeled for the latest hot businesses; they crop up all the time. Many local entrepreneurs made tons of money bringing the Starbucks coffeehouse concept to their hometowns and then expanding from there. Take Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee. The founders had what they describe as an “aha moment” in 1990, and two years later launched what is now the nation’s second-largest company-owned gourmet coffeehouse chain. Other coffee entrepreneurs have chosen to stay local.

And don’t overlook the tried and true. Hot businesses often go through cycles. Take gardening. For the last few years gardening products and supplies have been all the rage, but you wouldn’t consider gardening a 21st century business.

In other words, you can take any idea and customize it to the times and your community. Add your own creativity to any concept. In fact, customizing a concept isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity if you want your business to be successful. You can’t just take an idea, plop it down and say “OK, this is it.” Outside of a McDonald’s, Subway or other major franchise concept, there are very few businesses that work with a one-size-fits-all approach.

One of the best ways to determine whether your idea will succeed in your community is to talk to people you know. If it’s a business idea, talk to co-workers and colleagues. Run personal ideas by your family or neighbors. Don’t be afraid of people stealing your idea. It’s just not likely. Just discuss the general concept; you don’t need to spill all the details.

Just Do It!
Hopefully by now, the process of determining what business is right for you has at least been somewhat demystified. Understand that business startup isn’t rocket science. No, it isn’t easy to begin a business, but it’s not as complicated or as scary as many people think, either. It’s a step-by-step, common-sense procedure. So take it a step at a time. First step: Figure out what you want to do. Once you have the idea, talk to people to find out what they think. Ask “Would you buy and/or use this, and how much would you pay?”

Understand that many people around you won’t encourage you (some will even discourage you) to pursue your entrepreneurial journey. Some will tell you they have your best interests at heart; they just want you to see the reality of the situation. Some will envy your courage; others will resent you for having the guts to actually do something. You can’t allow these naysayers to dissuade you, to stop your journey before it even begins.

In fact, once you get an idea for a business, what’s the most important trait you need as an entrepreneur? Perseverance. When you set out to launch your business, you’ll be told “no” more times than you’ve ever been told before. You can’t take it personally; you’ve got to get beyond the “no” and move on to the next person–because eventually, you’re going to get to a “yes.”

One of the most common warnings you’ll hear is about the risk. Everyone will tell you it’s risky to start your own business. Sure, starting a business is risky, but what in life isn’t? Plus, there’s a difference between foolish risks and calculated ones. If you carefully consider what you’re doing, get help when you need it, and never stop asking questions, you can mitigate your risk.

You can’t allow the specter of risk to stop you from going forward. Ask yourself “What am I really risking?” And assess the risk. What are you giving up? What will you lose if things don’t work out? Don’t risk what you can’t afford. Don’t risk your home, your family or your health. Ask yourself “If this doesn’t work, will I be worse off than I am now?” If all you have to lose is some time, energy and money, then the risk is likely worth it.

Determining what you want to do is only the first step. You’ve still got a lot of homework to do, a lot of research in front of you. Buying this book is a smart first step. Most important: Do something. Don’t sit back year after year and say “This is the year I’m going to start my business.” Make this the year you really do it!

This article is an edited excerpt from “Start Your Own Business, Fifth Edition“, published by Entrepreneur Press. Please share your tips and advice or ask questions or give feedback to chichonip@smebusinesslink.com.

Need Company Registration,

a Shelf Company or

Tax Clearance fast?

Call Phil Chichoni on  cell 0777 774 007

It’s Tax Clearance application season once again

By Phillip Chichoni

Current tax clearances issued early this year are going to expire on 30 June. This means you have to return to Zimra and apply for a new tax clearance for the second half of the year. Zimra introduced tax clearances in an effort to encourage business people to pay taxes and comply with tax laws. In fact, a business that fails to comply with tax legislation is breaking the law and operating illegally.

Both the Companies Act (Chapter 23:06) and the Income Tax Act require every business to maintain proper records of accounting for the purpose of enabling calculation of taxes due to Treasury. The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is empowered by law to investigate any business for compliance with tax laws and take various actions against those who are breaking tax laws. The actions include imposing penalties and fines, garnishing your bank account, attaching and auctioning your assets and sending you to jail for tax fraud.  Although Zimra does not have enough manpower to check each and every business operator every year, they do so randomly and at any time your time could be up.

The benefits of being tax compliant

Every business owner would want to be tax compliant because of the following benefits:

a)      Peace of mind and freedom from fear of being caught out

b)      The ability to do business with established  companies and government departments that insist on production of a tax clearance certificate before processing any payment

c)      You save on the 10% tax that all businesses are required to withhold from those without tax clearance.

d)      You benefit from the various capital allowances, rebates  and refunds that are available to tax compliant businesses and are designed to benefit growing businesses

e)      You avoid expensive penalties and fines, or even jail, that you will sooner or later suffer when Zimra audits your business.

So, if you are a serious entrepreneur you should start acting now and get your act in order and start complying with tax laws.

We have published the useful “2012 Simplified Guide to Taxes for SMEs” which you can download from our website to help you put your tax affairs in order. If you are unable to download it, please contact me and I can send it to you by email or arrange a printed copy for you.

Right now we are working on a white paper, Owners Briefing on Tax No.1: Taxes on Salaries and Fringe benefits, which will be given to all those attending the BusinessLink Networking Breakfast meeting on 27 June 2012.   A copy will be available for downloading on our website soon thereafter.

Feedback and comments may be emailed to chichonip@smebusinesslink.com.

Young Graduate Entrepreneurship Program ready for take-off

The BusinessLink Young Graduate Entrepreneurship Program (YGEP) that we have been planning over the past two months is now ready for take-off.

The program is a practical, hands on approach on starting a business and is designed to help young and ambitious persons who want to launch a real and growing business within 30 to 60 days.

It involves practical tutorship, real life business activities, problem solving exercises and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. Participants will be linked with useful contacts and businesses relevant to their chosen field of entrepreneurship so that they can kick start their ventures almost immediately.

Ten young people will be selected for the first class which is starting on 10th July. The qualification criteria are that one must hold at least a university degree or equivalent and must have a strong passion for running their own business. Participants will be expected to pay the training and materials fee for the first month of the program and from then own there new ventures are expected to generating revenue to meet the costs going forward.  The essential business skills that participants will gain will empower them to start and run any type of business and grow it fast.

If you are interested, please send an email with YGEP INFORMATION REQUEST on the subject line to chichonip@smebusinesslink.com.



BusinessLink is a network of high performance entrepreneurs and business owners whose purpose is to provide opportunities for sharing business and accelerating each one’s growth.

Gold Club members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free entry to one BusinessLink Monthly Networking Breakfast meeting and half price to the other 11 meetings in the year (Value $130)
  • Up to 50% discount at all BusinessLink business seminars, workshops and other events.
  • A free copy of the monthly BusinessLink Magazine (Value $60)
  • Free listing of your company profile, products and services on the BusinessLink Community website with your own page which can be updated weekly
  • An opportunity to network with other high performance entrepreneurs and exchange business

Subscription fee is $100 per year. Please download a subscription form at http://smebusinesslink,com or request it by email to marketing@smebusinesslink.com or call Christine on 0772 854 301

In addition, the first 20 people to subscribe between 14th and 27th June 2012 get a free subscription to the leading international monthly magazine on starting and growing business, Entrepreneur – Southern African edition, valued at $55.00! Hurry and don’t miss this special offer!

Signing on the dotted line: The importance of employment contracts

With the prevalence of entrepreneurial activity in Zimbabwe due to the high unemployment rate, more SME’s are doing their part for the country by employing people in their businesses as they grow and expand.

However, some business owners make the mistake of relying solely on verbal agreements of employment with their employees which leaves them open to misinterpretation and misunderstandings. The Zimbabwe Labour Act favours the rights of the employee so it is always imperative to remain on the right side of the law.

So what is an employment contract and why is it so important to have one?

A contract of employment is an agreement entered into between an employer and an employee at the time of hiring the employee. An employment contract outlines the nature of the working relationship and the remuneration.

Under the employment contract, the employee is under an obligation to carry out his/her assigned duties to the best of his/her abilities while the employer is under an obligation to provide fair remuneration for the job and keep the employee reasonably safe from injury in the workplace.

Contents of an employment contract: An employment contract should be concise and should clearly state the following:

–          The name and address of employer

–          The job title

–          Reporting structure

–          Probation period

–          Responsibilities and tasks expected of the employee

–          Duration of contract

–          Notice period

–          Expectations and obligations of both the employer and employee

–          Particulars of benefits such as maternity or sick leave

–          Leave particulars

–          Hours of work

–          Remuneration offered and details of intervals in which it will be paid

In addition, the contract should include a clearly stated offer to do something and an acceptance of the offer.

Why would you need an employment contract?

–          To ensure that both the employee and employer is aware of his/her respective obligations and expectations: each party should have a clear idea of the job expected to be done, in what time frame and the compensation tied to the job as well as what the employer is supposed to provide to make completion of tasks possible.

–          The employee should know who he/she reports to and who reports to him/her: This is necessary so that he /she knows the channels through which issues and challenges are addressed.

–          Performance Management: It is easier to manage an employee’s performance once you have clearly stated what is expected of him, by when and how. Without a clear picture, an employee can claim ignorance of his role

–          In the case of breach: In the event that either party breaches any of the terms of the contract, this is clearly spelt out so that both parties know that each action has a consequence. For example, an employee would know that if he steals from the company or carries out business on the side which is similar to the company’s, there will be action taken. It is therefore important to set parameters to avoid such situations and know how to handle them should they arise

–          Duration of the employment relationship: It is imperative to state the duration of the contract because in the event that the employer hires casual or contract employees and does not state the duration of the contract, by law, it is deemed as a contract without limit.

–          To avoid legal disputes: Legal disputes can arise over  matters such as compensation and benefits so it is necessary to clearly spell these out to avoid doubt

–          In case of dismissal:  Should the employer want to dismiss an employee, it is necessary to have had an employment agreement signed which will outline the terms of the employment relationship. This will guide the employer in terms of the Labour Act in terms of notice periods and disciplinary action. Without the contract, either party may lay false claims and it becomes difficult to judge who is right.

In conclusion, it is important to have employment contracts in your organization irrespective of size or number of employees. The document does not have to be fancy and long but should have the key elements highlighted above. So do your business a favour and make sure you sign on the dotted line.

The author, Buhle Taodzera is the Managing Consultant of All About People HR & Recruitment Consultants. For feedback on this article or any other queries, please contact her on appconsultant.hr@mail.com or 0773 974 669.


Don’t miss the BusinessLink Networking Breakfast meeting on Wednesday 27th June

Why does your business need a regular health check? For the same reason your personal health needs a regular check: to detect problems early on and take necessary measure to ensure optimal health and growth.

At the breakfast meeting this month, this issue will be discussed by business strategist Christopher Sithole. Chris has helped executives in private and public firms and parastatals to undertake audits of the fitness and health of their company through internal stakeholder lenses with a view to achieving their most important objectives. We are sure you will learn some critical things to help your business stay healthy.

The venue: Gaby’s Restaurant at the Travel Plaza, corner Josiah Chinamano and Mazowe Street, Harare (Near the Avenues Clinic).

Time: 0815-0945

Fee: $20 ($10 for BusinessLink Gold Club subscribers)

Bring your business cards and marketing materials as you will meet other high performance entrepreneurs who wan to share and exchange business opportunities.

Participants will receive the two new business books from BusinessLink:

  • Essential Finance for Business Owners, and (Cost: $12)
  • Business Owners Briefings Volume I: Taxation of Salaries and Fringe Benefits (Cost: $7)

BusinessLink Gold Club Subscribers Special

All existing and new subscribers who join before 26th June will receive for free ALL new BusinessLink publications until 30 June 2013. (A minimum of six publications are being developed by the BusinessLink team). So save by joining the club now. You may download the subscription form at our website http://smebusinesslink.com or call contact our marketing executive Christine on 0772 854 301.

How to network with purpose

By Tom Searcy

(MoneyWatch) To enhance prospecting, it pays to network in target-rich environments. Quick, think of your target profile. Then think, who gathers these people? Right now there are groups and associations that are creating pools of prospects for you to meet.

Some of these will be a monthly meeting. Sure you could join and get active. Plus you could work to become a leader in the group. And, yes, you could serve on committees to form linkages. All great strategies.

But there is also the guerrilla mingle approach. These are the time-crunched sales people who know it is more important to attend the group’s social hour than the meeting itself. When pressed for time they know they’ll make more contacts and perhaps even learn more if they arrive promptly for the social period and cut out before the speaker.

Let’s do the math. If the social period is one hour and the meeting is one hour, this is a two-hour investment. During the meeting portion you get to connect with the person on your left and right (let’s assume you are not sitting next to someone from your own company). You don’t get to choose the two people, so if you’re lucky you maybe make one good contact and it will cost you 60 minutes of your life.

Now during a one-hour social period you get to do a recon of this target-rich environment. You can quickly excuse yourself from suspects and hone in on the prospects. Let’s say you get to talk to four good prospects. Each prospect only cost you 15 minutes. That is a much better ROTI (return on time investment).

So what is the best way to work the room? Make a sport out of it. Here are the rules of the game:

1. Think gamesmanship. Make a “Beat-the-Clock” game out of mingling and see how many potential prospects or referral sources you can make at each meeting. Remember, there are no timeouts, the clock is running.

2. Double-team them. Don’t congregate with people you know or work with. To make meeting people easier, consider doing it with an ally from another company. You can introduce each other to potential prospects.

3. Use zone coverage. If several people from your company are attending an event, fan out. If you do stay for the meal, spread out to different tables. Even if you are asked to “buy a table” at the event, you can do that symbolically and spread the people out at various tables. That improves the odds of making a good connection.

4. Go head-to-head. When seating is unassigned, choose your table with purpose. Don’t be the first to sit down. Lay back and see where people start to settle. Then consciously pick the best opportunity.

5. Surpass personal best. Keep score with how you do. Then try to better your best. Prepare for the game of meeting potential prospects like a runner psyches up for a race. Aim for a personal record each outing, always increasing the number of “prospects per allotted minutes” from your previous best performance.

You can also take rookies under your wing. When you are out to mingle, watch for singles. These are the newcomers, visitors and other disoriented folks. Appoint yourself the unofficial welcome wagon. Greet them and make them feel at home when they arrive. Ask them who they are hoping to meet and help them with some introductions. You might just make a friend, and referral source, for life.

From http://www.cbsnews.com

The One Big Illusion

By Robert Middleton

I talk a lot about “Marketing Mindset” in the More Clients eZine. It’s because what I notice that stops people from effectively marketing their services is rarely the technical components of marketing, such as networking, speaking and writing.

No, it’s all the thoughts, emotions and attitudes that prevent us from implementing these things.

The greatest illusion is that virtually nobody, including you, dear reader thinks this is the case. Everyone thinks it’s one of the following reasons why they are not good at marketing:

1. I don’t know what to do or how to do it.
2. I am just not the marketing type.
3. Marketing doesn’t work for my kind of business.
4. I don’t have the time to do marketing.
5. Most marketing leads to rejection, anyway.
6. Marketing is an interruption that irritates people.
7. If people need what I have, they’ll call me.

OK, so I’m willing to bet that if you are not having much marketing success, that you believe at least four out of seven of the above statements. What nobody realizes is that these are not statements of “fact.”

Far from it. Every single one of them is a mindset. What I mean by a mindset is an “established and fixed attitude held by someone about something.”

And mindsets literally construct your reality. They shape your thoughts, feelings and behavior. And they appear to be true, so true in fact that they are almost never questioned. A mindset acts much like a hypnotic auto-suggestion.

You say it, think it, believe it, feel it, and act consistently with it and then have evidence to back it up that it’s true. You are so identified with your mindsets that to you they are not
mindsets at all, they are the unvarnished truth.

And if that’s all true, you are in a real pickle, because how can you escape from a mindset that you don’t even think is a mindset? How can you wake up from a dream that you are totally convinced is reality?

Well, first of all, you need to accept that maybe, just maybe, what I’m saying might be true. You just might be stuck in mindsets that are holding you back from marketing yourself successfully and that nothing external whatsoever is holding you back.

Tough to accept, I know.

The next thing to notice is that when you identify with a particular mindset, how does it make you feel? Does it make you feel alive and excited, full of opportunity and promise?

Or not?

I don’t think so. These, what I call “constrictive mindsets” feel stressful in some way. They feel like excuses, they feel like cop-outs, they feel that they are opposing your goals to get the word out and make a difference in the lives and businesses of your clients.

Let’s just take the somewhat benign mindset: “I don’t have time to market my services.”
Not too inspiring, right? You may be able to justify it, but it’s not fulfilling, is it? No, it feels frustrating. It’s a statement of defeat. It certainly isn’t motivating you to get out there;
it’s stopping you in your tracks, often before you even start.

So if expressing a mindset feels that way, you know something you didn’t know before: That mindset is a lie. It’s not true. It never was and never will be. It’s a lie that you don’t have time to market yourself.

And look at what happens when you believe that lie. You make excuses, you avoid doing things, you don’t organize your schedule to fit in marketing. In fact you do everything in your power to justify that mindset, despite the fact that it’s not helping you one iota.

Can you see that?

Well, what if you could no longer identify with that mindset anymore? I mean, what if you couldn’t even think that it was true? Even if you have a lot of other priorities and were very
busy, you couldn’t believe it was true anymore.

Then who would you be? How would you react? How would you behave?

Wouldn’t it be completely different from how you’re reacting now? Wouldn’t you find a way to fit some marketing activities into your schedule? Wouldn’t you stop making lame excuses? Wouldn’t you stop looking for “the perfect marketing opportunity” and just do what you could, such as follow up with that prospect you’ve been avoiding?

The first step in all this is to identify those mindsets that are holding you back. What are you always telling yourself about marketing? And how are you feeling about those thoughts? If
you’re not feeling great, then they’re probably lies.

So take a little time to look at the consequences of those lies. Are they undermining you, holding you back, making you small, preventing you from getting what you want?

If that’s the case, the good news is that there’s such a thing as expansive mindsets. And in the realm of marketing you may not be so familiar with them.

Expansive mindsets get your creativity flowing, enable you to see opportunities, open up new possibilities and make you take risks that feel fun and exciting. Let’s turn around that mindset list:
1. I can learn what to do and how to do it.
2. I’m the type who can share the value of my services.
3. I can find a way to market my services appropriately.
4. I can find the time to do marketing.
5. Marketing can lead to people who need my assistance.
6. Marketing can be a welcomed conversation.
7. If people need what I have, I can follow-up with them.

Aren’t these possibly just as true, maybe truer than the original list? One thing is for sure, they feel better, don’t they? Well, then try them out and see where they take you.

“By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert’s web site at http://www.actionplan.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.”

How should you take advice?

By Brendan and Sally Palmer

Its Sally and Brendan from Sabre Business World with this week’s business tip.   We hope your week is going really well, and we hope this tip serves you…

We are all continually being given advice – we either seek advice or it is forced upon us.

Advice that we receive is an important part of our growth and is most commonly given to us by people that care about us.  So who should we take advice from?

Well, a general rule is that we should listen to advice from everyone that knows something that we do not although we don’t HAVE to take it.

It is very important that we are always aware that whatever advice we receive, it is us and only us that are responsible for making our own decisions.   We should use the advice that we receive to help us make our decisions and don’t let it sway us off track.

Some advice is good, some advice is bad, we need to learn for ourselves how to know which is which but the one thing that we should  remember when receiving advice is that it is only advice and we choose whether we want to use it or not.

If we want to be the best in our field, we should seek the people who are currently the best in our field and take advice from them. If we want to have lots of money, we should take advice from people who currently have lots of money.

If we want to be the best leader, we should take advice from the best leaders of today.
At the end of the day, we seek advice to affirm a decision that we have already made and no matter what advice we receive, we usually end up making the decision that we had already made before we looked for advice.  So trust yourself and go with your gut feeling.

Here are some quotes on advice…

“The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others.”Author Unknown

“Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself” Marcus Tullius Cicero (January 3, 106 BC – December 7, 43 BC) a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist

Enjoy the rest of your week. Be Cool, Be Great, Be Alive!!

“Brendan and Sally Palmer, Sabre Business World.  Sign up for free weekly
business tips at

Supervision Training Courses

All About People HR Consultants in conjunction with SME BUSINESS LINK will be holding a two day Effective Supervision workshop. If you need to find out how you can improve your supervisory skills, this is the workshop for you!
Contact us for bookings.


DATES COURSE CONTENT COST /DAY (incl of course material, certificates of attendance) WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
–           Defining and Understanding the role of a supervisor.-           Traits of a good supervisor-           10 keys to effective supervision-           How to be a good supervisor-           How to manage performance-           Developing assertiveness-           Dealing with pressure

–           What not to do

$50.00 SupervisorsProspective supervisors
–  Effective planning- importance of planning-   S.M.A.R.T. Planning-   Goal setting: characteristics and steps of      goal setting-  PDCA Cycle- Plan, Do, Check, Act- Time Management
–           The Communication Process-           Barriers to communication and how to overcome them-           How to manage the grapevine in an organization
–           What do people want from their jobs?-           Understanding what motivates employees-           Motivation Theories-           Inspiring employees, rewarding good behavior and stopping bad behavior-           Basic reasons why employees do not perform well-           Effective team building
–           Definition of and importance of performance management-           Difference between performance appraisals and performance management-           Types and Frequency of performance appraisals-           Defining and clarifying role expectations-           Managing employee performance

Please note that the above mentioned dates are flexible. We can book you on any other date that is suitable for your staff. For bookings and information, please contact Buhle- 0773 974 669 or aapconsultant.hr@mail.com                          *Cost exclusive of venue and equipment hire.



Admiral Business Systems (Pvt) Ltd is giving a special gift to entrepreneurs who take up the monthly SME Accounting Package:  Free Pastel Accounting Software, plus installation and training of your staff on using the program, all valued at $$400.

This is in addition to the usual solutions, which consist of:

  1. Production of your monthly management accounts
  2. Monthly and quarterly tax returns (PAYE, VAT, QPD, annual corporate tax computation)
  3. Annual financial statements
  4. Payroll and payslips, including NSSA and Zimdef levy
  5. Analysis of your financial performance and professional advice
  6. Your own dedicated accountant to attend to your queries by phone or email

The cost is $170 per month for VAT Registered companies and $120 for non- VAT registered companies. Please call Phil on 0777 774 007 for more information.

Other entrepreneurs want to hear your stories, your achievements, your products, services, promotions or specials. Please email me at chichonip@smebusinesslink.com.

BusinessLink Publications Available

The following publications have been developed by the BusinessLink team to help you start and grow your business.

Business Planning Simplified 82 pages plus templates software CD)
Print edition $18.00
E-version PDF on CD $6.00

Gold Club subscribers Discount

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business in Zimbabwe (40 pages) Print edition $7.00 E-version PDF on CD $3.00

Please note that all current BusinessLink Gold Club subscribers enjoy 40% discount on all publications

Business Starter Pack Combo CD

Get all the books in E-version (PDF) on one CD for only $10.00

Low Cost High Impact Marketing Strategies for SMEs
(40 pages) Print edition $7.00
E-version PDF on CD $4.00

Developing a Three Step Strategic Plan to grow Your Business (40 pages)
Print edition $12.00 E-version PDF on CD $4.00

To make an order, please call Christine on 0772 854 301. Publications are also available at Innov8 Bookshop, 23 G. Silundika Street Harare (and at Insignia Joina City from 1 July). Note that subscribers discounts only apply to publications ordered direct from BusinessLink.

Let others know about your business, your products and your services.

List you profile on the BusinessLink Community website and in this newsletter.

Contact Phil on 0777 774 007 or email chichonip@smebusinesslink.com

Vacancies / Student Attachments Wanted and Available

We have several requests for attachment places by students at universities and colleges in a variety of fields.

If you have places for attachments, please let us know which fields you are looking by email to chichonip@smebusinesslink.com and we will send you suitable CVs.

Business Plan Writing Classes

Are you struggling to put your idea into a bankable business plan? Do you want to start a business but don’t know where and how to start?

Then  you need to attend one of the BusinessLink business plan writing classes designed to equip you with knowledge and practical application to help you develop a business plan that works.

Classes are scheduled for the following dates:

Saturday 23 June 2012: 0830-1230

Wednesday 27 June 2012: 1400-1700

Saturday 30 June 2012: 0830-1230

Classes are held subject to the minimum number of participants signing up. Please book early so we can plan adequately by calling Christine on 0772 854 301

Cost is $20 which covers the course, training materials, handouts, light meals and refreshments as well as the Business Planning Simplified CD.

Business Strategy Planning Sessions

Is your business lacking direction or not performing to your satisfaction? Do you need to develop a strategic plan for the rest of the year and beyond? Was your last strategic plan not the best you could have done?

The BusinessLink Team is arranging off-site, intensive strategic planning sessions to help high performance entrepreneurs and their teams develop working plans that will take their business to the next level.

If you wish to take part in these two-day sessions, please send me an email with your preferred dates during the month of July.  (weekdays or weekends).

Each session will ideally consist of three firms with teams of between one to four people. We can also structure sessions to meet your particular requirements.

Please send your email to me on chichonip@smebusinesslink.com.



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