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When is the Right Time To Break Away to Pursue Your Entrepreneurial Dreams?

The end of the year is the best time to sit down and ponder your future business dreams.

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Whether you love your job or not, everyone has some sort of ambition to have a side-hustle of some sort. Whether it’s to become your own boss, find your riches, or simply satisfy a creating itch, branching out and starting your own business can be daunting, because there’s an ever-present question that exists: when is the right time?

Many individuals or groups brainstorm fantastic business ideas, but knowing when and how to pull the trigger on these ventures tends to be the biggest hurdles, but the truth is, there are answers for both those questions.

When is the right time?

This answer is more of a non-answer, but there is no right time. Waiting for that perfect opportunity when the stars align might never come, while also impulsively selling everything you own to pursue your dream business tomorrow isn’t the best idea either. It all comes down to planning and starting small as soon as you can, which lowers the financial risk and allows you to (at least) get the rolling.

How do you go about starting?

As for the ‘how’ part of the question, it’s all about dreaming big, but starting small. Even if you know your company is going to change the world, do so with baby-steps. No matter how grand your idea is, it’s important to remember to do the due diligence and make a structured plan of how you’ll start, grow, and succeed. Create a daily or weekly planner and tick off the vital things you need to do in order to slowly put the pieces of your business plan or operations together.

So, if you’re home-bound, looking for some additional income, or want to pursue an entrepreneurial career, there are some options that have very little or no barriers of entry, barring a simple internet connection and basic computer. Then, leverage the powerful tools that a platform like Digitise offers, such as the ability to:

  • Buy your own domain.
  • Create your own website.
  • Create custom business email addresses.
  • Add a CRM to manage your customers.
  • Use a bulk SMS marketing toolkit.

While these things often are run on separate systems and can end up being quite expensive and complicated, Digitise makes it simple by having it all in one place, running on one system, giving you a single log-in to control all the aspects of your business from your phone, tablet or laptop. And of course, keeps affordability in mind with flexible pricing packages.

Why not sign-up and get cracking on your business now? Check out Digitise here.

MenStuff.co.za is about bringing men’s lifestyle features and news for the every man’s man. Sport, movies, games, culture and anything else that can grow hair on its chest. You won’t find cringe-worthy stereotypical testosterone-fueled “tips” here. MenStuff is all about catering for the real man of the 21st century – enjoying the fun things in life while also having a laugh and some banter with the lads.

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4 Things Customer Brands Get Wrong About Customer Loyalty

When it comes to understanding their customers, where do most service and retail businesses go wrong?

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Getting a customer through the door, or onto your online store, is one thing, but earning a customer’s loyalty is a whole different ball game. The reality is that it is often far easier (and more cost-effective) to retain existing customers than it is to find new ones, but how exactly do you keep them coming back for more?

The first thing to note is that no one is truly ‘loyal’ to a brand or business, but rather that they’ll simply return if the experience is positive, and this could change at any time. Therefore, the most likely reason that someone will become a returning customer is if they have had a positive emotional response to your business and engaging with it.

There are three key principles to helping achieve this positive experience, with the first being that businesses need to meet customer expectations. The second is to build a recurring consumer behaviour by making their shopping experience as seamless and hassle-free as possible. And finally, exceptional customer service is about optimising the customer experience by actively gathering and collating insights about your customers’ expectations and needs.

The 2021 Truth & BrandMapp Loyalty Whitepaper revealed that as much as 74% of economically active South African were using loyalty programmes in 2021. But can customers truly be ‘loyal’ to a brand?

Dogs are loyal, customers aren’t

In an Oracle report, consumer behaviour expert Philip Graves explains that, in psychological terms, being loyal is just not something that applies to humans and brands. Loyalty is an emotional restraint that keeps humans within the ‘safety of the herd’. When we don’t act in accordance with social ‘rules’ or norms, we feel shame and guilt. Without shame and guilt, loyalty cannot exist. And no one should believe that consumers feel so bad about leaving a brand that they will experience shame and guilt.

So, while customers can indeed keep on using your products, this is not actually ‘loyalty’. Graves believes that repeated use comes down to how good your product is. All this is worth keeping in mind. The word loyalty will not disappear from the business lexicon any time soon, but it is always good to be clear on what we are actually talking about.

Poor customer service is the biggest cause of disloyalty

While online shoppers buy from you because of your product or brand, they often jump ship due to poor customer service. Customer service is typically the most significant contributor to brand disloyalty. Therefore, it’s fundamental to prevent customers from leaving in the first place.

The first priority of your team should be to address speed, friendliness, and effectiveness in meeting customer expectations. Modern customers also demand personalisation. They want brands to evolve with their specific needs in everything from products and services to experiences, moving beyond traditional offerings to something attuned to their unique lifestyle, interests, and activities.

Without reliable and personalised customer service in place, your marketing department could be fighting a losing battle from the start.

Satisfaction and spending are not indicators of loyalty

Many retail brands see customer satisfaction as a great indicator of customer loyalty. But as Frederik F. Reichheld, the inventor of NPS (Net Promoter Score), established many years ago, satisfaction isn’t always connected to actual customer behaviour and revenue growth. However, this doesn’t mean that satisfaction isn’t important to measure. Satisfaction determines a customer’s attitude towards their latest interaction with your brand — nothing more.

More so, your highest-spending customers are probably spending their money on your competitors too. Many retailers believe that a high average spend translates to brand loyalty. But as this McKinsey study found, close to half of spending by a company’s best customers actually goes to other retailers in the same category. What can we take from this? Correlation does not equal causation. Your high-spending customers are not necessarily loyal, so be wary of making connections that aren’t there.

Reducing customer effort is the clearest way to make loyalty gains

The bottom line is that, above everything else, customers want their shopping made easier, and customer effort and loyalty benefits are strongly correlated. Reducing customer effort is the most beneficial thing a brand can do to meet customer needs and generate loyalty. This means that retailers need to think carefully before hiding their phone numbers, sending emails from ‘no reply’ addresses, or redirecting all customers towards self-service or FAQs that aren’t actually useful. These distinctly user-unfriendly options could be killing loyalty at the source. Smart self-service options can be deployed with great success, but they need to be customer focused, and there should always be a human agent standing by in case it’s necessary.

With the right tools and platforms (such as conversational commerce, ticketing services, self-service, or mobile support), businesses can ensure that their customer service meets modern expectations and leaves a lasting impression. And considering the cost of acquiring new customers versus the cost of guaranteeing existing customers stick around, it’s well worth going the extra mile to earn customer loyalty. Platforms like Digitise not only give you a powerful drag-and-drop website-builder, but also sophisticated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools so that you can interact and get to know your customers.

While these things often are run on separate systems and can end up being quite expensive and complicated, Digitise makes it simple by having it all in one place, running on one system, giving you a single log-in to control all the aspects of your business from your phone, tablet or laptop.

And of course, when starting your first business, keeping the costs slim and tight is always the better option, and Digitise takes this into account. There are flexible pricing packages so that you can find the best option for you and your business.

The benefit of using the Digitise platform is that from the front-end of the webpage to the CRM and marketing tools in the background, your entire online toolbox is with the same provider, making the transition in the digital space a hassle-free one rather than a painstaking process of vendor selection and hunting down the right service providers.

Why not sign-up and get cracking on your business now? Check out Digitise here.

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Payment Technology: How Changing Trends Are Evolving the Way You Pay

The biggest fintech trends are changing the face of payments in emerging markets.

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An area that has seeing huge growth and innovation is the digital finance service industry. A report by CB Insights entitled ‘State of Fintech’ revealed that the third quarter of 2021 was the second highest on record for fintech financing, up by 147 percent year-on-year, and 2022 is looking like more of the same.

Fintech companies’ goals are to drive an accessible and sustainable digital economy for all, particularly across developing nations. Africa’s large unbanked and underbanked population, together with the increase in mobile penetration, creates fertile ground for fintech innovation, providing much-needed economic independence to those outside the formal banking system.

Some of the biggest fintech trends poised to make an impact in the market include:

Mobile money

According to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), the number of registered mobile money accounts grew by 12.7 percent globally in 2021 to 1.21 billion, with sub-Saharan Africa making up 548 million of those accounts. With mobile subscriber penetration across Africa predicted to increase by four percentage points to hit 615 million by 2025, an upsurge in mobile transacting is certain.

The fastest adopters of mobile payments are small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), which, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), account for more than 90 percent of businesses and almost 80 percent of employment in Africa. Traditionally dealing only in cash, the ease of use, affordability and accessibility of digital wallets, mobile POS solutions and QR code payments, are changing the way these merchants transact, giving them access to loans, insurance and other vital financial services previously out of their reach.

Taking it further and integrating digital financial services into the messaging experience, chat banking is fast becoming the next big thing, allowing users to do their banking on their favourite chat platform. By combining the ease and enjoyment of messaging apps like WhatsApp with the convenience of online banking, users have a fast and personalised way to manage their finances. Custom software companies, such as Dcyfer, are building more and more integration into businesses in order for them to capitlise on the payment automation and ChatBot revolution.

Cross-border payments

In 2021, remittance inflows in sub-Saharan Africa amounted to over USD$45 billion, a figure which is expected to more than double in the next two years. A large proportion of the technology supporting these cross-border payment systems remains on legacy platforms, but this is set to change this year, thanks to innovations focused on revolutionising the time-consuming, unsecure and expensive remittance industry.

Buy now pay later

The buy now, pay later (BNPL) movement is gaining momentum after kicking off during the COVID-19 economic crisis when companies sought to help customers struggling to pay their bills. This method of deferred payment allows buyers to increase their cash flow and budget more easily by splitting payments into four or six instalments – interest free – and is expected to drive the growth of ecommerce further as more retailers get on board.

BNPL is predicted to increase by 66.9 percent annually in South Africa, with other African countries closely following suit. Globally, this figure is expected to move from US$176.2 million in 2020 to US$ 1,673.7 million by 2028. With consumer interest being this high, banks are looking to partner with fintechs to help accelerate their technology development and bring BNPL products to the market faster. 

If your business is looking at implementing or integrating a payment solution, whether it be through QR codes, blockchain technology, or utilising existing services, the team at Dcyfer can help deliver that to your business. As a custom software developer, Dcyfer can help bring a suitable, safe, and efficient payment solution to make your business a breeze to use.

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7 Trends That Brands & Retailers Should Focus on When Targeting Millennials

How can you capitalise on the younger, more tech-savvy market?

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Millennials are a complex generation with a wide array of nuances and interests. They belong to a generation that experienced a childhood without technology, but as they reached adolescence and young adulthood, they have seamlessly incorporated the use of smartphones and digital communication into their routines. This makes millennials an in-between generation, one that has experienced the beauties of life offline, but at the same time the first to spend much of their youth on the Internet…. and that has made them a 100% omnichannel generation.

But which trends are engaging millennials, and how do brands and retailers successfully appeal to those born in the 80s and 90s? Experts at Tiendeo, a platform that collects digital offers and promotions from retailers, have identified the 10 most popular trends used by brands to persuade and drive Gen Y to buy.

Environmentally friendly

There is no doubt that anything labelled “eco-friendly” immediately draws the attention of millennial consumers, who are particularly attentive to manufacturing methods, the raw materials used, the use of pesticides and synthetics, and CO2 emissions. According to the GlobalWebIndex study, 6 out of 10 millennials are willing to pay a higher price for organic and sustainable products.

Local

Local products are winning more and more millennial hearts, from wines and beers to crates of fruit and chocolate. Local products are reaping the rewards of Gen Y consumers’ loyalty, as they are eager to show up to a dinner party with friends with a wine from a small, local winery.

Cruelty-free

Another trend that people over the age of 30 are getting behind is the fight against the mistreatment of animals through experiments aimed at testing the effectiveness of beauty, personal care, and household products. The fact that a product is cruelty-free is a strong incentive to buy it.

Saving time

Being pressed for time is a recurring feature of millennials’ lives. Brands that manage to simplify and optimize the day-to-day life of Gen Y individuals, who are constantly in search of hours to dedicate to themselves and their loved ones, rank highly. Case in point: Q-commerce or fast commerce, focused on speed of delivery.

Nostalgia

If following fashion and cutting-edge technology is a trend, nostalgia for times gone by that will never return is also a major leitmotif. Therefore, those who know how to appeal to the deepest emotions and those who evoke lost sensations will be able to create a special bond with millennial consumers.

Omnichannel

Giving a member of Generation Y the ability to move freely between the online and offline world is the best gift you could give them. Any brand that offers omnichannel services and advertising will find it easier to engage and retain this group of consumers. According to a study by Carat Consumer Connection System, 62% of millennials use the internet as the main point of information to make their purchasing decision.

Zero waste

Anything to do with recycling gets a big thumbs-up from millennials. Whether it’s apps for buying/selling second-hand clothing and accessories, buying expired food at reduced prices, or recycled and recyclable packaging, success is guaranteed.

When building and promoting your business, a fantastic tool to use when building and promoting your business is Digitise. Not only does Digitise feature a handy drag-and-drop website builder to create beautiful and professional websites in minutes, but it also features a built-in CRM system, allowing you to manage your customers, along with SMS marketing tools so that you can reach the audience (and generation) you want.

Best of all, there are flexible pricing packages so that you can find the best option for you and your business.

Why not sign-up and get cracking on your business now? Check out Digitise here.

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Cloud Security: 5 Advantages Your Business Can Take Advantage Of

As South Africa’s online space evolves, cyber security should be on top of your business’ priority list.

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Over the past two or so years, many businesses have had to adapt to remote working conditions, which many companies are embracing as a permanent move. The trend does not just affect huge companies but small businesses too. To support a successful transition to remote working, it is important to have the right tools in place, and utilising cloud services is one of the ways to do this, however, with working ‘on the cloud’ comes a number of risks.

As South African companies are rapidly adopting more online services to streamline their remote staff, a lot of security blindspots are emerging, and most of these companies aren’t implementing the necessary security measures.

According to a study done by MyBroadband in 2019, 71% of companies backup their data to the cloud, making cloud computing security critical for ensuring high levels of security and preventing data breaches.

Cloud computing security ensures that company data and applications stored in the cloud are protected. It also provides multiple levels of protection against any data breaches in the network infrastructure.

In order to optimise the benefits of data security in enterprises, cloud computing solutions must be considered as part of a comprehensive security strategy, not an optional extra.

Furthermore, there are some key benefits that businesses take advantage of when using cloud computing security:

Keeping data secure

Many cloud computing security solutions are designed to secure data stored in the cloud. They implement strict security measures, such as strong access controls and data encryption to ensure that cybercriminals do not gain access to important business data.

Detection of advanced threats

Cloud computing security can detect threats more easily due to its use of end-point scanning and global threat intelligence. This can help businesses to determine whether they are at risk of cyberattacks or not.

Regulatory compliance

Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent, causing a number of businesses that have shifted to cloud computing services to be more concerned about the security and privacy of their information. However, cloud computing solutions can enhance security to ensure compliance and protection of crucial business information.

A high level of availability

Cloud computing-based services offer high availability, which means they can keep business systems running even if some components fail. With a cloud security solution that meets best practice standards, a company’s data will be protected when there are disruptions.

Effective protection against DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks are extremely disruptive and can cause significant damage to an organisation. Cloud computing security could easily detect attacks and provide you with the most effective protection. Businesses must take advantage of it to monitor and mitigate DDoS attacks.

If you or your business is looking for security and a custom software application or software, Dcyfer’s expertise is in creating tailored solutions depending on client requirements. Hosted on top quality servers, Dcyfer’s solutions boast the latest in server hardware, are housed in a state-of-the-art, restricted access data centre offering everything you’d expect from a host service including daily back-ups, UPS and generator power backups, and round-the-clock security. This excellent hosting service will put your mind at ease and allow you to continue to grow your online presence with the knowledge that your data is secure.

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South Africans Lack Cybersecurity Skills, Study Shows

South Africans lag behind the rest of the world in knowing how to protect themselves from cyber attacks

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LAptop frustrating

Whether you’re an IT professional or casual internet user, there’s no denying that there is some education required around cyber security practices, and new research shows that South Africans have slightly better skills when it comes to knowing how to react to online threats and phishing attacks. They scored 78.6 points out of 100, and that’s by 5.6 of a point lower than the global average.

Sadly, when it comes to maintaining healthy habits online and knowing the basics of how to protect themselves from attacks in the first place, South Africans are significantly lagging behind.

Respondents from South Africa scored 36 points on their digital habits, which is 2.1 points below the global average, and 60.3 on their theoretical knowledge in cybersecurity, which is below the global level by a stunning 11.9 points. The sum of these three dimensions is reflected in the National Privacy Score, which is 55.3 points out of 100. This is lower than the global average by a staggering 9.9 points.

These findings are based on responses of hundreds of South Africans who took the NordVPN’s National Privacy Test, which measured the knowledge and skills in cybersecurity of 48,063 respondents from 192 countries.

Social media: heavily used unknown creature

Out of all misconceptions associated with cybersecurity, South Africans fell for social media the most. A staggering number of people (68.2%) said they don’t know that Facebook is able to gather data about them even if they don’t have an account.

Moreover, 52.2% of South African residents admitted they would share their personal details like full name, email, phone number, or even their current location on social media, while globally only 18.7% admitted to behaving the same way.

“People want to tell compelling stories on social media but forget about oversharing,” says Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

One field where South Africa demonstrated its strength was knowing exactly how to react when notified about an unknown device trying to log in to their email account. As many as 89.8% would change their password and set up multi-factor authentication immediately.

Source: National Privacy Test by NordVPN

Who’s the best in the race?

According to the research by NordVPN, 9 out of the top 10 countries with a strong digital privacy awareness are European countries, with Germans being the first (71.2 out of 100), the Dutch second (overall score of 69.5 out of 100), and Switzerland third (68.9 out of 100). These findings confirm the conclusions by Cousera, which names European technology skills as cutting-edge.

The global results of the online privacy awareness test are fairly satisfactory, with a score of 65.2 out of 100. However, despite knowing well how to assess and react to online threats (84.2 out of 100) and knowing in theory how to stay safe online (72.2 out of 100), people around the world have very poor cybersecurity habits and do not practice what they preach. A total of 47.1 points out of 100 was scored when it comes to habits.

To be truly private online, one must not only know how to react to threats but also how to prevent them in the first place. Clearing the browsing history will not make you more private, as half of the world thinks. But good habits, safe systems to work on, and comprehensive cybersecurity tools will help prevent a disaster.

If you or your business is looking for security and a custom software application or software, Dcyfer’s expertise is in creating tailored solutions depending on client requirements. Hosted on top quality servers, Dcyfer’s solutions boast the latest in server hardware, are housed in a state-of-the-art, restricted access data centre offering everything you’d expect from a host service including daily back-ups, UPS and generator power backups, and round-the-clock security. This excellent hosting service will put your mind at ease and allow you to continue to grow your online presence with the knowledge that your data is secure.

 

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