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What every entrepreneur needs to know about going digital

South Africa’s industry leaders are talking tech more than anything else in 2017; they understand the importance of bringing their businesses online, no matter what sector they operate in.

This stood out at the third edition of MTN Business’ Digital Entrepreneur Masterclasses, which was recently held in Durban. This event showed entrepreneurs how they can grow their businesses by using smart, tailored solutions produced by MTN Business and its partners.

Attendees walked away with the following tips – all great starting points for entrepreneurs looking to go digital.

1.    An online presence offers incredible opportunities

Remember the idea of six degrees of separation? Simply put, every person in the world is separated by only six people. Today, it’s become 3.2 degrees of separation, because of social media. Having an online presence, specifically on social media, means businesses can reach a much wider network of potential clients than in an offline environment.  

There are 3.5 million internet searches and 701 000 Facebook logins every 60 seconds. With those numbers in mind, any entrepreneur without an online presence is doing their business a disservice.

Having a digital home, such as a website, for your business is critical. This is the digital identity for your business, and the beginning of putting yourself out there to be found.

2.    Forget B2B and B2C. Embrace H2H

While technology has allowed us to automate almost anything, the removal of the human element is not necessarily what we want. People are beginning to crave human connection.

Brands are expected to move away from Business-to-Business or even Business-to-Consumer marketing. 2017 and beyond is about Human-to-Human marketing. It is human nature to crave a sense of belonging, and the forming of communities, such as fan clubs, business networks and even churches meet this need. Today, communities are created online and across the world. It began with chatrooms and swiftly moved to the era of social media. Companies should actively engage in conversations with their consumers on social media, so consumers feel their needs have been met and they’ve had a real conversation with a person, not a brand.

3.    Collaborate for credibility

The idea of collaboration is a hot topic, and an important business tactic. When potential clients are hesitant to work with small businesses, being associated with established brands increases the credibility of the business.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, and collaboration also translates into support for entrepreneurs who aren’t connected to people who understand their business. If you join an incubator, your business would be exposed to those with more experience and those who have faced similar challenges.

A digital world erases the problem of geography when it comes to collaboration. Teleconferencing plays an important role in bringing people together despite their location, and it doesn’t need to become a major expense.

Due to the growing success and popularity of the MTN Business Digital Entrepreneur Masterclasses, a fourth edition will be held in Johannesburg on 31 October. Hosted in partnership with Google, Huawei and Samsung, MTN Business will explore the theme, The Digital Industrial Revolution.

The topics that will be presented at this conference have been conceptualised to assist entrepreneurs who have been in business for a few years and are looking for solutions to enable them to take their businesses to the next level.

“We’re pleased by the overwhelmingly positive response the Digital Entrepreneur Masterclasses have received since their inception,” says Mandisa Ntloko, General Manager of Enterprise Marketing: MTN Business SA. “This initiative fits perfectly with our vision and mission of being a business enabler. We believe that the sessions at this conference will help ‘future proof’ the enterprises of the attending entrepreneurs, and empower them with the skills needed to sustain and grow their businesses in the 21st century.”

For more information please visit www.events.mtnbusiness.co.za, or follow #Digitalideas on Twitter.

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