Is there no loyalty in business? It seems companies change suppliers at a whim, forgetting years of good service. — Marthinus
In many industries, loyalty still trumps price. But truth be told, those industries are not efficient. The most efficient industries are the ones where all players are constantly looking to reduce costs without affecting quality.
The more the Internet changes the world, the more efficient all industries will become, the less loyalty you will find. Rather work on the assumption that price is more important than history. That way you won’t have any unpleasant surprises.
I’m in a start-up, but I feel I’m earning too low a salary and ESOP, what should I do? — Quentin
In my opinion, compensation is not the important thing (until you’re over the age of 40).
More important is: Are you learning new stuff? Do you like the people you work with? If the answers are yes, then it’s all good. Take a bigger salary than ESOP and enjoy the ride. If the answers are no then it doesn’t matter what your compensation is, move on.
I’m running an online store for tailored menswear formal clothing. How can I scale my business to reach more people? — Mluleki
The way to scale online sales is to advertise. Surprise, surprise. The best free advertising is word-of-mouth. Make sure the experience is excellent. Then make it easy for your customers to share their experience on social media and with their friends. Then offer discounts for people who refer their friends. The best paid-for advertising is Facebook, Google and maybe Instagram.
As a new entrepreneur, how do I properly vet businesses I do business with to ensure that they are legit and will deliver the goods or services procured? My business partner and I suffered a financial loss when we were acquiring start-up equipment. The company we bought from filed for liquidation two months after we paid an 80% deposit to custom-make an important piece of equipment for us. — Mpho
In my experience, that doesn’t happen often. That said, the way to avoid dodgy folks is personal references. Try only use service providers that are referred by people you trust.
And don’t pay upfront. You got a bit unlucky, but don’t extrapolate into the future. Better to get burnt occasionally and keep moving forward than to be paranoid and stop moving at all.
What’s your experience with devs? I am tearing my hair out on two different projects because of the delays caused by developers. — Mike
It’s hard finding great devs. Some rules of thumb: Personal references. Start small (never more than 12 weeks per job). Create a quick and dirty first version. Pay cash. Giving equity in lieu of cash is like getting a pro bono lawyer. You’re at the back of the queue.
I’ve been trying to get my start-up off the ground for six months, but struggling. Recently I’ve been offered a job at an exciting fintech fund, should I take it? — Tim
Don’t do it if you have enough cash for another 18 months. If you don’t have enough cash, then you have no choice. It’s difficult to succeed if you’re stressed about money. It’s also difficult to succeed if you’re not committed fulltime.
Read ’13 Rules for being an Entrepreneur’ today
Alan Knott-Craig’s latest book, 13 Rules for being an Entrepreneur is now available.
What it’s about
It’s easy to be an entrepreneur. It’s also easy to fail. What’s hard is being a successful entrepreneur.
For an entrepreneur, there is only one important metric of success: Money. But life is not only about making money. It’s about being happy.
This book is a collection of tips and wisdom that will help you make money without forgoing happiness.
Get it now
To download the free eBook or purchase a hard copy, go to www.13rules.co.za. To browse Alan’s other books, visit bigalmanack.com/books/
Do you have a burning start-up question?